9 Things You Need to Know When Porn Tempts You (Part 1)

It has been said that there are two types of Christians living in America today — those who watch porn and those who lie about it. According to the Barna Group, 64% of Christian males and 15% of Christian females watch porn on a regular basis. Although the study was published in 2016, the findings are still alarming. The percentages are lower for Christians than non-Christians, however, the report acknowledges the possibility of “under-reporting” due to pornography being less acceptable in Christian communities than the wider culture.

Temptation happens quickly. It can feel impossible to defeat. In what follows, I’d like to share some thoughts that will help you in your war against pornography. I’m hoping you’ll ponder these words during peacetime in order to be equipped for the war. You are not alone in the struggle, as I hope the Barna numbers make clear.

So, without further delay, here is part 1 of “9 Things You Need To Know When Porn Tempts You.”

1. When you watch porn, you harm those around you.

There is a popular notion in our world today that says people should be able to do whatever they want so long as that don’t hurt others. I don’t agree with that sentiment, at least, not entirely. First off, I’m a Christian. As such, I have surrendered my will to the will of God. My primary aim in life goes well beyond pleasure and not harming others. My aim is to know God and find all the pleasures my heart can desire as I live in relationship with Him. Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand (emphasis added).

Another reason I don’t agree with the above sentiment is because sin is never private. People argue that their use of pornography doesn’t hurt others, however, I want to give you two reasons why I believe it does. First, after watching porn, your guilt and shame will have a negative affect on the way you love and interact with those around you. If you are married, your spouse will notice something is off. It will rightly irritate them and likely cause fights between the two of you. Though people may not be able to pinpoint the cause of your awkwardness, they will notice a change in your ability to engage with them. Your actions in such moments will hurt those you love.

Secondly, God knows your heart and all your ways. After King David was confronted about sleeping with Bathsheba and having her husband killed, he wrote the words in Psalm 51. There, he claimed his sin was against God alone (51:4). How can that be true? He hurt numerous people in his lust-fueled craziness. His words are true because God is the ultimate judge. David knew that only God can rightly determine how to deal with the sin of His creatures. So, no, your sin is not private and, yes, people are harmed by your use of pornography.

2. When you watch porn, you are looking at someone’s child.

This point will likely resonate more with parents than those without children, but consider it for a moment. Every person engaging in sexual activity on your screen was once someone’s pride and joy. They were innocent children in need of a mother’s care. How much depravity has to occur in a child’s life to bring them from a place of need and trust to the hell of sexual perversion? If you are a parent, imagine how wrecked you would feel if your own child was the person on everyone’s screen. Of course, many will try to argue that the people on their screen are consenting adults, however, I hope to make the point later that, in many cases, people, and women in particular, are actually victims of sex-trafficking. There is very little consenting happening on your screen.

3. People are made in the image of God.

I hope you track with me on this point, because it explains why ALL people should be treated with dignity and respect. At the beginning of your Bible there is the creation account where God created things “good.” When He created humanity, however, He proclaimed that they were the capstone of His creative work and called it all “very good” (Genesis 1:31). He created humanity in His image and told them to be fruitful and multiply and to subdue the earth and rule over the creation (Genesis 1:28-30). In essence, we were all created to be mini-gods by stewarding all that God created and placed under our care. How are we doing?

There is so much that could be said about the image of God, which theologians call the imago dei. But trust me on this point, we were not created to treat people like property or something to be consumed. Pornography is a gross distortion of what people ought to be doing. Instead of being perverted, we should be creating a culture that reflects the character of God and brings Him glory.

4. Temptation does not equal participation.

When you’re tempted, you will likely hear the voice of Satan telling you that you’ve already sinned. It’s one of the enemy’s biggest lies. Because you are under the influence of hell, your ability to reason will be weakened and you’ll be led into a pornographic nightmare. Don’t fall for it! The Bible tells us that even Jesus was tempted.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet he did not sin.” – Hebrews 4:15 (emphasis added)

If Jesus was tempted during his earthly ministry, you will also be tempted. But did you catch it? The temptation endured by Christ was not sin. In fact, the text tells us that he did not sin. Again, don’t believe the lie that temptation is sin. It is not. You will be tempted, but take heart, the very next verse says you can confidently draw near to God’s throne of grace to find help in your time of need (v. 16).

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