Someone once said that the human heart is a sin-making factory.  We are constantly thinking of new ways to express greater sin. This seems to be the case with human sexuality.  Sin simply means "missing the mark."  It's like shooting an arrow at the bullseye and missing it.

God's design for human sexuality is its expression solely within a permanent marriage between a man and a woman.  However, over centuries, the wicked, deceitful human heart manufactures new ways to sin sexually.  Whether it's rape, incest, bestiality, adultery, pre-marital sex, cohabitation, orgies, porno (and the list could go on and on), humans have taken this beautiful gift from God and continually seek new, broader ways to sin.

Such is the case with the enormously successful novel, 50 Shades of Gray.  Not only is it a book that has sold into the millions, read mostly by women, but it'll soon be on the big screen at a theater near you.

One of the major themes in the book (and I presume the movie) is sadism and masochism. By definition, the sadist enjoys giving pain, and the masochist enjoys receiving it in the sexual encounter.  Which begs this question: Why would any human being enjoy giving and receiving humiliation and pain, especially with sex?  Why would anyone substitute pain for love (what God intended in the sexual encounter)?

Taken to its extreme, sadism and masochism must lead to rape or even murder.  Now sex is wickedly twisted to bring domination, destruction, humiliation, pain, misery and perhaps even death.

It can only be explained by the sinful, distorted human heart, needing new thrills, pushed to the extreme, overseen and motivated by the demonic.

Apparently, in the Bible, when sin is left unchecked, there is within all of us the potential to dehumanize, manipulate and cause pain.  This reality should humble us all to go to the cross where health and wholeness can be given and restored.

For there, at the cross, we learn:

1. The ability to see God daily is in the purity of heart.  Jesus wants that purity of heart in us all (Matthew 5:8--"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God").

2. Purity of heart can be found in the forgiveness of Jesus on the cross. "If you confess your sins, he is faithful and just and forgives you of all unrighteousness"--I John 1:9).

3. Through the cross, we can have the infused power and presence of Jesus in me, daily giving us his strength to crucify anything that moves us toward death and destruction ("I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength"--Philippians 4:13).

4. That power in us from Jesus allows us to stop sin from growing into anything more hideous ("If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away"--Matthew 5:29).

Let all of us who seek to follow God's will in Christ memorize Philippians 4:8: "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."

After all, we are what we think!  Therefore, think only God's thoughts.  Renew your mind.  Have the mind of Christ.  Seek God's purity.

You shall then see him every day for the rest of your lives.

And you won't read or go see 50 Shades of Gray.  There will be no desire to do so.

If you like to read the insights from the daily Bible reading in Mark, please click here.