I remember saying vows to my beautiful bride about how I would be committed to her through the ups and downs of life. We knew there would be many problems to arise in our marriage, but I never thought my viewing of pornography would intensify. I can remember times feeling disappointed and disgusted with myself because I was blatantly mistreating God's daughter He entrusted me to lead. I think the worst part of it all was I didn't think I was being unfaithful to my wife because I was not physically having sex with women, but my thinking was extremely flawed. The standard Christ set was much higher than the one I was pledging allegiance.
"But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart" Matthew 5:28.
Have you ever passed a woman in public and thought to yourself, "wow she's really attractive" then you kept going on about your day never to think of her again? I'm sure most of us can say yes to the previous question, but that's not the lustful intent Jesus was speaking about. Of course you may find many women other than your wife to be attractive, and that should be understood because any woman made in God's image can be found attractive. What did Jesus mean by looking at a woman with lustful intent?
Lustful intent was much more than acknowledging beauty or attractiveness. Looking with lustful intent is thinking wow she's really attractive to thinking what it would be like to be with her emotionally and physically. Lustful intent boils down to your heart and thoughts being consumed with the longing of this woman/man who is not your spouse.
You sit down with your computer, phone, tablet, magazine, or whatever you use to view pornographic material, and you start your hunt. You set out to find the perfect image or scene to fulfill your flesh with this overwhelming rush of pleasure. After 5, 10, 15 minutes you find the "one" then you proceed to masturbate until ejaculation/orgasm, you have looked upon a woman/man with lustful intent, and you have committed adultery. It may not be the same scenario, but I can tell you the end result is the same...adultery.
I've been there many times thinking of myself better than the guys that go out to physically have sex with other women, but I was no different. According to God’s Word I was in the same boat as a man that physically engaged with a woman other than his wife, and that was sinning against Him and my beautiful wife. Please don’t think indulging in pornographic material is harmless, because it affects your brain/body, how you view your wife, intimacy with your wife, and most importantly your relationship with God.
“And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires,” Galatians 5:24
Brothers, cry out to God, and do not stop crying out to God. Crucifying your flesh is not a fun or a pleasant process, but indeed a necessary one that shows true devotion to Christ. What I learned through the entire process of becoming pornography free was:
- God provided a way out of indulging in pornography, and most times I failed miserably by not accepting.
- After falling I understood His grace, mercy, and unconditional love a little more each time.
- You can only be held accountable by others as far as you allow them to hold you accountable.
- I had to stop telling myself I couldn’t have it because the truth was/is I can have it, but I want to honor God, my wife, and family with my body.
- I couldn’t go to place like the beach, mall, etc. if I knew it would feed my flesh especially when I already felt weak.
- HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired) helped me to assess would state of mind I was in before giving in to pornography, so I stopped to think about what was going on which led to many breakthroughs.
- Prayer using God’s Word was key to keeping my mind on the things above and not the things of this earth.
- Studying God’s Word was Key to me being reminded of the price I was bought. (Gospel Minded)
- Fasting was necessary to weaken my flesh in order to rely fully on God and not my own strength.
- My wife was one of my biggest advocates praying for and with me.
- My brothers and local church body played a pivotal role in keeping me accountable to the things the Lord has entrusted to me.
- God sent Christ because we couldn’t save ourselves, Christ ascended to Heaven so the Holy Spirit would dwell inside of us, so we cannot have total self-control without it being given through God’s Holy Spirit.
Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of things I’ve learned, but it is an honest one that will hopefully help point many men to God for help. If you need a listening ear, want to talk about your struggle with pornography in a safe environment, or want to really break free from pornography addiction let’s chat!
Grace and Peace,