How Should I Respond to the Growing Pornography Consumption?
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With so many people stuck inside and enduring social isolation, it’s no surprise that we’ve seen an increase in church members struggling with pornography. One of the typical schemes of the devil is to take advantage of Christians who are experiencing extended loneliness and isolation.
What are some wise practices during this season of COVID-19? Consider five things.
- Take radical steps: Make sure you brutally cut off access points to the internet if you are vulnerable. Jesus encourages you to cut off your arm or gouge out your eye (Matt. 5:27–30)—be aggressive in cutting sexual sin out of your life. If you’ve recently looked at something inappropriate, you have an open access point that needs to be dealt with.
- Don’t be passive about accountability: Don’t let spiritual lethargy take over. Don’t be lazy about pursuing the help you need. Take advantage of technology. Facetime and Zoom allows you to continue to get help from your gospel community. Granted, this is not the same thing as in-person meetings but it’s better than nothing. Keep in mind that good accountability is honest, frequent, and tough.
- Without honesty, everything else is a waste of time. Take a risk and share the foulest parts of your heart (Prov. 24:26). Expose your evil deeds of darkness (Eph. 5:11). Make a Spirit-driven decision to live in the light (Eph. 5:13).
- Frequent help is better than infrequent help. Sexual sin daily finds ways to muck up your life. If you let it go unchecked for too long, it makes a mess of things. You need repeated assistance of mature believers pressing in on your sin in order to slow it down.
- Tough conversations are intrusive. Accountability serves you well if your friend presses into your life and roots out your sin. As an accountability partner, are you willing to ask hard, awkward, and direct questions? “Did you masturbate this week?” “Did you lie to anyone this week?” “Is there anything you are hiding from me?”
- Spiritual disciplines are crucial for your survival: Some of you are starving; you’ve missed your regular diet of public preaching. Your spiritual caloric intake is far lower than what it should be. So overcompensate with your private study. Don’t settle for a cursory reading of the biblical text. Your desires for sexual sin will overtake you if you don’t maintain a high caloric intake of the gospel. Take the extra time to dig deep into God’s Word. Daily gospel nourishment is a vital part of maintaining your faith in this unusual season. A heart marinating in the gospel has a better chance at survival than a malnourished heart.
- Turn down the volume on sin’s lies: “I deserve this.” “Doesn’t God know I have urges?” “God will forgive me.” Lies, rationalizations, and self-justifications roll around in our minds like the spin cycle of a laundry machine. The absence of regular fellowship makes you more vulnerable (Heb. 3:12–13) and, sadly, these lies provide incentive to continue in your sin. Repent of these lies and self-justifications and counter them by turning up the volume on the promises of God.
- Examine your heart: Repentance for sexual sin can’t be reduced to just behavior change. Genuine repentance requires a change on the inside—a heart change. Heart work is hard work. Take time to dig into the recesses of your heart to understand what motivates you to pursue sexual sin. It’s not just a matter of lust. For example, do you look at inappropriate images to escape stress? Are you looking for affirmation and approval? Does extended boredom get you in trouble? Are you looking for some sense of adventure while enduring a pietistic lifestyle?