The perversion of a virtue
God’s gift of sexuality is a mystery; it is physical, emotional, spiritual, and covenantal all at the same time. Sex as created and intended by God can be designated, “the act of marriage” because it is ongoing the celebration of man and woman as “one flesh” (Gen 2:24).
In the context of marriage, love-making has a spiritual, covenantal, sacred dimension that guards its sanctity and dignity; by God’s design; it’s sealed within a safe enclave. The institution of marriage is like a fortress with a high wall and towers that protects sexual relations from degradation (Prov 5:15-19).
When the act of marriage is removed from its walled city (the God-ordained covenant that safeguards it), the God-given gift becomes destructive. The virtue is perverted and distorted into something else; its entire character changes. Outside of marriage its precious sanctity is lost.
A society’s attitude toward sex and marriage is reflected in clothing fashions
A very popular radio talk show host has built a sizeable listening audience by teaching morality and by counseling self control. Her callers and readers are eager to hear of the immense benefits that result from abstaining from sex outside of marriage.
It’s as if an entire generation has been raised in a dark cave when it comes to the truths of sexual purity. The amount of naiveté is nothing short of amazing. As one listens to the radio program it is shocking to find one educated female caller after another tearfully admitting they thought nothing of having sex outside of marriage. When devastation inevitably visits their lives as a result of fornication, they admit they never saw it coming.
In a culture where moral relativism and neo-paganism are on the rise, women behave immodestly and believe the half truth that sex is power. “Half truth” is indeed accurate. For sex is a power for good, but only when it is within the confines of marriage, or under control in the form of chastity outside of marriage.
We live in a culture consumed with sex. Our world is one of overworked and overscheduled people. Folks maintain a low level of pessimism and fear about the future. In that often frenetic and bleak context God’s gift of sex (with its mystery of the emotional and the spiritual) is held out to folks as an oasis or nirvana that can give meaning and fulfillment to their lives.
But the problem is fifty plus years of intense moral relativism have effectively torn down the absolutes given by God for man’s protection; God’s rules for sexual relations have been neatly set aside. The result is an explosion in the worship of illicit sex.
Evidence for this departure is everywhere. The more a culture moves away from the sacredness of sexuality; the more immodesty will be seen in clothing fashions. The manner in which women dress today constitutes an assault upon the senses. (This author agrees with the Christian women who have stated that tolerating ‘half-naked’ women in the workplace is a form of sexual harassment against men.)
Immodest dress is now in such vogue, it is difficult for women to find stores that offer modest fashions. Women walk around partially disrobed – in a sense they are walking ‘billboards’ for the prevailing philosophy of sexual hedonism. By their half- naked attire, they are making the following statements: This is free, I’m free, sex is free, play with sex and experience no consequences. My lack of visual boundaries is a commentary on my lack of physical sexual boundaries.
Because men are sight attracted; sexual stimuli enter through the eye gate in substantial amounts by television viewing alone. A man faces countless temptations per week which test his character. Every trip to the check stand at the grocery store exposes the man to a gauntlet of partially disrobed images on magazine covers.
This lack of visual barriers to cover the bodies of women suggests a lack of physical and ofspiritual barriers in regards to sex. The absence of these God-ordained boundaries has opened the floodgates of immorality. Sexual immorality in its many forms is moving through our culture like a wrecking ball leaving behind devastated lives.
The pagan philosophy of sex worship
Sexual self-determination has become one of the ‘values’ that now defines our culture. Fashions reflect a sex-worshipping culture. Flaunting one’s sexuality is now considered obligatory as a fashion statement (Are you endowed? It is your right, even your ‘duty’ to flaunt it).
This places enormous pressure on men to NOT think of women as sexual objects. A vast amount of mental energy is needed in order to think straight. Those of us who champion chastity represent a small minority. Images of a sexual nature are everywhere; it seems to be a plot to normalizeimmodesty.
Unprincipled women play their own part in this lie. They are deceived into thinking that the display of so much skin is a good thing; that men’s heads will turn admiringly as if by invisible power steering.
It’s a fallacy to think that a woman who initially gains a man’s interest through exposing her body will then find that he will respect her and her body. Women who lead with their sexuality are sadly mistaken to think that a man will eventually become interested in a commitment centered upon her character, heart, and personality.
Sexual immorality is idolatry
Illicit sex is a false integration point – it is clearly described in Scripture as an idol (Col 3:3-5). People turn to idols (in this case sexual immorality), in order to feel whole, fulfilled, alive, unified. But it is an attempt to feed something to the soul that is inedible.
Idols enslave, degrade, dehumanize, and fragment the soul. That is a part of the mystery of iniquity – that the misuse of God’s gift can damage the soul and ‘pulverize’ the image of God. (This is why demons work to enslave men to idols – their goal is to deface the image of God as much as possible).
This is why the Christian is to always be about the business of putting sin to death – mortification of sin is a life-long vocation and a mark of a true believer (Col 3:1-4; Rom 8:12-13). The flesh is hostile to the will of the Spirit (Gal 5:17). Therefore the flesh has no interest in living by faith.
The lower nature, or flesh, of the believer seeks pleasure, meaning, and fulfillment through temporal objects and experiences. As C. K. Barrett says in his commentary on 1 Corinthians, theearthy man (the Adamic nature) “materializes” all his needs; in other words, he takes his deepest needs to the world. (It takes ongoing acts of faith to take our needs to God in Christ.)
When the Christian gives in to the lusts of the flesh, the initial offer of desire, offer, and promise – is replaced by indulgence, defilement, guilt. The guilt comes from more obvious sources; namely an accusing conscience that knows it has violated God’s law.
The sense of shame, pollution, degradation, defilement that accompanies sexual sin is associated with placing an idol in the soul which promises unity, but instead further fragments the image of God. Sexual idolatry is sin against the divine unity of the image of God in man.
When a person indulges in sexuality outside of its divinely appointed context, a host of problems are generated which go far deeper than any physical problem. Like radioactive material with its half life of 1000’s of years, sexual immorality keeps generating fallout for years to come.
Idolatry degrades and weakens a man
The man who indulges his lusts in pornography afterwards feels deadened, hollowed out. His strength feels decimated. His conscience is defiled – he feels like a shadow of what he once was. One is reminded of the Proverb that speaks to that phenomenon of illicit sex robbing a man of strength (Prov 5:7-14).
Idols of lust hold us in their grasp because there is momentary pleasure involved when one indulges the lusts of deceit (Eph 4:22). Deception is inherent in the lusts of deceit because the pleasure is real enough to race the heart through bursts of adrenalin.
The passing pleasure of lust sins quickly evaporates; whereas the shame and guilt seem to take up abiding residence (Heb 11:25). The promise to satisfy and unify is an empty demonic lie.
There is a nearly infinite gulf between the brief pleasure the lust promises and the vast amount of actual emptiness and shame that it delivers. Like a tentacle from the pit, the shame fastens itself to the soul and won’t let go.
It takes hold of the individual and squeezes his conscience – like an alien presence, it plants thoughts of recrimination, “You’re subhuman, bestial, filthy, polluted.” “You deserve the leftovers of hog slop missed by the pigs. You have fed upon, leered at, indulged in vicarious sex with images of people you don’t even know. You are a coward – you have sex with pictures.”
The level of shame is always a surprise. It doesn’t seem commensurate with the violation. How could a few minutes of leering at an illicit image produce all these feelings of greasiness, and self-rejection?
The man lapsing into porn addiction doesn’t realize that female in the pornographic image is actually seducing him with an act as aggressive as a prostitute practicing entrapment (Proverbs chapters 5 & 7).
The harlot described in Proverbs 7 is greedy for male victims. She has an agenda to conquer men and make them weak and send them to hell by means of illicit sex. She uses sex to kill just as a serial killer would use a gun.
Few men have the wisdom to think of her activities in that way – but that’s because they don’t read Proverbs as men on a mission to gain wisdom. God has given us many metaphors from nature that can serve as ‘parables’ from the spiritual world.
The spider lures the unaware insect into her web. She wraps fragile silk strands around her victim one by one until it cannot move – only then does she administer the long lethal bite that not only paralyzes, but reduces the insides of the victim to a liquid from that she can consume its entrails by drinking – its insides are turned into a soup.
So also porn bites a man and hollows him out. It plays havoc with the unity of the image of God in him. It weakens him; it disembowels his soul – it stuns his conscience into numbness so that he cannot speak his convictions with boldness and confidence. He feels like a rank hypocrite when he tries to enforce principle in his dealings with others.
The inner accusations of hypocrisy stretch him to the limit as he attempts transparency with others – for he knows that his inner world has become a hideous sideshow of lustful images.
His inner world has become toxic. His desires rage – his passions take on an abnormal direction suggested by the perverse fantasies he has fed upon. He knows he has been bitten, but he returns to be bitten by porn again and again. What is the source of porn’s magnetism? Why does a man keep returning to be bitten when he knows it is radically self-destructive to do so?
The complex lure of pornography
The barbed hook of porn is not only baited with the promise of sexual pleasure; it also is baited with at least two other things that lure a man in. The first is the promise of the ideal woman. She is sexually free, beautiful, curvaceous, surrendered, aroused; in short, a sexual goddess ready to do the man’s bidding.
This is as much a part of the lie as the promise of sexual pleasure with a two-dimensional image. For the ideal woman does not exist. If she did, she would not be found in a pornographer’s film studio.
The sad women who sell their bodies to film makers are broken people themselves who act out fantasies for money. They are in the process of increasingly killing their own souls by mocking the act of marriage and making it into an act of whoredom.
The bottom line regarding the ideal woman is this – unfallen Eve was an ideal woman in this sense, like Adam, she was without physical blemish, and she was completely unselfish. Every natural woman and man since the Fall has been selfish, fearful, and filled with self love.
Therefore, since the Fall, the ideal woman exists only in the sinful psyche of man; in that part of man that worships and serves the creature and the creation instead of God (Rom 1:25).
A second part of the bait that lures the man in addition to the false promise of sexual gratification is this – pornographic images depict men who are supposedly potent, masculine, adequate – “capable of ravishing the woman and bringing her to surrender and ecstasy.”
Porn is about vicarious sex. The male user of porn cannot help but put himself in the place of the man depicted as potent conqueror of the woman. But this too is a lie. For the measure of a man is not his body, or his acting, or the shape of his woman. A man is measured by his ability to keep one woman fulfilled, cared for, and satisfied for life.
The moment a man becomes a ‘porn star,’ or actor in a porn film, he is by his actions admitting that his manhood is severely broken and that he is incapable of the adequacy required of monogamous marriage. He cannot give himself genuinely to one woman in a marriage covenant.
The enigma of Christians using porn
A Christian man who feeds upon porn is a contradiction in terms. For Christian is defined as one who follows Christ as his Master. A Christian is a person has experienced deliverance from the corruption that is in the world by lust (2 Pet 1:4).
The believer who starts a porn habit is choosing to hide from the moral majesty of God. He must tell himself some lies about God before he indulges his habit. He must reduce God’s transcendence to something finite. He must deny that the universe exists for, and is headed for one great event; namely the universal manifestation of God’s moral majesty; His holiness (2 Pet 3:11-14ff).
Redeemed man as the restored image of God is always to be about the business of beholding God. The porn addict acts as if he is out from under the presence of God – as if he can live as something other than a son of God – perhaps as something that lives under rocks and rotten logs with the toads and salamanders.
His divided heart steals the possibility of joy. The porn venom beckons to him as his mind turns to idle thoughts – the porn venom never stops promising something exciting; something to titillate the imagination with new curious things from the world of promiscuous images. Like Solomon of old (who collected silver, horses, and wives), the porn addict becomes an inveterate “collector” so to speak of mental images. Porn addicts have described this drive to view new images as insatiable.
The man’s desires become increasingly oriented to these images. The appetite for porn refuses to remain merely a forbidden hobby. The forbidden images demand dominion in the soul.
As Lewis Sperry Chafer once said, “Sin is spiritual insanity.” There is an inexplicable spiritualdeath wish that accompanies sin. Sin contains much of its own punishment. It hardens the heart; it cuts well-worn “grooves” in the soul to conduct its traffic. It trains in greed (2 Pet 2:14). It makes its practitioners into slaves. It makes the worshipper like his idol (Ps 115:8).
The power of porn to emasculate
Godly masculine strength is based upon delayed gratification. Self-control and self-denial produce the invaluable dividend of male strength. In our culture of pleasure and sex worship, the devil has pulled off a huge coup by defining freedom as indulgence of passions and desires. He ruins millions from each new generation with this lie.
The porn addict takes the precious possession of male strength and scatters it to the four winds. The strength to be able to stand for righteousness is a precious possession. But addiction to illicit material introduces a palpable rottenness in the core of the soul that neutralizes this strength. How can the sensual man take a stand against the injustices of our society?
He can’t; for a man’s strength is based upon his decision to delay gratification. The man who sows to self-gratification is a double-minded man. He cannot Haddress the wrongs of society with his whole being because he knows that his soul, like an unclean scavenger, feeds upon the putrefied carrion of pornography.
If he is new to this habit, his conscience accuses him and lashes him. If he is a veteran addict, then he has probably seared his conscience into a state of numbness; he has made a dangerous ‘peace’ with his controlling lusts. The heart trained in greed is the byproduct of living as a sensual opportunist as a lifestyle (2 Pet 2:14).
The ‘drug’ of eroticism
As mentioned previously – how is it that God’s gift of sexual relations, when removed from its sacred context of marriage, is so horrifically transformed and mutated into one of the most powerful idols on planet earth? How can the misuse of God’s gift become a vicious force which devours the entrails of the soul, hollowing out a man’s ribcage and leaving him a shell of what he was before?
When human sexuality is taken out of its God-ordained marriage context, it becomes porneia (the word for sexual immorality in N.T. Greek). Sex is only sacred when it is thoroughly woven and joined to its ‘triple cord’ of spiritual, covenantal meaning.
Pornography unravels the triple cord. When the sensual and physical are separated and parted from the triple cord of spirituality and covenant – one is left only with the erotic. When a personfeeds upon the erotic, he is changing the entire purpose of sexual relations to an animal act. It makes the woman an object of lust; a plaything to be used and discarded.
Reducing God’s gift of sexuality to the erotic is to dig a bottomless pit of shame. Like stinking crude oil; the pit bubbles up new installments of shame, defiling and contaminating the person who feeds upon eroticism.
What is it about our sin nature that is attracted to the unraveled cord of eroticism? The answer is complicated, but worth pursuing. Man was made to be in covenant with God and in covenant with his mate.
This covenant arrangement in marriage is meant to be a safeguard to prevent abuse, infidelity, immorality. The covenant not only guards; it also is meant to provide the ideal environment for sacrificial love, provision, patience, protection, commitment, communication, and a host of other virtues which manifest the image of God (see the fruit of the Spirit, Gal 5:22-24).
All these virtues in action within the marriage covenant keep sexuality beautiful and insulate it from abuse. But when the erotic strand is hanging alone (outside the marriage covenant), it calls out to our male flesh with its lusts of deceit. Its bogus promises go deep into the psyche of male-female gender dynamics.
It’s the reduction of sex to the erotic that makes pornography poisonous. Our culture is over the edge in its consumption of the lies surrounding pornography. Hefner’s adult entertainment empire began with a slick magazine, Playboy, which offered pinup poses of supposedly everyday women.
But the philosophy of Playboy magazine is as dangerous as the soft porn inside its cover. The philosophy pushes its two-pronged distortion in every issue: 1.) Women, including career women, are sexual beings, objects who exist for your pleasure. 2.) Sexual eroticism (sex outside of marriage) is like a harmless toy. You can use sex in that way and have women as your sexual ‘playmates’ and experience no consequences.
It’s a wonder that feminist political activists have not taken the action necessary to yank every pornographic magazine and video from the shelves of stores. For nothing degrades and cheapens women like eroticism. It makes women into objects, playthings to be used and cast away.
Fallen man is promiscuous by nature
Scripture says that the eyes of man are never satisfied (Prov 27:20). Man’s coveting drives his promiscuity. Man wants everything he can get; even if it does not belong to him. Because man’s satisfaction is not in God; the sinner’s discontentment and lusts team up to enslave him (Heb 2:15). No wonder Paul said that godliness and contentment go hand in hand (1 Tim 6:6).
Consider the aspects of human depravity which incline men toward a fixation upon the erotic. 1.) Depraved man is wanton. He abdicates his role as steward of God’s creative work and misuses the resources entrusted to his care. By nature he shies away from sacrificial commitment. He takes what he wants and moves on. 2.) Sinful man does not like to engage in the risk of giving his entire being to another person. He resists the fear and work involved in giving his mind, heart, soul, and emotions to another person. In his sin nature, he would rather reduce sex to a physical act that does not require the emotional transparency of heart and soul. 3.) Man by nature fears being subjugated and humiliated by a woman. He longs to keep his power and honor. He shudders to think of being in a relationship which would emotionally emasculate him. Porn’s false promise of masculine strength and female submission and desire actually feeds a man’s cowardice. In eroticism, there is none of the risk involved in bonding and communicating between equals. Love requires self-sacrifice, lust is consumed with getting. 4.) Porn promises perfect bodies, nubile, lusty, and unbridled male adequacy. Inseparable from eroticism is fantasy about male adequacy. The inadequacy fears in the man are “alleviated” by the degradation of women into sex objects who require only physical acts. 5.) Men angry at their mothers over the issue of control and emotional dependency can find porn irresistible because porn is a “legal” form of revenge against women. Porn lets a male be a conquering hero with his female sex slave surrendered in his imagination.
All the reasons listed above incline sinful man to fixate upon the erotic.
Porn constructs a mindset, or vantage point of eroticism
Lest the reader be discouraged by the abundance of information about porn’s grasp; consider that there is value in knowing how porn holds its captives and in knowing the strength of porn’s grasp.
Though the promises of porn are false leave a man hollowed out – the addiction is reinforced by the shame, the adrenaline, and the pleasure. But the fallout from using pornography is indeed costly. Consider some to the consequences that occur in a man’s thought patterns: 1.) The male finds that he has built a ‘radar’ in himself that is always on the look out for variety to add to his promiscuous collection of erotic images. 2.) He finds it is extremely difficult to shake his vantage point of women as sex objects. 3.) He begins to undress every woman in his mind; he finds he cannot turn off this device. 4.) Erotic shameful thoughts make incursions into, and invade his most spiritual moments.
Indulging in porn’s passing ‘pleasure’ increases the grip of its lie
Who would have guessed that the single erotic cord unraveled from the triple cord of God’s design could have such reigning power over a man? Who would have guessed that it would refuse to be an occasional tenant, but demand sole occupation of the heart? Who would have guessed that evicting it 10,000 times would not dishearten its importunate demands for access to, and dominion of the soul?
Once the erotic ‘genie’ has escaped; it is nearly impossible to stuff its looming image back into the bottle with its stopper firmly sealed in place. Like the loss of innocence, eroticism indulged in cuts a groove or highway in the soul upon which sexual fantasies travel.
Pleasure and adrenaline reinforce the pathway. Regardless of the shame, the pleasure is real, but momentary. The fact that there is pleasure is the reason there is shame. The man’s conscience will not allow him to live undisturbed when he attempts to derive pleasure as a voyeur. To take pleasure through lurid voyeurism is to take what doesn’t belong to you; it is a form of theft and coveting. It’s beneath a man’s created dignity. That’s why the conscience protests and generates shame.
When men indulge in porn, its inherent lies are increasingly treated as if they were truths. This is a danger greater than we can comprehend. Sin blinds as it beguiles. It hides its soul-destroying capabilities behind temporal thrills.
Momentary pleasure and excitement preoccupy the man so that he is distracted from thinking clearly about the deception involved in using porn. As the pleasure path is cut deeper, the ability to confront the lies weakens.
Building a strategy against eroticism
In a media-saturated culture that worships sex few men have been spared exposure to the erotic images of porn. The question as Christian men is; what is our main line of defense against eroticism?
We’ve seen so far that porn conceals its soul-damning lies behind a mask of titillating pleasure. We faced with a temptation we see the potential of pleasure first – it is what is most obvious from a distance. What we don’t see without searching for it carefully is the lie behind the offer of titillation.
This is why Paul told Timothy, flee youthful lust. Don’t try your strength against it. Don’t experiment and see how much you can take. Don’t toy with it in curiosity and wonder, asking as you look at it what is it about this that attracts me? No, the Apostle’s command is flee youthful lusts (2 Tim 2:22). Make no provision for the flesh to feed it lusts. If we know where the images are; PLAN to keep your distance from them.
As men we are particularly vulnerable when we are emotionally high and confident. And we are especially vulnerable when we are low, depressed, and tired. When we are low and life has beat us up; self-pity is just a thought away. The offer of sensual comfort and excitement can lure us to drop our guard.
We become less vigilant. We are more vulnerable to the awful lie perpetrated in the wilderness; if God doesn’t care then I don’t either. But we must be warned by the statements in Hebrews 3-4.“Take care brethren, lest there be in any one of you an evil unbelieving heart, in falling away from the living God” (3:12).
If unbelief is allowed to gain a toe hold in our hearts, it can change our perspective radically. The longer unbelief is allowed to be an intruder, the more danger we face. It can make us change our perspective from that of a soldier of Christ to that of a sensual opportunist ready to gaze at forbidden images that degrade and enslave.
The command to make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts must be fortified with the faith that God does care. By faith I live for His fellowship, love, approval. That is the believer’s response to believing in His grace and His love.
If we are going to beat sensuality, we’ll have to beat it at its own game. It operates by using an extremely clever lie; what you’re about to see is exciting, free, harmless, and satisfying.
We must bombard it with truth until it looks as hideous as it really is! When you “out-truth” it, you strip away its pleasure disguise and expose the lie beneath.
That’s our battle plan. BE READY, and stay on the alert by having preached to yourself the truth as a habit. You must have prepared sermons to yourself. You must have these sermons ready; memorize them so that you can keep preaching them to yourself. Otherwise you stand a good chance of being suddenly ambushed by sensual images.
Our strategy is to go beneath the offer of pleasure to expose the hideousness of the lie. That’s the first part of our battle plan. The following is a partial catalog of the hidden wickedness associated with porn:
Porn is an idol, just as tangible as the idol Molech who devoured the infants of Israel by means of human sacrifice.
Porn promises joyful integration, but like an alien parasite, it incubates its offspring of shame, addiction, and soul fragmentation.
Porn further obscures the image of God by denying the spiritual dimension of sex and offering the erotic in its place. By animalizing sex, women are made into sex objects, and men into craven users.
Porn does not reflect reality. The actors are troubled people who take money to act out fantasies; their lives are on a collision course with disease and disaster.
Porn is war upon God’s moral government. Human history began with God’s moral government instituting the covenant of marriage. Porn is at war with God and His merciful institutions from day one.
Porn degrades human societies because men are taught through eroticism to sow to their passions. Sex out of control breeds crimes of every stripe.
Porn removes a man’s will power to stay free by enslaving him. Freedom under God’s moral government can only be maintained by vigilance in self-control and self-denial.
Porn exists for financial reasons; to promote its own industry – to fish for new victims, dupes, and stooges. Porn serves the industry of prostitution by dragging men into predation and the use of prostitutes, and it degrades women actresses by drawing them into a lifestyle of harlotry.
Porn has a hardening effect upon its users. By means of its lies against God it sears the conscience by progressively deadening a man to the fear of God. Porn kills the ability to reason rationally about morality.
Porn mocks the redemptive imagery of the marriage covenant. Marriage is designed to imageChrist’s love for His Church and His mystical union with her.
Porn sets voracious forces to work in a man’s soul which hollow him out by reducing his vantage point to that of a lusting beast consumed with the erotic.
Porn sows to the ‘so what’ unbelieving attitude of cynicism that says, I’m not convinced that being sold out to holiness is truly worth it.
Building a case for obedience
As believers, our obedience is faith driven. Hebrews 3-4 uses the words faith and obedience interchangeably. It makes perfect sense then that we must feed our faith in order to obey consistently.
One key way to feed our faith is to build a case for obedience. All good preaching has the element of persuasion. Good preaching addresses the mind, the affections, the conscience, and the will.
When we learn to build a case for obedience; we are learning to preach to ourselves. Rather than providing a complete sermon to preach to self, it is the goal of this author to provide some of the categories that belong in a good ‘self sermon.’ Let the reader fill in his own particulars.
1.) List the reasons and benefits for obedience (fellowship with God, walk in the light, usefulness, joy, divine approval, blessing, maturity, etc.).
2.) List the consequences of disobedience (broken fellowship, guilt, shame, dishonor to God, character compromise, addiction, etc.).
3.) Do a detailed debriefing of the last time you failed in this area (can’t you testify to the deceptiveness of the lust involved? Weren’t the consequences greater than the pleasure?).
4.) Describe the joy that accompanies obedience to God. Unfold the arguments for why obedience puts us in a place for divine blessing.
5.) Explain to yourself how self-control fits us for spiritual leadership.
6.) Tell yourself that your patterns of self-control now are essential to be ready for the wife God has for you. List the reasons why the believer is to grow in character. Growth in character comes about by stringing together countless moments of faith and obedience.
7.) Select case histories from the Old and New Testaments of how a man’s character grew or declined based upon the absence or presence of self-control.
8.) Reiterate the priority that holiness is happiness – God has no other plan for sharing His happiness in His children but by holiness.
9.) Reflect on the strength and peace that accompany a clear conscience. Think about the remorse that has followed when the preciousness of a clear conscience was temporarily thrown away.
10.) Realize that God intends to use you mightily if you (by His power) develop a track record of putting sin to death. (Then He will allow you to use your failures and successes in the instruction of others.)
11.) Equate conformity to Christ with a willingness to live as God’s possession and reflect His moral image.
These and other truths must be preached personally in order to ‘out truth’ the lies that pornography uses in order to beguile.
Christ is our completeness
Through union with Christ the believer experiences the benefits of Christ’s cross, risen life, and intercession. When a believer has become temporarily enmeshed in pornography, the same devil that at first tempted in the direction of laxness and curiosity, now tempts the convicted believer in the direction of despair.
It is necessary to reckon completeness in Christ in order to gain the courage necessary to mortify sin. Christ is our completeness in God’s sight. Our performance is so variable – we are called to make inroads against every form of sin in our life; but Christ is the source of our relationship with God. We are to reflect upon our relationship with God as it is settled in Christ (Col 2:10).
The truth of our completeness in Christ will renew our courage to believe that Christ holds us; keeps us; and is the immutable cause of our relationship with God being secure and settled. It’s from this secure foundation that we can again reckon God’s love and fight sin again with renewed vigor.
Christ calls and commands those who belong to Him to be overcomers. All who belong to Him will overcome. The thought life reflects precisely where a man’s loyalties reside. What comes through the eye gate feeds the thought life. The thought life reflects precisely where a man’s loyalties reside. Every godly man practices daily taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor 10:5-6).
How our bodies are used clearly reflects who our master is (every person will give an account of how his or her body was used – God is the ultimate owner of our bodies –
1 Cor 6:19-20).
The self control needed to keep all of a man’s passions in check (hate, malice, anger, etc.) is closely associated with a man’s control over his sexual drives. Therefore the strength needed to rule his passions is inseparable from the self-control necessary to manage his libido.
If he is ruled by his libido; he will lose the desire to remain free. His passions will escape his control and he will be weak. The abandonment of self-control is a decision for enslavement. Either the man rules over his own spirit; or some lust or passion rules over him (Prov16:32; 25:28). All true repentance over sensuality must take the above into consideration.
It’s the believer who knows he is beloved of God; who lives as the possession of God who is best suited to make “no surrender!” his battle cry.