Porn 2

ArmorofGod-3So we left off our last post in a pretty tough spot. I posed the problem and weight of the sin of pornography. You lie to yourself and so do I, and therefore you shouldn’t trust yourself. And you not only lie to yourself, but so does the world and the Devil. The Bible says we need a new heart and mind, but we can’t change ourselves. And, according to Ephesians 6, you need armor, and spiritual and physical weapons to fight this sin. Pretty bleak, huh? You might as well be naked holding a twig while trying to fight off an entire army.

You are more desperately wicked and sinful than you ever imagined.

But you are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than you ever thought possible. Jesus is the key. Romans 7:24- 8:4 says,

“Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”

Here it comes. Who will deliver you?

“Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”url

If you know and love Jesus, you can be free of this terrible addiction. There IS hope of deliverance. Jesus will not stop until He has all of you. C.H. Spurgeon says it this way: “My trust is not that I am holy, but that being unholy, He is my righteousness. My faith rests not upon what I am, or shall be, or feel, or know, but in what Christ is, in what He has done, and in what He is now doing for me. On the lion of justice the fair maid of hope rides like a queen.” Jesus is the one who saves, and He is also the one who sustains.

You need to begin to wrap your mind around this. You need to figure out your motivation for this, too. If you hate your porn addiction because you want to be in ministry and this ” is frowned upon in ministry,” if you are afraid of being caught, if this is tearing up your marriage and you just want it fixed, if porn is ravaging your life and is painful and you just want to feel better… these may be realities, but not motivations. These are indicators that your life is not in line with your Creator. Jesus is making you miserable so that YOU WILL LOOK TO AND PURSUE HIM. The fear of sin and death and hell and judgement are not persuasive enough to keep you from sin. Your guilt trips and self-condemnation won’t be enough. And even if you do somehow will yourself to stop looking at porn and change your actions, your “obedience” will lead to pride and idolatry, and your heart and mind have still not been renewed. Only by beholding Him, His beauty, His grace, His provision, and His undying affection and furious love of His children, will your heart be changed. As Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847) wrote, it is The Expulsive Power of a New Affection. Your mind needs to be renewed by bathing in God’s love, Word, and truth. It is not until you taste the Filet Mignon of the Gospel that you realize you have been eating mud cakes all this time. Not until you see the Pacific Ocean do you realize how small and pathetic your above-ground pool is. God has a way of being bigger, more glorious and beautiful and terrifying and full of love than our little brains can comprehend.

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As a believer in Jesus Christ, the sting (the power) of sin and death have been removed. You are no longer under the lordship of sin. It is no longer your master. Jesus is your master, and He is constantly wooing you and gaining ground in your heart so that you can STAND. The Ephesians 6:10-18 and Romans 5:1-11 talk about standing.

We are meant to “Stand” in the Gospel. What does this mean? How do you spiritually stand in the Gospel? Isn’t it interesting how  Ephesians 6 talks about battling sin in terms of the Bible, salvation, the gospel of peace, righteousness, truth ….? Stand, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace as shoes for your feet. You stand in the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ. Isn’t it interesting that in Deuteronomy 6, when talking about the Greatest Commandment, God commands His people to put His words “on their hearts,” on their door frames, hands, foreheads, and gates? God is telling His people to surround ourselves with God’s word and promises. You need to know what God says about lust and know what He promises to those who need deliverance. You need to be constantly surrounded by the Gospel, and you need to preach the Gospel to yourself daily, hourly. So here you go:url

  • Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. – Colossians 3:5 
  • Finally, then, brothers,we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you. – 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
  • Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. – 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
  • They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. – 2 Peter 2:19
  • You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. – James 4:4
  • Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. – Psalm 51:6
  • “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 lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. – Matthew 5:27-28
  • “I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin? – Job 31:1
  • My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for he will pluck my feet out of the net. – Psalm 25:15
  • Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. – Psalm 51:10
  • I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me. A perverse heart shall be far from me; I will know nothing of evil. – Psalm 101:3-4
  • Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! – Psalm 139:23-24
  • Keep your heart with all vigilance,  for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil. – Proverbs 4:23-27 
  • Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. – Isaiah 1:16-17
  • I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12:1-2
  • Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. – 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
  • Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. – 1 Corinthians 6:16-20

  • No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13
  • The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Corinthians 15:56-57
  • For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ – 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
  • But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
  • Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. – Philippians 4:8-9

worship

PRAY – So pray. Pray through these verses. Ask, plead, beg God to change your heart, renew your mind, and save you from yourself. Ask Him to do what you cannot do – save yourself. Ask Him for conviction of sin, a heart of repentance, and a desire for His holiness. Seek Him while He may be found. We pray because we cannot do the things we need to survive in this life. We pray because we can’t do what needs to be done. We are weak, wretched, small, and broken.

But God is big, powerful, mighty to save. And He tells us, commands us, to pray to Him, to speak to Him, to listen to Him. It is for situations like these (massive addictions, where you are powerless to stop) that prayer makes the most sense, doesn’t it? Surely you have realized that you need Him by now. Surely you know that you are not powerful, but powerless. He is enough. He is all-powerful. He is able. Ask, beg, plead for Him to be willing.

FAST – Time and time again throughout the scriptures, God calls His people to fast. Whether after sinning, while seeking God’s will, when repenting … God’s people fast. Jesus, before He starts His earthly ministry, fasts for 40 days. Jesus. God’s Son fasts so that He can focus all His thought, time, and energy on God. Jesus. Isn’t that fascinating, and just a little bit convicting?

Fasting is a way of telling God that “I don’t need ______ (fill in the blank – food, coffee, TV, iPhone, entertainment, etc.), I need you, God.” I don’t live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of God’s mouth. His Word, His truth, is my nourishment, my food, my satisfaction. By denying yourself and your control, you make room for God to show you how in control and abundant He truly is.

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WAIT – God is not bound by time. He doesn’t have a smartphone, calendars, reminders, sticky notes, or a watch. God IS reality, and therefore does not operate how you want or think you need Him to. So pursue Him and press into Him and hold onto Him and beg and plead with Him, and ask and seek and knock … and then shut up for a while. I mean this in the nicest way possible, truly. While I don’t agree with much of his philosophy or theology, Thomas Merton once said that the biggest enemy of the modern Christian is “Efficiency.” Think about that. God doesn’t fit into your day, your schedule, your plan, or your agenda. You are His, get it? He owns you. You are in His plan and agenda. He snaps His wrist and your life ends. One day, the floor will drop out from underneath you and it will either be the Everlasting Arms, or nothing at all, so don’t pretend that it is otherwise. If you have a patience problem and want blessings and provision and healing now, maybe you need to contemplate eternity for a while. Get your mind wrecked by that concept, because eternity is where God is … right now.

GET HELP – Recovery, counseling, accountability. Do all the things you know you should be doing. Confess this. Get it out into the open. Tell your roommates. Tell your spouse. Get help. Go to a biblical counselor, approach a staff member at your church. Put yourself in a position to be vulnerable, honest, and transparent, because when you stop hiding is when healing begins. The degree to which you will be honest and open is the degree to which you will pursue healing. Make sure whatever you submit to is biblical. God is the only One who can heal you, so if you are being pointed towards self-help, self-discovery, self-actualization, or just given a list of “To Do’s” and “Don’ts,” that is not the Gospel. Get biblical help.

Whew. That’s all for today. My next and last post on this topic will be extremely practical. But it won’t make a dent or a difference if you are not pursuing Jesus. So press into Him now. Right now.

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