Dealing With Porn and Lust (Part 1)

  1. Read part 1
  2. Read part 2
  3. Read part 3
  4. Read part 4

As others have noted, we live in a pornified culture. We live in a world that is obsessed with sex, or more accurately, we live in a world that is obsessed with trying to find absolute fulfillment and meaning in orgasms. We are like children gorging ourselves on candy and desserts, and we wonder why we feel so awful and why we never really feel satisfied, why we can never get enough. But our appetites ought to drive us to Christ, for all the joys and pleasures of created hunger and passion, all of it ultimately points us to the God Who alone can satisfy our hunger and thirst.

But there is real slavery in the sin of lust, and many men (and women) find themselves trapped in patterns of lust, guilt, and porn. I’m frequently asked about how guys should deal with this. Sometimes guys come and ask for advice and accountability for themselves, and sometimes I get questions from friends of guys who really need help, who really struggle to be pure.

So what does the Bible say about dealing with slavery to porn/lust? The following is the first of several posts on this topic.

First, Jesus says that if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off, and if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out (Mt. 5:30). And of course it should not be missed that Jesus says this right after talking about men committing adultery with women in their hearts. Jesus is not so naive as to miss the fact that eyes and hands are frequently involved in the sin of lust.

When Jesus repeats this principle in a slightly different context, He says that it is better for you to enter life maimed than to be cast into hell with both of your eyes and hands (Mt. 18:8-9).

But people are too quick to dismiss these words as exaggerations and hyperbole. Surely Jesus is not actually encouraging self mutilation, is He? Well, perhaps not, but He doesn’t mean if your hand causes you to sin, you should try to find an accountability partner. If Jesus urges dismemberment, we ought to be thinking of things that are extreme and painful.

In other words, Jesus is urging His followers to wage war on the lusts of the flesh. Don’t show any pity. Cut them off. Don’t be nice to your sin. Don’t let your eye pity that little demon. But too many guys just feel guilty and wallow around in their inability, feeling bad for themselves, and wishing they could change and then proceed to do nothing or next to nothing about it.

Where do you live? Who do you live with? Where is your computer? What are the usual patterns to your sin? Now get out your sword and start hacking. Do you need to move? Do you need to find new roommates? Do you need to sleep with your bedroom door open and the light on? Should you get rid of the internet, drop your laptop computer out of the window, or get all your bank statements sent to your mom?

The point is if Jesus says you should do something extreme, then don’t go do something reasonable and tame. You can’t go parlay a peace treaty with the devil. If you aren’t planning extreme violence against your sin then you have already failed. The first step in battling sin is learning to hate it. And if you aren’t ready to slay the dragon, then you aren’t really fighting even if you’re all dressed up for battle.

So talk to your pastor, talk to your wife, talk to trusted friends who have the guts to really call you on the mat, who would not think twice to turn you in to the police or the elders. Then start cutting off all the hands and eyes that are enabling this sin. Cancel your cable, turn off the electricity in your home for a month, take cold showers, move across the country, turn yourself into the police, get a new job, get rid of your cell phone, whatever it takes.

And if you think moving across the country, getting a new job, or getting rid of your computer just seems a little too extreme, then you are already disobeying the Lord Jesus. It would be better to enter life without a house, without a phone, without a job, without a computer than to be cast into hell with all those millstones dragging you down.

It should be remembered that Jesus does not ask us to do things that are impossible. He doesn’t invite us to follow Him and then require what we cannot do. Jesus calls us to follow Him, and that call is the grace we need to obey. His invitation is His assurance that we can obey. You cannot obey on your own. You cannot muster this purity on your own. But when God speaks, creation bursts into existence; when Jesus speaks, new creations explode into being. And when God calls us to repent of our sins, He does so as the God of grace, the God of Resurrection, the God of the Exodus, the God whose Word is enough. If Jesus tells you to get out of the boat and walk on water then you can and you should but don’t look at the wind and the waves. Keep your eyes fixed on Him.

Original post here.

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