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Putting Porn to Death (Part 2 of 3)

Published on January 29, 2011

When Johnny was 10, he and his friends would hang out doing what 10-year-olds do. Mischief is a bit exciting when you’re that age; so, Johnny and his friends would regularly go to the local grocery, pull a ‘magazine’ from the shelf, and walk to the bathroom to have a look. Every now and again, they’d get lucky when Billy’s dad would leave one of his Playboys around for the taking. That was always a treat.

Johnny’s mom worked late nights and often felt a bit guilty for being gone so much. So she got him a computer to occupy his time. One night, when he was feeling a bit board and lonely, Johnny decided to search around on the internet. And that’s when it started.

Ten years later Johnny feels like his life is on track. School is going well, his girlfriend is looking good, not to mention she’s got him in church. The church life is new to him, but he really likes ‘doing the right thing.’ He has stopped listening to the ‘bad music’ and doing all the ‘bad things’ he used to do. With a bright future in one hand, and a Bible in the other, the sun seems to be shinning brightly upon Johnny’s life.

But there is one shadow that Johnny can’t seem to shake. No matter how many good things he adds to his schedule, he just can’t seem to keep porn out. The wave comes to him at night. What started out as a few soft images as a kid, has now turned into long, midnight hours of watching twisted, hardcore, expensive immorality. After he masturbates, and the porn wave passes, he is often swept away by the current of condemnation. It only takes a few minutes in the morning to remember what he did the night before. He vows that this day will be different. He writes his mental list – “I’ve gotta read my Bible…I’ve gotta go to church with my girl…Finally, I’ve gotta study so I can make an A on that test…”

Thousands, even millions, of men have similar stories. After becoming a Christian, they have managed to keep a lot of bad practices out of their life – but porn. This one thing just won’t go away! Succumbing to moralistic tendencies they tell themselves a thousand times to “Stop looking at porn!” But they can’t. In order to deal with the guilt and shame, moralism leads them, not to Christ (as discussed in Part 1), but to the alter of other idols. And this is the next strategy we employ to put porn to death – Idolatry.

Idolatry may not be what you think. It is not merely bowing before a little statue while burning incense. When we take a good thing and make it an ultimate thing, we make it an idol. Further, idols are always created things that we exalt to the level of deity. We say of the idol, “If I have it I will be acceptable and satisfied…My life will be fixed.”

Most people after indulging in porn know of their need to be fixed. The guilt and shame must go away. So they turn to idols that promise to take it all away. While there are any number of different idols people turn to, I will list just three that may be common in the lives of those who frequent Holy Culture.

Idol #1…Bible Study. Yes, you read that right. Bible study is a common idol in people’s lives. It was in mine. When I would come off a night of porn, I would spend countless hours studying my Bible and attending any church function I could. When we make Bible study an ultimate thing, we believe that knowing our Bible will make us clean; that it, alone, will make our longing for porn go away. In our modern church culture, the more we know our Bible, the more people will look at us like we’ve it all together.

Idol #2…People. I often thought a girlfriend, or even a wife would solve my problem with porn. This simply was not the case. When we enter a relationship with another person, we must be careful not to exalt them to “ultimate” status – believing that they are the ones that are going to make our lives better. We believe that they will finally fill that cavity in our heart and so we take them on a date. When that isn’t quite enough, we kiss them. When that doesn’t fill it, we put our hands on her chest. The next time we accidentally take our clothes off. And when sex doesn’t fill the void, we either do it a lot more, or we toss the relationship out altogether. This person (idol) was flawed, we need a different one! How do you know you have made an idol out of a person? Answer: you are willing to break commandments to be with them in certain ways. You are willing to reach past sexual barriers. Or, when you don’t get what you want from them, you get angry, depressed, and go into despair.

Idol #3…Vocation. Those who know how bad they are after a night with porn often turn to their vocation to show just how good they are. The best professionals are often the worst pornographers. We try and become excellent at our vocation in order to cover up our mess in our private life. Musicians, salesmen, athletes and others can know if they have made their vocation an idol by surveying their response to competition; or, how they respond when the public accepts or rejects them. I always became a good student to cover my mess. And if I didn’t make an A, I would get pissed. I was also willing to neglect my family in order to study for that A. I needed to know that I was good at something in order to cover how bad I was because I struggled with lust.

So, as you can see most idols that Christians worship are not bad things at all – just good things made bad. Bible study is not a bad thing. As a matter of fact, it is a Godly thing. But it was never meant to be an ultimate thing. Bible study won’t save anyone. The Pharisees are a case in point. Christ alone saves us. Bible study simply points us in His direction.

A girlfriend will not get rid of lust. People can’t fill the God-shaped-hole in our hearts. Only Christ, the God-Man can do that. We must be saved in order to love someone else rightly. Once Christ alone fills us and satisfies us we love others, not by taking from them, but by giving to them. A girl alone won’t set your mind on Christ. But setting your mind on Christ alone will help you love a girl.

Finally, our vocation is not an ultimate thing, although it is a good thing. We were made to work, not to make ourselves look better, but to make other people’s lives better. We don’t have to be the best when we understand that, in Christ, God Himself is pleased with us. We are righteous in His sight, clothed in the perfect live of His Son.

Johnny made a C in that class and lost his scholarship. He also lost his girl that semester – they just couldn’t stay clean. And after one cold morning of Bible study, when he felt nothing, Johnny finally fell to his knees and gave up. Guilt was pouring over him from looking at porn the night before. He knew he couldn’t stop sinning. His life was a mess. He opened his hands and let go of all of his idols. And he embraced Christ alone that morning for his salvation.

You can learn more about Scott Moore here.

jamesrosseau@thecorelinksolution.com

Author: jamesrosseau@thecorelinksolution.com

President/CEO of The Corelink Solution and Holy Culture

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