Ask Chuck: Flee From Online Temptation
I am a Christian male, happily married with a beautiful wife and two young children. I secretly watch porn way too often. Sometimes I watch on my mobile phone while at work. I am beginning to worry since it makes me feel depressed and guilty. My wife or boss may start to question what is going on. My sales commissions are going down and yet, I watch more porn. How can I get a grip on this before it takes me down?
Trapped in Porn
Thank you for your honest question and for reaching out. Your concerns regarding this issue are valid; it is a very serious addiction. The consequences of this are significant to you, your wife, your children and your relationship with the Lord. It is not uncommon for porn users to lose their emotional stability, their job, and their marriage; and in some cases, their lives.
The Shocking Statistics
To better understand the problem, I did some quick research. The statistics shocked and deeply saddened me as I read. The global industry is bigger than all of the major TV networks combined or all of the professional sports: football, baseball, and basketball combined. Americans are the number one producers and consumers of porn worldwide.
Max Anderson from The Weekend Reader reports:
In 2017, one website alone served up 25 billion (with a “b”) searches. That is about 50,000 searches per minute, or 3.5 searches for porn for every man, woman and child in the world. Again, this is a single website. This site streamed more than 10 million gigabytes of pornographic content every day in 2017.
Another article states:
Many porn addicts face the additional financial worry that they might lose their jobs: with the shocking figure that 70 percent of porn viewing occurs during normal business hours, it is clear that this is an addiction that cannot be left at the office door, and that many individuals are risking their career and their financial security to get their next fix… According to the Family Research Council, almost half of porn addicts will lose their job as a result of choosing to view pornography in the workplace.
This is a terrible problem for millions of people. But let’s get practical. Here are my tips to help you escape this trap. I hope they help you and anyone else struggling with the constant, ever-present danger of porn.
Live in Reality
Porn is based on fantasy. Participants are paid actors controlled by money, not love or healthy sexual attraction.
Think Like a Parent
What if an actor was your child? Seeing them as someone’s child, grandchild, sister or brother will make your heart hurt for the pain that they and their family must be experiencing. Don’t inflict more pain on them by your support.
Be Wise, Not Foolish
Proverbs 5 is full of wisdom regarding sexual temptation. It ends with specific advice in verses 20-23:
Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman and embrace the bosom of an adulteress? For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths. The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin. He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is led astray.
Run like Joseph!
The Bible says that Potiphar’s wife pursued Joseph day after day after day. When he would not succumb to the temptation, he ran! He suffered awhile but his integrity was intact and ultimately rewarded. Running is a simple, practical, straightforward strategy. It works! It may mean getting rid of your smartphone, throwing out the TV, using Internet filters and restrictions or putting your laptop history where others know where you surf. Porn happens in secret. RUN from darkness to light! If your house were on fire, you would RUN to find a source of water. Your house IS on fire!
Feed Your Spirit, Not Your Temptation
When the flesh is stimulated, it begins to crave what it is fed. This has consequences. Garbage in, garbage out. The Bible says if we walk in the Spirit, we will not fulfill the desires of the flesh. Read carefully and slowly:
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:16 –20)
You Can Be Free
Pastor and author, John Piper, has an excellent message about experiencing the Fruit of the Spirit – self-control – in the midst of sexual temptation. He carefully explains that believers are not “addicted” to porn meaning that any temptation or habitual sin can, in fact, be brought under God’s control. His insights should not be paraphrased here which would risk diminishing their full impact. Please read his post!
Be the Parent
Research indicates that the average age of first exposure to porn in American is now eleven. Imagine your children being taken captive into the same ugly trap of guilt and shame. Of course, you would never want them to go down that path. So, I want you to protect your family and be the parent your children need.
To put this into practice make God and His Word the first thoughts of your day. Memorize verses that replace the lies that have taken hold of your mind. Pray for victory every day. Trust that God’s love is more satisfying than the empty slop that Satan is offering you. Remember:
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Originally published on the Christian Post, December 7, 2018