"One evangelical leader was skeptical of survey findings that said 50% of Christian men have looked at porn recently. So he surveyed his own congregation. He found that 60% had done so within the past year, and 25% within the past 30 days." (Porn's Stranglehold, by Timothy C. Morgan)
I often share that between pornography and sports we've lost a good portion of our dads and men. Throw in work and hobbies and our fatherless and man gap grows even more. Unfortunately, we are now an online culture that thrives on pornography and we've hit a critical mass point. To do nothing is not an option.
When a man, or boy for that matter, looks at a pornographic image, he instantly commits an adulterous act against his God, the body of Christ and in the case of a married man, his wife. With this action, he has chosen himself over God, his wife, his children and the collective body of Christ. He has put his wants before God's will and has defiled his marriage bed. The sacred intimacy that marriage absolutely needs has been broken.
As husbands and dads, this is an extreme battle topic of epic proportion. It is not a matter of if pornography will impact your family, it is a matter of when. To do nothing is never an option. In some shape or form, pornography will come in contact with our sons and daughters. For our children's sake, we need to teach them what is really at stake here and remember that our number one teaching tool is the life we live before them.
When we (men) choose pornography, we are making a decision to holdfast to something or someone instead of God and/or our wives. The adultery bridge that spans from images to an actual full-blown adulterous affair is a very short one. Pornography is one of the top intimacy killers in marriages today that often leads toward a complete collapse of the marriage. Sadly, when porn gets ahold of a young boy, it's destroying his marriage before he even has the chance to say, "I do" to the woman he loves.
Think about it like this. The magnitude or depth of sin is often progressive in nature. The more we tolerate a certain sin in our lives, the more it will take hold of our lives. The more the sin takes hold, the deeper it will take us into that sin. With pornography, a man's heart will harden one porn experience at a time, and with each episode he is one step closer to committing the adulterous act itself. Yet, even if the physical act of adultery is never pursued, it has already been committed within the man's heart. Christ made it explicitly clear that when we lust at a woman, we have already committed adultery in our hearts. Consequently, the damage and fallout around his marriage will be just as real. The same thing applies to our unmarried youth and men out there. In some shape or form, the porn they consume now will reveal its ugly head within their future marriage.
"But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart."
This is why it is vital that we holdfast first and most to God through Jesus Christ. As we cling to Christ, He clings to us (John 15, James 4:8). Meaning this: We can hold onto God because He is holding on to us (John 6:44, 10:28-30). He alone both provides and protects within His covenantal relationships. It is only in our holding fast to God that we will truly love what God loves and hate what He hates.
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Romans 12:9
True intimacy is found within a God-defined covenantal love. It is a love that hates evil and clings to what is good. It is a love that secures, sustains and endures. This means when something or someone threatens our covenantal love. i.e. the intimate oneness within our marriage, we will see it for what it is. It as an enemy attack, and we will do everything within our power to stop it. This is where real intimacy is made, secured and grows. Our wives and children need to know that we will go to battle for them.
Our children must understand that, in Christ Jesus, our marriages have total provision and complete protection. As we holdfast to Christ, He will holdfast to us and our marriages. Our marriages can and should reflect the reality of God's hold on our lives.
Yet, when we choose to step outside the loving boundaries of God's covenantal ways, we immediately expose ourselves to the enemy. In John 15, Christ tells us that if we abide in Him, He will abide in us. Apart from Christ, we can do nothing.
Practically speaking, this translates into making a covenant with my eyes before God and my wife not to look at another woman or images of women in a lustful way (Job 31:1). I have resolved only to have eyes for my wife. For any man out there that has never truly made this God-driven commitment, this visual pact before God and your wife will make a huge difference in your marriage. Be sure. Your wife will take notice.
What does it mean to only have eyes for your wife? Every sense of passion and sexual energy you have is now totally devoted to your wife and to no other. This is a profoundly amazing thing. It also takes sexual intimacy within your marital relationship to a new level where God had originally created it to be. Yet, it requires us (men) to take captive any thought or desire and to totally root it within the covenant relationship God had defined for such desires. As you do this, God will grow your love and desire for your wife. Your "love life" will become all about honoring God, pleasing your wife and providing an example to your children. It really can be this good.
I recently shared with my 16 year old son that where there is darkness evil is never far away. That’s how it is with pornography and other sins that often hide within the darkness of men’s lives. As men, we can no longer allow the porn-saturated culture around us to define who we are and how we live. We serve a King that has conquered our sins and provides a way out when temptation is near (1 Corinthians 10:13). For the sake of our marriages and our children, it's time to suit up and go to battle.
Read JT's previous blog: Pornography's Big 3 Lies