“I will walk with integrity of heart within my house; I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless.” – Psalm 101:2-3
Many, many years ago, I was involved in a small Bible study group with two other men. I was about thirty-five-years-old at the time, Scott was around twenty-nine, and young Chris was maybe nineteen or twenty. At one of our sessions, Chris shared that he was struggling with addiction to pornography and asked that Scott and I pray for him. I thought that was very brave of him. Most Christian men won’t open up and share something so personal. We prayed for Chris, but there wasn’t any follow up. Our small group ended shortly after that. This memory is from twenty-seven years ago, but the temptations have increased exponentially in our culture since then with extremely easy access to porn via cable television, tablets, and smart phones.
I mentioned a few weeks back (see here) that surveys show many Christian men struggle with pornography and undoubtedly feel defeated by this sin.
Understand that engaging in impurity isn’t harmless. Impurity is like an addictive drug. The neurons of your brain are conditioned/mapped by the behavior and capacitate future behavior. The more you keep plowing the same field, the deeper the furrows become. It will damage your relationship with your spouse, perhaps severely, and leave you with a guilty, defeated conscience before the Lord.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” – Matthew 5:27-28
I don’t believe a Christian can declare outright victory over sin this side of glory, but I do have a few suggestions that may prove helpful if you’re fighting this temptation or addiction:
- Pray to the Lord for His help.
- Plant God’s thoughts about purity in your heart, including the verses above and other verses listed here. Memorize them. Make them your armor and shield when temptation comes.
- Ask yourself if you could ever engage in sexual sin in front of your mother? No? Obviously, you would NEVER do such a thing in front of your Mom, so then why do you behave in such a way before the Lord, who lives inside of you and sees all? How real is the Lord to you? Is He as real to you as your mother? Deepen you relationship with the Lord. Seek intimacy with Him. Allow Him to be as palpable in your life as the next breath you take. Offer up to Him dominion over every fiber of your being. The deeper your relationship with the Lord, the less you will cave to these kinds of temptations.
- Some brothers need an accountability partner in this battle. Talk to your pastor, a church elder, or a trusted Christian friend.
- Run, don’t walk from temptation. Remove temptation from your house, if possible. Sin usually starts out small. A little compromising usually leads to bigger things.
- Ask the Lord to help you see these “productions” as He sees them. Not visible on the computer or television screen, but constantly present, are the crew and technical people helping to bring these “fantasies” to life. The entire cast and crew are slaves of an exploitative, sin-promoting industry that claims to gross $14 billion annually worldwide.
- If you fall to temptation, go to the Lord for forgiveness. He is a good Lord and He will help you break the chains of addiction if you are truly seeking His will for your life.
There are several good books available to help you in this struggle. See here for one example.
Postscript: I referred to sexual impurity from a man’s perspective in this post, but I realize many women also struggle with this sin. Reading a graphic “romance” novel is no less sinful than watching a porn movie.
Why is sexual purity so important?