He had become a prominent member of a Baptist church. When he was a teenager, someone had introduced him to pornography. The materials made other men, women and children objects of sexual gratification. They cheapened human sexuality and encouraged sexual immorality.
Soon the young man found himself addicted to pornography. Neither spiritual struggle, marriage nor shaming himself brought victory over the habit.
The easy accessibility and widespread use of pornography made it a powerful temptation. Pornography also holds its grip because it develops from a natural sexual desire and appreciation for beauty.
The experience of this young man is widespread. The appeal of pornographic material impacts not only men but also women. How should people impacted by pornography respond? Four principles mentioned in today's lesson can help.
The principles can assist in two areas. They can guide in leading others to reject the use of pornography. They can offer assistance to those who struggle with pornography.
Determine not to be involved (Psalm 101:3-4).
The psalmist determined to keep his eyes away from viewing evil (v. 3). He also pledged to "have nothing to do with evil" (v. 4). Shunning sin is the first step in overcoming it. People addicted to pornography may not change their behavior by being re-minded that pornography is harmful. They may need help from a Christian counselor.
Discipline your eyes (Job 31:1-4).
Job determined he would avoid lustful looks at women. He determined to shun sexual immorality because he understood the ruin such thoughts could produce (v. 3).
David's gaze at Bathsheba led to adultery with her (2 Samuel 11:1-4). Although pornography appeals primarily to the eye, aural stimulation through phone sex lines provides an avenue of temptation.
Guard your thoughts (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
Divine power can provide strength to make every thought "obedient to Christ" (v. 5). We are to use God's power to discipline our thought life.
The term translated as "take captive" is a military metaphor describing the capture of prisoners on a battlefield. Christians who want to control their thoughts begin by admitting their need and continue by trusting God's strength.
Practice self-control (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, 7).
We practice self-control because such discipline is the will of God (v. 3). We also practice self-control because living in sexual immorality is the behavior of people "who do not know God" (v. 5).
God's will for our lives involves practicing purity by rejecting immorality.
We will find it hard to practice this purity in a society contaminated with sexual immorality. For those who seek it, God will provide the strength to practice purity in thought and deed.
Verses referenced: Job 31:1-4; Psalm 101:3-4; 2 Corinthians 10:1-5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5,7