Pornography

God designs sexual relations between a man and a woman within marriage for love and procreation of children. Pornography distorts this view. 
Unfortunately, people eventually stumble across porn on the computer at some stage, while others intentionally search for pornography. ‘Pornography’s growth has been extraordinary ……. and is the fourth most common reason people give for going online’ (Doidge MD, Norman. The Brain That Changes Itself). People are marketing porn to make substantial financial gains at other people’s expense, particularly women’s exploitation. 
‘Soft porn’ and ‘hard porn’ have become so bad that ‘hard porn’ is now like ‘soft porn’. Even if you stumble onto one undesirable website, ‘cookies’ may lead you to other harmful sites. 
Opening up to gaze at these sexual experiences is most destructive, potentially leading to addictive behaviour, destroying ministries, relationships and marriages alike. 
Christian workers are not exempt from these temptations. Spending time in isolation and preparing talks on the computer can make us more vulnerable. Loneliness is not uncommon in our work. That again, opens us up to fleeting pleasure, eventually leading down pathways of destruction.
There is hope, however, as we hunger and thirst to live God’s way. Here are my thoughts providing a pathway of escape. 

Biblical perspective
Scripture records many accounts where people fell into sin through the lust of their eyes (1 John 2:16). For example, David and Bathsheba (2 Sam 11: 1ff), Solomon (1 Kings 11:4), Samson (Judges 14:1 ff) etc.  
So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Cor 10: 12,13
‘Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death’ 2 Cor 7:10.  
‘When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having cancelled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.’ Col 2: 13,14. Celebrate forgiveness!

Observations

  1. Many people addicted to porn hate it but can’t break free from it.
  2. Porn is associated with shame and guilt. Refer to my blog on Dark Secrets below.     
  3. Research indicates that people addicted to porn are often unable to have a good sexual relationship with their spouse. 
  4. Deliverance comes through Christ (1 Cor 15:57) and the mind’s renewal (Romans 12:2).  A favourite quote is, ‘there’s a purity in Christ which cannot be defiled’. Remember that forgiveness and grace come through Christ. You are greatly loved. Here are some helpful thoughts in overcoming an addiction to porn:

    a. It would be best if you have a strong desire for freedom (Psalm 42:1). Ask God for that desire if you don’t have it; He loves honesty. While recently sitting in a doctor’s waiting room, I read the following, ‘what comes easy won’t last. What lasts won’t come easy’.  
    b. Pray hard, confessing your sin to God and by regularly making yourself accountable to someone. Please talk about the difficult stuff and don’t gloss over it.
    c. Discipline yourself to live in the Word. (Psalm 119:9). Reading and meditating on it every day means you will be fruitful in your ministry, (Psalm 1). (Read my blog on ‘sexual purity’.) 
    d. ‘Neuroplasticity’ is a term used to show that the brain is not hard-wired, meaning we can alter wrong thinking and create wholesome habits. Both Caroline Leaf and Norman Doldge give excellent insight on this subject (below).
    e. Flee lustful thoughts at the initial stage of temptation as Joseph did, when confronted by Potiphar’s wife (Genesis 39:11,12). Work out now your strategy for coping with wrongful thoughts so that when temptations come, you can implement them immediately. For example, decide beforehand to go for a walk, run, swim or bike ride. Read a good book or ring up someone for a chat or go visiting. Do something you enjoy doing and make every effort to have downtime from your computer. If that is difficult, shift your computer into a room where others mix.
    f. Do not fantasise sexual encounters with others, even a little bit.
    g. The need to view porn is not always about sexual pleasure but an indication of a need for intimacy. Joining a small group for fellowship, transparency, accountability and Bible study can help meet that need. When this happens it is a little like what AA does for alcoholics.
    h. There are computer software programmes around which allow others to view the sites you visit on your computer. Programmes like this are an excellent brake to prevent you from visiting unhealthy sites.

If you are married, should you tell your spouse about your addiction? This is a difficult question to answer, and you need wisdom from God to make the right decision. If you do tell your spouse, then their response is sometimes a feeling of betrayal and disappointment. In the worst case, your marriage may end, depending on the severity of the situation. Still, on the positive side, it may clear your conscience and eventually draw you closer together. Again, seek wise counsel.

Life is tough. It nevertheless has its rewards, and there is still purpose and hope for us all within His kingdom as we walk towards Jesus. Praise His name!

Resources
‘Valiant man’ course, by Dr Allan Meyers
Switch On Your Brain, By Caroline Leaf
The Brain that changes itself, by Norman Doldge MD *
Dark secrets  https://firstfruitsministries.org.nz/blog-subjects/dark-secrets
Sexual purity  https://firstfruitsministries.org.nz/blog-subjects/sexual-purity

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