Over the next few weeks we will have several guest blog posts from Jonathan LaFleur, Lead Pastor at First Southern Baptist Church, Terre Haute, IN. http://www.fsouthern.org/ You can follow him on Twitter: @joenate_lafleur
We are living in an era of unprecedented access to sexually explicit material. There was once a day when, in order to view it, you had to go to an “adult shop” or to a “gentleman’s club” or purchase television programming for “mature audiences.” By the way, there is nothing adult, gentlemanly, or mature about pornography – those descriptors are ironic and completely false. These days, all one has to do is a google search on his computer or smartphone and the opportunity for sin is present.
When you consider the fact that men are sexually charged by visual stimulation, the ubiquity of overly sexualized images in television and advertising, the immodesty of modern fashion, and availability of pornography at the push of a button, we have a recipe for disaster. More Christian men, even men in the ministry, are struggling with sexual purity than ever before. In these fallen bodies we wear, the battle for purity will be a fight to the finish. What can men today do to conquer the besetting sin of viewing pornography?
- Spend daily time in the Word and in prayer– the apostle Paul tells us, “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16). To walk by the Spirit means to be yielded to, filled with, and led by the Spirit of God. This is essential for holiness in all aspects of life because we must rely on the strength of God as He lives His life through us, otherwise we fail. Begin your day with the Lord, hearing Him speak to you through His Word and speaking to Him in prayer. Let your relationship with God be the source of your strength to fight against all that God hates.
- Memorize Scripture to help you conquer lust – when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, He conquered every temptation thrown at Him by Satan, not with will power or strength of character, but with Bible verses! He didn’t just throw out random verses either – He used specific verses that countered the temptations He faced. Sexual immorality (porneia) was pervasive in the world of the New Testament, so there are many verses that speak against lust and sexual sin that you can keep in your battle arsenal (Matt. 5:27-28; 1 Cor. 6:19-20; Col. 3:5; 1 Thes. 4:3-5). Hide these verses in your heart so that you might not sin against God (Ps. 119:11).
- Limit idle time – there’s an old cliché that says, “Old clichés are old clichés for a reason.” Old sayings become cliché because they contain within them universal, self-evident truth that almost anyone can relate to. Here’s one that holds true: idle hands are the devil’s workshop. One way you can battle the temptation of pornography is by limiting the time you have to engage in it. Makes sense right? Get busy doing some good in your home, church, or community so that you will not be spending vast amounts of time in front of the television or computer idly allowing your mind to wander into sin. The sins of laziness and lust are allies in this war – kill them both with the bullet of activity.
- Set guardrails in your life – you really need to ask yourself an important question – “When and where am I weakest to this temptation?” Where do you fall off the road toward holiness? My guess is that you are most tempted when you are alone with your computer, phone, or television – just a guess! Here are some guardrail ideas for you: put accountability software on your computer (such as Covenant Eyes, which I use); turn your phone off when you go home and spend time with your family; don’t watch television by yourself (if your wife goes to bed, go with her); cut the cord on the channels or streaming services that have sexual material. These are just a few ideas. Are they extreme? Maybe, but here’s another cliché for you – desperate times call for desperate measures.
Next week we will look at four more steps you can take to help guard your heart and mind in the battle against pornography.