Q&A: Pernicious Pornography: A Pulpit and Pew Pandemic

Pernicious Pornography: A Pulpit and Pew Pandemic

Question

Is it ok to look at porn? It’s not called a sin in the Bible.

Answer

We should be very thankful for the question above. It’s imperative that the church talks more about this often-hidden sin inside the church. How else are we to bear one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:1-5) and encourage each another (Heb. 3:13)? It’s time to open up and get real about both our personal sin and about God.

Porn: A Sin Most Don’t Like to Speak About

I have answered theological questions for Thirdmill since 2006. In sixteen years, I have been privileged to literally have answered thousands upon thousands of questions. However, I can count on one hand how many questions have been asked about pornography. We’ve spoken about other sins hundreds of times, why not this one? Much shame and stigma are rightfully attached to such a sin.

Life experience has taught most of us that people normally don’t like to discuss what they’ve done wrong, much less about what they are presently doing wrong. I suspect that porn, with all its shameful tentacles, is much more prevalent and secretly accepted within the Christian community than may even be imagined. Like Achan, many are hiding their idols (porn) under their tents (Josh. 7:1, 11). However, each of us will give an account of himself to God.

Porn: A Significant Problem

What is porn? According to Wiki, "Pornography (often shortened to porn) is the portrayal of sexual subject matter for the exclusive purpose of sexual arousal," [1] (though we shall see below that the Bible goes further with its definition of lust). What does it look like? The phrase, "I know it when I see it" was coined in 1964 by United States Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart to describe his threshold test for obscenity. [2] But while accurate to a degree, it doesn’t go far enough. It’s not what Stewart says about porn that ultimately matters, it’s what God says!

Porn has existed since the Fall of Man. In the Old Testament, we read about the Asherim or Asherah poles or groves (Exod. 34:13; Deut. 7:5; 12:3; 16:21; Judg. 3:7, etc.). These were Canaanite religious statues used to worship the Ugaritic mother-goddess Asherah. Some of these were rather sexually charged statues. Thousands of years later in Paul’s day, the cult of Aphrodite promoted prostitution. Aphrodite was often depicted as nude or half-nude. Sexuality and nudity were religious symbols of Aphrodite. These statues and what they represented were a form of porn in their day.

Today porn is very prominent. It is on billboards, TV, music videos, even some cartoons (hentai) and video games (eroge). We observe it on the cover of books and magazines and even in the way some dress, and the Internet itself is a cesspool of pornography. Porn is an idol of the heart. It is a fervent ungodly lust.

Every Second:

  • 28,258 users are watching pornography on the internet.

  • $3,075.64 is being spent on pornography on the internet.

  • 372 people are typing the word "adult" into a search engine.

Every Day:

  • 37 pornographic videos are created in the United States.

  • 2.5 billion emails containing porn are sent or received.

  • 68 million search queries related to pornography – 25% of total searches – are generated.

  • 116,000 queries related to child pornography are received. [3]

Pornography is very addictive and is rampant in the world today. Let’s pull no punches. Sex was created as an expression of God-designed love in the Garden of Eden, but since then it has been twisted and turned by many into a gross perversion. Biblical sex has been replaced with lusts of various sorts. Porn is an influential force behind sinful masturbation. [4] And it affects both non-Christians and Christians alike.

Porn: It Isn’t Victimless

Porn isn’t just about bits and bytes, it’s about real lives. As a former homicide detective, I’ve worked not only in murder cases but also in child molestations, rapes and kidnappings. All crimes have victims. Porn is a crime against others and God himself.

Marriages and families are destroyed by pornography!

Porn fuels the sex trade, a multi-billion-dollar worldwide operation. Pornography builds a demand for the exploitation of children, women and men to act out sexual fantasies for their respective audiences. Strip clubs, street prostitution and escort services are all energized by the porn industry. Illegal drugs, weapons, kidnappings and violence are all part of the trade.

The rape culture is also fueled by pornography. In some courts, the victims of rape are re-raped on cross-examination by a defense attorney during trial. Society often blames the victims of sexual assault which helps normalize sexual violence as a cultural norm.

Child porn is also not without its victims. Children are forced into various sexual situations, from homosexuality to bestiality to physical injury. Abuse, molestation, STDs, feelings of shame, unworthiness, confusion. Children are terribly victimized.

Images placed on the internet will never be fully erased. They continue to be passed on from one person to another. Once you are a victim of porn, that victimization never ends.

Porn: A Lust Problem

Porn is one of the most accessed types of media on the Internet. Google and the like have become like the new Playboy; flip a page and see a different photo or video. "Pornhub, one of the most visited and well-known portals in the world, is behind Google and Facebook, ahead of Microsoft and Apple, and has more traffic than Netflix or Amazon." [5] Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, a Harvard-trained economist and former Google data scientist, writes, "Men Google more questions about their sexual organ than any other body part: more than about their lungs, liver, feet, ears, nose, throat and brain combined." [6] And did you notice how all is being tracked? But, Google’s eyes aren’t the only ones at work. God has been tracking such sin since the Fall (Num. 32:23).

Though media sources that drive much of this perversion are rather new, the lust behind porn isn’t. The Greek word for lust, porneia, occurs 25 times in the New Testament. Its original meaning meant "to prostitute." However, by New Testament times it had a much broader meaning and included adultery, pedophilia, homosexuality, lesbianism, incest, fornication and bestiality. It essentially is a catch-all term for all types of illicit sexual behavior. (See Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament, Kittel’s, etc.)

Biblically, lust can be defined as any desire for something that God has forbidden. Eve lusted while in the garden for fruit that God had said to not eat (Gen. 2:16-17). Samson lusted for prostitutes (Judg. 16:1-3). Even the rich and famous were affected. While Bathsheba was purifying herself (2 Sam. 11:4; cf. Lev. 15:18-30), she (inadvertently?) put on a rooftop porn show for King David. His lust was stirred. This led to adultery and the death of Bathsheba’s own husband. It also brought temporary judgments upon David’s own house—including, but not limited to, the death of his very own son (2 Sam. 11:2-5, 14-15; 12:13-14).

Just a lustful glance is all it takes. Lustful? Yes, a lustful glance. Medical doctors, surgeons, morticians, etc., may look at nude bodies all day long and never fall into sin. It’s not the act of looking that destroys, it’s the intent and what the mind and heart does with the seen material that does! As James 1:14-15 says, "But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death." When the heart awakens to lust, it brings forth sin. As Jesus stated, "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person …" (Matt. 5:19-20). See, "How does temptation work?" below.

Lust is a prevalent sin. From the pulpit to the pew, there is no doubt that porn is used within the church. The founder of Calvary Chapel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 1985, stepped down after admitting to adultery and watching porn. [7] In 2018, a man in Little Rock, Arkansas, was found with child porn in his Bible. [8] Through the Holy Spirit, John spoke to the church about the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes (1 John 2:16). Paul speaks of two types of homosexuals (i.e. 1 Cor. 6:9-10, NKJV) – active (arsenokoites) and passive ( malakos) and other sexual sins (1 Cor. 5:1-2; 6:12-20; 10:1-12; 2 Cor. 12:21, etc.) at the church at Corinth. Paul counseled the church in Rome stating, "I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification" (Rom. 6:19). Did you see those words "impurity" and "lawlessness"? Porn is extremely addictive (cf. 2 Pet. 2:19). It is enslaving and destructive (cf. Prov. 6:25-28; Eph. 4:19). And ignoring it may not only have temporal consequences but eternal ones as well (1 Cor. 6:9-12; Rev. 21:27).

Lust is a sin and a significant enemy.

Porn: Forgiveness at the Cross

"Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Heb. 4:16). Pornography is not the unpardonable sin. Porn is not an unforgiveable sin. Christ has taken the full punishment of such sin for his people—and them alone. While it is very offensive to God (and others), it is a serious sin that can and should be confessed, repented of, and overcome (1 John 1:9).

Porn: A Religion of Just Don’ts Won’t Work

Foundations are important (cf. Matt. 7:24-27). A home built upon a solid foundation, like a rock, will stand, but one built upon a non-solid one, like sinking sand, will not. While saying no to sin is vitally necessary and important, the supporting foundation of why and how we say no is just as important. Paul states in Colossians 2:20-23:

If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations—"Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch" (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

Above, Paul speaks not about Christianity but about another religion. Asceticism or self-denial is the practice of the denial of personal desires in order to attain a spiritual goal. Notice what Paul says of this ascetic philosophy—it has "no value." Why? Because much of the theology behind asceticism undercuts a proper understanding of salvation. This sinking sand philosophy totally underestimates the power of sin. It’s a religion solely of our works alone and not a walk of faith which pleases God (Heb. 11:6). It sets the bar of holiness far too low—man’s ideas of overcoming sin instead of God’s.

But if just saying don’t do it doesn’t work, then what is the pathway to victory?

Porn: Stopping the Cycle of Sin

In the book of Judges, we observe twelve judges, or rather military deliverers, covering approximately a 350-year period of time. There is a central theme, a cycle of sin—sin, grief, weeping and then peace—throughout the book. Over and over again the cycle of sin continues.

Numerous Christians are going through a similar cycle with porn. They commit pornographic masturbation and then they tell God they’re sorry, and sometimes they even weep about it. They have a sense of peace for a season. But then what happens? They repeat the same process all over again. It’s not working is it?

If you are a Christian and tired of the cycle of porn in your life and desire genuine, lasting repentance, then please keep reading. Perhaps what follows will help.

In Christ: A Born-Again Believer

Notice our title above. It begins with the phrase, "In Christ." The only way for a person to be "in Christ" is to be a born-again believer in Jesus. Are you a born-again believer? See "What is saving faith?" and "Is saving faith knowledge in a set of facts?" below. The advice that follows is for those "in Christ." It’s for believers in Jesus Christ.

In Christ: Our New Identity

Christians have a new identity in Christ Jesus our Lord. We know the story. Christ came in love, he died, he rose, he forgave, rescued and empowered his people. We need to repeat this gospel story to ourselves over and over again as Paul did. He opened all thirteen of his letters with how Jesus changed everything! We need to do the same every morning and throughout the day. We need to celebrate Jesus continually.

In Christ, we are no longer the person we use to be. Jesus changed everything for us. In the book of Colossians Paul continually informs us of this reality:

"The riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27).

"You were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead" (Col. 2:12).

"With Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world" (Col. 2:20).

"You have been raised with Christ" (Col. 3:1).

"You have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God" (Col. 3:3).

As seen above, the believer is "in Christ" from many different perspectives. But this truth is not only in the book of Colossians: (1) we are crucified with Christ (Rom. 6:6); (2) buried with him (Rom. 6:4); (3) raised with him (Eph. 2:6); (4) made alive in him (Eph. 2:5); (5) we suffer with him (Rom. 8:17); (6) we are glorified with him (Rom. 8:17, 30); (7) we inherit with him (Rom. 8:17); (8) we will live with him (Rom. 6:8); and (9) we will reign with him (2 Tim. 2:12). Time and space don’t allow me to go further, but I think you get the picture; everything that is good for us is "in Christ."

Union with Christ in his death (Col. 3:3) of course doesn’t literally destroy the body. But it does destroy its worldly spiritual reign in the believer’s life. We are no longer enslaved to sin. As Christians, we have been enabled to now bear forth holy fruit to Christ (Rom. 6:13, 22; 7:4; 12:1). We can now give birth to that which is good and not evil. We now we have the opportunity to express different passions (Rom. 6:18) that are associated with our new natures in Christ Jesus.

We are united to the risen Christ by faith. We no longer belong to the person of sin; rather we belong to the person of Christ. While the person of lust still lurks around seeking whom he may devour (cf. 1 Pet. 5:8), he is no longer our slave master. Paul writes, "We know that our old self was crucified [aorist tense] with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin" (Rom. 6:6; cf. Gal. 2:20; 5:24; Col. 2:11). We have a new identity. "You have put off [aorist tense] the old self with its practices and have put on [aorist tense] the new self" (Col. 3:9-10). What Paul is saying is the old life of sin—regarded as "the old self" of sin—has already been crucified (Rom. 6:6; cf. Col. 2:20). The aorist tense tells us this has already happened—simple past tense. Lust is a crucified man. Lust is already a dead man. A dead man can’t hold on to us. We’re free. We no longer belong to lust—he’s dead. We belong to Christ—he’s alive and will never let us go (John 10:28, 29)!

Therefore, we should live in this reality!

In Christ: Our New Desires

The Devil is tricky and we shouldn’t be ignorant of his devices (2 Cor. 2:11). He looks for opportunities to tempt us into sin (1 Pet. 5:8). We should always be on our guard and act wisely (Prov. 2:16-19; Eph. 4:27).

As a boat adrift at sea, we often tend to wander (cf. Heb. 2:1). To remain anchored, we must keep up the good fight (Eph. 6:10-18) and continuously rekindle the truths associated with our new identity in Christ. We are to have focused single-minded hearts. We must constantly renew our minds with God’s truth (Rom. 12:1-2). As Paul says, "If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth" (Col. 3:1-2). Paul reaffirms this in Philippians saying, "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" (Phil. 4:8).

Some of these truths include who Christ is, his strength, goodness, love and mercy. We should continually savor the sweet, pleasing aroma of Christ—who he is and what he has done for us (Eph. 5:2; cf. Exod. 29:18; Lev. 1:9; 3:5, etc.). As Paul says, "being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy" (Col. 1:11). Christ is the beloved Son of God (Col. 1:13), the image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15). He is the creator and sustainer of all things (Col. 1:16-17). Yes, Jesus is God of very God. It is his blood that reconciles not just lost sinners but everything to the Father (Col. 1:13-14, 20, 22). He’s the firstborn from the dead (Col. 1:15, 18), the one seated at God’s right hand (Col. 3:1). In him are all the riches of wisdom and knowledge hidden (Col. 2:3). The fullness of deity dwells in Christ (Col. 1:19; 2:9). Sit back and savor this. Know God. Be renewed in these truths. Realizing who your Savior is and what he has done is a sweet, sweet aroma to the soul. It strengthens us, it revives us.

As we contemplate how great our Savior is (cf. Heb. 2:3), we also need to realize that we too are seated with him (Col. 3:1; cf. Eph. 2:6). This means that we have a new position of authority. In Christ, we have power over sin. We have clout! "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Rom. 8:31). As new creatures in Christ Jesus, we aren’t the same persons we use to be. We are better...stronger...and holy. Notice I didn’t say more holy, but holy. We are already holy in Christ! As the writer of Hebrews states, "And by that will we have been sanctified [holy] through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Heb. 10:10). We are a holy people (cf. 1 Pet. 2:9). We don’t become holy by walking in holiness, but rather because we are holy "in Christ" we can obey the commands to be holy (1 Pet. 1:16; cf. Lev. 19:2). While our practical life isn’t perfect (1 John 1:9-10; cf. 2 Cor. 7:1; 1 Pet. 1:14-16; 2 Tim. 2:21), God still deems us so "in Christ"!

Another truth to meditate upon is the fact that one day there will be an end to this battle against sin. One day we will appear with him in glory (Col. 1:4-5). I used to run marathons. That’s a race of 26.2 miles. It’s a long, physically demanding and exhausting race. But distance running isn’t just about legs and muscles, it’s also about your mind. The mind has to carry you 26.2 miles as well. I was taught that you finish the race by visualizing the finish line. Often the day before a race we would drive out to actually see the finish line! Step by step I'd visualize that line. It’s a runner's primary focus. There is an end in sight for Christians. Jesus is coming back. In the book of Revelation we see that the Holy Spirit has already driven us to see the finish line. Revelation 21:4 states, "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." And the good news doesn’t end there as we’re on the podium. We have already won "in Christ"! (Rom. 8:37).

Practically, these theological truths above and others help us to fight against pornography. Porn offers the sinner only a false sense power, control and temporary feel-good hope. It may offer "bits and bytes" of fabricated personal connection that gives only a sense of being desired and valued. It offers a short-term refuge of sorts as "the pleasures of sin for a season" (cf. Heb. 11:25, ASV). But Christ gives believers real power and control—genuine hope. He gives us an everlasting personal connection. He’s actually a real person! Not only should one feel loved in Christ, but they should realize that they are actually loved, desired and valued by the God of the universe himself. The believer is at peace with God (Rom. 5:1). Christ gives us a permanent refuge, one with joys forever more! (Psa. 16:11; 21:6).

In Christ: Fighting from Who We Already Are in Christ

Colossians 3:5 states, "Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry." As we observed earlier, Paul has already denounced asceticism. So, he is not saying here that we should fight against something in our own strength because we think it is unholy. Rather, mortifying sin is more about fighting from our position of whom we already are in Christ.

Genuine faith recognizes that the old earthly man is already dead (Rom. 6:6). Yes, he’s really dead! But a dead man can still kill you. Just because a body is deceased doesn’t mean it can’t move! Rigor mortis literally means the stiffness of death. As a body decays, certain skeletal remains may move or shift in position. In law enforcement, we learned to be careful touching dead bodies with semi-autos in their hands. If a dead body in rigor is touched, it can cause the hair-trigger of a semi-automatic pistol in their hand to go off! [9] So, don’t shoot yourself. Don’t touch the dead man of porn. He can kill you and your relationship with the Lord. As Paul writes, "Put to death therefore what is earthly in you." Yes, Christians say "no" to porn, but from the right foundation of being "in Christ" who is the Rock of our salvation (Psa. 89:26; 95:1).

Because we are in Christ, we may fight against all sin from a different position, that is, one of authority and power. It’s a "Christ-in-you-the-hope-of-glory" fight (Col. 1:27). We’re not wearing our own armor, but rather God’s armor (Eph. 6:10-18). Remember when David fought Goliath? David didn’t wear Saul's armor (1 Sam. 17:38-40). While that armor worked temporarily for Saul (he later died in battle with his armor, 1 Sam. 31:3-6), for David it wasn’t tried and proven. David trusted in the Lord over weighty, man-made armor. He fought from a position of knowing who he was in Christ—a man who had faith in God (1 Sam. 17:37, 47).

Think of porn as a type of Goliath (cf. 1 Pet. 5:8). We must take the proven smooth stone (1 Sam. 17:49-50)—the Word of God (Matt. 7:24-25; cf. Psa. 18:1-3; 78:35; John 1:1-3)—and see him as dead. Jesus, who is the Word, did the same in his wilderness temptation. Though his temptations aren’t stated to be sexual in nature, they still involved intense physical desires that craved full satisfaction. While Jesus was literally tempted (Heb. 4:15), he defeated the Devil—the Demon of demons—with the word of God (Matt. 4:1-11). "In Christ" through the Spirit, we can too (cf. 1 Pet. 2:21).

In Christ: Fighting as a Church, an Army of One

"By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days" (Heb. 11:30). It’s time for the church to march around the fortified, seemingly impenetrable walls of "Pornicho" and watch its walls collapse.

The battle against pornography is a war. While we may win a few skirmishes on our own, it takes more than one soldier to win a war. David had an army that fought with him. While Paul informs us to individually put on the armor of God (Eph. 6:10-18), one thing that is commonly overlooked is that armored soldiers didn’t normally fight alone! Roman legions were divided into units called cohorts, which were additionally divided into three maniples, and then divided again into centuries. They knew how to lock shields together—a testudo formation, a type of shield wall formation used during battles. This helped protect them as an army of one from the arrows of their enemies.

The church must come together as a community and enter this fight. [10] We must come together and employ a spiritual testudo formation. We must lock our shields of faith together. As Paul says, "In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one" (Eph. 6:16). As soldiers working together for a common good, we need to bear one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:1-5) and encourage one another (Heb. 3:13). This includes confession of sin and accountability. As Paul says, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God" (Col. 3:16).

We are supposed to teach and admonish one another. This is actually something very positive and requires community. Since fighting against porn is combat, I personally see value in viewing an accountability partner sort of like a drill sergeant in the army. Drill sergeants teach raw recruits every aspect of Basic Combat Training. They also inspire the U.S. Army values of "loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage." They help shape simple civilians to be all they can be; they learn to become overcoming soldiers. An accountability partner does much the same thing for individuals in God’s army and the kingdom of God.

Pornographic desires thrive in the darkness and want to remain hidden (Col. 1:13). Accountability brings our sin into the light (Col. 1:12). This is good. It is preaching the gospel to ourselves. It includes confessing our temptations, sins and the state of our heart. And when done correctly (cf. Gal. 6:1-5), it includes encouragement and ends in rejoicing and thankfulness to God (Col. 3:16). Part of the reason rejoicing is the result is because biblical repentance includes genuine sorrow for sin (2 Cor. 7:10). The Psalmist states, "I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sin" (Psa. 38:18). And true joy accompanies true repentance! (cf. Luke 15:11-32).

Pray. Get your sin out there. Own it. In other words, don’t deny it is in your life. Confess it publicly. It will fill you with tears of joy when you do. James says, "Therefore, confess your sins to one another [not just to God] and pray for one another [not just by ourselves to God], that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person [someone other than ourselves] has great power as it is working" (Jas. 5:16). This is a power against sin. It’s is a gospel principle!

It’s time to get real, that is, time to get serious about sin! Accountability isn’t just about going public about our sin. It’s not just talking to someone else about it. It’s not just about feeling bad about sin. While all of these are good and necessary, accountability is also about stirring the embers of our hearts. Have you ever stirred the embers of a fire when camping out before? You’re not adding new fuel, but merely rearranging what’s already there. While Christ is already in us and we don’t need any more power, accountability helps us rearrange the embers of our thinking and hearts so we may have a keener view, a reenergized perspective, and deeper appreciation for the "breadth and length and height and depth" of Christ’s amazing love so we "may be filled with all the fullness of God" (Eph. 3:18-19).

In Christ: Means of Grace

In Christ, we can hack the habit loop of porn. God is not the God of only special revelation (his Word), but of the truths in general revelation as well. He makes use of other things outside of his Word.

The porn highway has many avenues to get to us: smartphones, tablets, computers, television, music, etc. While we may not be able to totally turn off all these devices, we may still limit our exposure. There is filtering software which we may choose to install on our wireless router. If the site is rated pornographic then it can be blocked without us ever seeing it. We can purchase accountability software which allows a person to block certain content and automatically sends accountability reports to other people.

If you think movie videos and the like are worthy of God’s time (Eph. 5:16; cf. Rom. 13:11) seek out apps which have parental controls. Let your accountability partner set your password(s) for both you and your children. If bathing suits and the like are a problem, then simply choose to stay away from pools and beaches. If scantily dressed mannequins are a temptation for you, then stay away from lingerie stores. We can be more aware of all our surroundings at the office and in public and stay away from what we think may draw us in the wrong direction. Like Joseph when he was confronted with a sexual advance of another man’s wife, we can simply run away (Gen. 39:12). A tactical retreat is a bonified military maneuver too. And we can do all this from a position of power "in Christ."

In Christ: A Covenant with Our Eyes

The book of Job is very old. The prologue places the events of the book even prior to Moses during the patriarchal times. Even back then a righteous man named Job partially informs us of his journey against lust and porn. He states, "I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?" (Job 31:1; cf. Psa. 101:3; Prov. 6:25). Personal purity was important for Job. For him, part of living by faith and above reproach was avoiding lust. He made a specific commitment before God — a covenant with his eyes. He understood how we process what we see can influence our minds and thoughts (cf. Rom 12:1-2). He understood that the eyes are a kind of guardian of our souls. As Jesus says, "The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!" (Matt. 6:22-23).

As God strengthened Job in his day, he will strengthen us today (cf. Eph. 3:16). He will continually renew our minds (Rom. 12:1-2) and fill us with things that are well-pleasing to him (Phil. 4:8). He will help us overcome lust and porn (1 Cor. 10:13). As we continue to trust him, he will do more than what we may ever imagine (Eph. 3:20).

Isn’t it time for us to join the righteous man Job and make a covenant before God with our eyes? We can "in Christ."

Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon (Isaiah 55:6-7).

Footnotes

[1] Wiki. "Pornography." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pornography). Last Accessed 22 May 2021.

[2] Wiki. "I know it when I see it." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_know_it_when_I_see_it). Last Accessed 22 May 2021.

[3] Internet Pornography by the Numbers; A Significant Threat to Society. (https://www.webroot.com/us/en/resources/tips-articles/internet-pornography-by-the-numbers). Last Accessed 1 April 2021.

[4] In one study, "Among men who masturbated frequently, 70% used pornography at least once a week." Ana Carvalheira, Bente Træen, Aleksandar Stulhofer. "Masturbation and Pornography Use Among Coupled Heterosexual Men With Decreased Sexual Desire: How Many Roles of Masturbation?" Last Accessed 22 May 2021.

[5] Jose Mendoza. "The Most Popular Porn Site Has Biggest Scandal to Date." (https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/pornhub-scandal-christians/). Last Accessed 26 May 2021.

[6] Seth Stephens-Davidowitz. Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are. (Dey Street Books, 2017).

[7] Melanie Greenwood. The New York Daily News. "Florida megachurch pastor resigns after admitting to adultery, watching porn." (https://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/megachurch-pastor-resigns-adultery-porn-article-1.1775130). Last Accessed 13 April 2021.

[8] Clara Turnage. "Child porn hidden in Bible, police told; Little Rock man arrested." (https://www.nwaonline.com/news/2018/aug/13/lr-man-hid-child-porn-in-his-bible-chil/). Last Accessed 22 May 2021.

[9] In addition, Post-Mortem Movement or Twitching is common. The stored energy in our muscles doesn't just disappear at death. And then there is Lazarus reflex which is a movement which causes some to briefly raise their arms after death. Moreover, cadaveric spasms, which differ from rigor, are an "instantaneous appearance of rigidity in a deceased body. It usually occurs in the hands and limbs of individuals who suffered a traumatic death. For example, Mason (1993) notes that hands amputated in airplane crashes have been found holding onto seatbelts, or knives found clutched within the hands of victims of knife fights." Kate Meyers Emery. New Morbid Terminology: Cadaveric Spasm. (https://bonesdontlie.wordpress.com/2013/10/01/new-morbid-terminology-cadaveric-spasm/). Last Accessed 27 May 2021.

Lesson: Don’t touch dead bodies – don’t touch the dead body of porn.

[10] The church presently is losing many small battles because they aren’t seeking the Lord like Joshua did in Joshua 7 and dealing with the sin that is in the camp.

Related Topics

What is saving faith?
Is saving faith knowledge in a set of facts?
How does temptation work?

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).