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In order to properly honor and glorify God with our lives we need to make it part of our mission to be lifelong learners. Someone who is ignorant of how much God hates sin and how much He loves them can find themselves living a substantial portion of their lives without knowing Jesus Christ. If we are ignorant of the ramifications of sin, it may seem appetizing or even enjoyable on some level to stay that way. Once we see what God’s word says, we see that repenting from sin is a worthwhile challenge. If you’re ignorant regarding the consequences pertaining to sexual activity before marriage, then you’d likely engage in those endeavors. In your mind maybe the only risks that impact you are diseases or the risk of getting pregnant. The real risk is the moral hazard of grabbing a vice. One where you find yourself addicted to sexual endeavors and haven’t come to the realization that God invented sex. It is designed only to be enjoyed between one man and one woman under the umbrella of marriage. It is the safety net, or in other words the glue, that keeps couples attached to one another.
The Word of God says that if you have sex with a prostitute you become one flesh with her, this includes anybody you have sex with. (V*1). You’re taking something that is meant to be given only to the man or woman that you’ve chosen to be with for the rest of your life and you’ve trivialized it. It has been watered down to the point where you’ve forgotten that “no strings attached” in regards to sex is a myth. Women experience emotional pain and aren’t designed to alternate partners so haphazardly. Men aren’t meant to have their consciences seared and selfish desires fed either. All these are totally unjustified motivations for having sex. It is a mistake to gravitate towards viewing only how oneself can benefit rather than considering the value, emotions, and well being of the other person in the exchange. It is as if having sex was some sort of commodity where women hold something of value and that it is only given to the highest bidder, the coolest date, or the best liars. Sex isn’t a commodity that gets traded. It shouldn’t be a reward for him taking you out to a nice restaurant and entertaining you either. Not coming to the realization that sex deserves a place of higher, holy respect can bring you to wage death and to forget how important its’ role is in marriage relationships. (V*2).
Ignorance isn’t only deadly in the area of sexual sin. It’s just a fragment of all the areas that we can explore and think about when we realize that the saying “Ignorance is Bliss” is a loaded lie. Ignorance is only bliss to the extent that your sins, mistakes, and overall lack of desire to learn will lead you not to realize what you’re signed up for in terms of realistic results. So since you aren’t living in reality, but instead just living out a reality that you don’t have a full understanding of, you are unaware of the dire consequences that could come later on if you don’t act on these shortcomings. Once you realize that there is more than meets the eye, you should try to put some of the pieces of the puzzle together as soon as humanly possible. There’s no time to waste because time in this life, as we’ve explored in prior articles, is very scarce. We need to be on top of our decision-making so that hopefully we don’t reach a dead end before we wake up to the truth.
It’s difficult to be ignorant about alcoholism or drugs, but some people find the audacity within themselves to ignore the facts that they’re aware of and instead proceed to delve into potentially deadly vices. They know that alcohol in excess can cause drunkenness. It is as we know blatantly sinful when abused this way and may lead to carousing, abusive relationships, or even traffic collisions. In the worst cases it may even cause too much harm to your liver. This is especially noteworthy in an era where we already take a significant amount of medications that are harmful to this vital organ. Drugs are typically even worse. While we find our government standing behind weed in states like Colorado, the big picture tells us that most drugs still appear to do more harm than good. At least alcohol can be enjoyed in moderation without the express intent of getting drunk. Drugs on the other hand are usually not as controllable and require larger and larger doses for the user to experience the same highs of prior sessions. Like other completely different vices, they just lead you to think of what’s right in front of you and you don’t really allow yourself to think about the long term use bringing you to your knees. There will come a breaking point, and at that point you’ll either break down and realize you need to make some drastic changes before it’s too late, or the drug/alcohol will break you in a serious way. It may or may not take your life, but something else of value could be lost. You can see that certain relationships have been hindered by it, that your career has been derailed, your family doesn’t want to draw as near to you as they used to, or perhaps certain past admirers now steer clear of you instead of entertaining your company. I am all for being your own person and independently seeking God’s approval above mans, but when people who have your best interests at heart tell you you’ve taken it too far it’s likely a terrible sign. You no longer heed their warnings so it’s highly probable you’re probably not too far off from that breaking point. My prayer is that if this looks like your life you’ll turn things around before the breaking point is a reality in your life.
How we can be aware of the consequences, even the long term ones, of many of the vices that have allure to us and still engage in them is actually quite mind boggling. The devil and his demons do constantly try to attack us, but I wonder how much of that really takes place in the life of a user. I suspect many times they just look around and think “Wow these people are doing alright sinning on their own and throwing themselves away towards their compulsions to sin pretty solidly on their own. Let’s leave them alone on that track and try to bring down the men and women who are attempting to live uprightly and see if we can tarnish them too.” All of us who are believers need to be vigilant and alert because the Bible says the devil “prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.” (V*3). Don’t get complacent and think if everything is under control that it will remain that way. There is a Spiritual battle going on behind the scenes that we aren’t able to see. When someone is living in their own sin and doesn’t realize the impact it has on them, those around them, and their future – they’re in the type of comfort zone you want to avoid at all costs. We cannot afford to be comfortable about sinful behavior. We shouldn’t stand by comfortably while our family and friends are not in tune with Jesus Christ and have not come to terms with understanding that Christianity provides them a solution to their eternity. How can we call ourselves their friends if we haven’t at least put the decision before them so that they can make it for themselves?
Of course as Christians we sin too, we’re not proclaiming that we’ve got life solved. What we’re proclaiming is that Jesus died for all our sins – past, present, and future. We know that while we might stumble once in a while, He will help us back up after we’ve dusted ourselves off to continue fighting the good fight of faith. We aim to be led by the Holy Spirit rather than yielding ourselves to the desires of our flesh. That in and of itself should make some curious as to how and why you live your life the way you do. It could be a simple interaction, maybe they noticed that you comport yourself really well when you’re under a serious amount of stress or opposition. So they admire yourself control and ask, Victor – I noticed that you didn’t get upset like so many people who have back there, how did you garner the strength to maintain your composure? Boom. They’ve just opened the door for you to witness to them about how Jesus Christ is your strength and without the lead of the Holy Spirit you’d be just as troubled as anybody else in that position. We have to take these opportunities whenever we get the chance, because they’re few and far in between. Don’t be afraid if you feel a little bit uncomfortable when you first try to witness to someone. Don’t feel like you’ve got to impart every single part of your faith to them, just start with a seed and let what you can tell them spark their curiosity. They might not be receptive at first, or they may even be borderline hostile about it. Don’t worry, on the inside they’re usually thinking more deeply and your advances are going further than they seem a lot of the time.
We know ignorance is bad and even deadly in many cases. Since we’re ignoring God’s commands it opens the door to a lot of issues, but one may wonder what is causing the problem at hand on a more specific level. We know that to some extent we’re not regarding some important elements of Christian living in as high regard as we ought to. Instead we are injecting faulty human logic into our lives. We’ve made an idol out of something in our lives, such as the aforementioned areas of sex, alcoholism, and drug use for instance. Perhaps we’ve reasoned that the pleasure that we derive from these endeavors outweighs any perceived consequences that we might meet for engaging in these things. Try to find the root of the issue and discover why it is you feel that way. A lot of the times if we just trim the top of a plant it will grow back, sometimes certain forms of plants might even grow back thicker and stronger than before. This isn’t sufficient for dealing with such serious matters, but rather we need to go deeper to the root of the problem. One such potential root is that we’re operating under what we can see rather than what the truth of the Bible shares with us.
If sex outside of marriage is sin, and we engage in it, we’re sinning against God. If we’re sinning against God, then the Bible says that we are waging death. If we are waging death we may be earning either physical or Spiritual death, but possibly both kinds of death and any kind is something we should absolutely aim to avoid. We may think that simply because it momentarily feels good, and for the most part gives us little immediate consequences to worry about, that we’d be alright. We might think, the anxiety and worry that this pornographic use caused me is of little matter, I had a good time looking at it. Another example, we might have just had sex with a willing partner, but we know neither of us has any intention of taking the relationship further. We know that we’re just experiencing sex with each other and we’ve watered down what God wanted it to be for each of us. That means both of us are literally sinning against our own bodies, sinning against our future spouses, and sinning against God. It’s like the trifecta of sinfulness you’d likely put close to the top of your list as far as wanting to avoid. Once you let her go or she lets you go, both if not at least one of you will probably be emotionally impacted. If you’re not emotionally impacted on some level, and likely in a highly negative way, you’ll probably be so seared of conscience and calloused of heart that you don’t even realize how far out of line you’ve strayed.
You’ve bought into the lies of culture, and quite frankly those lies are comforting and enjoyable to digest. So when you digest scripture it makes you feel uncomfortable, perhaps even guilty, and you wonder why would I want to read it? Then you remember that the guilt and the discomfort are each signs of something needing immediate attention and potential adjustment in your life. God gave you these sensations to realize that you’re missing the mark in some way. For those that don’t know God, and have about as much desire to pick of a Bible as they do cleaning the outskirts of our public highway system, they’re in an even deeper mess. They’ve bought into barriers that separate them from God and His Word. They have put themselves in a position that is more challenging to rebound from, but with God all things are possible. Higher education is full of false doctrines, and life in general has given us so many distractions that we feel too busy to evaluate or challenge our flawed perspectives. At the end of the day because of the comfort of ignorance they’ve chosen to sit at a decision point with a faulty logic along the lines of “Why fix it if it isn’t broken?” Of course we’ve realized that it’s broken, but until they see it break they may not listen to you. Even if they do listen to you, how often will they utilize your strategies and actually heed your opinion highly enough to make some lasting changes? Ones that will stand the test of time and take real consideration of the problem at hand? It’s going to be an uphill battle, but it’s one that will always be worth fighting for them if they embrace the wake up call.
Now that we’ve discussed some of the reasons why someone may be unwilling to change in their “blissful” endeavors, we might wonder if there’s more to the story. Are there stronger ways to be able to reach out to people stuck in such dead end roads? Another root cause of these problems is that justice deferred appears as though it will not be brought. Those of us who study God’s word know that justice deferred is not forgotten however. Sometimes judgment may not be on this side of eternity, but rather when we get to Heaven or Hell. Other times we see the wages of death practically on a first hand basis. This occurs when we observe the deep, dark train wreck of the life of a drug user or a person who has a heavy vice that they’ve allowed to become an idol in their lives. They’ve allowed this beast to not only master them, but they’ve allowed them to be encompassed by it. If they don’t focus on the matter in question life will seem to have little if any meaning. Their desire to explore the deeper questions in life regarding God, Christianity, and salvation has practically come to a screeching halt. They have become artificially quenched because of the amount of attention their idol has taken from them. If there were any questions that desired exploration to begin with on the more meaningful matters of life, they have long since died, along with any other curiosity that doesn’t involve the idolatry at hand.
Even as a Christian I have seen myself become a “responsible” addict to such things as online computer games and online Poker. Surely I played for most of my waking hours, and what fruit was that really bringing? I have a testimony to share now, I can warn others about the addictive nature of games in general. I can talk to them about how gambling compulsively can be problematic and if one isn’t careful can cause some serious financial strain to them and/or to some close loved ones. In the end God delivered me from both in a relatively unscathed fashion. I don’t really desire to play video games on my PC very often, but when I do I limit myself to a very reasonable set of hours on an occasional basis that doesn’t interfere with the more important things in my life. In terms of gambling, I have almost no desire to touch slot machines, table games, or lottery scratch-offs. I find myself gravitating more towards the strategic elements of a game such as Poker and avoid online Poker and other forms of online gambling like the plague. Even with Poker in live environments I recall my past vulnerabilities and I am careful to track my results on a specific level in my Poker Tracking App. I do this to make sure that if I am not profitable that I quit the games for a significant amount of time. Certainly some things can be justified at the expense of entertainment, but it looks to be that I am marginally profitable so far. Technically it isn’t an expense other than the time invested to play. When you do something you enjoy you don’t need to only be accountable for monetary results, but also the opportunity cost of the time lost engaging in the hobby. If my Poker cravings become more than a hobby and instead consume me day in and day out, they better have become my primary source of income and work. Otherwise they should definitely be put in a back seat to other much higher priorities. The reality is for me I don’t expect Poker to ever become more than a hobby, even if it felt as though it was becoming significantly profitable and I had a large strategic advantage over most of the field in the stakes I play. The nature of the game is too volatile and when it becomes work instead of play it loses a lot of its’ appeal to me in the first place.
Without straying too far off topic, I just wanted to basically put it out there that none of us are perfect and we all have some vices that are more alluring to us as individuals than others. For me it was Poker and online games like Starcraft and Warcraft 3 in the past. It has also been, and continues to be to an extent, the appeal of online pornography that has caused me struggle. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see why it seems so nice. You’re a click away from naked women, women who are whatever shape or size you’d want to imagine and you can look at them from the comfort of your room without anybody else finding out if you wish. Other than of course God and yourself or whomever is aware of your addiction perhaps. The reality is that although porn may provide some momentary, fleeting pleasures they are quickly dissipated by that dire feeling that comes at the end when you’ve realized you’ve compromised your sexual purity again, you’ve revived a habitual sin that you were in the process of repenting from and conquering, and you’ve allowed the enemy another open foothold in your life for what seems to be a countless time. Your future spouse cannot compete with the sexual fantasy land of thousands of naked young ladies no matter how beautiful she is. We’ve become desensitized to what should be a high priority and we condone what we should clearly see is a black and white issue. It’s not sexy to engross our minds in the thoughts of these women we don’t know. Jesus was clear when He told us “he that looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery in his heart.” (V*4). Of course by no means is this problem exclusive to men, women also have their share of struggles. While roughly 50% of men have struggled with porn at one point or another, it appears as 20% or so of women also have their problems with it. Speaking for Americans we devour an alarming number of porn site content and if we want to stop sinning against ourselves, our future or current spouses, and God we need to make some serious adjustments in our lives.
At the time of this writing I am only 6 days free from this troubling behavior, and I am taking it one day at a time. Every morning I put on the full armor of God, aim to follow the Holy Spirit as He leads me, and I take up my cross daily. Take it one day a time because if not you’ll find looking too far along the road is daunting and will only serve to discourage you from fighting the battles at hand. The Bible says to allow each day to worry about itself, not to concern yourself with the entire calendar ahead of what may or may not be there. (V*5). So I say all this not because I am proud of it, it’s very embarrassing and something I don’t think I would be proud of on any level. I say it so that you know you’re not alone and that we all have some sort of battle. This weakness of mine may be someone elses’ strength, and for them their weakness is possibly my strength. I am very resistant to alcoholism, I can easily have a small drink or not even touch alcoholic beverages for months without really missing anything. Clearly someone who is an alcoholic would desire to reach this place if they were actively fighting their vice (and with good reason). I am proud that by God’s grace I am still a virgin, but this isn’t something that is indicative of my sexual purity. I have struggled with sexual purity for over a decade, and closer to fifteen years to be fair, but it’s only through God’s grace that I haven’t been put in positions where it was too easy to compromise my virginity. I am saving myself for marriage, and I know that I am going to be trying hard to overcome my addiction to porn before I bring that into a serious dating relationship or marriage as well. This is a silver lining no doubt from what is otherwise a significant battle in my life to this day.
Next time you want to pour out that 3rd or 4th drink, pop those pills, cut yourself, or engage in behavior that the Bible isn’t advising you to engage in think twice. That’s just one more step towards destruction and one more step deeper into a pit that will make it harder to dig out of. God wants to restore you, and He wants to deliver you from your addictions and pet sins. The key is you also have to want it yourself as He will not interfere with your own free will, as painful as that might sound. Make the decision today to rid yourself of this mindset that being ignorant to the outcomes is a good idea, or that putting the knowledge away in the back of your mind while you continue to engage in it is “cool” or “trendy”. Don’t value temporal pleasure that will have a deep price later over the sacrifice of living pure, which may have eternal blessings later on. Think about it deeply and pray about it, don’t take my word for it. Spend time with the Lord and make sure that you receive the Spiritual nourishment necessary to take this battle on. The devil and his demons don’t like to let go easily, we will go through a certain degree of suffering, but at the end of the day it will be worth it. Take the small battles that you’ve gone through by God’s grace as large victories, because sometimes you need to celebrate that 1 day away from the addiction. Even if you’re at a place where 1 hour away is a cause to celebrate, do it. God is with you and He knows how much you’ll need Him in this journey.
Today is day 1 for some of you, don’t look back. For those who are further along or who God has delivered from your major battles don’t get complacent and continue doing what you do. Be the strength for our brothers and sisters Christ, the role models that they need to inspire them as they move along. Find support, whether it be in an online group or forum, or someone you know in person and can trust. Real friends will be there for you and hold you accountable. If they know that you’re taking it serious they’ll know that you mean business. Show them that you do, and ultimately do it for God because there’s nobody who deserves more glory, honor, and acknowledgment. Commit yourself and your ways to Him. Don’t spurn His correction, He loves you more than anyone else does, even more than you can possibly fathom. Someone who has your best interests at heart, loves you this much, and knows you infinitely better than you, should not be ignored. Trust Him, and you’ll not live in regret for this decision. He will reveal Himself to you when your heart has been purified. Ask Him to purify your heart as part of your prayer requests, because the heart itself is deceitful and wicked. (V*6, V*7, & V*8).
V*1- “16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For “the two,” He says, “shall become one flesh.” 1 Corinthians 6:16 (NKJV).
V*2- “23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 (NKJV).
V*3- “8 Be sober, be vigilant; because[a] your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” 1 Peter 5:8-9 (NKJV).
V*4- “28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28 (NKJV).
V*5- “34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34 (NKJV).
V*6- “5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. 7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. 8 It will be healing to your flesh[a] and refreshment[b] to your bones. 9 Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; 10 then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. 11 My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof,” Proverbs 3:5-11 (NKJV).
V*7- “8 Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8 (NKJV).
V*8- “9 The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9 (NKJV).