A little while back, an article suggested that the explosion of Internet porn is to blame for young people abandoning Christianity. Of course, it’s doubtful you’ll hear a sermon about it on Sunday. It’s not a comfortable topic, but comfort level has nothing to do with something’s importance. Does pornography keep people from a relationship with God?
Well, looking at porn is definitely a sin. No, there isn’t a “Thou shalt not look at porn” commandment, but Jesus did say “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28). So, since gazing at porn is a sin, how do we approach it?
First things first: you have to get ready. 1 Peter 5:8 says “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” Satan is all about trying to destroy you. His future destruction has been decreed (Revelation 20:10), and he wants to take everyone down with the ship. Pornography is just one of the many temptations he uses to destroy people unsuspectingly. After all, when it comes to porn, most people wink and take a “whatever you do in the privacy of your own home” attitude. The bad news? Porn objectifies women, creates unrealistic expectations in relationships and, above all, it keeps people distant from God. Jesus said “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other” (Matthew 6:24). You cannot serve two masters. You can’t serve God and lust at the same time.
Now that you know what to expect, it’s time to resist. 1 Peter 5:9 says “But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.” If there’s any consolation about temptation, it’s that we’ve all been there. The best way to avoid sin, is to avoid temptation. Like Jesus said, “If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you” (Matthew 5:30). Getting rid of any porn, making it difficult to access and finding an accountability partner are all practical steps to take if you’re struggling with addiction. That said, the most important step is being rooted in the Word of God. When Satan tempted Jesus, the Lord responded to every one of Satan’s temptations with Scripture. If it is good for Jesus, it’s good for us. Pray for God to give you the strength to resist, and get in His Word. He will carry you, but if you stumble, God can restore.
1 Peter 5:10 says “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” If through unwatchfulness or temptation we give in to sin, God has given us this delightful promise: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). If we admit our wrongs to God, He will forgive us and cleanse us so that we may “Go, and sin no more” (John 8:11).