Pornography gets a bad name lately. Men staring at women from around the world in sexual acts, incapable of stopping themselves. This form of shameful digital lust and addiction is covered by talk shows, articles, support groups, and counseling as if it was something new. If you accidentally bump into an ad for one of these sites, and it is difficult not to, the promoters will chase you for a very long time with temptation to seduce you to their world. What a story of slippage into the devil's lair…. <YAWN>
Am I simplifying something evil, insidious, and destructive and mocking it as if it were just glancing at a celebrity magazine in the shopping aisle at the grocery store? Yes, but not to minimize the sin, but to bring attention to what it really is- it has been around so long that it was in the top 10 God gave to Moses when the Commandments were handed down and Moses came from the mountain with his face blazing from having been in the presence of God (Exodus 20:3-17). The sin is that of coveting. Pornography is a vicious, technology enabled, modern version of that sin. It violates Jesus' statement of "Follow me" (Matthew 16:24). How can you follow Him when your desire is to get to your computer, when no one is watching, and watch what you hope no one knows you are watching? Yes, it is a sin and an addiction. It needs to be confessed and fought with all of the tools that Jesus gave us and the power that the Holy Spirit can be called upon to deliver.
Women, have you ever wished that you were with a man who was different than the one you are with now? Oh, you say, "Sure, hasn't everyone?" Does that desire of departure distract you from following Jesus and what He asks you to do? Did you listen to the Holy Spirit when you entered the relationship? Are you listening to the Holy Spirit now? Do you wish you were in different circumstances of money, work, relationships, locations, and an endless list after that when compared to someone else?
God does not measure wrong and wronger.
Less wrong does not equal right.
God seeks close and closer to Him.
Coveting is lust by a different name, it is not just sexual. It is in the heart to have that which you do not have. We are covetous by nature (Romans 7:8). God sees all of this behavior and much, much worse. He sees the darkest of your sins in the past and deepest of your struggles now. Of those reading this now, 40% of the men will have seen pornography this week and over 60% will have been divorced or will be divorced in the future. God understands you, sees you and loves you. He does not approve nor forget unless you humble yourself and seek his forgiveness.
We forget that Jesus loved scumbags. He called the violent, thieves, whores, demon-possessed, murderers, uneducated, blasphemers, and lawyers, (Ok, I may have added that last one in for a little bit of levity). Jesus made the simple statement, “Jesus answered them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:31-32). Jesus gave us an example of what humility and the seeking of forgiveness looks like. “’Jesus said to the woman, ‘your faith has saved you; go in peace” (Luke 7:50). He knows we will sin again, but he also knows that in following Him, our lives are changed forever.
Lie - You are or have been too dirty for Jesus.
I have a list of sins that I don't want to tell you. They are ugly, humiliating, humbling…they are the dark part of me. Maybe you do as well. I did not want to admit them to Jesus. Can you imagine playing "peek-a-book" with the creator of the universe? "If I don't catch you, you can't catch me…" If I was to be clean, I thought I needed to admit how dirty I was to myself. I thought about my darkest sins before I was baptized as an adult because I really wanted to be clean when I was baptized and came out of that water. I found out something, forgiveness is real, but memory is strong. I get pulled back to that dark place from time to time, most of the time out of nowhere. But I remind myself of Jesus' sacrifice, the promise of forgiveness and knowledge of eternal life. The Holy Spirit reminds me of Jesus’ sacrifice that washes away sin, even that dark shadow of your memories. The enemy wants you to feel dirty; it makes you feel like him. Forgiveness promises to wipe away those dark stains.
You are never too dirty for Jesus.
That old film that plays in your head, the voice you hear in your mind, the dark toys in the attic of your heart that Jesus washed clean, you are not bringing them back. The enemy brings them back for the purpose to diminish you, to pull you away from the love of God, to cut off your spiritual belief in access to power of Jesus' sacrifice and your salvation. Your salvation cannot be taken away. That is just unfathomable. However, you can walk away from it, and that is what the enemy wants.
I have had this conversation with many Christ-followers about those dark-whispers in their lives, those remembered moments of sin, some sins that they believe to be unforgivable even though they have been forgiven. My pastor's advice has been so very helpful to me. He has taught me to pray, immediately, when these thoughts come to me. The prayer he gave me was simple:
I am a child of Jesus Christ. My salvation has been won. His forgiveness has been given to me. Satan, you are a spirit of darkness and you have no power over me. You have already lost the fight. Get behind me. In the name of Jesus Christ, I deny you as the prince of lies and declare that you have no power over me. Jesus Christ is my savior and protector.
This simple prayer I have said many times in many moments to clear my mind and re-focus it on the light of Jesus Christ. I focus it immediately on the sacrifice and salvation that is given as well as the cleansing forgiveness that has been given to me. Right mind, right heart, and right voice.
We are all too dirty which is why Jesus Christ makes us clean.