I’ve been thinking for a while that I’d like to do a blog series to get on the offensive against the dangers and tragedies surrounding pornography. In the modern world, we live with it at our doorstep every day. How can a man who desires to live a godly life overcome?

When I was a 9-year-old boy, I used to go over to my friend’s house after school, where his Dad had an ample supply of Playboy and Hustler magazines in his closet, and we’d ogle over the pictures for hours. Then, right about the time we’d hear his Dad pulling into the driveway, like a tornado with a broom we’d put everything back, and I’d jet back home in time for dinner. Back in the 1980′s, it required a lot more effort to look at porn. You’d have to find a stash, visit a friend’s house, or risk public humiliation by grabbing a dirty magazine off the shelf (if you were old enough), and pay for it at the counter.

Today, it’s much easier.

You can look at porn anywhere you have your cell phone. You can be riding the bus, eating lunch in the mall, walking your dog in the park, or sitting in the kitchen with your wife across the table, all the while searching for sexual imagery to satisfy your carnal appetite. I recently heard one porn mogul say, “It’s a great day for the porn industry. Our goal is to make it as accessible as possible, so that your can download it to your cell with a few easy clicks.”

Why am I writing this blog series? I’m sick of seeing my brothers suffer, the mighty fall, the strong reduced to weaklings, marriages destroyed, and women being viewed as sex objects. I do have four daughters, and I despise a world sexually out of control, full of men that have become animals, who only see meat. May it not be in the Church! Yes, through Christ we can rise above this present darkness, be of a different spirit, and shock the world with our purity, love, and dignity.

I recently heard sports talk show host Jim Rome say, as he spoke about athletes whose reputations have been destroyed by sexual scandals, that sex is “The undisputed undefeated heavyweight champion of the universe!” It is true that the lure of sexual temptation is powerful, and many have succumbed. Porn makes strong men weak. It destroys confidence. It enslaves. But Christ defeated the power of it at the cross just like all the other enemies that seek our souls.

Let me get right to it. For those brothers who are struggling, let me tell you how victory WON’T come:

1. Amping yourself up for another round of defense, painting your chest like Braveheart, making promises to yourself about what you will and won’t do. Peter tried his willpower when he said to Jesus, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you!” (Matthew 26:35) How far did willpower get him? “He began to call down curses, and he swore to them, ‘I don’t know this man you’re talking about.’” (Mark 14:71)

2. Surrounding yourself with layers of filters and accountability, because though this may help, it won’t change your heart. I don’t mean to undermine the efforts of some great ministries that teach vigilance (and rightly so), but it’s a mistake to teach vigilance as the answer, when the gospel is the same for every sinner and suffering person: “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died needlessly” (Galatians 2:21).

3. Resignation and license. Some have concluded that since men are so weak, the answer does not lie in avoiding porn, but redefining what is evil. Is it really a sin to look with lust on a woman if you don’t actually intend to have sex with her? Do I have to quote Bible verses again (Job 31:1, Matthew 5:27-28)? Such thinking is the conclusion of weak men, defeated by sin.

Galatians 5:16 gives the secret to our victory not only over lust, but any weakness of the sin nature: “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” The word “by” indicates a dependence upon, a leaning on the strength of the Spirit, and not on yourself. In short, our victory lies in Christ-sufficiency, not self-sufficiency.

To borrow some thoughts from Acts 29 bro Darrin Patrick (you should check out his stuff), the greatest enemy to manhood is legalism. That’s because legalism ignores your identity in Christ. The only possible result of legalism is defeat, because self is the only source of strength, which will always (eventually) fail.

Therefore, to be Christ-sufficient, you have to “deny” self (Matthew 16:24), but not only in the sense that you are denying sinful pleasure, but denying DEPENDENCE on self. The beginning of victory is realizing that you can never be the man God desires by leaning on self. You must concede that there was only one perfect man: Christ. Then you can begin to boast in your weakness, that Christ might reign in you.

My simple message in this blog series is that God’s grace is the only answer for sin. Works might appear to be the answer, but ultimately, if you depend on those works, you will actually revive your sin nature, not defeat it (Romans 7:9). I don’t intend to say that God won’t give wise strategies to help you avoid temptation, but ultimately, your greatest problem is your sin nature, not porn.

Well, that’s a good start. Turn your eyes to the cross, despair in ever saving yourself, and stake all on Christ. Chew on that, and I’ll post Part 2 next week.

I welcome any conversation on my blog page. Perhaps the Lord will use this blog to encourage edifying and honest conversation that will strengthen all who read.

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