Blogging the Confessions: Puberty and Passions

Confessions II.i(1) – II.ii(4)

Puberty is a confusing and hectic time in an adolescent’s life. I was no different and Augustine was no different. Growth spurts, the influx of hormones, an acute awareness of the opposite sex creates a trifecta of confusion. To make matters worse, the power of indwelling sin makes this time more than a confusing time. Usually, in the present day, most men and women begin an “exploration” of sexuality. Surveys are showing that young boys are exposed to pornography at an earlier age. I believe that it is now averaging at age 12. Additionally, more and more women are developing addictions to pornography. Sexual sin is a pandemic in our culture as it has been in every culture.

Considering his days of adolescence Augustine writes, “the bubbling impulses of puberty befogged and obscured my heart so that it could not see the difference between love’s serenity and lust’s darkness” (Chadwick, ed. 24). I like the imagery Augustine uses in this section. Explaining lust as a “bubbling impulse” and “fog”. I picture a simmering pot that quickly becomes a rolling boil. In Matthew 5:28 Jesus teaches us that adultery begins with the lust of the heart. It is an inward, bubbling passion. Notice, that it also brings confusion. Not only does it slowly take dominion over the person, but it brings confusion with it. To this day men and women confuse lust for love. Sexual promiscuity is often termed “making love”. The modern man cannot understand a romantic relationship devoid of sexual passion.

Augustine writes further that “sensual folly assumed domination over me, and I gave myself totally to it in acts allowed by shameful humanity but under your laws illicit” (26). The bubblings and confusion quickly lead to a domination. It is no surprise that sexual sin is always followed by addiction. The two go hand in hand. Where there is sexual sin there is addiction. Any man or woman who has experienced sexual assault or been inprisoned by sexual addiction or perversion can attest to the overwhelming feeling of domination. Sexual addiction and sin is a ruthless slave master keeping men and women under his destruction thumb. He tears apart families, destroys careers; destruction follows in his wake. Only by the power of God – the same power that raised Christ from the dead – can a man or woman be set free from such an addiction. Only by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit can a man or woman stand up under temptation. The gospel is the only remedy and the single hope of anyone in the chains of sexual addiction and bondage.

Let Christ redeem your sin. The grace of Christ is greater that the depth of our sin. The power of God can restore a fractured and broken sexuality. Look to the cross and the empty tomb, plead with him in prayer and endeavor to fight sin by the power of God.

Posted in Book Reviews, Confessions, Culture, Theology

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