I suspect most if not all of the readers of this post know somebody who has struggled with pornography. From the teenager struggling with new desires to the senior pastor recently caught in sin, even believers wrestle with this sin. Perhaps if we understand why pornography has so much power, we would know better how to fight against it.
- The church is often reticent to talk about sexuality. Despite the fact that the Bible addresses the issue, we tend to neglect it. Consequently, believers hear the wrong voices about sexuality, miss the beauty of God-centered sexuality, and settle for much less than what God intends.
- In general, churches fail to make disciples. Solid Christian discipleship teaches believers how to adore God, wear His armor, and reject the Enemy’s temptations. In too many churches, sexuality “discipleship” is limited to condemnation without godly teaching. The result is believers who are ill equipped to fight temptation and too afraid to confess their sin.
- The Enemy directs us to the temporary and away from the eternal. As with Adam and Even, the Enemy makes the fruit on the tree look so good that we ignore the long-term consequence of eternal death. The pleasure that pornography brings – temporary and fleeting though it is – trumps our desire to be faithful to the everlasting God.
- The lure of pornography builds on natural desires. God has created us to be sexual beings, and He gave us clear parameters for sexual expression. Those desires rightly expressed are a beauty of marriage; those same desires under the influence of the Enemy, however, can be distorted and damaging. In either case, the desires seldom go away.
- Our exposure to pornography is often early. To be honest, I cannot remember the first time I saw pornography. I know I was apparently so young that I can’t recall not seeing it. Early exposure leaves images in your head that never fully go away.
- The sin can now be even more private. In my days, pornography use required going to the convenience store, quietly asking for the magazine behind the counter, and hiding it quickly in a paper bag. Computer access now erases much of that need for “sneaking” around.
- “Soft” porn has become acceptable. When we allow ourselves to watch stuff that we know crosses God’s line – even though it may not qualify as XXX-rated material – we only open the door for the Enemy to press his way into our lives. He does not miss those opportunities.
- Pornography use has become expected. More than one study has shown that pornography use is pervasive, even among church leaders. I have even seen church accountability groups where everyone failed the previous week – and failure becomes almost the accepted norm.
- Pornography can only create desire, not quench it. Ungodly approaches to meet real needs simply cannot meet those needs. Indeed, pornography only makes you crave more of that which can never fully satisfy. That unmet longing leads only to idolatry and addiction.
- Pornography allows pleasure without the hard work of relationships and commitment. Relationships take effort. Our individualistic, hedonistic culture wants the fun without the tough work, and pornography makes that possible – or at least we convince ourselves it does.
If you are struggling with pornography, I encourage you to talk to someone. Pray especially that your Christian family, friends, and children will not fall under the power of this sin.