While I don’t mean to belabor the subject, but The Lord just keeps this stuff coming across my email. Here is a link to an e-book “The Hardcore Truth” that Donny Pauling, a guy who used to make porn movies wrote with Matt Fradd. It is available through Covenant Eyes. It is an eye-opener about the behind the scenes of the porn industry. Take a look and then try to justify that porn isn’t painful.
Here is a great article from Nicholas Black of Harvest USA. While it is a bit long it is well worth the read! Harvest USA is a ministry committed to offering hope in Jesus to men and women struggling with sexual brokenness and sin.
What about the people in the pictures/movies/videos that you look at. What about the girls, women, boys, men? Did you ever stop and think that they are someone’s sister, daughter, mother, son, brother, father? Do you think they want to be doing what they are doing? Did you ever think of the person that you are lusting over as a creation of God?
The sex trafficking trade places many of these individuals into this trade. They are slaves. They are kept in bondage through drugs and abuse both physical and mental. Look into sites such as WAR International, Free to Flourish, XXXchurch.com and others to see how these individuals are enslaved to this lifestyle with no hope of getting out.
So, while you are satisfying your lust and getting your jollies off because of the image on the screen, on the video, or in the magazine, you are helping to keep these poor individuals in slavery. Think about that the next time you click on your favorite sex site.
Satan, and the sex trade industry, wants us to believe that Porn is this detached environment that doesn’t hurt anyone. That is not true. We are called to care for the widows and orphans (James 1:27). Buying porn feeds this industry directly, but even watching porn on free sites keeps this industry going.
It is really easy to believe this lie of Satan’s. It is easy to think of pornography as something that is just out there and independent of the relationships around us. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Think about it. If porn was so innocuous, then why do we not look at it in public? It’s not just Christian men that watch porn in secret. I have a friend who is a parole officer and most of his parolees do not claim any religious affiliation. Based on stories my friend shares, even his parolees watch porn in secret. That tells me that as humans (created by God whether we want to admit that or not) we know that looking at porn is wrong; that there is something bad about it.
Porn builds a wall in our relationships. How many times have you gone and told your wife, your best friend, your children, your co-worker about the porn you looked at last night on the computer? I’d guess most of us would say, “uh, never.” So as porn gets its claws into us, it pulls us away from relationships and we spend more and more time looking at, or thinking about IT, and not those around us that we a supposed to be loving and caring for.
This is just the beginning on the lie of Porn doesn’t hurt anyone.
1 Cor 10:13 promises us a way of escape from our temptations. But how many times have we ended up in a mess after our pursuit of sin and wondered where was the exit ramp? Where was the way of escape?
If we are going to break the cycle of ‘falling into sin’ then we need to do things differently. If we keep doing the same thing, and expect different results it isn’t going to happen; expecting change this way is insane. So we need to build a plan and implement that plan so we don’t keep walking down the same paths of destruction (Prov 4:14-15, Prov 7:6-9).
We need to evaluate what triggers us and how we respond. By trigger, I mean, what gets you thinking about sex? What gets your mind going over those images, or remembering those encounters? How do you respond to those triggers? What do you do? Where do you go? What lies do you start formulating so you can cover your tracks?
As we evaluate this, we can usually see a pattern. When that pattern becomes apparent, then we know what we need to change. One key area for me was I had to change my habits in hotel rooms when I traveled. I had developed a pattern that I did when I got into my hotel room that got me pursuing my lust. I realized that I needed to act differently so I wouldn’t start down that path. When I changed this, it helped tremendously and it is key to my sobriety on the road today.
God’s exit ramps are there but when we are blinded by our lust we blow right by them. If we stop and evaluate our actions, develop a new way of acting and thinking (and a key part of the plan is hanging on to God and His Word (Prov 4:10-13)) then the way of escape become more obvious.
Start evaluating what triggers your sinful thoughts and actions. Then change your ways to avoid these triggers.
I read this blog post from Michael Hyatt yesterday and thought it pertained to our battle with sexual sin and brokenness. While his post is dealing with business, I think it can be applied to us when we are facing the temptation to jump back into our sin because our big goal of walking in sexual purity is at risk. Read his post here.
Our battle with overcoming sexual sin, addiction and brokenness is a long one. According to Dr. Mark Laaser (www.faitfhulandtrue.com), it takes 3-5 years to overcome this struggle and really renew our minds and our hearts. I agree. It’s been 5.5 years since I’ve acted out using pornography and masturbation to (try and) find satisfaction. It’s been a long journey, but praise to the Lord that He has given me the strength to stay walking in His Light!
Along this journey we spend a lot of time in the “messy middle.” That place where we are tired of fighting. That place where we forget why we started on this journey in the first place. That place where we feel like I just am not getting this joy and contentment that the Bible promises. I’ve been there. I think Michael’s first point is really the key – RECOMMIT. This is where we really want to go, and should go, when we are stuck in the messy middle. We need to remember why we are battling to break the bondage of sexual sin. Remember that God wants you to be free of this and offers you His strength. Remember that you want to restore your relationships with others and our sexual immorality prevents that from occurring. Remember that you are tired of Satan laughing at you every time you get sucked into his lie.
Michael’s second point is very helpful too. REVISE – this is what we must do when we act on our lusts and desires. We must revise our plan. Why did I act out? How did that “creep up” on me? Where did I let my guard down? We must learn from our mistakes. We also must make sure our goals are realistic. One example of this is to set a goal that “I will never have an impure thought again.” This goal needs to be REVISED. It should be “I will not pursue my impure thoughts.” Or better yet, “I will pursue Jesus when I have an impure thought or am tempted.”
REMOVE – well this one doesn’t fit so well. In our battle for sexual purity, I pray that you don’t remove the goal of walking in Christ’s Light and choose to walk back into darkness. We can be tempted when we are in the messy middle. We can think about quitting and removing this goal. I pray you don’t. I pray you RECOMMIT and REVISE where necessary. Don’t take you eye off the prize of a glorious and fulfilling relationship with Jesus (1John 1:5-10).
Your Brother in Christ
We are not called to walk alone or battle alone. The Christian life is a life of ‘one another’. That is, it is a life to be lived with other believers. If we continue trying to battle this alone, we will continue to lose the battle. Prov 18:1 tells us that in our isolation we are lost. Prov 27:17 reminds us that iron sharpens iron and believers sharpen believers.
In my walk out of darkness the support and interaction of others was critical. I did a lot of counseling with a Christian based professional counselor, I counseled with one of the pastors at my church and my wife and I also did counseling with him, I participated in a very intense weekend with Faithful and True Ministries in Eden Prairie MN (www.faithfulandtrue.com) where I was with other brothers in Christ who wanted to beat this struggle, and I spent 2 years with Harvest USA in Philadelphia PA (www.harvestusa.org). On top of that, I have two wonderful brothers in Christ that are dear friends and we have been meeting once a week since early 2010.
Don’t try and fight this alone! Satan will win every time. If you don’t have close brothers, pray and ask God to reveal someone that you can confess your sin to and humble yourself to. This can open the door to a wonderful, edifying relationship.
Covenant Eyes has just published an article that has a great bunch of stats on porn and our culture. Take a look and see how pervasive porn is in our society and what some I the negative consequences are.
Continuing on in 1 John 1 – what is walking in the Light? Walking is living. How do we live? Are we living a life of hiding and doing things in secret like looking at porn or searching out illicit, anonymous sex? If so, we are walking in darkness! When we are living honestly, conducting ourselves according to God’s word, then we are walking in the Light. This doesn’t mean perfectly and without sin; it means being honest about what we struggle with and sharing that struggle with God and our brothers here on earth.
I find in my walk in the light that sharing my struggles with two great brothers in Christ keeps me strong to battle temptation when it comes. And temptation will come all the time! While I pray regularly for God to strengthen me, there is nothing like sitting face to face with these guys and telling them what I’m struggling with. It makes the battle real. And, it also makes Christ’s love and His strength real. It increases my level of accountability because I have people I need to tell my deepest thoughts to, not just God who, while very real, isn’t sitting across the table from me in flesh and blood.
That’s what “walking in the Light means.”
The old adage the first step is the hardest holds true here as well. And, as it is also said, doing the same thing and expecting different results is a definition of insanity. Do you feel insane sometimes because you can’t stop yourself from acting out and pursuing your lust? (Rom 7:15) Yet, you are paralyzed to take action for fear of what others will think, say or do?
What you need to do is start to put your sin and struggle into the light of God (I John 1:5-10). This will ultimately make your sin powerless over you. But you have to make the first move. God will give you the strength if you ask Him for it.
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:5-10 ESV)
Walking in the Light is walking in honesty. Face the fact that you have a sin problem with sexual brokenness. Confess it to God and hopefully to a trustworthy brother in Christ. This is a first step.