Some things are not easy to write about, but this one has been on my heart, lately. This isn’t just my war for righteousness, but it affects you, too.
Today, at lunch, a friend told me of his son’s adventures in a college art class. They had a day devoted to pornography, and were showing examples on a screen in the room. He walked out… but most of the students didn’t. A flood of porn on the Internet, in print, and in video media entices many men and some women into lust, lewdness, addiction, and sin. It is a threat to believers in Jesus Christ as well as to others. The battle of the mind is one that rages daily, and if you don’t put on the right armor and stand your ground, you may be injured, maybe seriously.
What is pornography, anyway? I define it in terms of what goes on in the hearts of those who produce, promote, publish, and consume it. Pornography is any visual image that portrays, produces, or is intended to produce lust or sexual sin.
Pornography is degrading and exploitive of both producers and consumers. Pornography can be addictive, and in some cases very addictive. As with most addictions, continued addictive behavior often defies logic. Pornography is attractive to some degree because it uses God-given beauty and attractions, but it twists them in unholy ways. It is kind of like a sugar-coated drug. If you let it, it can produce a physical addictive response. It is not just another kind of art. Good art doesn’t do that to people.
Blessed is the man who endures temptation, for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord promised to those who love him.Let no man say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God,” for God can’t be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each one is tempted, when he is drawn away by his own lust, and enticed. Don’t be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation, nor turning shadow. — James 1:12-17 (WEB)
Lust is the hook that pornography baits. Lust is coveting what you see, earnestly from your heart wanting something or someone for yourself that you cannot have in godly righteousness. Lusting after a woman is the moral equivalent of adultery in the heart. Lust is not a passing thought or a temptation, but the result of dwelling on what pleasures you might imagine would come from a certain sin. Lust is not simple appreciation of beauty, but an inappropriate desire. Don’t go there. If you nip a thought in the bud by replacing it with something better, it never takes root and becomes a full-grown lust. The most powerful way to overcome such a temptation is the way Jesus did, but quoting relevant Scripture. Make sure you read the Bible regularly so that the Holy Spirit has some good material to remind you of in time of need.
Do you want to win this battle? Then here are some words for the wise:
- Spend time in Bible study and prayer every day.
- Avoid situations where you may be tempted. Make like Joseph and run from the temptress. Consider using an Internet filter with a password known only by someone else.
- Meditate on relevant Scriptures.
- Consider the moral implications of not just looking from afar, but what if you were there?
- Consider the effect of your example and your witness.
- Be aware that things you do in secret affect what you do in public, even when you think they don’t.
- If you stumble, repent and seek God immediately. It isn’t like He doesn’t already know.
- Find healthy, righteous, and pure things to think and do.
- Seek God’s help in dealing with spiritual and emotional pain in your life.
- Find wise counsel and accountability from a trustworthy Christian brother.
- If you are married, concentrate on being a better husband.
- Read things that will help you, like the material at PureIntimacy.org.
Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think about these things. — Philippians 4:8 (WEB)