Paul's Passing Thoughts

Overcoming Pornography

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 15, 2013

ppt-jpeg4“But in regard to marriage, we soon see how efficacious it is that husband and wife are joint heirs of the cross who work hard at protecting each other from sin. A marriage that wanders from this focus is on the brink of destruction.”  

I’m not much for statistics, but unfortunately, all in all, it is probably true that 50% of men in church congregations are held in bondage by porn. As an aside, let me dismiss that it is primarily a male problem because men are visual beings and women are creatures of the heart. Ever heard of Playgirl Magazine? It’s in business for a reason, and it’s not funded by the government.

Unfortunately, the primary cure that will be propagated in our day is Reformed gospel contemplationism. NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) will also be applied, and though it has some credence, it is really just saying the same thing that the Bible states about habituation. Is NLP the biological explanation? Perhaps. But it’s neither here nor there in the biblical scheme apart from adding some confirming points of interest. Yes, I’m primarily a Biblicist at heart.

From a practical standpoint, porn is sanctified window peeping. It also reduces other human beings to mere objects of pleasure. It focuses on the TEMPERARY pleasure, and ignores unpleasant realities such as, post guilt, and that’s some other guy’s daughter. A man who has a daughter would be depriving himself of pleasure if he thought of that. By the way, all of these practical realities have a place in the process as we shall see later. But it is what it is: for the most part, men with young daughters wouldn’t want them to grow up and be porn stars, but yet they engage in porn. But if your daughter was a porn star, would you want other men looking at her? In addition, would you want them masturbating to pictures of your daughter? Does this come under the realm of do to others as you want them to do (or not do) to you? It’s a rhetorical question.

Porn is in the realm of temporary pleasure which can be a very powerful realm. In many cases, random acts of murder are perpetrated by those who want to feel what it is like to murder someone. They are so curious about what the experience would be like that they are willing to throw their whole life away, and the life of someone else in order to experience it for a moment in time. The Bible has a simple and very general word for it: desire. In cases where people like the experience and are exhilarated by the power that it gives them; i.e., the power to give or take life, they continue and are at least in part known as serial killers. The Temporary Pleasure Club can be a sorted lot indeed. I insert these particular thoughts in regard to desire which we will plug in later on.

Furthermore, if you are married, it’s adultery. You are having sex in your heart with other women. If your wife finds out, the respect level in the marriage only drops 80% if you are lucky. Granted, something wrong in the marriage could have tempted you into porn, but that decision has just made the marriage worse than it was. Let me drop in the fact that specific struggles like porn are rarely a problem in and of themselves. Sometimes, men who are angry at God because of their marriage will masturbate as a temper tantrum before God and porn is just a facilitator. In other words, the problem goes way deeper than porn itself.

Moreover, porn violates the conscience for all of the aforementioned reasons and more, but the desire is often stronger than the guilty feelings. But the continual violation of your conscience leads to all kinds of mental health issues like paranoia, anxiety, and ultimately depression. Mark it: this is not always the case, but the possibility must be eliminated; that is, some sort of violation of the conscience is causing the former. Severe anxiety can be manifested in a husband who wants to confess to his wife, but fears the consequences. The New Testament is replete with calls to keep a clear conscience before God.

Porn can fit into these examples in a number of different ways. But in regard to marriage, we soon see how efficacious it is that husband and wife are joint heirs of the cross who work hard at protecting each other from sin. A marriage that wanders from this focus is on the brink of destruction. The most prevalent distraction seems to be child-centeredness.

Now, the cross-centered crowd would be offended because thus far I have not mentioned the most important thing of all: “God is offended!” “The sin is against God alone!” True, but we fight a powerful foe that we will discuss further along, and the fiery darts of desire drown those concerns to a muffle. Nurturing a healthy fear and love for God does not happen by itself. The fact that God is God and God alone in our hearts is the result of putting off the old man and putting on Christ. Pounding the pulpit with the fiery unction of God’s holiness will merely fall on a soul that can barely hear it. They know it far less than they ever have.

As you can see, the porn problem can be deep waters. This post will cover the fundamentals only. In order for someone to overcome porn, they must have a proper understanding of the gospel. They might understand enough about the gospel to be saved, but they may not understand all that they signed up for. The gospel is many-faceted, and there is a gospel that those entrapped by porn need to understand. I used to be an alarm technician which involved being in many different homes. I was in one home where there was only a narrow path throughout the whole house. Legs of the path would terminate at essential locations: stove; bed; toilet; etc. The rest of the space was taken up by porn magazines stacked neatly all the way up to the ceilings. This illustration should suffice: porn is addictive and holds one in serious bondage. But for the internet, many more homes like this would be visible.

When we understand that our sins were imputed to Christ, we should also understand that the old us died with Christ along with our bondage to sin. We were then resurrected with Christ to new life and new creaturehood. Part and parcel with new creaturehood is a mind enslaved to the law (Romans 7:5, 8:3-11). A Christian committed to Christ signed up to be enslaved to righteousness. They said “yes” to a desire to be enslaved to God’s righteous law. They said “yes” to the new birth.

They also recognize that this puts them under grace and they will never be judged by the law for salvation. While enslaved by sin, they were also under a future judgment according to the law. They now receive righteousness apart from the law and will never be judged by it, but the new birth compels them to be a vessel in which the law is upheld through us. It is a choice to be free from habitual sin and our righteousness judged by the law versus being a slave to righteousness and not under the law’s judgment (Romans 6:11-14).

This is where you start with someone who has come to you for help in regard to porn. Right now, they are foolishly presenting their members to sin as if still enslaved by it. Many men who are enslaved to porn are unaware of this dynamic because theology is not taught in the churches. They are being enslaved unnecessarily, and to their own destruction. You have just taught them their true identity. They are either in or out. In most cases, they are in. Most men who seek help for porn aren’t looking for excuses, they really want out.

Now they have to understand how that’s done. Other causes are considered later. Unfortunately, the internal warfare between the flesh and our new creaturehood is denied in most churches today. Either the sanctification dynamic is ignored, or redefined as two realms in which righteousness is manifested through gospel contemplationism. This is why I believe the 50% statistic. Sin cannot be overcome with an erroneous sanctification construct. This will cause sin to be rampant in the church.

Though the power of sin to enslave us is broken, it makes a strong appeal through desires.

In other words, the sinful flesh tempts us through a specific anti-law lust. It may be a remnant of the lust that dominated the old us that is provoked by the law (Romans 7:8-11). The Christian is beckoned to obey desires on two fronts: that of the flesh and that of the new creature. The power of the former enslavement is broken and replaced with enslavement to the law (ROM 7:25). Hence, we are empowered to say no to the sinful desires:

Romans 6:11 – So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

When pornographic desires come calling, the Christian needs to say no. These desires come from the flesh, NOT THE HEART, and can be intensified by giving nourishment to the flesh:

Romans 13: 14 – But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

Giving provisions to the flesh will intensify pornographic desires and make it more difficult to serve the law of our renewed mind. Walking in the Spirit is following the desires of the Spirit. Of course, all of this is informed by the law of God; i.e., the Bible. The brother who thinks he is enslaved to porn must start making new life investments. Jesus stated that where our treasure is, our heart will be there also. He must begin to treasure the desires of the Spirit and despise the desires of the flesh. He must starve the flesh.

This is where the love and hate of Romans 12:9 must be considered:

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.

If you wanted to learn to hate your wife, what would you do? You would ignore her. You would focus on her negatives. You would forget everything good about her. You would simply stop investing. You would stop nourishing your love for her. You would make it more difficult for her to love you, etc. Men must learn to hate porn and learn to love their wives instead. They must use the energy they are investing in porn and invest it in their wives. This isn’t a placebo game. Whenever they think of porn, they need to think of the things mentioned at the beginning of this post and more. What’s good about porn? For a short time it’s the exhilaration of  porno-desire; evil dressed in excitement. It’s the proverbial beautiful vampiress. It’s the voluptuous prostitute leading the dumb ox to the slaughter. It’s the wolf lapping on the Eskimo blood lollipop with a sharp knife for the stick. Wisdom quickly shows the brother that porn is easy to hate.

This is what accountability does (2Timothy 2:22). It cuts off provisions until the sinful desire is on the ground gasping for breath and dying of starvation. When the desire is a weak, whimpering temptation. The discipler will educate the crippled brother in regard to how sin tempts as discussed here, and will set up accountability measures as well. He will also help the brother to plan a new strategy for life investment.

These are the basics. One must always remember that pornography affects all other areas of life as well. For instance, alcoholism can be the product of pornography as a way to medicate a guilty conscience. Your help will be a journey, and you both will be the better for it in all areas of life.


2 Responses

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  1. paulspassingthoughts said, on March 15, 2013 at 5:18 PM

    Reblogged this on Clearcreek Chapel Watch.


  2. Jo said, on March 15, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    Excellent, Paul. Thank you.


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