David Sper writes in his book Designed for Desire, ‘The root of all sexual perversions and immorality begins with the desire to relieve one’s pain with pleasure.’ It’s natural for us to be seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. So when pain doesn’t go away when we try to satisfy our cravings, we seek bigger and bigger pleasures to satisfy them ‘ to override and erase our pain.
Every sin is the result of an appetite going astray and seeking fulfillment in something other than what God intended. First, we experience that something is missing inside. Then we begin seeking ways to compensate for the void. This becomes especially destructive when we try filling an emotional or spiritual void with something physical.
We want to believe the reason our appetites get out of control is that we’re deprived of something we really need. We may say, ‘If I just had enough money to pay my bills, I wouldn’t need to drink like this.’ Or, ‘If I had someone to love me, I wouldn’t need pornography.’ Harry Schaumburg writes, ‘When people seek a taste of heaven by their own means, they create a living hell of uncontrollable desires.’ He’s absolutely right!
Men, seeking God’s kingdom and righteousness is something you need to learn how to do. The Bible tells us to do it first! Otherwise, you’ll misdiagnose your problem and seek the solution in sin. Learn to direct your temptation to a redemptive end by letting it drive you to Christ.
When Esther started dating Robert, she felt there was something different about him. He was quiet and stoic, and never got excited about too much of anything except when it came to his favorite West Texas football team. When they were playing, he became a different person, full of energy and expression. But other than those games, very little sound or passion came from Robert.
One day Robert took Esther out on a ski boat. He had flowers and wine. And after dinner he held her hand, and while processing said three words she’d never hear again, ‘I love you.’ Esther said yes to a life of quiet devotion.
Don’t get me wrong: Robert was a good man. He was faithful, hardworking, and generous with his wife. He cared for her when she was sick and listened intently when she told him of things that happened to her. But until the day he died, he’d only said, ‘I love you’ one time’the night he proposed to her.
Robert’s an extreme case of a man’s difficulty in expressing himself. But Esther and Robert’s story isn’t that far out when we consider the number of men who struggle to communicate with the women in their lives.
Do you choose to express you feelings by working hard, remaining faithful, and being a good father and husband? Your wife may appreciate these efforts. But remember: she still longs to hear you verbalize not only your love but also what you think about and feel.
Yesterday I talked about American men feeling disappointment and burnout at mid-career. Today I’ll raise several key issues you should consider carefully and prayerfully if you’re among the growing number thinking about making a career change.
1) There are elements of repetition in every career, and few repetitive actions remain continually thrilling. Are you in the right place, but just needing a minor change of pace, or is your lack of enjoyment indicative of something more fundamental?
2) Are you wrestling with getting less recognition than you think proper? Is this a legitimate grievance, or your reticence to live contentedly before an audience of One?
3) Is your career disappointment a reminder that perseverance is needed, or an indication that your work is not the type worth pursuing for a lifetime?
4) Where does income figure in to your dissatisfaction? How does money fit into your value system, and affect your feeling of self-worth?
5) Are you giving your time and energy to something you can be proud of?
6) Is your career providing the opportunity to make a contribution to something you deem important?
Men, these are important questions. So please don’t make impulsive moves without answering them prayerfully, honestly, and with the help of trusted and spiritually mature input from others. Many of you may find God’s calling you to grow right where you are. Others just may be called to take heart and follow God to other things.