Our nation, our churches, and our homes have a problem. A big problem. Satan has unlocked an area of sin in many of our lives, opening a door only God can shut!
The problem? Pornography. It is ruining lives, tearing apart marriages, and destroying families.
Every day, millions willingly stride into the putrid quagmire that is pornography—and not just non-Christians. Research shows that Christians and non-Christians alike are into pornography. 1
We are not being pushed or pulled. Like the one who lacks sense described in Proverbs 9, we are waltzing into this treacherous place believing the lie that says, Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten secretly is tasty! (Proverbs 9:17).
I imagine most adults at some level know that viewing pornography is unhealthy. And it seems reasonable that most Christian men and women know that pornography is a perversion of God’s design for human sexuality. We have no excuses. How desperately we need to realize, as Solomon wrote so long ago, that the end of sexual sin is still death: He doesn’t know that the departed spirits are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol (Proverbs 9:18).
While pornography is barely three keystrokes away from any web page, we don’t accidentally stumble into it. Its allure is real.
“Pornography is first and foremost about the theater of the mind,” according to Rick Thomas with Covenant Eyes, an Internet accountability and filtering service. “[T]he young male can enter into his virtual world and be king for a day or, in this case, king for a few minutes as he satiates his mind with the risk-free intrigue of the cyber conquest.”
But it is not really risk-free. Men who get deep into pornography never look at women the same way again. It changes them. It literally has the capability to reset the way God wires our brains. According to Michael Cusick, author of Surfing for God: Discovering the Divine Desire Beneath Sexual Struggle, “The brain of a person regularly using porn can change and shape itself to resemble neuropathways similar to those of an alcoholic or drug addict.” 2
If you are in Christ, you have the power not only to resist the lure of pornography; you have the power and wisdom to flee from it. Consider it as a ferocious dog chained to a tree close to the sidewalk. When strolling down that street, walk over to the other side. Take every precaution to avoid the very real and present danger the snarling dog presents.
It is the same with pornography. Make the commitment to stay far from it. When it shows up in front of you, flee, even if it means shutting down your computer and taking a break (1 Thessalonians 5:22; 2 Timothy 2:22). When confronted with pornography, you’ve come face-to-face with the roaring lion. He is seeking to devour you. In your flesh, resistance is futile (1 Peter 5:8). Only through the power of Christ can you overcome (1 John 5:4-5).
1 2008 study in which students from six college sites were surveyed on their use and perspectives of pornography revealed 66 percent of male students and 49 percent of female students believe the viewing of pornography is an “acceptable way to express one’s sexuality.” A near majority of the men (48.3%) view pornographic material on a weekly or more-often basis. The study’s authors said, “Pornography is as common as drinking among college-age men. It also appears that a sizeable number of emerging adult men ‘binge’ on pornography with a similar frequency and intensity that defines binge drinking on American college campuses.” (Jason S. Carroll, Laura M. Padilla-Walker, Larry J. Nelson, Chad D. Olson, Carolyn McNamara Barry, and Stephanie D. Madsen, “Generation XXX: Pornography Acceptance and Use among Emerging Adults.” Journal of Adolescent Research vol. 23 no. 1: 6-30.)
2 “This Is Your Brain on Porn” www.relevantmagazine.com/life/whole-life/features/29332-this-is-your-brain-on-porn.
Some practical steps to help men, women, and families combat the influence and damage of pornography in their lives.
• Make time for God every day. Praying, reading and memorizing Scripture will make a big difference in your life.
• Commit yourself before God to avoid situations on a computer or in a bookstore where temptations may abound.
• Place computers in a common area of the home, clearly visible to all members of the family.
• Don’t roam the Internet aimlessly. Always have a definite destination in mind. Avoid surfing the Web late at night when you’re alone and tired.
• Find another individual with whom you can be accountable. Share your struggles and hold up a moral standard for each other.
• Decide what online activities and how much time online are acceptable and communicate these to family members.
• Share phone and computer passwords with your spouse.
• Monitor children’s computer and smart phone data usage akin to monitoring their TV viewing.
• Periodically review file names stored on a computer. Names ending in GIF,
JPG, BMP, TIF, PCX, DL and GL commonly refer to video or graphic images you can check.
• If struggling with any form of pornography or moral impurity, seek help from
your pastor or a biblical counselor recommended by your church. A pastor
or counselor also can help rebuild relationships damaged by the pain of pornography.
• Encourage in your children, from an early age, that you are interested in
talking to them about anything and everything in their life. Be available. Build strong, open communication lines that will persist in their teenage years and beyond.
• Convey to your children, in an age appropriate manner, the fact that there are
websites on the Internet that are unhealthy and even dangerous. Grow in your children a wise and discerning spirit (Hebrews 5:14).
• Instruct your children in “safe surfing” techniques. (While you might provide
every safeguard on your home computers, the reality is that your children will have
Internet access at other locations and on other devices.)
• Subscribe to an Internet accountability and filtering provider, such as Covenant Eyes. No home or office is immune to the scourge of pornography or those who insidiously peddle it.
• Set restrictions on how long your children can be on the computer. Know your
children’s passwords and log-on information to his e-mail and any tablet computers,
especially those that are taken to school or to friends’ houses.
• Travelling? When you check into your hotel, request the front desk to disable any feature on the television in your room that would enable you to purchase a pay movie.
• Make sure your laptop, tablet and smart phone is protected with Internet filter or
• Be ONE of the One Million Men who are committing to be porn-free.