Owen Strachan – The High Cost of Free Porn

Terry Crews is a successful man: former NFL player, television star, person of seemingly impossible muscle density. But Crews is unusual for another reason: in a sexualized culture, he spoke up not long ago about the harm caused by his pornography addiction. “Every time I watched it, I was walled off,” Crews confessed in a video posted online. “It was like another brick that came between me and my wife.”

Crews’s testimony caused a strong reaction on social media. Many noted the destructive personal effects of pornography, effects that cannot be denied. But there is a greater dimension to pornography’s destructiveness. Even free porn comes at an excruciatingly high cost. Beyond severe psychological and social consequences, pornography hinders Jesus’s mission in the world. Here are three ways this takes place, with a word of hope for sinners like us.

1. Pornography hinders the mission of God in our own lives.

God has much work he wants to do through his people. He does not employ perfect people in his kingdom; every believer, all those who have been given a new nature (2 Corinthians 5:17), must still battle with the “old man” on a daily basis (Colossians 3:9–10). We yearn to shed our sin, but until God accomplishes this, we live in a state of vigilance. We exercise a zero-tolerance policy against our flesh (Romans 8:13; Colossians 3:5).

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Dave Jenkins – Overcoming An Addiction to Pornography & Embracing Purity

My sophomore year in high school, I was approached by a number of people who told me that no matter what I wanted, whether it was drugs or pornography, I could have it whenever I wanted. At this time, I was a youth leader not only at church but also at my high school leading a bible study. Even though I became a believer when I was four and started to sense God’s call to pastoral ministry as early as age six, I was still very immature in my faith at this time and not very knowledgeable about Christianity. As time wore on, I became very depressed as I witnessed the painful divorce of my parents, and I caved into pornography. It was a slow slide into pornography for me, but once it began, it was incredibly addictive. While no one knew of my struggle in high school, I hid in shame as I regularly watched pornography and lived a double life. It was not until my freshmen year in college, when I was asked to be on staff at a church, that I confessed my sin of pornography to the pastor. He responded by saying that I should step down immediately from all leadership responsibilities.

While this event transpired over ten years ago, I have often reflected on how God has led me by the Spirit in the process of progressive sanctification and on what He has taught me. This reflection leads me to write this article on what purity looks like in the home, in the church,
in the workplace, and on the internet. As we go through this topic, I want you to understand that I am not just giving you steps on how to move past this on your own, but rather grounding everything I am saying in the Word of God. I believe the only way to overcome an addiction to pornography is to recognize that it is idolatry, and as such, needs to be repented of. Once you have repented of this addiction, you need to recalibrate your heart and mind with the gospel by reading, studying, and meditating on the Word of God both individually and corporately.

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Marshall Segal – Never Harmless, Never Private, Never Safe: Fighting Porn with Superior Pleasure

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I know the enticing enslavement of pornography firsthand. I fought and lost, on and off, through high school and college. I clicked on my first pornographic site in the sixth grade when a classmate sent me an email and disguised the link to look like something for a project.

At different times during that next decade of battling my sin, experiencing small victories and often as many defeats, I had the thought that marriage might cure me. In the back of my head, I thought I just needed a wife to satisfy all my sexual desire and impatience. So I allowed myself to dive into relationship after relationship, knowing I hadn’t dealt with the impurity that plagued me.

The reality was that no relationship could have ever solved my sexual sin — no relationship, that is, except for knowing Christ. I was looking to girlfriends, and to the hope of a future wife, to fill a craving only God could fill. I was focusing on self-discipline, dating, and marriage, when God was trying to teach me about joy and show me where to find real pleasure.

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Matthew Holst – The Anatomy of Sexual Sin

3.5"x4" Post Card Template In every genre of Scripture, whether it be narrative, Psalms, wisdom or the Gospels and Epistles, warnings against sexual sin are prominent. From Genesis to Revelation, every book of Scripture teaches that believers are to vigorously pursue sexual purity and forewarns against transgressing God’s law in this area. Perhaps the most serious warning is in Revelation 21: 8 “But as for the cowardly, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fie and sulfur, which is the second death” (ESV). Yet how attitudes in the church have changed to sexual sin! No longer the scandal it once was, it is not so much a case of ‘if’ but ‘when’ this sin will happen in the church. We cannot deny that the world’s lax and liberal attitude to sexual sin has permeated the church–to the point that it is now bordering on being accepted as one of the so-called “acceptable sins.”

Perhaps this is because we have lost sight of what a terrible offense sexual sin is in the eyes of God. Following the pattern of the world, the church rarely sees the terrible nature of this sin both in its inherent sinfulness and its destructive nature to those who engage in it. What then can we in the church, do to help warn against the epidemic-like spread of sexual sin, especially, though not exclusively in our young people. First we need to diagnose what sexual sin is, before we can seek to counsel and protect those who are tempted or have fallen. Paul, in Colossians 3:5 does precisely that.

Paul wrote “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness which is idolatry”. Paul is very clear – sexual sin, which is manifested in both thought and deed is actually covetousness, which itself is idolatry. More of that in a moment, but consider the common response of those caught or confession their sexual sin. “We just fell into it”, or “I just wanted someone to comfort me during my trial”, or “it just happened”. Not so, according to Paul. Sexual sin NEVER “just happens”, rather it is the end of a long process which starts with idolatry.

In Colossians 3:5 Paul provides us with a list of sins, all inter-related, that always accompany sexual sin. He starts with the acts of sexual sin – sexual immorality and impurity – and concludes with the cause – idolatry. He works backwards from the outward manifestation to the inner cause. To put it another way, he works from the execution of the sin to its conception. Consider his flow of thought, as we treat it in reverse:

– “covetousness which is idolatry”. This is the root-cause. Those who sin sexually are guilty of committing idolatry, in that they have made a god of sex. It matters not what kind of sexual sin it is – heterosexual, homosexual, pornography – or any other, the first sin is idolatry. That is to say, there has been a coup d’état in the heart of man: God has been dethroned and individual, selfish desire reigns in his place. In this particular coup sex is the new god. The sexually immoral has given him/herself over to what is an unlawful practice in the sight of God. Long before the mouse clicks on an image, or a flirtation, or sexual act takes place, the heart has been taken captive by another god. Notice Paul states that idolatry is related to covetousness. To covet is to lust for something you do not have. In sexual sin, it is to lust for something you should not have. In other words, the sexually immoral person desires something prohibited and enshrines it as god in his own life.

– The next sin Paul highlights is “evil desire.” Notice we are still in the realm of the heart, not the body. Note that Paul diagnosis sexual sin as an evil desire. To want something that is inherently evil, that is, something which is prohibited by the law of God. To desire such is evil. How many of us pause to think that the glance to the bill-board, or the lingering look, the flirtation with a co-worker or the fantasy of the mind, is in fact, an evil desire. Paul says that once the heart worships sex, it will conceive all manner of evil desires.

– “passion” – that is living in a manner consistent with the evil desires. It is to be controlled by such desires, so that moderation and abstinence from such thoughts are impossible. To be passionate in sexual sin, is to be controlled by one’s desires for sex. And when one is controlled by sex, sex is your god, and the Spirit of the true God does not rule in you.

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Dave Jenkins – Overcoming Sexual Sin Through the Gospel

Introduction

Pornography is an insidious cancer that is spread quickly throughout the world devastating men, women, children and destroying marriages, cities, nations and civilization. Pornography is a problem, I know all too well since I struggled with it throughout my teenagers years into my early twenties. Pornography is a problem that is crippling not only men but also women. Since I’ve struggled with pornography what I’m writing about is not just the theories of someone who hasn’t struggled, but rather as one who has struggled and continues to fight against this sin. The Gospel is good news for those who are struggling with sexual sin because it provides the power to put sin to death by the grace of God through the Spirit of God to the glory of God.

Overcoming Sexual Sin

The first way to put sexual sin to death is by understanding at the heart of sexual sin is idolatry. Idolatry is worshipping anything other than God. The best way to deal with idolatry is to understand what the Gospel is and what it demands. The Gospel demands our complete allegiance and devotion. The Gospel is not a call to embrace our sin but rather a call to embrace the sinless Savior who died for sinners. The Savior calls for His disciples to take up the Cross and follow Him in all of life. Finally, to overcome sexual sin men and women need to be accountable to other godly believers. It is important to qualify that last sentence by saying that a man should never be accountable to another woman and a woman should never be accountable to another man. A man should be accountable to another man, and a woman should be accountable to another woman.

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Joe Carter – 9 Things You Should Know About Pornography and the Brain

“Because the human brain is the biological anchor of our psychological experience, it is helpful to understand how it operates.” says William M. Struthers, associate professor of psychology at Wheaton College. “Knowing how it is wired together and where it is sensitive can help us understand why pornography affects people the way it does.” Here are 9 things you should know about pornography affects the brain.

1. Sexually explicit material triggers mirror neurons in the male brain. These neurons, which are involved with the process for how to mimic a behavior, contain a motor system that correlates to the planning out of a behavior. In the case of pornography, this mirror neuron system triggers the arousal, which leads to sexual tension and a need for an outlet. “The unfortunate reality is that when he acts out (often by masturbating), this leads to hormonal and neurological consequences, which are designed to bind him to the object he is focusing on,” says Struthers. “In God’s plan, this would be his wife, but for many men it is an image on a screen. Pornography thus enslaves the viewer to an image, hijacking the biological response intended to bond a man to his wife and therefore inevitably loosening that bond.”

2. In men, there are five primary chemicals involved in sexual arousal and response. The one that likely plays the most significant role in pornography addiction is dopamine. Dopamine plays a major role in the brain system that is responsible for reward-driven learning. Every type of reward that has been studied increases the level of dopamine transmission in the brain, and a variety of addictive drugs, including stimulants such as cocaine, amphetamine, and methamphetamine, act directly on the dopamine system. Dopamine surges when a person is exposed to novel stimuli, particularly if it is sexual, or when a stimuli is more arousing than anticipated. Because erotic imagery triggers more dopamine than sex with a familiar partner, exposure to pornography leads to “arousal addiction” and teaches the brain to prefer the image and become less satisfied with real-life sexual partners.

3. Why do men seek out a variety of new explicit sexual images rather than being satisfied with the same ones? The reason is attributed to the Coolidge effect, a phenomenon seen in mammalian species whereby males (and to a lesser extent females) exhibit renewed sexual interest if introduced to new receptive sexual partners, even after refusing sex from prior but still available sexual partners. This neurological mechanism is one of the primary reasons for the abundance and addictiveness of Internet pornography.

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Garrett Kell – Satan’s Strategy to Destroy Your Marriage Before it Begins

Tim and Jess had only been married for 8 months, but the honeymoon was most certainly over. The sweet conversations that once marked their relationship had been replaced with constant bickering. Their laughter had dulled and their distance had grown. Their sexual intimacy had almost ceased.

What had gone wrong? How had Satan slipped into this young couple’s marriage? As we unpacked some of their history, I discovered that he hadn’t sabotaged them on their honeymoon or in the early months of figuring out married life. Instead, he’d begun his work before they even made it to the altar. You see, though Tim and Jess are Christians, their dating and engagement was marked with sexual impurity.

The early days of their relationship had been fine, but over time, they made consistent compromises that developed into a deeper pattern of sexual sin. When they’d sin, they confessed to each other and, made oaths to not let it happen again. But it did. Because of the shame, they never truly let anyone else in on what was happening, and in hindsight they admitted that their courtship had been a big cover-up of deceit.

Unfortunately, Tim and Jess’s story is all too familiar. Many unmarried Christian couples struggle with sexual sin. And this should be no surprise, we have an enemy who is set against us and set against our impending marriage (1 Pt. 5:8). This enemy hates God and he hates marriage because marriage itself is a portrayal of the Gospel (Eph. 5:32). And Satan wants to do whatever he can to undermine marriage.

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