Love vs. Lust, Virtue vs. Vice, and Fifty Shades of Grey: It’s a Black and White Issue
There’s been a lot of talk lately surrounding the new movie release, Fifty Shades of Grey. And while I’ve never read the book or seen the movie (nor do I plan to), I’d like to address some of the issues revolving around it-because they are not grey at all. They are black and white. I’m not here to talk about the movie, because I don’t believe the movie is the problem. The movie is simply an outgrowth of a much deeper issue in society: the love of evil, and the condemnation of good.
Satan loves to muddy the waters of clear biblical truth in creating grey areas.
Grey areas allow for ambiguity where strict biblical principles were once clearly defined. When people are no longer able to discern truth, deception is inevitable.
The more grey a biblical or morally relevant issue becomes, the less people question it, and the more they are willing to embrace it. This is often a slow progression. Things graduate much like the Grey Scale, hence the title of the book/movie. It slowly gets darker and darker, and before you know it you’re in a complete blackout.
Grey areas are dangerous. Their ambiguity causes people to begin to vacillate with indecision, being unable to recognize between good and evil; right and wrong; truth and deception.
It’s time to bring back clarity.
Back to Black and White
I studied art all my life. My chosen medium was graphite. I was a realist, and I excelled in drawing human portraits. As an artist who relied upon the Grey Scale, I understand its necessity. The Grey Scale is theoretically infinite. The progression from pure white to solid black is something that takes time, and the enemy is extraordinarily patient, being well able to defile us when we allow a progressive mixing of lies with truth. It may seem harmless, that little dab of black into the pure white, but given enough time we eventually graduate to mature sin that brings death and destruction.
White can have an appearance of being white, while actually being grey, until it is proven by the Grey Scale.
I want to caution you against the grey, regardless the shade. These are black and white issues that God has articulated for us clearly in His word.
With God, there is no Grey Scale.
An Immoral Society
What we are witnessing here is the true litmus test for an immoral society. According to Wikipedia, the book alone has sold over 100 million copies and has been translated into 30 languages. The film had a 40 million dollar budget and has grossed over 415 million since its release just two weeks ago.
So what draws people to this kind of story?
The themes of this story are centered in lust and vice, which have drawn the masses. And aside from the obvious reasons such as mere curiosity, there is more telling. We now live in a society entertained by crime and violence, and when it’s sugar-coated with sex it becomes all the more appealing.
This story capitalizes on the innate human desire within each of us to belong to someone, and to be able to call someone our very own, yet it does so in perverse manner. Such an idea or concept began with our Creator, and is satisfied in a holy covenant of marriage. Yet, Satan being who he is, is ever ready to present other options that twist, defile, and distort the beautiful things God created for our good.
God’s designed a sacred marriage covenant based on love, trust, honor and respect wherein there is unity and oneness between a husband and wife. However, the story is steeped in control and domination of the most elaborate and repulsive kind: a sadomasochistic relationship of subordination and submission – the kind that is downright scary and gross.
The greatest mockery is the name of the lead character, Christian Grey, who is an epitome of Satan himself.
Society is on a fast and furious amoral descent. It’s decline is accelerating and rapid, and the proverbial Grey Scale is getting darker. People are now embracing freely what used to turn heads and illicit staunch opposition. The movie, which was initially given an “NC-17” rating (which is just below “X”), has been demoted to an “R” rating, which means our vulnerable youth at the ripe age of sexual maturity, are a prime target audience. If our young men and women believe this is what it’s all about before they even get out of high school, I shudder to think what is to become of this next generation. John Wesley said:
What one generation tolerates, the next generation will embrace.
What are we tolerating? What are we embracing?
Where are you on the Grey Scale?
Love vs. Lust
God is love. It’s not something He does – it’s who He is. God has shown us His love in the sacrificial life and death of His only Son, Jesus Christ. That was the ultimate display of God’s love for us. He gave everything.
Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren (1 John 3:16, KJV).
Love will always do what is best for the other person.
Even when it requires our sacrifice to achieve it.
Love is inherently unselfish. Love is sacrificial in nature. When you love someone you are motivated to give, serve, protect, and nourish that individual. This is what Jesus called laying down your life for your brethren. Love is not motivated by self-interest. It’s only motivation is the well-being of others. Love will always set at liberty the one upon whom it is bestowed. Control, domination, manipulation and abuse are contrary to love in every way.
Lust, conversely, is rooted in SELF. It will go to great lengths to obtain what it wants to satisfy its own desire – even at the expense of others. Lust is motivated by self-gratification and is often never satiated once that gratification is obtained. It’s a rabid monster that incessantly seeks more.
Lust operates by seduction. Seduction plays upon the freewill and desire of another with the hope that they will yield. That is the power of seduction that lust operates in: it always beckons for “more”, until the one being seduced is caught in a vice that will never relinquish control. It is no surprise then that vices such as pornography, gambling, binge eating, and the like are so destructive. Regardless of the vice, lust always begins with seduction (otherwise known as temptation).
But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning (James 14-17, KJV).
Seduction is manipulative.
It plays upon the freewill and desire of others in an attempt to cause them to yield for self-serving purposes.
God cannot tempt or be tempted (see James 1:13). God freely gives what is good. Therefore, love has no need to seduce. Love gives freely with no thought of return, and that for the benefit of the one being loved. This is why love is the law of liberty (see James 1:25 and 2:12). It will always set free.
If anything is binding you, regardless of what or who it is, you can know with all certainty that it is NOT from God. I want to encourage you to do all you can to get out and get free.
Virtue vs. Vice
God places high esteem on virtue and it’s spoken of frequently in the bible. But what does it mean? It’s not a word often used, especially in secular circles. So what is virtue, really? Do we even know? Just in case you’re wondering, let’s define it:
The biblical definition of virtue, according to Thayer is found in two Greek words: dunamis and arete.
Dunamis is commonly associated with Christ when His miraculous power or “virtue” was released to the people. Dunamis, according to Thayer means “strength, power, ability” and is inclusive of inherent powers, such as those Christ displayed. It includes, “moral power and excellence of soul” and is even associated with military type forces in “power consisting in or resting upon armies, forces, hosts”. Dunamis is most often associated with the miraculous which is accompanied by force, abundance, strength and might.
Arete is the word used to describe the virtue associated with the Church and the kind of life and behavior we are to display. Arete, according to Thayer means “a virtuous course of thought, feeling and action” and “any particular moral excellence, as modesty or purity”.
The Body of Christ is called and empowered to walk in BOTH:
The miraculous power of Jesus Christ AND moral excellence.
In summation it would be accurate to describe biblical virtue as the totality of moral excellence or righteousness that displays the inherent power of God.
When we fail to walk in virtue, by default we give way to vice. Vices are those things that bind us, creating darkness, destruction and even death. Vices in this world are as varied as the day is long. They could be anything from a cigarette to street drugs. However, they are often much more elusive and hidden. The vices that strangle the life out its victims are often undetected. They are private sins that silently rob and kill us.
Vices operate through domination, control, manipulation and abuse – often with the consent of their victims, which creates terms of mutual agreement that are binding.
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God… Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? (Romans 6:11-13 & 16, KJV)
If freedom is going to be found, that mutual agreement must be broken through repentance and forgiveness. That is the first step to deliverance. Then the healing can begin.
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth (Revelation 3:15-16, KJV).
When we choose to compromise, we participate in the Gray Scale. We muddy the waters. What is holy becomes defiled. What is truth becomes deception. What is sanctified becomes desecrated. And although it may be imperceptible to the human eye, when held against the Grey Scale it’s revealed for what it is.
God has a zero tolerance policy for any shade of grey on black and white issues.
I want to encourage every one who reads this post to take a look at where you are on the Grey Scale and consider what you are going to tolerate and even embrace – not only for yourself but for others.
The next generation is watching.
Cheers & Shalom,