Greenleaf, Devon Franklin & Kevin Hart: What They Teach Us About Sexual Discipline

My favorite show these days is Greenleaf. As someone who lives, breathes, and eats all things church related, this show is quite intriguing to me. Greenleaf follows the story of the Greenleaf family as they maneuver through the difficulties of directing the African American megachurch founded by their father James Greenleaf, known throughout the show as Bishop. Every topic that exists in the church and world today is brought up for the viewer’s consideration. Viewers watch as they wrestle with issues like homosexuality, abuse, justice, single parenthood, infidelity and church politics.

But what I’ve been reflecting on after the season finale is this idea of sexual discipline, or the lack thereof within show. None of the adults in this show have discipline in their sexuality.

In the first season Grace Greenleaf slept with the head security guard, and currently has an ongoing relationship with her boyfriend (kinda) Darius Nash, played by Rick Fox.

Charity Greenleaf, after being left by her husband who revealed that he was struggling with homosexual desires, is now sleeping with her producer, Jabari. 

Jacob Greenleaf gave into his desires to sleep with Bishop’s secretary and didn’t care one bit when his wife Kerissa found out about it.

Kerissa isn’t innocent either. Not only did she accept Jacob’s indiscretions, but she was willing to sleep with an executive so that Jacob could get a TV deal. (Jacob saved her from that only because he didn’t want another man touching his wife. IRONY)

Tired yet? We’re not done.

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Uncle Mac is a serial child molester.

Lady Mae had a past affair with her husband’s best friend.

And Bishop, yes the Bishop, we find out at the end of Season 2, cheated on Lady Mae with her sister! 

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Sexual discipline in this show is all but lost.

I’ve heard the idea from a few friends that this show parades the negative aspects of church and leaves all the positive sides out. This show definitely has an agenda and a particular viewpoint concerning the black church but if there is one thing this show has correct is that most Christians lack the ability to be sexually disciplined. For all the preaching that we Christians do against sexual sin in the world, there’s plenty of fault to be found in us.

When high speed internet allows us to access as much porn as we can consume; when married people are hopping over the fence cause the grass looks greener on the other side; and when the phrase “Wait For Marriage”  makes single folks itch like they’re having an allergic reaction, the phrase ‘sexual discipline’ is a foreign idea.

Talking about the wait, let’s call DeVon Franklin to the front of the congregation for a moment.

DeVon’s story is nothing short of inspiring. Every time he comes to speak at my church, Miracle City,  I leave inspired to trust God more and walk in the purpose and calling over my life. Check out his sermons on his YouTube. But funny enough the most inspiring aspect of DeVon Franklin is not that he works in Hollywood. It’s not that he works out everyday and posts it online as a reminder to me that I skipped the gym for the 2230th day in a row. The most inspiring thing to me about DeVon Franklin is his sexual integrity and discipline. Him and his wife (Meagan Good) wrote a book about it, titled it “The Wait” and it turned into a New York Times Bestseller. As he was in New York City promoting his new book, The Hollywood Commandments, he stopped by the Breakfast Club with Charlamagne tha God, DJ Envy and Angela Yee. Everyone knows that when you sit in that chair between Charlamagne tha God and Angela Yee that NOTHING is off limits. And one question that came from Charlamagne and Envy was DeVon’s ability to wait.

You find the interview here. Watch until Minute 10:26.

I got a sense listening to the interview that they were more interested in hearing about his commitment to be celibate than hearing which commandments they needed in order to succeed in the workplace. Their disbelief and shock when DeVon said he was celibate for 10 years before marrying Meagan Good (every black boys crush growing up) reveals the status of our society today.  

Nobody’s waiting! Not in the age of Tinder and DM Slides. But what DeVon said next was sobering for me:

“At the end of my life if God said to me ‘Here’s what I wanted to do in your life, but because you had no discipline in that area, here’s all I could do in your life, would all the woman, that I would have exchanged my fully destiny for had been worth it? And for me personally I said no.”

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As I listened to DeVon, I began to think about my own life. I think for a lot us there are areas in our life where we need to be more disciplined and for many of us our sexual integrity and sex life is one of those areas.

And this is why I believe God is so adamant about sexual purity. Not because God doesn’t want us to have fun. But God understands that the gift of sex (which He created, not Trey Songz) is like fire. Fire is enjoyable, pleasurable and useful when in the right context. In the fireplace it keeps us warm. Outside the fireplace it burns down the house. This is a topic that God has been challenging me on for a while now. Here are my 2 cents on why we ought to focus on our sexual integrity.

1. You’re Hurting Yourself

When writing to a church that was wild sexually in first century Corinth wrote these words “Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body.”

Paul makes it clear that sexual sin, even though it might be pleasurable in the moment, will ultimately hurt you in the long run. DeVon in this interview, and in many sermons that he’s preached, makes it clear that his purpose and his sexuality were interconnected. He believes that God wants to do great things in his life that require him to be a man of integrity and character. And unlike DeVon, our lack of discipline in this area of our lives may be the reason why we don’t realize the dreams we’re praying about.

Your lack of discipline can keep you from your destiny. 

Devon was praying to have his own film production company. But how long do you think that would last if he couldn’t control himself around beautiful actresses and models? It wouldn’t last long at all! Could it be that the reason many of us are not fulfilling our God ordained purpose in life is because we have not surrendered our sex life to Him? Could it be that the reason many of us are single and struggling is because of this very area? Think about it, why would God send you “the one that would complete you” when you’re still broken in such an important area? DeVon had to be celibate for 10 years before he married Meagan Good. According to DeVon, he wasn’t even checking for Meagan, but praise the Lord, she was checking for him. What he didn’t know was that she was also practicing celibacy. Her desire to wait until marriage coincided with DeVon’s desire to wait as well. They went on a few dates and a year later they’re married and everyone’s #RelationshipGoals. Now imagine, the alternative story line –  What would have happened if one of them didn’t want to wait and practice sexual discipline? They very well might have missed out on each other.

DeVon very well might not have dated her if she wasn’t waiting. And she probably wouldn’t be having “He’s Your Husband” visions from God if she wasn’t waiting. Their ability to be sexually disciplined and wait until marriage to have sex was the difference between an average relationship doomed for failure and a Godly relationship. By waiting and practicing celibacy they protected themselves from great pain, and propelled themselves towards great joy.

2. You’re Hurting Others

When Kevin Hart came out with his Instagram apology video, I was confused. Come to find out that he cheated on his pregnant wife. What is crazy is that the person he had the affair with is allegedly extorting him for more than 10 million dollars.

 Fame and money cannot protect you from the pain caused by a lack of sexual discipline.

In his apology video he realized that not only was he hurting himself: his brand, his finances,  and potentially his image, but his actions also hurt his children and the woman he loves – his current wife Eniko Parrish. This is what I think a lot of us miss. Living a sexually undisciplined life does not only affect you. It affects everyone around you. For some of you it’s affecting your family. I’ve seen classmates walk around in shame because of the affairs their parents had. I’ve seen fathers lament the amount of time they could have spent with their families but instead were busy watching porn on the computer or out for a late night rendezvous.  For some of you your sexual indiscretions have and will affect your relationship with your spouse. For my Greenleaf fans, your lack of discipline could result in your child choosing a spouse to fill the void that you created (See Jacob Greenleaf). Left unchecked, your sex life has the ability to hurt everyone around you.

DeVon noticed this truth as well. In his interview, he  recognized the damage that the men in his family who were undisciplined sexually had on their wives and family.  He promised himself that his story was going to be different.

There are a lot of dreams God has placed on my heart. Some things that are too big for me to even type or speak without feeling dumb or unqualified. But I know that when I get to the end of my life, I don’t want it said that I traded in my purpose, my destiny, my future for sex.

What do you need to start doing today to become sexually disciplined? What area in your life is keeping you from accomplishing God’s plan for your life?

 

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3 Comments

  1. 1. You have an extreme gift of being able to captivate the reader and keeping their attention, I’m glad to see that you’re putting it to good use.

    & 2. This is a very insightful, tedious, and delicate read. It really caused me to think about discipline, in all aspects, in a more personable way. Thank you brother, looking forward to the next one. Be blessed

    Like

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