A clear obstacle for us becoming a Kingdom Man and to living the “fully alive” life Christ spoke of is pornography. Last week we talked about shame and the two topics go hand in hand.
And so, this morning we went right after this issue and we didn’t hold back. For far too long, the church has remained silent on this issue and now it is a crisis. It is estimated that 18-22 million American men struggle with sexual addiction. Campus Crusade estimates that 90% of the 40,000 college men involved in Crusade struggle with daily internet pornography. 90%. This is a crisis. This is a world at war. Many of you have high school or college age sons. Pay attention. Many of you, like me, have daughters. Pay attention. The boys coming to pick your daughter up – more than likely – are drunk on pornography. Their whole objectifying image of women has been shaped by a lie and the father of all lies.
But we keep this in the dark because pornography and masturbation and sexual addiction just “aren’t things we talk about” and that is precisely why this has become a national epidemic. When you keep your secrets in the dark, behind the curtain, the secret thrives and gains more power over you. Shame and condemnation rule over you. As you will see in the attached video, this man kept his pornography addiction a secret for 30 years and it destroyed his family and nearly took his life. But praise the LORD, he is being restored. God has turned a mess into a ministry in his life and he is now going all across the country talking to college students about this issue and raising the awareness of just how dangerous (and yes even deadly) pornography is.
There is so much to unpack with this issue. Please look at the slides attached as there is so great material in there. Perhaps most importantly is the principle of “What you feed grows. What you starve dies“. Think about that. If you are struggling with sexual addiction and temptation, then sex scenes in movies, the Victoria’s Secret catalog, the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue and most especially the porn sites are deadly. You are feeding your addiction, nurturing it, adding fuel to it. If you starve it, you can kill it off. If you cut the cable and cut the internet and turn away from temptation, your desire to see it will diminish. This principle applies to so many areas in our life from budgeting to dieting to exercise – if you feed it, the desire for it grows. If you will get up off the couch and go walk your neighborhood and if you repeat this process until it becomes a habit, you will begin to see the desire for exercise in you grow. If you sit there munching on chips instead what will grow is your belly. It is a true principle in your marriage and your sex life. If you focus repeatedly on how little sex you and your wife are having and if you’re constantly bringing this up to your wife, the “issue” of no sex will grow. If you feed it, obsess over it, focus on it and make an idol of it, it will only grow and take up more and more space in your life.
This is the core of the issue – it is making something else an idol or lesser god. As we turn our backs on God and toward these idols of lust and sex and release, our desire for God fades and our desire for this false god grows and consumes more of us. This man in the video testifies to it – “It was as if I told God, I want this thing more than I want you and God said, ‘Ok, there you go’ and He took his hands off my life”.
The Bible says, “Flee sexual immorality” (1 Corin 6:18) and as Andy Stanley says, “Flee, flee, flee, flee”. The culture we live in says “Flirt with it”.
You have a choice to make…
Where are you going to give your devotion?
What are you going to do to protect your family?
What steps are you willing to take – no matter how drastic they may seem to your buddy – to insulate yourself from the culture on this?
And don’t kid yourself, not making a choice is making a choice. Do you have HBO or Showtime? Call your cable company and remove them so you won’t be tempted to watch the sex documentaries and nearly x-rated movies. Throw away the Victoria’s Secret catalog the moment it arrives in your home or even better, ask your wife to do this for you. If surfing porn is a problem for you, either install the software to monitor your viewing that your wife can check or disconnect from the internet. Drastic? You bet! But the consequences of not doing these things to protect your family are exponentially hundreds of times greater than the inconvenience of not having the internet on your laptop. How many men have destroyed their marriages, ruined their relationships with their kids (and future grandchildren) because they didn’t want to give up the buzz that porn gave them? “Oh now, come on, I don’t have it that bad, I don’t surf those sites that often and I don’t do it as much as most men.” Odds are if you’re rationalizing those thoughts right this second, you have a deep problem. Today is the day to stop saying “Don’t” and to start saying “Help”.
No shame here. Today is the day to man-up and declare, “I have a problem and I need help”. Today is the day you pull this dark secret out of the darkness and expose it to the light so the LORD can start to work to restore and heal you. You are not alone in this. 50 men sat on Wednesday morning and heard this talk and you could have heard a pin drop. We’re all in this together. All of us have sinned in this area and fallen short and many men around you – in church – are struggling with a deep addiction to this stuff. So don’t let shame stop you from admitting you have a problem, admitting that your addiction has already caused huge problems in your life, already driven a wedge between you and your wife, already caused you to obsess over sex and to see women as an object simply to meet your selfish needs. It’s OK. You’ve got a problem. But if you’ll raise your hand and confess you have a problem and expose it to the light, you can begin the glorious first step towards restoration, healing and getting your heart back to live life fully alive.
NEXT WEDNESDAY – we’re going deeper into this issue. If you couldn’t make it this week, please join us next Wednesday at 6am. You won’t be alone. In future weeks, you’re going to hear other men testify to how they fell into this trap and more importantly, how God has worked in their lives. This is too important to miss.