Pornography is the devil's newest and most effective device for subverting the progress of Christ's Kingdom.
Over the past few days I've talked with two pastors, one of whom has lost his ministry, and the other who is trying to keep the men in his college ministry from ruining their lives, because of this pernicious evil. Pornography is addictive, but those who are involved in it - like all addicts - are oblivious to the destruction it is wielding against their souls.
Everything about our current cultural consensus encourages involvement with pornography. The bait is tossed out in advertizing, pop music, film and television, while the poison is mostly dispensed across the Internet.
The fact that not many churches take seriously the work of making disciples, and that contemporary Christianity fosters an attitude of tolerance, non-judgmentalism, and easy forgiveness means that church members are particularly vulnerable to this blight. "Everybody's doing it," of course, and when Christians indulge, while they may experience a temporary surge of guilt or shame, the cheap grace and low discipleship expectations that make up their spiritual environment will not help them to resist this evil.
The antidote to pornography is the fear of God. Pornography hi-jacks the affections and retools them to love and desire what is evil. The psalmist writes, "Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name" (Ps. 86.11). Only when the fear of God brings all our affections together - love, desire, longing, excitement, shame, guilt, hope, and all the rest - will they be properly set to serve the nurture of our souls and the sanctification of our lives.
But we don't hear much about the fear of God these days. God requires - requires is the word - that His people fear Him, even before they love Him (Deut. 10.12). We should fear God because He hates sin - and commands us to hate it (Ps. 97.10) - and He is capable of acting in the most powerful and destructive ways against those who persist in sin. We should fear God because He sees us at all times, and He is able to discipline us when we stray from Him, with a discipline that is not pleasant (Heb. 12.3-11). We should fear God because He is immense, infinite, all-powerful, all-holy, and absolutely set against every form of sin.
We who are prone to sin would do well to nurture the fear of God in our hearts. If we will learn to fear Him, our love will flow to Him, primed by His mercy, in the forms of gratitude and obedience. The more we fear the Lord, the greater will be our love for Him. The more we love Him, seeking His glory in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4.6), the more we will be grateful for His mercy and will strive to obey Him in all things. And as we obey Him, His presence becomes more real, His blessings become more lovely and delightful, and all lesser attractions will fall by the way.
Fear God in order to love Him. Love Him so that you will obey Him. Obey Him to know true joy and lasting pleasure. For when you delight in the Lord, you will not delight in the distractions of the devil.
Are you involved with pornography? It will destroy you if you do not seek the Lord, to fear Him.
Additional related texts: Ephesians 5.1-18; Psalm 86.11-13; Psalm 119.59-61
A conversation starter: "Friend, how do you protect yourself from the destructive influence of pornography?"
T. M. Moore