Monday, September 12, 2011

Overcoming Pornography

There are so many forms of pornography in the world we live in. And such easy access to it. I could share with you all the stats of the industry itself, but that wouldn't accomplish the purpose that I'm writing this for. My goal through this post is to help you receive victory in your fight for purity. So understand two things: 1) the porn industry is powerful; but 2) Jesus is more powerful. And He already defeated it's power by rising from the dead and conquering sin.
So, for whatever reason this sin has been called the "secret sin". For whatever reason I felt that this sin was somehow more sinful than other sins. But, truth is: a sin is a sin. And ultimately the punishment for sin is death and separation from God forever (Romans 6:23). So, be it a lie or a murder, you're destined for Hell. We have to understand that this sin of pornography is no worse than other sins. For some reason, we've categorized sins into major and minor. C.S. Lewis says in his book Mere Christianity, “The bigness or smallness of the thing [sin], seen from the outside, is not what matters.” Ultimately, we need a heart transformation. In God's eyes, sin as sin has to be punished. Again, a sin is a sin. Granted it's a whole lot harder to admit to viewing porn, than it is to admit to lying. But why? 
Because you sinned, something had to die. From the very beginning, the sacrifice for the first sin of our first parents was a blood sacrifice by God Himself (Genesis 3:21). Adam and Eve attempted to cover their sins with tree leaves, but God saw fit to kill an animal to give them the garments to cover themselves and ultimately their sin with. Again the punishment for sin is death (blood had to be shed). That lie that you told was sin. That last time you sat at the computer looking at a porn website was sin. You deserved to die and be in hell forever. That's the bad news. . .
But, this is where the good news comes in.
Jesus, God's only son, humbled Himself and came into this world as one of us (Philippians 2:6-8). He was tempted in every way possible (Hebrews 4:15), yes tempted to lie and tempted to lust after a woman. But, the crucial point being that He didn't sin. Not once. But, He chose to befriend the sinners (Matthew 9:12-13). He loved the sinners (John 3:16). And He forgave the sinners sin (Luke 7:48). But the religious people hated Him because He did all this. And they couldn't accept the fact that He was God incarnate ("in the flesh"). Which eventually led them to crucify Him.
But, this is where the beautiful exchange is. Again the punishment for sin is death. God's wrath had to be satisfied. Someone had to die for the sin for you and I. Jesus did that. Jesus satisfied the wrath of God by His sacrifice (Romans 3:24-26). We deserved it, Jesus endured it. That's the beautiful exchange. All the times you've fallen into sexual lust and fantasies, you can rely fully on Jesus' perfect life. Because when your trust is in Him for dying for you, God sees His righteousness when He looks at you (2 Corinthians 5:21). That's crazy! And worthy of a life of praise.
This doesn't take away the struggle and temptation though. So what happens when it comes up? Even when I write this, I sit in a busy college cafe where girls are dressed in a way that draws attention to them inappropriately. And to be honest my sinful nature wants that. But through Jesus death and resurrection on the cross, I have the power over sin and death to beat those thoughts (1 Corinthians 15:57). That same power that conquered the grave, lives in me and you. But we still fall. And that's where Jesus' living a perfect life comes in so huge! If we had to live up to God's standard of holiness, we would fail miserably (Romans 3:10). But Jesus lived up to it. And if that's what we're relying on fully, we can rest assured that God sees His righteousness instead of our sin.
When I fall into sin I have two choices: 1) I can choose to stay down on myself and live in guilt and shame over my sin or 2) I can choose to repent and rise up again. It comes down to this: am I relying fully that Jesus covered all my sin on the cross and that through Him I have the power to overcome it.
I trust and pray that this would be of an encouragement to you. Let the gospel be your assurance and power to fight sin, knowing the battle is already yours through Jesus’ victory. 
[Now may] “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace." - Numbers 6:24-26