9 Ways to Fight the Temptation of Pornography

A few months back I blogged about The New Narcotic that is pornography.  Here are Nine Ways to Fight the Temptation of Pornography:

  1. Fight lustful images with the knowledge of God’s written Word. Images are unbelievably powerful, but God has made the universe through his word and the explosive power of his word trumps the alluring power of an image. God didn’t give us a picture-Bible, but revealed himself through words and sentences to be read and heard. The longest chapter in the Bible shows that the way a young man keeps his way pure is through knowing God’s word (Ps. 119:9, 11). Therefore the firecracker of pornographic images is no match for the napalm of God’s spoken and written word.
  2. Realize that viewing porn unleashes insatiable craving but kills genuine satisfaction. Leering at naked women online incites yearnings for more and more naked women, yet never gives ultimate satisfaction. On the other hand, the body of one’s wife is a garden of pleasures that leads to holy satisfaction. The book of Proverbs gives the wisdom of a father to son: “Let [your wife’s] breasts satisfy you at all times”(5:18, 19). The body and breasts of your wife contain an intoxicating influence that no other body and breasts can bring. If you don’t think they are satisfying or intoxicating, the problem isn’t her, but the fact that you settle for inferior and ultimately unsatisfying cravings. Why settle for cheap wine when your wife is a fine vintage.
  3. Treat all women who are not your wife like sisters and mothers (1 Ti. 5:2). Look into the eyes of your mom or sister and recognize that the centerfold you gazed at last night probably has a heartbroken family member that loves her. Unless a further sexual deviancy has developed within you, the thought of your daughter or mother being a centerfold should appall you and jolt you out of the objectification of women and back into the reality of treating all women as created in the image of God.
  4. Sever the sources of temptation to view porn. When discussing the adulterous sin of lust, Jesus said, “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell” (Mt. 5:29). In doing so he prescribes a radical violence toward that which leads you to sin. Jesus knew that amputating your hand doesn’t kill lustful desire, after all he said sin starts in the heart (Mt. 15:19), but his call does mean that you need to get drastic on non-sins that may lead to sin. For some of you this will mean disconnecting the Internet for a period of time or only accessing it in public places, for others this may mean an extended media fast of all kinds. You fill-in-the-blank. Remember, though legalism is never a means to sanctification, the call to holiness and following Jesus demands radical steps.
  5. Think about the eternal result of lust. As Jesus’ words indicated above, at on one level, his answer to how to fight lust is: fight it or risk going to hell. God’s wrath is coming for all kinds of sin and one of them is sexual sin (Col 3:5-6). Therefore since purity is of eternal importance, don’t give up in the fight for it. This is only one of the ways to fight this particular sin, but it is not the most significant way. The primary way to repent is through seeing God’s magnificent kindness and undeserved grace in Jesus (Ro. 2:4), but this does not mean we that we ignore the other biblical incentives of repentance in light of God’s future terrible wrath. Grace is the best motivator, but it is not the only one.
  6. Enjoy the pleasures of purity more than the pleasures of porn. The promise of experiencing sinful lustful pleasures at almost any moment via your Internet connection is hard to argue with, unless you replace it with a superior pleasure, then it becomes easy. Jesus said it is the pure in heart that will see God (Mt. 5:8), and the Psalmist tells us that in the presence of God are infinite pleasures (Ps. 16:11). In view of this reality, the desire to see God who gives eternal pleasure far outweighs temporal lustful desire. It’s insane to settle for a mud puddle of pleasure when you have an ocean of pleasure awaiting you in the presence of the Triune God.
  7. Avoid accountability groups and link up with believers radically focused on encouraging one another in the Gospel of grace. Accountability groups kill, but gospel-driven community gives life. Well, maybe this is a bit of an overstatement against accountability groups, but the point is that often accountability groups turn into focusing on sin rather than experiencing the gospel of grace. Men’s groups I’ve been apart of in the past tend to focus more on the experiences of failure the week before not the event of God’s grace in the death and resurrection of Christ 2,000 years ago. Don’t get me wrong, Christian relationships should engage in confession of sin (Ja. 5:16), but they are also meant for encouragement in grace…
  8. Stare at Jesus not at porn. Trying harder and harder to stop looking at porn isn’t the way to stop looking at porn; you must look somewhere else, namely, the person of Jesus Christ. Paul in 2 Corinthians 3:18 writes, “And we all with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” True inward change comes from beholding Jesus not from not looking at porn…  Look at porn and become a person controlled by lust and idolatry or look at Jesus and become a glorious and whole human being that reflects the beauty and glory of God.
  9. Fight as a son of God who has been freed to walk in purity. As a Christian the key to fighting lustful temptation (and any temptation for that matter) is by knowing who you are not by evaluating what you have done. Becoming a son of God is not dependent upon your not looking at porn, but upon being united to Jesus by faith and the result of the Spirit of God’s work in your heart (Ro. 8:3-4, 14). No longer are you defined by your entanglements with porn, but by your connection to the person and work Jesus. Jesus was crucified for your lust, and he has made you objectively pure in him. Therefore you can work from a place of purity as covered in the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21), not toward a place of purity to earn righteousness. Kill the urge to view porn because you are a son of God who is dead to sin and free to walk in purity (Ro. 6:1-14). Pornography is no longer your master—God is your father who radically loves you (1 Jn. 3:1) and Jesus is your sin-bearer who is not ashamed to call you, with all your inordinate lusts, “brother” (Heb 2:11). —Adapted from BJ Stockman

Pornography must be avoided at all cost.  It is addictive.  It is potent.  It is destructive.  But there is good news: If you’re a victim, you can be a victor.  If you are enslaved, you can be set free.  This is all possible through Jesus Christ and his gospel.  Let me recommend Heath Lambert’s Finally Free: Fight for  Purity with the Power of Grace.

I repeat, Pornography must be avoided at all cost.

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10 Responses to 9 Ways to Fight the Temptation of Pornography

  1. Lon says:

    Good advice. I see #7 as both/and, but thanks for focusing on the transforming power of the gospel of grace.

  2. Simon says:

    TC, it is good to have a strategy to combat bad images. However, I have to take the strongest issue with point 1. Images are not inherently bad. God himself gave us images when he created the world. In fact we are images of Him. And Christ is image of the invisible God. The point is that images are not bad in themselves. Every time we open our eyes we see images. In fact, even when we read we make images in our minds. This is why it is referred to as “imagining”. This is especially true when it comes to reading scripture. Scripture is a verbal icon. It tells a story and we can only make sense of it when we picture or imagine the stories in our mind. The Church embraces holy images. You see the story of Scripture being told on stained glass windows and on icons. The point is that we shouldn’t retreat into a world of words when tempted by bad images. We should focus on good and true images, knowing that the creation itself is good and has been redeemed. We focus on images of what is true and good and lovely. Yes this involves the reading of Scripture. But Scriptures places imagery in our minds. So the point is to focus on good rather that bad images. This is the point that Islam never comprehended. It seems that the Reformed or Calvinist branch of the Reformation can’t comprehend it either. The Word comes to us in flesh not on paper.

  3. Simon says:

    TC, point #8 is spot on. We can stare at Jesus literally. There are images of Him because he was revealed to us in flesh! John 1 🙂

    • TC says:

      Simon, I agree with you on the image objection. Perhaps this is one of those areas that as heirs of the Reformation we need to improve in.

  4. TC says:

    Simon, this may have been among Luther’s many blemishes. 😉

  5. TC says:

    It really depends. Some would definitely praise him for his love of beef, as well as Calvin. 😉

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