Thursday, March 31, 2011
Battling Pornography. . . .
"We have a generation of young people for whom the call to repentance must include a call to turn from porn." Those are some terribly true words from Tim Chester in the Introduction to his challenging and helpful book, "Closing the Window: Steps to Living Porn Free." Chester is right. Based on the stats he passes on a few paragraphs earlier, Chester would include adults in that mix as well. . . Christian adults to be exact.
Pornography is accessible, anonymous, and affordable in today's world. As a result, our culture has become increasingly "pornified." "So too," writes Chester, "is the church." According to Chester, a recent survey found that 50 percent of Christian men and 20 percent of Christian women are "addicted to porn." If those stats are true, then one-in-three church members are struggling with pornography.
I first saw pornography when I was 11 or 12 years old. It was with a group of four of my male peers. There are numerous words that describe how I remember feeling when I saw it. . . things like curious, enticed, excited, guilty, dirty, and yes, even disgusted. I remember feeling like it was fascinating, but it didn't measure up. I now know that the latter impression was intuitive. . . that it somehow wasn't what it was supposed to be. God's plan for our sexuality is so much better and so, so right.
Equipping people to battle pornography in their lives - the young and old alike - must be near the top of our ministry agendas for the simple reason that pornography is at the top of a growing number of life agendas. You might not know it, but it's safe to assume. Chester's book offers the best, most practical, and theologically sound start that I've seen yet. I knew it would be good based on the many people who were asking me, "Have you seen Tim Chester's book on pornography?"
Chester offers up five key ingredients that must be present and in place for someone to win the battle with pornography.
1. An abhorrence of porn. You have to hate porn itself (not just the shame it brings), and long for change.
2. You must adore God. Why? Because we can be confident that He offers more than porn.
3. You must be assured of God's grace. You are loved by God and are right with Go through faith in the work of Jesus.
4. You must avoid temptation. Be committed to do all you in your power to avoid temptation, starting with the controls on your computer.
5. You must be accountable to others. You need a community of Christians who are holding you accountable and supporting you in your struggle.
Tim Chester never claims it's easy. This isn't a "take these five steps and everything will be just fine" treatment. No, life is messy. And Tim Chester is writing about a messy battle. It's a battle we must understand, engage in, and fight with long-suffering intensity.
Our culture is changing and changing fast. If you think it's pornified now, just wait.