The sin of porn and the freedom of Christ

Addiction to porn is the #1 struggle I have come across doing ministry with young adults. I’ve seen it ruin relationships, bring shame to young men and women, and lead many out of serving and ministry and into isolation. What’s disturbing is that despite all of this, many of these same people seem to be confused about whether it is wrong, or why it is wrong. And those who know it is wrong struggle with a plan to overcome. Since we started our series at The Well from the Song of Solomon on sex, love, and marriage, this topic of conversation has come up even more, and prompted me to write this post to bring clarity about the sin and evil of porn and the freedom and life available in Christ.

“Hate what is evil; cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9) 

WHY IT IS EVIL 

It is adultery – Jesus said that even looking at someone other than your spouse lustfully is adultery. That means magazines, pictures, videos, even fantasies are all considered adultery, which is a sin against God, and therefore evil in nature.

It is selfish and hurts others – It is entirely selfish and arrogant to treat another human in such a way that you don’t even see them as a person, but an object to bring you pleasure. It is unloving to the actors in the industry to support and endorse sexually immoral and usually abusive behavior. When you watch it, the hits are tracked, and the demand increases. Every time you click, you are fueling an industry that dishonors God, devalues women, and often drives them into prostitution and human trafficking.

It darkens your heart and mind – By continually looking at men or women as soulless objects for your pleasure, your heart becomes desensitized to people. You don’t value them rightly. Lust becomes okay and normal. Your eyes will constantly be searching and comparing. Your mind gets unrealistic expectations about sex, love, and relationships, and is re-wired for selfish instant gratification; real relationships require selfless loving, giving, serving, and cultivating. It hurts your own relationship with God, and saps your confidence in Him and His plan for your life.

GOOD NEWS TO CLING TO

Jesus is a rescuer and a redeemer. He forgives sins, gives us new hearts, and new desires. If you are in Christ, God does not see you as a porn-addict or adulterer, but as a son or daughter that He dearly loves. He loves you. In John 8:3-11 Jesus embraces a woman caught in adultery, and tells her that he doesn’t condemn her. Think about that. If you know him, he embraces you too. Regardless of our past, we are justified by Christ’s death and resurrection, and are pure in God’s eyes. He does not condemn us for our sin because Christ has already paid for it!

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)

Instead, He has given the Holy Spirit to us to convict us of sin and empower us to wage war against the desires of our flesh and actually overcome! Jesus sets us free, and gives us weapons and armor (Ephesian 6:10-20) to stand up in His grace and be victorious.

WHAT TO DO NOW

Love Jesus – We can do nothing apart from Jesus, and we are slaves to sin unless we have asked him to be our Lord. If you don’t know Jesus, start here, and ask him for forgiveness and to lead your life.

Hate porn – Pray for conviction. Ask God to give you a hatred for what is evil. Think about what you are actually doing long enough to understand how dishonoring and unloving it is to the actors, the parents of the actors, yourself, your spouse/future spouse, and Jesus.

Remove access – Is it the TV? Get rid of it. Cable? Cancel it. Laptop or phone? Covenant Eyes and XXX Church have free software for whatever device you have to block it. Not good enough? Get rid of your computer or your phone. Seriously. Cancel your Facebook. I have several friends who have done this they survived. If your job requires you to have those things, then quit. “I can’t quit my job!” Yes you can. If you think that is legalistic or extreme, listen to Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:27-30. God honors bold steps of faith.

Get into godly community – At WBCC we have men’s and women’s bible studies, as well as a Life’s Healing Choices group. Find one here, get involved. Today. Biblical community is the context to overcome sin through confession, prayer, encouragement, and accountability. Find someone, or a group of someones, that you can confess and be honest and specific with, so that they can pray for you, remind you of the gospel, and help hold you accountable to move forward in victory to live on mission with God. When this was a struggle for me, I would confess to my best friend every single day for months until I broke the addiction. By the grace of God I tell you now that I can’t even remember the last time I struggled with this.

It is not only possible to overcome an addiction to porn, but that freedom is available to you right now! Take action. Hate what is evil. Cling to what is good. There is nothing more good than Jesus. He is worth it. Be free in him.

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