It’s a really fundamental principle in Christianity that what you set your eyes and mind and focus on fills you, meaning that your inner life is guided by what you decide to feed it. If you feed your soul the Bible, what comes out is the Bible, if you feed your soul a romantic chick flick, what comes out is a romantic chick flick, etcetera.
So there’s a particularly potent form of sin walking around these days that I want to take some time to point out because this one really seems pretty deadly to me, if I’m being honest. It’s the dating simulation game. Right? You seen those?
These are video games where the player is presented with a woman or man, and their goal is to woo this person by accomplishing certain tasks. In some games at the end you get to see them having sex, in other games it’s just a little progress bar that declares you ‘married’, in other games there are pictures of the person you’re pursuing that get racier and racier as you progress through the stages of affection with the target.
Here’s the primary issue: If you teach yourself that relationships are about doing rather than delighting, you will never delight in God.
I’ll say that another way, and I’ll apply it more directly to this type of game: These games teach that sex is the end of the road for your romantic relationships, right? There’s no real interaction going on here, even if all the tasks say that you’re quote-unquote ‘interacting’, no you’re not. You’re not playing the game to ‘interact.’ You’re playing the game to reach the final level where you get to sleep with the other person. Therefore sex is the goal, and with the sex, you get the sense of achievement from winning the prize and pursuing the target and hunting the prey, you know what I mean?
But your relationships in real life are not actually about these things at all. If you do nice things for your wife just so she’ll sleep with you, you’re using her for the sex. It’s manipulation. That is not delight in her--that’s you worshipping yourself and getting what you want. Even when you’re married, that’s a sin against your wife.
This doing-focused, ‘What have you done for me lately?’ mindset is the most worldly way to look at your relationships. If you’re already married (or, if you’re not, when you are one day if you decide to marry), you’ll find that good marriages don’t rest on that basis. It’s not about doing in a healthy marriage. It’s about delighting in the presence of the other person, celebrating them because they’re with you and for you, and the two of you are one. Marriage is supposed to resemble God’s relationship with His Bride in that way.
The end of these games, where their teaching will lead you, is emptiness, loneliness, and emotional isolation. That’s how it feels when you use other people to get what you want. You don’t love them, and they don’t love you, because they know what you’re doing on some level. The Bible says the sins of some people are obvious, going before them to judgement, and the sins of others are behind them, more hidden. But the sins of all are known to God, and the vast majority of your sins are known to those around you. You can’t use people every day without them figuring you out.
And another, more obvious way that these games lead you astray is in the masturbation that comes when you look at beautiful women or men all day. I’ll just say this bluntly: Lusting after a woman or man in your heart is adultery. Marriage gives you your spouse--that’s it. You get your one man or woman there, as you get your one God from the Bible. Lusting after any other person, any person at all if you aren’t married, is adultery.
Masturbation is going to dull you to real sex. Your body gets used to masturbation, so used to it that when the real thing comes along, you’re just numb to it. It’s not what your body wants anymore--your body doesn’t want your spouse, it wants to masturbate. And let me ask you: How are you going to satisfy your wife or husband and keep their eyes on you and keep their desire for you, if you don’t desire them? They’re gonna know in a heartbeat that you’re just in bed to fulfill your duty and your real desire is in something else. That’s horrible.
It’s actually a really fitting parable for how sin takes us over. It steals our delight away from the true fountain of joy, and it programs us and commands us to seek rest and peace in sin. Isn’t that what’s happening here, folks? When you’re tempted to masturbate, don’t you just want rest, and comfort, and peace in your heart? Isn’t that the real goal?
Beg God for holiness. Beg God to love Him more than anything else in your life. Fill your eyes with the Bible in times of temptation, lean on God with all your might to resist sin. Your desire must stay on God if you want to enter Heaven--there is a holiness without which no one will see the Lord. Don’t doubt for a moment that this is an eternal issue, and a threat to your eternity in Heaven. If you want Jesus to save you from your sins, you must repent and turn from them--if you don’t, no sacrifice remains.
May the love of God fill you, may you seek nothing but His face, may you delight in Him for all eternity.