Pornography is a problem. Chuck Swindoll says that "Pornography is the greatest cancer in the church today." I believe it. The more people I counsel on a regular basis, the more I see the harmful affects of pornography in the church today.
A study recently conducted by the Barna Group in the US showed that 63% of men 18-30 view pornography several times a week. Think about that. More than HALF of the young men you see everyday look at porn multiple times a week. Between March 1999-2001, Alexa Research examined 10 of the leading search engines and the #1 search was 'sex' with 'porn' being ranked #4. This is especially true of men. Studies show that men are 543% more likely to look at porn than females (that wasn't a typo: 543%).
Now what? Porn is all around, many in the church are enslaved by it, and there seems to be no way out. A statement I hear time and time again in the people that I counsel through this is 'When the desire comes, I feel that I have to look at porn.' Maybe you have experienced this yourself or have heard someone make a statement quite like it. So, is porn just inevitable for the Christian man or woman?
There Is Hope
Read the words of Ephesians 1:3-4
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him."
As Christians, God has not only chosen us to be His before the foundation of the world, but He has chose us to "be holy and blameless before him." Wow! What a wonderful truth. God has called you and I to holiness. So here is the question: Does God command ends without providing means? By no means! "His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who has called us to his own glory and excellence." You know what this means?
There is hope.
By placing your faith in Christ and His taking of your sin on the cross and being raised from the dead to show that He has power over sin and death. Through that Gospel (good news) and the Holy Spirit in you, you never have to look at pornography again.
"Through the Gospel and the Holy Spirit in you, you never have to look at pornography again."
After understanding the powerful resources God has given you through the Gospel to say no to pornography, you must now move toward an understanding of WHY you desire to look at porn. When you desire to look at porn, it is because you have a greater desire for your pleasure in porn than God and your pleasure in His glory. This is always the case. It was CS Lewis who said, "Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak." But yet, "We are far too easily pleased [with other things]."
"When you desire to look at porn, it is because you have a greater desire for your pleasure in porn than God and your pleasure in His glory."
Our minds need to be renewed (Rom. 12:2) by God's Word. We need to be meditating on the Scripture and memorizing the Scripture so that we can fight temptation to look at porn with God's truth (Ps. 119:11, Ps. 1). Even more practically, you need to fight pornography by doing three things: First, removing time you have for it. Secondly, close off all access to it. Lastly, demolish your desire for it. Every time you look at porn it is because you have time for it, have access to it, and have a desire for it. Therefore, you need to work on erasing all access to it and any time you may have for it right now while you work on erasing your desire for it. The great hope that we have as Christians is that through the power of the Gospel, you can get to a place in your life where you have access to porn, but no desire for it.
"The great hope that we have as Christians is that through the power of the Gospel, you can get to a place in your life where you have access to porn, but no desire for it"
What Do I Do Now?
So what do you do now? Here are three things I recommend:
1. Take radical measures in cutting off all access to porn.
I highly recommend Covenant Eyes for this. Covenant Eyes is a web filter that incorporates accountability. It tracks every website you go to and sends a detailed report to the person you choose as your accountability partner. I have it on every device that I own!
2. Find a spiritually mature person of the same-sex to walk with you through this.
Find someone and open your heart to them. Tell them your struggles. Pray with them. Meet with them often. Remember, "The one isolates himself seeks his own desire and breaks out against all sound judgment" (Prov. 18:1).
3. Serve others.
If you are not already, become a member at a local church. Serve people there. Get involved and use the gifts God has given you to serve His church. Do it often. This will fill up your schedule and deplete time that you would have to be tempted by porn alone.
Once again, understand the power that you have in the Gospel. God is for you in this battle. And remember, if He is for you, who could ever be against you? (Rom. 8:31).
I am a Husband to Clarissa, Pastor at Liberty Baptist Church, reader of many books, and tweeter at @brad_merchant.