This guest post is from Ryan Gustason of Pentecostal Blogger. Please visit his site for studies in Apostolic theology. Ryan is an excellent Bible teacher and writer.
The Internet is a great place. On its pages you can find just about anything, from blogs about the bible to live video streams of political debates. Unfortunately, with the open forum of the Internet also comes the dark side. There are recent statistics, which state that 11% of the pages on the Internet are devoted to pornography. One in three pornography viewers are women. 70% of men between the ages of 18-24 view porn in a typical month. Clicking on the image on the left will reveal statistics gathered about Internet pornography from OnlineMBA.com.
Pornography is all about lust. Lust and love have only one thing in common, that is both can be expressed through sex. Many men and teenage boys go through battles with lust. The chemicals, which rush through our bodies, especially between the ages of 13 to 26, help to fuel our feelings of lust. Love, on the other hand, is about having a biblically pure relationship and pure sexuality within the confines of marriage between a man and woman.
Purity, as a Christian, does not mean you will never think about sex, but rather when confronted with the temptation you chose to deny it. King David had a battle with purity.
[2 Sam 11:1–5 KJV] “And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite? And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house. And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child.”
David, idle because he did not go to war but rather lay around his palace, was caught up in lust. He saw her naked and lusted after her. This is a classic example from Scripture of lust.
Ways to combat lust
- Idle hands are the devil’s workshop, or so it has been said. Surely there are things you want to accomplish in the life! Goals, dreams, and achieving the things in your life is possible by planning. Write down things you’d like to accomplish in this life. Plan it all out. Start with the big goals, the major accomplishments you’d like to work for. Then, on individual pages of a journal, map them out with smaller goals. Break them down into achievable steps and then put a date on them. By doing this sort of life planning exercise, and consistently going back to revise and cross off steps you’ve done will give you a sense of accomplishment and more importantly, something to do. When you are feeling tempted, break out that journal and look at what other things you could be doing to accomplish your dreams rather than sitting in front of the computer to look at pornography. [James 1:12–15 KJV] “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”
- Prayer. James chapter 1 is a great segue into our need for prayer. When we communicate honestly with our creator, we receive strength and comfort. Prayer is a vital part of the Christian’s life and is probably one of the most neglected parts of the Christian walk. [Rom 1:21 KJV] “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” A consistent prayer life is one of the best ways to avoid the pitfalls of sin. If you own a smart phone, try setting up reminders at times you know will be available for you to devote to prayer.
- [1 Cor 6:18–20 KJV] “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” What this verse implies is that we should avoid situations where we know temptation will be harder to overcome. If you need to, put an internet filter in place. There are many out there, and I recommend K9 Web Protection. It is free and works well.
- Lastly, try picking up resources for overcoming these sorts of battles. Here are a few good ones to start with: Tribe: A Warrior’s Battles by Michael Ross; Winning the Battle Within Realistic Steps to Overcoming the Battle Within by Niel Anderson.
The sin of lust can be overcome. Keep working at being an overcoming Christian by prayer, bible study, and staying pure through activities involving making good use of your time. If you are married, try re-kindling your relationship with your spouse. Pastoral counseling or a marriage retreat can be a good first step towards regaining your life and re-sparking the love you have for the one you married.
Ryan Gustason of Pentecostal Blogger