1 Jan 2001

Addiction to pornography

Submitted by theshovel
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Jim, I have a few questions centering around one topic: my addiction to pornography. I have been addicted to porn since I was about 13, I am now 36. I became a christian about 10 years ago, and though I've seen some significant changes through Christ, I have not seen much of any change in my....love and hate of pornography. I realize that something is broken but I do not know what. I have come to the conclusion that my trust in God is not what it should be, otherwise I would take him at his word when he says what he says about what sexual immorality does, and the end consequences of sin. I don't believe that I'm not a believer (fought that battle for several years, and there is just no way this desire to please God through my life comes from anything else other than a new life within). My heart is broken over my seeming inability to overcome this (have tried everything). I have prayed about this a billion times and begged God to either kill me or take this away, but yet it remains.  S. 

Hello S

Thanks for taking the time to share such a real and personal struggle with me. I do indeed understand the lure of pornography for it continually presents itself as some kind of unobtainable forbidden fruit. Its illusion never ceases to suggest something hidden, something more, something infinitely desirable ... no matter how often one has seen or imagined that there is nothing else to see or imagine.

Pornography is merely another form of man's desire for a more that cannot be quenched by ANYTHING because it is a desire built upon the illusion that its own emptiness might be filled by another's emptiness. Its power only exists within the illusion; you and I fall for it only when its illusion seems real to us. The primary reason we fail to break free from this power is found in the FALSE belief that pornography has any real power in the first place.

Now, don't mistake me as suggesting something I'm not, because I'm not proposing that the naked human body, replications of nudity (photos, statues, etc), sexual feelings and/or sexual acts are illusions. Instead, the illusion incorporates that which is real making it into something it is not, nor could ever be.

Nor is the illusion only effective toward isolated perspectives. No, for it not only supports the lie that fulfillment can be found in the flesh, it also substantiates false beliefs that imagine specific or even all physical elements as being evil. To make matters worse, many struggle in confusion to rationally harmonize diametrically opposed perspectives.

True freedom in Christ is so lacking in the complexity we learned in this world that its simplicity often eludes us. In Christ, we have been freed FROM that complexity. The fleshly religious mind cannot tolerate such freedom, and it will continually demand that we must operate according to the rules of the game. Don't listen to this lie!

I have come to the conclusion that my trust in God is not what it should be, otherwise I would take him at his word when he says what he says about what sexual immorality does, and the end consequences of sin.  S. 

No doubt your conclusion appears valid in view of your failures, but what if its validity is founded upon the compounded confusion of your inability to escape the power of an illusion that is built upon the rules of that illusion? What I'm saying is this. You call your trust in God into question because you have failed to overcome an imagined power that has no real authority over you because it appears to have forced you into submission.

My questions are: What if your confusion has redefined what you think of as your trust in God? What if that redefinition forces faith into an equation by which you have been measuring your success or failure in attempting to take God at his word? What if your conclusion actually reinforces the illusion from which you long to be freed? Don't you realize that your conclusion dramatically describes the basic struggle with the LAW (i.e. knowing to do good and not doing it, knowing to not do evil and yet doing that very thing)?

In such a context, what we speak of as trust in God becomes subtly twisted into another way of measuring our ability to perform our current understanding of God's expectations of us. Our inability to take God at his word may sound very Christian but how does it differ from ancient Israel's inability to keep the commands of Moses? The common problem has nothing to do with a lack of understanding as to the effects of sexual immorality and the end consequences of sin it is the basic premise that a knowledge of sin can produce any freedom from it. Thinking of this struggle as being Christian doesn't change it from what it really is. In truth, it should cause us to realize what most perceive of when using the very term Christian.

Now, chances are that I've already addressed your 3 questions somewhere in what I've written so far, but let me address them directly so as to leave no doubt. :)

1. Is it possible that God has allowed this struggle (and it is that, I don't just give in to sin all the time, because it's so painful to me when I DO sin), because I'm not broken, and he's trying to get me to the point where I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired?  S. 

I'm wondering just how sick and tired you imagine you would have to become in order to finally get to this point. Also, how broken do you suppose you would have to get? And then again, did Christ come to break us ... or to make us whole?

Now, I know we often use the term broken in the context of the broken and contrite heart spoken of by David, but then why do our Christian attempts to get to such a state seem to only create more of an addiction in trying to get to such a state? Maybe our perception of the broken heart is founded upon the common fallacy that suggests feeling bad enough can produce a strong enough motivation to really, really change for the better.

Also, what are we really trying to determine when we ask what God may or may not allow? I'm not so sure most of our questions of this nature (and these pop up all the time) have as much to do with God's control as with our desperation for an explanation ... of sorts. I'll continue this thought in the other two questions as it follows right along.

2. Is it possible that God is leaving this in my life to humble me? (such as Paul's thorn in the flesh).  S. 

I have no doubt that this situation is indeed being used in your life to bring you to a true humility, though I wonder if some of what you perceive of as being humble has to do with those sufficiently desired bad feelings needed to bring about the desired changes. Are you following me here?

What do you consider that God may have left in your life? If sin, then Christ didn't do a very good job taking it away, did he? If it's the struggle with sin, then God has left us under the law (for that is what produces the bogus struggle). How about that we have been left in this world as weak vessels with the incredible power of God within so that we could not possibly trust in ourselves but in Christ? If you mean the last, then I would tend to concur. :)

3. If the above questions have some validity to them, why would God allow me to struggle with something that is so displeasing to him (understanding [at least intellectually] how he views me in positional righteousness)?  S. 

You see, your question about God's allowance is inevitably connected to your own confusion concerning what Christ really did regarding sin and law (oh yeah, I know this confusion well). It is our intellectual understanding that tries to formulate how GOD could allow sin and at the same time have done away with it in Christ. However, we are NOT left with a theological issue that needs to be solved, but a reality that cannot be denied.

What is that reality in relation to law and sin? Simple, when law is in place sin cannot be avoided. While we might intellectually formulate a grace answer as to how or why God allows sin the good news testifies that as LAW ONLY produced sin, Christ ONLY produces righteousness.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Galatians 6:7-8

Now, the Christian religion poses these verses as if Paul was establishing a narrowly-defined moral code, but nothing could be further from the truth. If we follow Paul's letter as he wrote it we would be hard-pressed not to notice that these verses come shortly after his demand that living by legal standards can only produce the contentions described in chapter 5. His whole point demanded that things can ONLY produce after their kind (remember Genesis?) so that if one is to change his grace into a legal system he is only setting himself up as one living under the law, and because law can only produce sin he cannot get around the inevitable outcome that a legal Christianity can only result in corruption!

A more probing question regarding morality would have us constantly asking whether we think we can get around the only possible outcome of following a formula, standard or law to achieve such a desired godly condition. The only true answer that could come back would demand that only in the freedom of Christ is there any true freedom.

Well, though I have been writing on this all day long I could write more ... but am about to take off for a long weekend away. I will look forward to hear back from you. :)

Jim Minker

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Random Shovelquote: No need for Christ (view all shovelquotes)

But the "gospel" we have heard so many times in this world needs no miracle, it doesn't really even need Christ for that matter because it is established after the pattern of the world's logic, motivations, and ideologies source