Each week in this series I'm going to teach on sensitive topics and provide foundational truths so that you may be equipped in your own walk, or help someone else now or in the future. Subjects like pornography (today's and next week's topic), gambling, tattoos, addictions, etc.
I'll share things I've learned by revelation and by life experience and I hope to be a blessing to you, not that I have all the answers for that is not the case, but alot of Christian teaching on these subjects just isn't very deep, or is (only) intellectually centered, or goes the other way to blame it all on the devil, without dealing with core issues.
I won't bore you with alot of statistics but various studies do draw the same conclusions: Over 70% of online visitors to adult sites are male and nearly half are married. The inverse of those statistics is also then true: About 30% of porn viewers are female. Also, in the US, over 50% of divorces involve one spouse obsessively involved in online porn.
Another statistic is that 70% of pastors view porn at least once a month, and the percentages of Christians versus non-Christians viewing adult web sites is statistically equal.
If we have the power of Christ, why do Christians struggle so? Over the years I've been privileged to help many men gain victory who have struggled with this issue. Often it means using a software that tracks Internet use like www.covenanteyes.com that sends me (or an accountability partner) a weekly report, then we email or talk about their week as needed, etc.
If you ask a Christian about porn they will say it is wrong. What is the core reason it is wrong? The answer is not that marriages are ruined or that those are poor life choices - those are consequences. Do you know (#1) the spiritual answers to why it is wrong? Do you know (#2) practical steps to overcome this sin? That's what this week and next are all about.
God's Not Going to Take Away Your Sex Drive
In my experience this truth hits many men like a ton of bricks. Because human beings live with the ebb and flow of sexual desire through the days, weeks, months, and seasons of life - when one battles temptation
and fails repeatedly over a period of time, I often hear 'Oh Lord just take the desire away!'.
Once people come to the realization they are stuck with their libido, that God taking it away is not an option, it helps them look square in the mirror to start being accountable. This is often the first step.
Next Layer; Self Control
A person must realize we are sexual creatures, and there is great peace when one rests rather than wrestles with that truth. The issue therefore is what kind of steward of our sexuality are we?
Self control is one of the character traits listed in II Peter 1:5-6: "...applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control..."
Self-control is also a fruit of the born again human spirit listed in Galatians 5:23, if walked in, we won't fulfill the lust of the flesh. Self-control is therefore a quality of the spirit flowing outward to our soul and body.
Self-control is not all sexual; Just one more cookie, explosive anger, or spending money you don't have, are all issues of self-control. But sexual self-control is more difficult because unlike anger at a motorist who cuts us off, or uncontrolled use of credit cards, sexual drive is built within us like the need to eat and sleep.
Notice how Peter said we add to our faith first moral excellence, then knowledge, then self-control. Self-control comes after knowledge in his list.
So Far, So Shallow
Most Christian material that I've seen on the subject stops at just giving knowledge (education/information). But knowledge Peter says, is founded upon moral excellence. What is that moral excellence as it relates to porn?
God's Thoughts On Porn
Leviticus 18 is the chapter that covers pornography, and the phrase seen repeatedly is this: "You shall not uncover the nakedness of..." (Your mother, step-mother, sister, sister-in-law, niece, neighbor's wife) The
Hebrew word translated 'uncover' means to 'de-nude', or remove clothes for the purpose of seeing (them) naked with sexual intent. That's not talking about bathing your children/grandchildren or going to a doctor - it's talking about uncovering another's nakedness with sexual intent.
Of all these 'you shall not uncover the nakedness of...' commands, the completion of these thoughts is this: Your mother's nakedness is your father's to uncover. Your brother's wife's nakedness is for your brother to uncover. Your neighbor's wife's nakedness is your neighbor's to uncover. In the case of a single person it says 'It is their own nakedness'. It isn't your nakedness to uncover, making that act an act of theft.
That is correct: The act of watching porn makes you a thief. You are watching something that is not yours to watch, therefore you are stealing. If you walked past a car, let's say a beautiful convertible with the top down, engine running, seats loaded with wrapped presents - would you steal the car? Would you say 'Of course I stole it, they left the car running and presents in full view of everyone!'? Most would not steal it because it isn't their car no matter how openly it was presented for theft. Same thing with porn - his or her nakedness is not yours to see, no matter if they have that knowledge or not.
You probably never thought of viewing pornography as stealing - start realizing that truth right now. If you would not steal your neighbor's car, or TV, or other belonging, then you wouldn't steal a look at a man or woman whose nakedness isn't yours to see. For me, this foundational truth has kept me from being in those statistics I listed above. I'm not a thief. I don't take that which isn't mine, I don't look at that which isn't mine to see.
So overcoming porn certainly involves self-control, but that self-control is based upon the knowledge of moral excellence, and that moral excellence God says, is that a viewer of porn is a thief.
Roy Disney, nephew to Walt, said "It's not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are."
Do you know your values? You may not take even a pencil from work, but then battle pornography at home - you're still a thief. For many, if we have the temptation to steal on the one hand, but on the other hand we know we aren't a thief and won't take what doesn't belong to us, it takes the allure out of the temptation.
I want to give you tools to live by based on the ways of God and His Spirit, and next week I'll build on this spiritual knowledge and share practical ways to stay free from porn. Once you get to the core truth that viewing porn is theft, stealing someone's nakedness you have no right to, then you can humble yourself before the Lord and start to repent and rebuild...and that's next week. Food for thought.