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Pornography, Purity, and the End of Power

I’m not a prude.  A fact to which my immediate and extended family can readily attest.

I like to have fun, watch movies, hit the gym, go to theme parks, cheer for Alabama football (only while eating wings), and dance in the car with my kids. Unapologetically, I live and minister in a 21st century America as a 21st century American.  I drive a car, read from a tablet, and have an unhealthy addiction to social media.  I’m normal, I guess.

But there’s a new normal.  And it frightens me.  Pornography addiction is increasing at epidemic rates.  Christians are continually drawn to pornographic images while ministers are afraid to address an issue they too seem to battle.  This is idolatry!  We sacrifice our purity on the ancient altars of Aphrodite, Ashtoreth, and Venus.  This is dangerous!  We objectify women (and men) as merely sexual objects and forget that human life is sacred.  This is foolish!  We willingly worship two-dimensional images and honestly wonder why we have no power with the God of Heaven.  Our society is being slowly strangled by this ubiquitous villain.  And lest you think I’m being overly dramatic simply google “pornography epidemic”.

Don’t get me wrong!  I don’t want to come across as simply an observer who is so far above it all.  I too battle lust like every man alive.  When I see a beautiful woman, my mind can easily be led astray.  When I get a friend request from an obviously fake account, I long to click on the image and take a closer look.  I’m an imperfect man who fights this battle with you… daily.

But this is what I’m starting to learn…

 

The Consequences

 We MUST get honest about the DEADLY consequences of unbridled lust.

 “Since everyone struggles with lust, the ramifications can’t be that big of a deal.”  This, my friends, is a very subtle yet believable lie.  Pastor James of Jerusalem stated emphatically, “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”[1]

 Ask King David what happened to his family.  Ask King Solomon what happened to his kingdom.  Ask the mighty Samson what happened to his power.  We sit in a state of perpetual powerlessness and wonder why our schemes and strategies are falling flat.  Is it possible that we underestimate the damage of our sin?  Would our families be stronger?  Would nation be more unified?  Would our churches actually be making more of a noticeable difference?  I’m asking! 

 Perhaps not.  Perhaps lust doesn’t bring forth sin.  Perhaps sin doesn’t bring death.  Perhaps James was wrong.  Perhaps the power of God that we are seeing is all that we will ever see, and all that we were ever meant to see.

 I Corinthians 9:26-27 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

 

Keeping Guard

 I’m reminded of the haunting proverb, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”[2]  Friend, we are to GUARD our hearts above everything else, for it will determine the direction of our lives! 

 Why haunting?  Because I get awfully tired of standing guard.  I grow weary[3] in the fight and like a boxer who has gone eight rounds, my hands begin to drop.  It happens after a long week when I’m completely spent emotionally, physically, and spiritually.  My opponent patiently waits for his opening and then jabs at me with sexual image or lustful thought.  Many times I’ve been squarely punched – giving in to temptation and suffering the consequences of my sin.  But along the way I’ve learned a few tricks that have helped me dodge, bob, and weave – escaping temptation and its outcome.

  •  Guard the Eye

There are certain images in life and on screen for which a gentleman and follower of Christ ought to train himself to look away.  When a woman bends over, a gentleman will bounce his eyes.  When immodest image appears, a gentleman will scroll past quickly.  A strong man will fight!  Yet, too often, we either go looking for sexual content or passively allow softcore pornography to enter our eyes and delve deep into our hearts.  Legalism!!!  Some will cry!  Yet as an overreaction to legalism many Christians find themselves viewing graphic nudity and sexually explicit content claiming they are not affected by these images.  To this claim I cry – bologna!

 Heather loves dancing!  She grew up watching Lawrence Welk every Saturday evening with her parents, dancing along with the graceful images on the screen.  So, when Dancing with the Stars debuted on ABC we were sitting there ready to watch.  As these beautiful dancers came on to the stage I quickly recognized that this was not a show I could watch without becoming lustful.  To me, the women dancing went far beyond beautiful and entered the land of sexual.  I forget exactly how it came up but Heather and I began discussing whether or not we would continue watching the show.  I chose to be honest with her and let her know that the images were far too much for me to handle.  My eye drifted up the slit and beyond.  My mind questioned what lay beneath the bulging corset.  These images began to enter our holy marriage bed and my mind would drift to women who were not mine to love.  IT HAD TO STOP!!! 

 “But Josh,” you may protest, “that show is innocent and tame compared to excessive nudity and actual pornography available on television and the internet.  Why be so strict?”  Okay, you have to understand something about me!  I am a totally and completely broken individual!  I have seen pornographic images that plague my mind to this day.  I have a proclivity toward lust like you wouldn’t believe.  Crossing the line of DWTS would certainly lead to rationalizing more graphic content.  A little bit of nudity in a favorite show, movie, magazine will lead me into an addiction that will take over my life.  I am certain of this: I can’t handle it. Therefore, like Job before me, I have made a covenant with my eyes and don’t want to look upon women lustfully.[4]  I’m not being manipulative or sarcastic in the slightest when I say – You know what you can handle!  You know when the Holy Spirit of God is convicting your conscience.  Just be honest with yourself, with others, and with Him.

  • Guard the Mind

II Corinthians 10:4-5 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 

It’s believed widely that a man cannot control his thoughts.  YES!  I would agree to this in regard to the vast majority of mankind.  Man is a slave to his low nature.[5]  Yet, to the one who has been freed by Christ, you have a spiritual power to pull down strongholds, cast away wicked imaginations, and capture every thought before it captures you.  You are not an addict unable to overcome.  You are not a deviant beyond the grace of God.  You are an adopted child of God.[6]  An heir with Jesus with equal access to His Father and His power.[7]  Sin doesn’t control you!  You, through the redemption of Christ, control sin!

Holy Cow Bro!  You’ve got to start seeing yourself the way God sees you!  Justified, sanctified, and living victoriously[8] through the power of the Holy Spirit.  And that’s not even the good news!

 

The Good News

The Good News is that God loves you, died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the grave leaving your sins behind.[9]  If you’ve been saved, you are technically no longer a sinner who is destined to sin.  This is the power of the Gospel!  You are FREE to no longer sin.[10] 

So, what can you do overcome the temptation of lust?  I have found that the most important thing you can do is fall in love with Jesus.  A love for God is the only lasting solution to idolatry.  When you spend time with him in genuine communion through studying His Word, when you sense his presence in the quiet solitude of prayer, when you feel his energy flowing through you as you administer your gift to the Christians around you – NOTHING this world has to offer can compare. As John Piper says, “Sin is what you do when you’re not fully satisfied with God.”  So, seek HIM and you will discover the satisfaction for which you are longing.

 

Okay.  So – pray for me.  Because I’ve not yet arrived at perfection.  Later today I’ll probably have to delete a friend request without enlarging the image.  Tomorrow I will likely have to bounce my eyes away as a beautiful woman walks by.  Later this week I’m sure I’ll have to change the channel when sensuality is depicted on screen.  I know it’s coming – for me and for you.  And with God’s help we will overcome through the power of Christ.

What are your thoughts?  Where am I going wrong?  Where do you agree?  What have I missed?  Please comment in the thread below and I will attempt to answer each.

This post may be of interest to one of your friends.  Please SHARE, Retweet, or Pin. Thanks

 

One last thing.  If you are a minister and happen to struggle with an addiction to pornography – this is my invitation to you.  Reach out to us at 702-388-7422 and we can help you through this problem with absolute anonymity and complete discretion.  Ask to speak with Pastor Josh and I (or one of my team) will help you make and take some actionable steps.

[1] James 1:15

[2] Proverbs 4:23

[3] Matthew 11:28-30

[4] Job 31:1

[5] John 8:34-36

[6] Ephesians 1:5

[7] Romans 8:15-17

[8] 1 Corinthians 6:11

[9] Romans 6:4

[10] Romans 6-8

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25 Comments

  • Reply
    Laquisha
    September 11, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    This I should a great read! Hope more people will take heart! Ty for your transparency!

    • Reply
      Josh Teis
      September 11, 2017 at 7:40 pm

      Thanks Laquisha. Writing the article was a help to me as well.

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    September 11, 2017 at 4:58 pm

    Appreciate the honesty. This is not an issue we can fight with kid gloves!

  • Reply
    Aaron Malachuk
    September 11, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    Appreciate the honesty. This is not an issue we can fight with kid gloves!

    • Reply
      Josh Teis
      September 11, 2017 at 7:40 pm

      Agreed!

  • Reply
    Tyler Cofty
    September 11, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    Right on, Pastor. We all struggle with lust and covetousness.

    Therefore,

    “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

    When Christian men admit themselves to the hospitality of the saints, then comes strength and healing!
    ‭‭James‬ ‭5:16‬ ‭KJV

    God bless

    • Reply
      Josh Teis
      September 11, 2017 at 7:40 pm

      There is power is honesty. Yes.

  • Reply
    Arman Castro
    September 11, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    The LORD is glorified in your life Pastor Josh, in the way you deal with this problem. I could feel your sincerity in exposing the subtleness of this sin. We can all relate to this scheme. Yes, we must guard our heart because it is deceitful, and out of it are all issues of life. That’s why we are encourage by God’s Word to delight in Him, and He is the one who will put desires in our hearts, desires that are Godly, empowering us for victorious living, even against lust. I admire you, Pastor Josh for being honest and transparent. You are always remembered in my prayers.

    • Reply
      Josh Teis
      September 11, 2017 at 7:41 pm

      Thank you Pastor Arman. I love you and am thankful to be ministering with you for the sake of the Gospel of Christ.

  • Reply
    cherish peck
    September 11, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    All I can say is, “Wow!” I think we need more people today to share this message. Nobody preaches against specific sins anymore, when they should! I have had many guy friends who I’ve talked to, that have told me they were addicted. Even in Bible college! But the sad part was, they knew it, they acknowledged it, but they wouldn’t even attempt to change it. They didn’t care. I haven’t talked to many guys, but I have 3 off the top of my head who have told me that. That means that there are a lot more out there who haven’t told anyone, yet struggle. I am glad that someone cares and is willing to help. I will be sharing this! Thank you for sharing your struggle so honestly.

  • Reply
    Mike Halasz
    September 11, 2017 at 8:56 pm

    Thank you Pastor Josh. I needed to read this and remind myself that I have been bought with a price. That I need to bring every thought to the obedience of our LORD.

  • Reply
    Leon
    September 11, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    Great message and very timely for our society…….

  • Reply
    Karl Galindez
    September 11, 2017 at 11:27 pm

    Great post, bro Josh. You’re right that we have to fall in love with Jesus Christ and hate sin. Apostle Paul, in his writing to Titus, has specifically mentioned that the depths of our understanding of the grace of God will teach us to deny ungodliness and worldly lust. Oh, if we only every Christian man will understand where God saved us from, we wouldn’t be lookong for any temporary and costly satisfaction from the world (Titus 2:11-15).

  • Reply
    Pablo
    September 12, 2017 at 12:46 am

    Thank you for this article brother and your honesty! It’s refreshing! God bless!

  • Reply
    Treg
    September 12, 2017 at 2:39 am

    It’s a constant fight and I hate it, but one battle not worth loosing!

  • Reply
    JUSTIN
    September 12, 2017 at 4:43 am

    Thank you for taking the bull of sin by the horns and calling it what it is and teaching how to walk victoriously. Sadly many churches are too warm and fuzzy and never deal with that which separates us from God. Also thankful for not delivering fire and brimstone only but including God’s love and mercy with his righteous indignation, anger and judgement.

  • Reply
    Rob Martinez
    September 12, 2017 at 5:43 am

    Spot on. Spot on. Spot on. Wow. Thank you brother. Your transparency was needed and the article perfectly timed. Agreeeed.

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    September 12, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    Hey Brother did my first post come through?

  • Reply
    Bruce Homontowski
    September 12, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    Sorry about the anonymous

  • Reply
    Bruce Homontowski
    September 12, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    Last night I posted that’s all I was wondering

  • Reply
    Donald Jennings
    September 12, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    I agree 100%. However, I must say the root of your problem lies in the team you watch on Saturdays. War Eagle!! Lol
    Love the post.

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    September 12, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    Great truthful insights!!! Appreciate your “vulnerability” . It is a challenge to some of us that need to be mor forthcoming with our true struggles.

  • Reply
    Aaron.
    September 13, 2017 at 2:17 am

    Thanks Pastor Josh, this is what a lot of men and women struggle with this. Thanks for your honesty. This is how the enemy does his sneak attack against us. I pray for those who hasn’t been exposed to this poison. I was exposed to it at a young age and I regret seeing it. We prayed for our family not to be exposed to this poison. I know GOD will forgive us when we fall, forgiveness, will be granted to us as long as we repent and ask for his help. Praying for you.

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    September 14, 2017 at 12:57 am

    Never considered the connection with powerlessness.

  • Reply
    Matheus lesquives
    September 23, 2017 at 12:29 am

    Thanks pastor , this is a really pastor heart who it’s not afraid to show the weak of life but instead judging people you giving the weapons to fight . Great man of God . I hope He keeping give you the bold to be every day this man of God.. Matheus lesquives .

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