The Book of Revelation can intimidate many Christians. The Apostle John intended the book to propel us forward in godliness instead of paralyzing us. I pray these short messages (approximately 25 min each) will peak your interest in the final book of the Bible.
Pornography is a big deal. Satan uses porn to steal, kill and destroy. And the church is not exempt. Pornography is a big temptation. The flesh desires to lust, linger and live in sexual immorality. And Christians are not exempt.
How should the church respond? How should a struggling Christian deal with this massive issue?
The call of the hour is for the church to think deeply, critically and practically about pornography.
There was a season in my life when I read every book I could on sexual temptation I could find.To the shame of some authors, I read their books and they did me more harm than good. I read other authors who were quite helpful in engaging the issues, but simply did not go deep enough. I wanted more help in the battle against sexual immorality.
Finally Free gives ten biblical ways to battle sexual temptation. I am thankful for this book because it is all about the Bible. Heath Lambert does not drift off into statistics or ramble on about some psychological jargon that is detached from dungeon of addiction. Instead, each chapter offers a dagger that has been sharpened by the Scriptures in order to cut pornography out for good.
I also love this book because it is ultimately not about pornography. That might seem strange to a reader who notices the word pornography on every other page. But the fact of the matter is this book is of incredible help in fighting many sinful desires. If I replaced pornography with the word anxiety in chapter ten, I would be just as helped in my walk with God. If I replaced pornography with the word complaining in chapter nine, I would find help for my grumbling. Change the specifics and alter the practical application and this book can be used to fight a variety of sins. Why? Because Lambert grounds his wisdom in power of the Scriptures that enable sinners to have lasting change in Christ.
Consider chapter three on accountability and pornography. Here are just three out of seven points:
Effective Accountability Is Involved Early Rather than Late
Effective Accountability Involves Someone with Maturity
Effective Accountability Should Avoid Explicit Details
I guarantee I would have been a different person years ago if I had known these three points from this chapter. I found myself calling my “accountability partners” only after I would sin. I rarely called them during the midst of my struggles. I also fell into the trap of confessing sin to those who were struggling with the exact same things I did! How much more effective would it have been if I had a more mature man in my life? Or how much more could I have honored those around me if I avoided unhelpful details?
Holiness is a big deal. We must think deeply, carefully and practically about what the Bible has to say about growing in grace. We cannot afford to ignore this task.
I am confident Heath Lambert’s book Finally Free will aid the church in this endeavor. I cannot commend it more readily.
My heart is broken after reading your last letter. I am thankful that you have told me of your struggle and several steps must be taken immediately.
You probably have fears that abound in this season. What if someone finds out? What will my fiancée think? What will my pastor do? How will this affect my marriage? What if I can never be free?
If you are serious about your engagement and your relationship with the Lord, then serious action must be taken. You do not want to turn over in bed next to your bride and search for porn on your iPhone. Nor do you want to shrug off this sin and then turn over in the flames of Hell. Hands must be cut off and eyes must be gouged out. Pornography is not a pet to stroke, but a snake to crush. Realizing the severity of this sin is life or death. Yet there is a greater reality we must realize.
Brothers, many men do not realize the power they have been granted to fight even the darkest desires. When Christ screamed in agony on the wooden tree, He did not scream in vain. The strength that surged through the veins of Jesus now surges through the Spirit in you. Christ has come to set you free and you can be free indeed. There is no porn pit too deep that the light of Christ cannot reach. Christ is risen from the dead and He gives immeasurable power to those who believe (Eph 1:19) Come into the light and believe there is power in the precious blood of the Lamb.
Should you break off your engagement due to your addiction to porn?
This is a complex question, but it is one that must be answered. The first order of business is to bring in a wise counselor. Although we have corresponded for quite some time, I am not involved enough in your daily life to give hand-tailored advice. You will need someone who can speak directly into your life, assess the scenario, examine your fruit and help you make the call. You need a referee on the field rather than a commentator from the stands.
But from my aerial viewpoint, here is what I have noticed. There are two kinds of people who struggle with pornography. Those who are slaves to Jesus and those who are slaves to Satan. Those who have the Holy Spirit in them and those who do not. You must examine yourself and take inventory of your soul. Are you enslaved to pornography and making little to no progress? Or are you struggling but growing in grace and gaining victory? If you are consumed with porn and know it, breaking off the engagement is on the table – or – at least postponing it until you are able to get adequate help. For the man who is enslaved to porn, marriage is not the answer – Jesus is.
However, if you struggle hard but fall occasionally, breaking off the engagement might not be the best counsel. Marriage is not the solution to porn, but it certainly can help. If you burn with passion, it is good to marry (1 Cor 7:9). But in order for you to qualify for marriage, you must be fighting this sin vigorously and see Jesus giving you victory in battle. The marriage bed is to be undefiled (Hebrews 13:4).
Discovering a tumor and excising it is painful and frightening. Yet everyone would trade the short pain of surgery for a cancer free body. Sin thrives in secret. Mold, bacteria, fungus and all manner of porn fester in the dark. True confession may be a brief pain, but it brings sweet relief. Every broken porn addict who comes to Christ will never be turned away. He creates a clean heart and renews a right spirit (Psalm 51:10). Confess your sin to God and then confess your sin to a strong Christian leader in your life. God has given us pastors and mentors to help us grow in godliness. They will welcome you with open arms and then hopefully strengthen you in the faith.
The difficult part comes when it is time to talk with your fiancée. You cannot spring such a thing upon her the day you return from your honeymoon. To be quite frank, this should have come up before engagement. But since the question has already been popped, you must bring this up quickly. Great care and wisdom must be exercised when you tell her. Pray for the next available opportunity. Inform her that you are relying upon Jesus and fighting this temptation with all His might. Talk about how you hate sin and how Jesus is helping you overcome it. Make sure that you are clear, but not overly detailed. Do not tell her all the grit and grim of your struggle. Even if she wants to know, it will not build her up in her most holy faith to talk about what you watched and how long you stared at other women. State the struggle, show that you are serious about bearing good fruit, and ask for prayer and grace.
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands you sinners and purify your hearts you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to sorrow and your joy to gloom. Humble yourself before the Lord and He will exalt you.” (James 4:7-10)
Shrivel your sin in the light, cut off all temptation, and run to the risen Savior.
Brother, I have watched as pornography has ravished the minds of dear friends, leaving them lonely and cold. I don’t want that for you. I am confident in the Lord that you can put this to death. Christ has overcome the grave and pornography is no match for our resurrected Lord. Take hope in His power which can cut any chain (John 8:34-36).