Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Hey, Porn Addict: Stop It


It's late as I'm writing this. I just finished an article from someone -- a sound teacher, plenty of credentials, reputable website -- offering five points in a tidy little acronym for how to fight a porn addiction. Honestly, I didn't read the whole thing. I browsed it. I read the main points in bold. I'm sure it was insightful and doctrinally sound. But it was over-thought and cute.

A porn addiction isn't cute. It's serious. Dead serious. With a capital D. As in, if you don't stop this, it will kill you. When it comes to looking at porn, there's a simple solution for ending this lurid obsession with the flesh. You won't even have to take notes or remember a cutesy acronym. Here it is:

Stop looking at porn.

It's that simple, and you know it. You know what you're doing is evil. You know God hates it. You know He is going to judge all the sexually immoral and throw them in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. Because of what you're doing, you're qualified to be among that lot. You will go to hell for this if you don't repent. You know it.

Unless, of course -- God forbid -- you've become so enslaved by your lust that you don't know it's wrong anymore. You've reasoned it as being okay. Just a thing. Not hurting anyone. It's not actually sex. It's not actually adultery. There are worse things you could be doing. No big deal. In which case God has already turned you over to a debased mind to be devoured and destroyed by your passions. You've suppressed the truth with unrighteousness. God save you.

But if that part of you, by the Holy Spirit of God, is still convicted by this sin and you know you need to stop, then you need to hear me. Stop. You know it's evil, demonic, satanic, and you know that you need to end it. So end it. Right now. Cold turkey. Just stop. Stop looking at porn.

Easier said that done, right? You've tried before. It didn't work. You went right back to looking at porn again. Do you know why? Because you don't really want to stop. Because you'd rather look at naked women on a screen than worship God. Point blank, that's your problem.

You like the feeling of watching sex and masturbating more than you enjoy worshiping God. Ultimately, that's what's going to destroy you -- idol worship. You worship something else, something you don't want to stop doing, more than God. You are bowing to an idol, sacrificing on an altar to a false god.

There's really no difference between what you're doing and the what the pagans did. They had fertility gods and sex gods and goddesses. They built temples for them. Employed at those temples were priestess prostitutes with whom they would have sex on altars to made-up gods. Well, in your porn habit, you've raised up such an altar and are sacrificing on it with prostitutes. You're doing the same thing. You yourself are acting as a whore, cheating on the God who gave His Son to die for your sin.

Jesus said that if you even look at a woman with lust, you've committed adultery with her in your heart (Matthew 5:28). You know that verse. Sermon on the Mount stuff, right? You've heard it before. But you still think it's just not that big a deal. Do you know what will happen if you don't repent? You'll be among those at the final judgment who are crying out to Him, "Lord! Lord!" but He says to you, "I never knew you. Depart from me, you worker of lawlessness" (Matthew 7:21-23).

I think you know what you should be doing, but I'm going to tell you anyway. It is the power of the gospel that saves, and faith comes by hearing. So here's what you should do: When you are tempted to look at porn, you worship God instead. The more the temptation seizes you, the more you pray, call on His name, sing His praises, worship God. Be in the Bible and let His word govern your heart. Beg for His mercy. Cry out for deliverance. And He will give it to you.

Fall on the ground. Bawl your eyes out if you have to. Be wretched, mourn, and weep. Worship God. You stop the awful, filthy, disgusting habit you've been doing and you behold the beautiful love, grace, and mercy of God, given to us through His Son Jesus Christ, who paid for sins such as these with His own blood, who resurrected us from death and darkness into His life and marvelous light. Repent. Worship Him.

Is your computer too tempting? Get rid of it. "But I need it to pay bills!" Write checks. Images popping up on your smart phone? Throw it away. "But I need it to make phone calls!" They still make landlines and cordless phones. Get one of those. Are there television programs that tempt you? Get rid of your TV. "But football!" Well, that might be an idol too, then.

Can't keep your eyes off those risque Netflix shows? Cancel your subscription. "But my wife loves Netflix!" Then you explain it to her. You apologize for your adultery. You beg for her forgiveness. You tell her this is your fault. You make sure she knows it's not hers. She's going to feel betrayed, lied to, cheated on. And she's right: you've betrayed, lied, and cheated. You've had affairs with other women. Countless women. And you don't even know who they are.

You've still got to tell her. You must be honest with her. For your body doesn't belong to just you. It belongs to her also. And this is what you've done with it. No matter how long it takes, you aspire to win back this woman's trust. Tell her you're willing to do anything possible to never be overtaken by this sin again. Lay your life down for her. Sacrifice yourself for her.

If you're a single man, you are no less off the hook. Your porn addiction is still sin before a holy and righteous God. It will destroy you if you don't repent. You do everything you have to do to remove it from your eyes. If your eye causes you to sin, then you cut it out and throw it away. It's better to lose a member of your body than to have your whole body thrown into hell (Matthew 5:29).

Are your friends bad influences? Get new friends. Is your church cool with this kind of sin? Then you get a new church. Go where the gospel is preached, and go often. Confess to brothers in Christ who know how to pray for you and admonish you and hold you accountable. These are brothers who love you. "Let a righteous man strike me -- it is a kindness. Let him rebuke me -- it is oil for my head. Let my head not refuse it" (Psalm 141:5).

Pray for a heart that is convicted by sin. Do not ever let this overtake you again. Be a new man in Christ. You are a new creation -- the old is gone, the new has come. Worship, worship, worship Christ the King! For He has dealt bountifully with you. He did not destroy you when you were an enemy of God, worshiping things other than God. He was patient toward you, not wanting you to perish, but to come to repentance.

Take it from someone who knows. I'm guilty of this sin. By the grace of God, He didn't destroy me in it. I've been washed, I've been sanctified, I've been justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. I'm still being sanctified. I'm still being shaped into the image of His Son, growing in righteousness and holiness. I will not complete this process until the day I enter into glory with Him.

I want to submit myself fully to God -- mind and body -- as we are instructed to do in the Scriptures: "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" (Romans 12:1). "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 6:19-20).

Ask God for a new mind and He will give it to you. Ask Him for a new heart and it will be yours. Ask Him for forgiveness and He is faithful and just to cleanse you from all unrighteousness, according to the sacrifice of Christ and the shedding of His blood on our behalf.

Then go. And sin no more.