I met a young man recently who was struggling with porn. He professed to be born again. He wanted to be free. I asked him how his entertainment was. I threw a few popular titles his way. He admitted to being a consumer of all of them.
“Are you aware that the trailers alone show that those programs are rated to have nudity and lots of sexual perversion?”
“Yes, but I ignore those parts.”
“How do you ignore them?”
“I just focus on the rest of the series.”
“Forgive me for saying this but that’s crazy, man! If you keep doing that you will keep feeding your flesh and you will never be free from your struggle.”
“Don’t you watch those same TV series? How do you do it? Or perhaps you forward the DVD when you get to those nude scenes. I used to do that but it was too cumbersome.”
“No I don’t.”
“You don’t forward?”
“I mean no I don’t watch them at all.”
“What!” He was very surprised. “Empire?” I shook my head. “Scandal?” I shook my head again. “Not even Game of Thrones?”
“Not even Game of Thrones. Never seen an episode of it. I only hear people talk about them, but I have not watched any of them. I quit the year I got free from porn. It was those same seemingly harmless ten second scenes of nudity that cost me my intimacy with God and almost ruined my relationship with my girlfriend before I married her. It’s not worth it. Plus I would waste so much time instead of doing something productive.”
“Whoa! But what do you watch?”
“I read books and spend time growing my hobby, origami.”
“Dude, that’s extreme!”
“Reading books and growing my hobby is extreme?”
“Uhm…no, I mean…who doesn’t watch these things. Even my pastor watches them.”
“Does your pastor know the carnality in them?” I asked.
“Yeah. But he says as long as you understand yourself you shouldn’t worry. He says some people are weak and can’t handle it but some can.”
“What’s so funny?”
“Please make sure you are following Jesus and not your pastor.”
“You know at times I feel like it’s not right. I mean, I would be mad if my small bro was watching them.”
“Because he’s under 18?” I asked.
“No, because I don’t want him to struggle like me.”
“So you admit they affect your personal purity?”
“What’s so funny?” I mocked him in a jest. I then quickly became serious not wanting to lose my train of thought. “Okay now, listen for what it’s worth. Those TV programs with nudity do more than give you entertainment in exchange for your money. They titillate you sexually. Biologically your body produces huge doses of testosterone than your daily requirement. You become sexually over-sensitive. I know because I was addicted to porn and masturbation just like you. Beyond the science, you must see that spiritually you are using your eyes and ears, the windows to your soul, to sin. Sin is bondage. Addiction is bondage. How much poison do you need to lick in order to start feeling the sting of death?”
“Yes, poison. You see lust is a poisonous sin. Healthy people don’t intentionally imbibe poisonous substances. its not being extreme; it is being perfectly sane. You on the other hand are taking bits of this poison everyday in your entertainment and you don’t find that weird?”
“If you follow the masses, you may discover that the m is silent.”
We had a good laugh.
“I’m no donkey!” he affirmed himself, seeing my point.
“Only if you are stubborn.”
“So what do I do?”
“Starve the flesh. Get rid of that Hollywood junk. When your marriage is breaking Olive Pope won’t save you.”
“Olivia,” he corrected me.
“Whatever her name is. She’s not worth my walk with God, my purity, my marriage and my money.”
“Then allow me to finish this season first,” he bargained. I chuckled at his naughtiness.
“Remember what Jesus said to the man who wanted to follow him but said to wait to bury his father first?” I asked him.
“What did he say?” I asked.
“Let the dead bury the dead.”
“Exactly. Unless you are spiritually dead, go ahead and finish that season. You will only entrench yourself deeper into the bondage before you get out. But if you want to follow Jesus you have to obey now- today. Starving the flesh means cutting off all the supply that promotes the sin inside of you. Also you must see the problem as sin. Not as a simple struggle. Or as a temporary setback. The more you give fancy vanilla names to the evil inside of you, the less seriously you will take the battle. The more you believe that you are a good person who is in a circumstantial problem, the less seriously you will deal with your sin. Jesus says in Mark 7 that the sins we struggle with are because they originate from inside of us. We are not victims. We are crime lords.”
“Why hasn’t anyone told me this?”
“I don’t know. Who have you been hanging out with?” I said in a jest.
“Haha! But it’s not that easy?”
“My friend Boniface Nyoike likes to say that you can fall in love with comfort or you can fall in love with victory but you cannot fall in love with both.”
“That’s profound. Almost like asking me to choose a struggle. I guess my friends make it hard for me to rise above this thing. They are always talking about the latest episode. I feel like I will miss out if I don’t catch up with them.”
“I hear you,” I assured him, “But your friends won’t be there when your marriage is breaking. They won’t be there when you stand before the Great throne of Judgment and account for your life. Listen to what the Bible says.”
I flipped to the book of Galatians. I found chapter five, verse seventeen. I gave him to read it. He read it aloud.
“For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want.”
“The very nature of an addiction for the follower of Jesus is testament that they are doing what they do not want to do. The strategy for this war is simple. However I meet many men and women who don’t break free because of the unwillingness to put it into practice. They talk about it. They post verses on Facebook about it. They tell others to do it. But they themselves do not do it. The strategy is this: starve the flesh and strengthen the spirit.”
“I’m guessing starving the flesh involves divorcing some of my entertainment.”
“Yes, because lust grows by feeding on sinful titillations.”
“What about my friends who are not born again? Some of them are struggling as well. Will the same strategy work?”
“For the unbeliever these sinful titillations from entertainment seem harmless. I don’t get into arguments with unbelievers about the need for sexual purity. Why? Because the message of purity is for the regenerate. The unregenerate needs the message of the Gospel. What good is it for a young man to practice chastity legalistically and then still end up in hell after having waited for sex until marriage? We are saved by grace through faith. The unbeliever needs that first. The urgent message for the lost is repent of your sins and believe in Christ the saviour of the world. Starving the flesh by cutting the sinful titillations only makes sense after Christ is LORD of your life. You must understand the gravity of your sin and the wonder of his grace and mercy. If you don’t grasp that then starving your flesh will just be another set of insurmountable rules that you have placed on your malnourished soul.”
“Okay. That makes sense. Because the desire to be pure only came after I gave my life to Christ. What about the second part you mentioned? Strengthening the spirit.”
“I think you’ve been doing well here. Your daily time in your spiritual disciplines will strengthen your spirit.”
“Like my quiet time?”
“Yes. That daily time with God is more powerful than you think.”
“I’m assuming prayer is involved in strengthening my spirit, yes?”
“There is no victory apart from it. I want you to fast as well.”
“You know, I did fast some time last month. That whole period I was clean without even the desire to indulge.”
“True. Praying while fasting is like giving your prayers spiritual steroids. It was prayer and fasting that removed the demon that was oppressing me in 2010 and 2011.”
“I remember that story. Scary man!”
“It’s a spiritual war, bro. You can’t be causal about it. I want us to read one more scripture before I leave. Turn to 2 Samuel 13.”
We read it. I explained it to him.
“In 2 Samuel 13, Amnon the son of King David rapes his half sister, Tamar. Tamar is undone. Her brother Absalom finds out his sister has been assaulted and he harbours a grudge against her rapist. He plots for the perfect revenge and two years later he has Amnon assassinated. This leads to Absalom running into exile. This later leads to a coup in the land. This later leads to the royal family fleeing for their lives. That later leads to a civil war. And because of the civil war, there is a public scene of sexual perversion between Absalom and his father’s concubines. The war later leads to the suicide of Ahithopel, the death of Absalom and the fracturing of Israel 🇮🇱. All these scandals and tragedies take place in the royal family because Tamar was raped. If Tamar was given justice by the King all this could have been averted. But why didn’t David intervene when his daughter was raped?
“We are told in 2 Samuel 13:21 “When King David heard about all these things, he was furious.” (HCSB). That’s it. He was angry, period. Why would David, a man after God’s own heart, stand and watch as this injustice takes place? The answer is found two chapters before this in 2 Samuel 11. The title of the chapter says it all: David and Bathsheba. David lacks moral authority to stand against Amnon. How can he confront his daughter’s rapist when he took another man’s wife, killed the very man and then tried to frame it on the battleY You as a Christian man needs to know that your sexual purity is powerful. Your lack of consecration can affect those closest to you. If you have a daughter like Tamar in the future, you don’t want to end up like David.”
“Man, I’ve never seen it that way. Today is the day. I’m realizing this thing is more serious than I think it is.”
“Yes it is, bro. Let’s keep the faith even if the world mocks us for it.”