Whether your team won or lost last night, you have to admit it was an amazing game, or better fitting, an amazing fourth quarter! Love them or hate them, the Pats just might be the greatest ever.
I’ll tell you what else was great last night – chicken wings! My wife Amy killed it this year with an amazing hot sauce recipe. I love eating chicken wings while watching the game with my family.
A fun fact for you – Americans consumed over 1.33 billion chicken wings last night while watching the Super Bowl!
Sadly, chicken wings weren’t my only focus last night. I’ve learned through the last few years of Super Bowl watching that during commercial breaks I’ve got to keep my eyes on the Super Bowl ads and my finger on the remote control, ready to change the channel when necessary.
Last night was no exception. It started with the T-Mobile ad entitled Punished. Kristen Schaal is in an S&M dungeon where she is about to experience the “pain” Verizon customers face when they aren’t on an unlimited plan. In the second of four ads from T-Mobile last night, this time Ms. Schaal talked dirty to a Verizon customer service rep about here data overages asking if she is going to be punished about Verizon’s taxes and fees. T-Mobile CEO John Legere said these ads were “almost too hot for TV!” I agree.
Did you see the Devour Frozen Meals commercial? This one was over the top from moment one of the half-naked man on the couch acting as though he were having on orgasm from eating creamy cheese, while two ladies (and a man) sat behind the audition desk making similar gestures. The ad ends with the voiceover, “Devour – food you want to fork!”
Some might say that these Super Bowl 2017 commercials were tame compared to soccer star and culture icon David Beckham several years ago showing off his tatted body wearing only underwear for his new line of David Beckham Bodywear. Or, remember in 2015 Model Adriana Lima promoted Teleflora saying, “Valentines Day is simple guys: Give, and you will receive!” Ms. Lima also appeared moments later in a Kia Commercial as the fantasy girl-come-true for a midnight dreamer.
Of course, you can’t talk Super Bowl ads without mentioning the ever pushing-the-envelope ads from Go Daddy. Usually, the Go Daddy people make those Victoria Secret displays in the malls (you know which ones I’m referring to) look small-time. Remember the ad where model Natalia Velez basically appeared naked while Danica Patrick and Jillian Michaels painted her body with the new Go Daddy logo?
Obviously, the goal of any commercial is to capture the viewer’s attention. By this measure, these commercials did this and more.
So, what’s my point? Well, a few days ago while in Wisconsin a pastor told me that a majority of the girls in his youth group are struggling with porn. Yes, girls! At my daughters school last week there was a party where many of the guys were checking out porn on their phones. And, today I received an email from a high school boy who said (referring to porn), “This stuff is everywhere! I try to get away from it, but it’s almost impossible. My friends look at it. My coach looks at. Even my girlfriend likes to look.”
It’s easy to label a Playboy magazine or a website as porn. But, what about these commercials? Is this pornography? And, what defines porn as hard or soft? Is it only considered to be porn if there is nudity? If so, then, how much nudity?
By definition, the word pornography isn’t just about nudity. It’s about causing sexual arousal. It’s about making you have feelings and desires to want to do things that should be shared with only your future spouse. You may think you’re “just looking,” but those images are setting off lust explosions in your brain. The Super Bowl commercial producers know this. They know what gets your mind going. They know what it takes to get you to look and to keep looking. Otherwise, why pay $5 million for a thirty-second ad to display such content?
por·nog·ra·phy – sexually explicit pictures, writing, or other material whose primary purpose is to cause sexual arousal; the presentation or production of this material.
The senior high boy who emailed me is right. This stuff, packaged in a variety of ways, is just about everywhere. It’s permeated culture today. And, if we aren’t careful, we can become immune to it. We can excuse it as “no big deal”, soft, or just a silly commercial. But make no mistake. To God, hard-core, soft-core, window mall eye-candy, in a commercial, video or on the web, it’s ALL sin to Him and it can knock you off the path God wants you to be on.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27-28) The simple: One look can equal lust. The woman He’s talking about doesn’t have to be a live woman (or man) – she can be in a picture, in a commercial, or on your computer screen. If you’ve been there then you know the guilt and shame that comes with a serious encounter with lust. Lust is powerful—and dangerous.
Such enticements have been around since the first sin in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve took that first bite. Ever since all of mankind has been tempted to join in. The problem is that the first bite never satisfies the “hunger.” It’ll always leave you wanting more, and more, and more. And what may initially seem like an innocent bite can quickly turn into a harmful habit or a dark addiction.
Many people I’ve counseled who’re struggling with this, or even the ones who just slip up occasionally, didn’t initially go searching for naked pictures or whatever else turned them on. That stuff found them. At some point, it’ll find you too. It’s the reality of our culture. The question is, will you be prepared to handle it? (And, for us parents, are we prepared to talk about this with our kids and help them be prepared to defeat it?)
Know this – –
IT INFECTS YOUR MIND’S HARD DRIVE
The more you see it, the more you keep it. As you continue to download these thoughts and images into your mind’s hard drive, it will become extremely difficult to delete.
IT BLINDS YOU
The more you think it’s no big deal, the more your view of girls (or guys) will change. Eventually, you won’t be able to see girls (or guys) as God sees them. Instead, they’ll just be objects there to fulfill your desires.
IT DESTROYS RELATIONSHIPS
Lust will create a fantasy world in your mind that just can’t exist in the real world. It’s impossible. Those things are clearly aimed at satisfying your own selfish desires. In reality, relationships take two, but in your lust-driven fantasy, it’s all about you. The more time you spend in your alternate reality, the more you’ll destroy the basic character traits needed in any healthy relationship.
IT DESTROYS YOUR CHARACTER
Galatians 6:7-8 says, “A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction.” You’re really being fooled if you think you can casually dabble in this stuff and also live the life God would have you live.
Proverbs 4:23, 25-27 (NIV) says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life…Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.” Guarding your eyes and mind is a big responsibility. Whether we are talking about a commercial or a porn site, you have to be proactive.
Here are some suggestions that’ll help you win the struggle:
Choosing a life of purity is the first step. You’ve got to decide that you don’t want to live under the guilt that lust creates, and choose to get serious about defeating it. James 4:7-10 (MSG) says, “So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.“
PROTECT YOUR MIND’S EYE
The struggle with lust begins in your mind. Make a promise to yourself to look the other way when walking in a mall that has those storefront windows. Turn the channel when a commercial, video or show airs this stuff. Work not to look at anything that might send impure thoughts racing through your brain. I know…easier said than done! But, the goal must be to work to achieve this everyday.
KNOW WHAT YOU CAN’T DO
Different people have different things that flip that switch in their minds. Maybe using the Internet late at night when you are alone tempts you. Or it could be something a lot simpler, like watching a movie or thinking about a co-worker, classmate, or someone you really like. Only you know what gets you going, and only you know where to draw the line.
KNOW YOUR WAY OUT
Have a plan of action that you’ll use when you’re tempted. The key is to get your mind on something else.
I know you’re probably thinking, “Sure Jeffrey…I’m going to actually recite a verse while I’m thinking about…” It may sound ludicrous. But check out Psalm 119:9 (CEV): “Young people can live a clean life by obeying your word. I treasure your word above all else; it keeps me from sinning against you.” Find a Scripture that works for you, memorize it, and repeat it out loud whenever you feel tempted.
HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE
Job 31:1 (NIV) says, “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl.” Rather than making excuses like a lot of people do, choose to take action! One way to do this is to find a family member or friend you can talk to openly about your feelings, frustrations, temptations, and setbacks.
DON’T GIVE UP
Hebrews 12:1-2 (CEV) says, “So we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially the sin that just won’t let go. And we must be determined to run the race that is ahead of us. We must keep our eyes on Jesus, who leads us and makes our faith complete.” Be wise enough to realize this stuff is everywhere. And, none of it is innocent. Be determined not to let it trap you!
TAKE IT TO GOD
If you’ve become a little (or, a lot) numb to it all, confess and give this problem to God. Ask for forgiveness from God. Ask God to give you courage to apply these seven steps.Write out a contract with yourself that says you’ll stop doing what you’re doing. Keep the contract in a place where it’ll remind you of your commitment. Commit this contract to God.