God’s word tells us to not covet our neighbor’s wife. But the world we live in presents sexual temptation every day. When the book of Hebrews says that Jesus himself was tempted in every way, but was without sin, does that mean that he experienced sexual temptation? If so, what’s the difference between coveting (sin) and the sexual temptation of Jesus? How can I make sense out of the commandment, my daily reality, and the temptation of Jesus himself?
First, when scripture says that Jesus was tempted in every way, we must assume that his temptation included sexual temptation. Second, since he was also without sin, we need a theology of sexual temptation that includes both the experience of sexual temptation, while also not reaching a threshold of sin. Third, we need a way out, an effective response.
God created the female form to be attractive to males. It’s his design, thus we experience temptation. However, simply recognizing that a woman is attractive can simply be a temptation without the experience escalating into coveting the person, objectifying her. Temptation is part of design, but coveting and fantasizing is a learned, practiced, and often a patterned, subconscious behavior.
The best way to understand this is from Proverbs 5. The context is an older wise man coaching a younger man. In the beginning of the chapter the older man tells the younger man in essence, “don’t even think about going by the door of the harlot.” In 2019 terms he might be saying don’t even think of three clicks of the mouse… about the woman in the next cubicle… about fantasy with another person… Then, near the end of the chapter, he states the antidote: (1) May you choose to rejoice in your wife; (2) May you choose to find your physical, sensual, and sexual satisfaction exclusively and always in your wife; (3) May you choose to be captivated by your wife.
Sexual temptation will always have a degree of power in the lives of men. We can reduce the power of that temptation by increasing the power of our experience of our wives by choosing rejoicing, choosing satisfaction, and choosing captivation. These are mindful choices. Let’s choose to renew our minds to God’s design for success!
Husbands, you become more and more attractive to your wives when you practice/live by these design parameters. If you believe that these are, in fact, God’s design then you must also believe that she is designed to respond to them.
In the following parts I will discuss more fully the practicality of living out this design.