Pornography is another significant threat to a person’s Christian witness and their walk with the Lord. It has caused people to lose their jobs, in some cases ruined their marriage and family relationships, and in cases of illegal pornography, imprisonment. Using pornography to lust is also one of the most difficult temptations to resist because unlike in previous years, where material would need to be obtained, the Internet has made the material is so easy to access. In previous years, one would need to actually go to a store to acquire the material. As well, since giving into the temptation involves us individually, we are never without ourselves. And we can also give in to this temptation in private, hidden from everyone. Everyone except from God that is. God knows everything and he knows our thoughts before we do.
The aspect of pornography that makes it such an offense to God is that it is the exact opposite of having a relationship with that person. It objectifies them. It degrades the people in the pictures by making them less than people and turning them into nothing more than an objects used to satisfy a selfish desire. Can we have any kind of relationship with a picture or video? No. As well, can you have a genuine Godly love for the person in the pictures or video, if you are only looking to satisfy your selfish desire for physical satisfaction?
Remember in the Relationships, Love, and Sin section, when I indicated that temptation is always that desire to choose our selfish desires over our concern for others, and sin is giving into that temptation to be selfish? Remember also that every woman you see in that picture or video is someone God has made in His image, and they are someone’s daughter, sister, or mother. Making it more personal, how would you feel if you found that your sister or mother was performing in adult videos?
And lastly, what is one thinking of when they are giving in to the temptation of lust? Isn't it the imagining of a physical relationship with the person in the picture or video? If we are married, this is adultery. And if we are single, this is fornication. Both are sins. I would also add that if you are married and treating your spouse as a way for you to achieve physical satisfaction, you are treating them as an object and not a person. You should be clear as to God's perspective on our viewing our spouse like this, that we are not loving them in such a way that we consider them above ourselves.
If you have not yet read the sections on Temptation and Relationships, Love, and Sin, I encourage you to do so. You will realize the issues with pornography. The root of sin is the temptation to be selfish, in that we think of ourselves and our desires above others. When we think of ourselves above others, we damage relationships, which is the greatest offense to God.
Did you realize that sex sins are sins against our own bodies?
Fornication Sinning Against Your Own Body
God commands that we glorify Him in our bodies. Can we glorify God at the same time we indulge selfish sexual sin?
1 Corinthians 6:20 “For you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body”.
When we think of loving God, doesn't that then mean that we consider Him and his wishes above our own? And aren't God’s wishes only for our best? He shows this through his warnings about our actions and the consequences of our actions.
1 Peter 5:8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour.
Pornography used to be an issue primarily for men, however due to the effective message of our culture, that women should “enjoy” this too, this is a growing issue for women as well. If you are struggling with this issue, please use the information at these links, and talk to someone to help you gain victory in this area.
Fast Facts on Pornography
What’s The Big Deal With Porn?
So what's so bad about pornography?
Jefferson Bethke: Porn and Technology
What Porn-ified Culture Does to Marriage
The Impact of Pornography on Women
What does the Bible say?
(Every Young Man’s Battle)
(also click the Links category at the right)
Great articles and audio
Overcoming Sexual Lust
How To Deal WIth Lustful Thoughts - Paul Washer
A Battle Plan Against Pornography
Sermons on Overcoming Pornography
John Piper: The Key to Escaping Porn
How to Guard Your Eyes From Pornography and Nudity
Lies Young Women Believe
Resources for the Integrity
How to Fight Addiction in a Pornographic Culture
5 Steps to Breaking Free from Porn
This Is Your Brain on Porn: Virtual Sex and Brain Chemistry
This is taken from the book: Wired for Intimacy: How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brain . You can view a Google book preview of this and other books on the effects of pornography and living porn free at this link:
Sites For Those Who Believe They Have a Problem
I had previously titled this section Sites For Those Addicted To Porn, but after a Men’s Conference on Purity at our church this past weekend, I realized that I needed to revise the title.
The speaker reminded us that it is incorrect for us to call this problem an addiction, because to call it an addiction gives the impression that we really can’t control it. This feeling of a lack of control can cause some to no longer fight against it and instead resign themselves to the idea that there is nothing they can do about it and give in to it. He illustrated this by using the example of an ISIS terrorist having broken into your house. He asked,
“If this terrorist had a knife to the throat of one of your loved ones threatening to kill them if you clicked a porn link, would you click it?”
Of course the answer is “No”.
What the speaker was illustrating is that we have greater self-control then we realize and that we take responsibility for. It is human nature to take the easy way out. Doing this we can feel better about ourselves not making any effort, because we’re convinced that anything we do won’t have any effect. As we see with the ISIS illustration, this is wrong.
John Piper: The Key to Escaping Porn
In the above video, John Piper indicates that trying to stop using porn by trying to stop using porn will never work long term. Simply trying to will ourselves to give up giving into a temptation will work for a short while, but it is not going to be a strong enough reason to give this desire up completely.
If you think about a persistent temptation, it is something that pulls at our heart’s affections. It affects our emotions, and as such, this type of temptation is difficult to combat using only logic and reasoning. What is necessary is the replacement of this affection with a new stronger affection. This quote by John Piper communicates this very effectively,
"God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him."
The classic sermon about this idea of replacement is Thomas Chalmer’s sermon
"The Expulsive Power of a New Affection” .
The link below is the printed original sermon from 1901. The language used is from that time, is somewhat challenging, and may be distracting from the message. A much shorter and updated message is the video in the second link
The Expulsive Power Of A New Affection
The Expulsive Power Of A New Affection
The Expulsive Power Of A New Affection
This is a longer more explanatory sermon based upon Thomas Chalmer’s original sermon.
As we realize that this temptation to lust is not a true addiction, what is true is that this will be a temptation most will have to fight against their entire lives. As indicated in the temptation section, Satan doesn't take vacations and has had thousands of years to perfect his methods to ensnare us. Considering this realization, temptations are not something that we only need to deal with periodically, like a work schedule. Temptations, particularly in this area need to be resisted every time they appear. This is due to how significantly pornography affects our Christian walk. Since Satan is relentless in his efforts, our efforts to resist him must be relentless.
John Piper effectively illustrates the greatest loss we can experience giving into the temptation to lust. Here is his quote,
"The beauties of Christ can be lost forever by the destructive habit of lust. The beauties of Christ can be enjoyed forever by the life giving habit of a pure heart."
Now that I have given you a kind of bad news, let me now give you some good news. We all know that when you have the right tools, any job is easier. Resisting Satan’s temptations is no different. For the last session of the men’s purity conference, the speaker and a panel of pastors and elders answered questions from the attendees. The first question the panel was asked was about the tools they have found helpful in resisting the temptation to lust. The following are tools the speaker and pastors mention they use to fight this temptation. Most of these tools will help in resisting most other temptations as well.
James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
One things to consider about tools though. Tools are only useful if they are actually used. A great quotes by Andy Stanly is,
“Path, not intent, determines destination.”
We can have all the good intentions we want, but if we never act on them or do anything to put our intentions into action, they are nothing more than intentions. It is only when we have a path or a direction combined with action, that we make progress. And similar, but I wasn’t able to find an author reference for them,
"Boys make excuses, Men make plans."
"Men with good intentions make promises.
Men with good character keep them."
"Don't make excuses for why you can't get it done.
Focus on all the reasons why you must make it happen."
I’ll list first the tool which all of the panelists indicated as one of the most important. That tool is having an Accountability Partner. This is a person you partner with to keep you accountable in your goal of resisting a temptation, and being open with them in both your successes and failures in resisting those temptations. As you can imagine, knowing that you will have to confess to another person your failure is very motivational in not giving in to a temptation.
What is an Accountability Partner?
Why an Accountibility Partner Is Vital to Spiritual Growth
Christian Accountability Partner: A Beginner’s Guide
10 Steps to Finding a Great Accountability Partner
Here are other Tools the panel recommended. If you are single, the tools referencing a spouse won’t yet apply.However, you could instead use your family in place of a wife.
1 - Worship Music - Bible Memorization - Psalm 13, especially verses 5 and 6.
v5. But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
v6. I will sing to the Lord,
because He has dealt bountifully with me.
Doesn't this sound like the message of The Expulsive Power of a New Affection?
2 - Know the path that leads to you giving in to the temptation.
If we pay attention, we will see patterns in all of the temptations we fail to resist. There are markers on each path to that failed temptation. Remember that progression: Thought – Action – Habit - Destiny? If when we recognize those thoughts that lead to the temptations we have fallen for, and then we change our thoughts, we will then change our actions and develop new habits leading to a changed destiny.
3 - Try to eliminate times of Idleness
Like King David in the Old Testament and idleness leading him to sin with Bathsheba, we need to be vigilant with this pathway to temptation.
Here are a few good quotes,
"If you are idle, be not solitary. If you are solitary, be not idle"
"Satan finds mischief for idle hands to do." Warren Weirsby
4 - Have pictures of the following important concerns when tempted:
My grieving Savior, My wife and/or family to whom I’m committed
My children who watch me
Friends I would let down
Picture of crime scene tape – to guard my heart from contamination
Pictures of these in my work place also.
5 - Determine to give up one thing – looking at other women in an objective way.
Specifically, develop the habit of only looking at a woman’s face; her eyes, her smile, etc. You can develop this habit with advertisements, movies, and pictures too.
6 - Make and keep a list of consequences of giving into the temptation. Ex. Consequences to our family and our church
7 - Remembering that God is there seeing us and us not wanting to shame him.
8 - Having a devotional to refocus our thoughts
Memorize Scripture – One passage in particular is Psalm 19:9-11
9 - The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules[a] of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
9 - Prayer – personal and with my wife (or family).
10 - Talk with my sons and stay accountable
11 - Be open and transparent
12 - Control Internet access on your devices:
Place computer in visible area – not your bedroom
Provide access to your devices by your parents/spouse at any time
Books Recommended by the Panel:
Handbook of Prayer – Ken Boa
Yawning at Tigers - Drew Nathan Dyck
The Expulsive Power of A New Affection
Anything by J.C. Ryle
Can the Effects of Porn be Reversed?
www.chaoscompass.org/how-to-use.html (phone app)
Toxic Porn, Toxic Sex: A Real Look at Pornography
Also check Jay Wegter’s message above Every Man’s Battle
Brain Chemicals and Porn Addiction:
Science Shows How Pornography Harms Us
Every Young Man's Battle: Stategies for Victory in the Real World of Sexual Temptation
Previews of other books in this category:
Temptations Men Face – Tom Eisenman –Book Preview
Previews of other books in this category
Finally Free - Heath Lambert – Book Preview
But Isn’t Pornography Just a Form of Art?
One of the arguments I’ve heard against the criticism of pornography is that it is merely art. That even the great artists of history, like Michelangelo, used the nude form in some of their art. When I first heard this justification, I was a little at a loss as to identifying the specific reasons pornography wasn't art. If you have wondered too I discovered the answer.
Those looking to use this justification ignore a simple realization. The essential difference between art and pornography is the intent and motivation of the person creating the work. Ravi Zacharias indicates in the excellent video at the YouTube link below that when Michelangelo was asked by his teacher why he used the nude form of the human in his art, Michelangelo responded,
“I want to see man as God sees man”
Michelangelo used the nude form to reveal the beauty of the human form and bring glory to God, the creator of man.
What is the motivation behind the creation of pornography? It is solely for the purpose of generating sexual lust in the viewer. In contrast to the motivation of Michelangelo, it is to conceal the beauty of God’s design, and make the person in the pornographic work nothing more than an object to achieve the sexual gratification of the viewer.
The reality of this difference is confirmed by a quote of Ravi Zacharias in the same video below. Ravi says,
"I don't know anyone whom I have met whose marriage broke up because he went to see museums and art galleries quite often. But I do know a lot of people whose marriages have collapsed because of the erotic escapes into a mindset that no one human being can ultimately satisfy."
Art vs. Pornography: What’s the Difference?
Porn and Nude Art: What's the Difference?
Porn and Art Defined
Night One: Uppsala University Open Forum with Ravi Zacharias and Michael Ramsden (Part 1)