Discipline: Purity

When I was a freshman or sophomore in college I read a book that has impacted my life greatly. Recently I have felt the need to review the book and since I’ve never blogged about it, here it goes. These are what I consider the high points of the book and my comments concerning them.

Disciplines of a Godly Man by R. Kent Hughes

The Discipline of Purity:

  • “Sensuality is easily the biggest obstacle to godliness among men today and is wreaking havoc in the Church.  Godliness and sensuality are mutually exclusive, and those in the grasp of sensuality can never rise to godliness while in its grip”

 I think what Hughes means by “sensuality” is when the focus of one’s thoughts is sexual in nature.  I’ve heard assertions that men think about sex every so many seconds every day of their lives. If one’s life is driven by a sexual/sensual thought framework, then one’s motivation becomes simply gratifying that desire. Discipline in thought and life is crucial for thinking and living in a healthy way.  Pornography is so rampant because men cannot discipline their sexual desires appropriately.  For the man who follows Jesus, we are to pursue Him, not our lust. So, this requires discipline to replace destructive thought patterns with godly ones. This requires setting boundaries on the computer, TV, and place one goes so that our thoughts can be disciplined.  Chaos in one’s thoughts leads to destructive places. I guarantee a wife NEVER wants her husband to look at ANY pornography, soft porn, or even that girl walking down the street. So men, if you love your wife, develop eyes only for her.  Single men who plan on marriage, should not wait until then to develop discipline in their sexual desires.

Primarily, godly thought patterns come from a immersing your thoughts in scripture. We believe we are reading the Word of God. When we read anything, we are following the thoughts of the author and thinking in the same thought patterns as the author. So, reading the Bible teaches us to think how God made us to think. 

  • “Men, it is the ‘legal’ sensualities, the culturally acceptable indulgences, which will take us down”

 “There’s nothing wrong with _______.”  Fill in the blank. Is it a TV show? A website? An “admiration of beauty”?  A simple flirtation? A lingering touch? Be careful boys, because the precipice is not far away.

  • “The mind controlled by lust has an infinite capacity for rationalization”

 This is why a man needs other men in his life who will smack him back into reality when he is veering off course.  If we want to sin we will unless something or someone intervenes. Discipline can intervene, but without a godly man beside you in the journey, discipline will grow weak.

  • “David would have never given more than a fleeting glance to Bathsheba if he could have seen the shattering results.”

Unfortunately, we don’t know the results and we often use that ignorance to our sinful advantage.  It is important that we look at those results in the devastated lives of others from King David to Tiger Woods. If we are honest, we are only a few poor choices away from similar destruction in our own lives, so we must discipline ourselves to guard against it.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-8

3It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, 5not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; 6and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. 7For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.

  • “Do not bare your heart to another woman, or pour forth your troubles to her.” / “Never flirt…You may think you are being cute, but it often arouses unrequited desires in another.”

I don’t believe that a man should have friendships with other women that excludes his wife. This boundary will prevent a large amount of temptation and misunderstanding.  Flirtation is a game that boys engage in. Men do not flirt with women who are not their wives because flirtation expresses desires and intentions that cannot be rightly fulfilled. I would welcome anyone to prove me wrong, but I don’t think it is possible in this case.

  • What is the most effective way to prevent moral lapses?

 Without a doubt, pursuing moral purity actively, diligently, tenaciously, is the best way to prevent moral lapses. He who thinks he stands, take heed, lest he falls.  Having a “Wing Man”, a comrade, a “mighty man of valor” or a group of them is vital as well.

See the first blog in this series here.


2 Responses to “Discipline: Purity”

  1. December 8, 2009 at 8:13 am

    This is probably the most visible manifestation of “self”. The willful act of removing God from the center of our lives and replacing Him with “me”. Then when we have assumed the throne, everything we do becomes about pleasing ourselves. I think the example of David is dead center.

    You said “David would have never given more than a fleeting glance to Bathsheba if he could have seen the shattering results.”

    This statement is true as far as it goes, but unfortunately he was already in the first mindset which you stated very succinctly: “The mind controlled by lust has an infinite capacity for rationalization” If he hadn’t, the consequences would have been as obvious to him as poop in the punchbowl.

    When making decisions, it is wise to “play it forward” to the logical conclusion of the result of that choice. Once you throw the stone into the pond, you have no control of the ripples, and they will go until they hit the bank. David’s choice, like ours, affect more than just ourselves. It rippled out to include murder, and the loss of a child. We lose sight of the consequences of our actions and utter nonsense such as “It hurts no one but me.”

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