A Solution to the Porn Epidemic

This was originally posted by Murray Vassar. It is an outstanding post that I wanted to share with you…

computerFor ten years I have been studying at Christian universities and seminaries, and I have found that pornography is rampant among my peers. The problem is so bad that Christian leaders have begun advising young women not to break up with their boyfriends over porn addiction. The logic is tragically compelling: if Christian women insist on only dating porn-free men, the odds are they will never get married.  

We are repeatedly told that the solution to porn addiction is accountability groups. Accountability groups may be helpful for some, but they have clearly been unable to halt the epidemic. Often, such groups merely end up normalizing porn use. 

Before we can find a true solution, we must identify the reason for the epidemic. Availability is not the primary problem. The primary problem is that deep down inside, perhaps even subconsciously, we do not think porn is really that bad. (I know many will object, but hear me out.)

You can break your addiction to pornography in one day. It only takes two steps: (1) go to your cell phone company and trade in your smart-phone for a regular phone, and (2) call your internet provider and cancel your service (or have your wife set a password only she knows). We do not do this for the simple reason that we do not hate pornography enough. If we really thought that viewing pornography was like drinking poison, we would do whatever it took to cut off access. 

At this point someone may object that his work or studies require home internet. Perhaps this is true for a small segment of the population. The vast majority, however, have access to computer labs at public or university libraries. Living without home internet would be inconvenient, but not impossible. Furthermore, for those few who absolutely require home internet, my point remains. If you truly thought that viewing pornography was like drinking poison, you would take whatever steps necessary to cut off access – even if those steps involved moving or changing jobs. 

Jesus said, “If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you.” We are so quick to identify this saying as hyperbole that we ignore the point of the hyperbole. Jesus does not want you to literally cut out your eye, but that doesn’t mean you get to keep your smart-phone. 

So the problem is that we don’t hate porn enough. But why don’t we hate porn? What has happened? I think the answer is clear. I know few Christian men who would be comfortable saying it’s not a sin to go to a strip club. However, I know few Christian men who would be comfortable saying it is a sin to watch Deadpool, even though the film features a scene in a strip club. Through a series of infinite compromises over a span of decades, we have convinced ourselves that there is a fundamental difference between viewing a naked woman in person and viewing a video recording of that same naked woman. On-screen depictions of nudity and sexuality have become so trivial that we simply cannot muster up genuine hatred when we take that infinitesimally small step from Game of Thrones to ‘real pornography.’  

So what is the solution? We need to ask God to fill us with his hatred for an industry which degrades and destroys the most vulnerable members of our society. Then, in the power of the Spirit, we need to pluck out our modem and cast it from us.

Poetry Saturday—Begone Unbelief

John NewtonBegone unbelief, my Savior is near,
And for my relief will surely appear:
By prayer let me wrestle, and He wilt perform,
With Christ in the vessel, I smile at the storm.

Though dark be my way, since He is my guide,
’Tis mine to obey, ’tis His to provide;
Though cisterns be broken, and creatures all fail,
The Word He has spoken shall surely prevail.

His love in time past forbids me to think
He’ll leave me at last in trouble to sink;
Each sweet Ebenezer I have in review,
Confirms His good pleasure to help me quite through.

Determined to save, He watched o’er my path,
When satan’s blind slave, I sported with death;
And can He have taught me to trust in His name,
And thus far have brought me, to put me to shame?

Why should I complain of want or distress,
Temptation or pain? He told me no less:
The heirs of salvation, I know from His Word,
Through much tribulation must follow their Lord.

How bitter that cup, no heart can conceive,
Which He drank quite up, that sinners might live!
His way was much rougher, and darker than mine;
Did Jesus thus suffer, and shall I repine?

Since all that I meet shall work for my good,
The bitter is sweet, the medicine is food;
Though painful at present, wilt cease before long,
And then, O! how pleasant, the conqueror’s song! —John Newton

7 Quotes From “The Philosophy Of Sin”

The Complete Works Of Oswald ChambersOswald Chambers always makes me think deeply, but The Philosophy Of Sin was a graduate-level, deep-thinking book on theology and philosophy for me! Check out my review of this book by clicking here. Below are some quotes I especially enjoyed.

“To people who are satisfied on too shallow a level the Bible is a book of impertinences, but whenever human nature is driven to the end of things, the Bible becomes the only Book and God the only Being in the world.”

“The life of nature is neither moral nor immoral; our bodies are neither moral nor immoral, we make them moral or immoral. Our Lord had a body, and we read that He hungered; it was not a sin for Him to be hungry, but it would have been a sin for Him to have eaten during the forty days in the wilderness, because His Father’s word at that time was that He should not eat. It is not a sin to have a body, to have natural appetites, it is a sin to refuse to sacrifice them at the word of God.”

“Lust simply means, ‘I must have this at once’; it may be a bodily appetite or a spiritual possession. The principal lust works on is, ‘I must have it at once, I cannot wait for God’s time, God is too indifferent,’ that is the way lust works.”

“If all Jesus Christ can do is to run a parallel counteraction with what satan can do, His right name is ‘Culture,’ not ‘Savior’; but His revealed nature was stated by the angel to Mary, and repeated over and over again, ‘Thou shalt call His name Jesus; for He shall save His people from their sins.’ The slight views of salvation, the sympathetic drifty views that all Jesus Christ can do is to put in us a principle that counteracts another principle, will cause anyone who is got to the last limit to blaspheme God for a thing like that. It all comes from a flimsy, wrong view of sin. If that is all He can do, what is the good of calling Him Savior? … It is sin that He came to cope with; He did not come to cope with the poor little mistakes of men, they cope with their own mistakes; He came to give them a totally new stock of heredity, that is, He came to implant into them His own nature, so that satan’s power in the soul is absolutely destroyed, not counteracted.”

“This aspect of the death of Jesus takes us into a spiritual domain beyond the threshold of the thinking of the majority of us. The cry of the Cross, ‘My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?’ is unfathomable to us. The only ones—and I want to say this very deliberately—the only ones who come near the threshold of understanding the cry of Jesus are not the martyrs, they knew that God had not forsaken them, His presence was so wonderful; not the lonely missionaries who are killed or forsaken, they experience exultant joy, for God is with them when men forsake them: the only ones who come near the threshold of understanding the experience of God-forsakenness are men like Cain—‘My punishment is greater than I can bear’; men like Esau, ‘…an exceedingly bitter cry’; men like Judas. Jesus Christ knew and tasted to a fuller depth than any man could ever taste what it is to be separated from God by sin.”

“How Jesus Christ does cleanse our conscience! It is freedom not only from sin and the damage sin has done, but emancipation from the impairing left by sin, from all the distortions left in mind and imagination.”

“The conscience formed in us by the Holy Spirit makes us amazingly sensitive to the things that tell against the honor of God.”

I’ll be sharing other quotes from this book in the near future, and I also share an extensive passage from the current Chambers’ book I am reading every Thursday. If you want to be notified when those quotes are posted, please enter your email address in the box to the right and click “Sign me up!”

I share quotes from Oswald Chambers and other inspirational authors daily on both Tumblr and Twitter.

Thursdays With Oswald—The Value Of Temptation

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

The Value Of Temptation

     Temptation is not sin…. Temptation is something that exactly fits the nature of the one tempted, and is therefore a great revealer of the possibilities of the nature. … A good illustration of temptation is the way steel is tested. Steel can be “tired” in the process of testing, and in this way its strength is measured. … Temptation trains innocence into character or else into corruption. … 

     If the power to disobey were removed, our obedience would be of no value, for we should cease to be morally responsible. It is gloriously possible not to sin, but never impossible to sin, because we are moral agents. Morality must be militant in this order of things, but we can be “more than conquerors” every time. …

     Spiritual life is attained…by moral choices, whereby we test the thing that presents itself to us as being good. … Health is the balance between my physical life and external nature. If the fighting force on the inside begins to dwindle or is impaired, I get diseased, things outside begin to disintegrate my vital force. … The same is true spiritually; if I have enough spiritual fighting capacity, I will produce a character like Jesus Christ’s. Character must be attained, it is never given to us.

From The Philosophy Of Sin

It is interesting to think that what tempts us is a revealer of what’s really inside of us. We need to watch carefully what is enticing us toward sin, because that will help us see the areas of weakness in our lives.

God allows temptation to occur as a means of helping us submit that area of revealed weakness to His control. Lust is wanting something my way, and sin is when I give in to that lust. What I should do instead of giving in is submit that area of weakness to Christ’s Lordship.

I can develop the same character that Jesus Christ exhibited on earth, IF I will allow the Holy Spirit to develop that “vital force” in me. The Holy Spirit doesn’t give me character, but He gives me strength to overcome temptation and thus develop that Christ-like character.

Don’t confuse temptation with sin. But don’t treat temptation lightly either. See temptation for what it really is: (1) a revealer of an area of weakness in your heart, and (2) an opportunity for you to develop Christ-like character.

The Power To Overcome Sexual Temptation

Focus On The Family“It’s not easy to overcome recurring sexual temptation. That’s because sexual sin is, at the most basic level, an illegitimate way of fulfilling a deep and legitimate human need: the need for love and intimacy.” —Focus On The Family

John Piper“Here is the secret of the power of faith to break the enslaving force of sinful attractions. If the heart is satisfied with all that God is for us in Jesus, the power of sin to lure us away from the wisdom of Christ is broken.” —John Piper

Thursdays With Oswald—Christ’s Temptations And Ours

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Christ’s Temptations And Ours

     The first temptation of Our Lord comes to us on this line—“Be sensible, You are here for the service of men, and surely it is the most practical thing to feed them and satisfy their needs.” The clamor abroad today is all on this line, “Put man’s needs first; never mind about the first commandment, the second commandment is the all-important one” (see Mark 12:29-31). … The insistent demand in the world today to put men’s needs before God’s will is the outcome of the reasoning of human wits and wisdom…. So long as our wits and human solutions are on the throne, to satisfy the needs of men is ostensibly the grandest thing to do. … 

     Our Lord was then asked to compromise: “You will become the King of men and the Savior of the world by judicious compromise; build Your kingdom on broad-minded lines; be judicious, You know there is evil in the world; then use it wisely, and don’t be so intense against sin; don’t talk about the devil and hell; don’t be so extreme and say a man needs to be born from above. Tolerate my rule of the world, call things ‘necessary evils’; tell man sin is not anarchy, but a disease; fall down and worship me and my way of looking at things, and I will withdraw and the whole world will be Yours.” … Will the Church that bows down and compromises succeed? Of course it will; it is the very thing that the natural man wants. … 

     satan tried to put Jesus Christ on the way to becoming King of the world and Savior of men in a way other than that pre-determined by God. The devil does not tempt us to do wrong things; he tries to make us lose what God has put into us by regeneration, the possibility of being of value to God. When we are born from above the central citadel of the devil’s attack is the same in us as it was in Our Lord—to do God’s will in our own way. … 

     Every temptation of satan will certainly seem right to us unless we have the Spirit of God. Fellowship with our Lord is the only way to detect them as being wrong. 

From The Psychology Of Redemption

Wow! Lots to contemplate here!

What do you think about the temptation of Jesus? Have you seen the same sort of temptations come your way?

One more thought from Chambers: “Temptation must come, and we do not know what it is until we meet it. When we do meet it, we must not debate with God, but stand absolutely true to Him no matter what it costs us personally, and we will find that the onslaught will leave us with higher and purer affinities than before.

Lettie Cowman On Prayer

Lettie Cowman“Often it is simply the answers to our prayers that cause many of the difficulties in the Christian life.

“We pray for patience, and our Father sends demanding people our way who test us to the limit, ‘because…suffering produces perseverance’ (Romans 5:3). …

“We pray to be unselfish, and God gives us opportunities to sacrifice by placing other people’s needs first and by laying down our lives for other believers. …

“We pray to the Lord, as His apostles did, saying, ‘Increase our faith!’ (Luke 17:5). Then our money seems to take wings and fly away; our children become critically ill; an employee becomes careless, slow, and wasteful; or some other new trial comes upon us, requiring more faith than we have ever before experienced.

“We pray for a Christlike life that exhibits the humility of a lamb. Then we are asked to perform some lowly task, or we are unjustly accused and given no opportunity to explain….

“We pray for gentleness and quickly face a storm of temptation to be harsh and irritable.

“We pray for quietness, and suddenly every nerve is tested to its limit with tremendous tension so that we may learn that when He sends His peace, no one can disturb it.

“We pray for love for others, and God sends unique suffering by sending people our way who are difficult to love and who say things that get on our nerves and tear at our heart. …

The way to peace and victory is to accept every circumstance and every trial as being straight from the hand of our loving Father.” —Lettie Cowman

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