By Guest Blogger Fred Jacoby
Once in a while I take a week to point you to other voices who speak truth. One of the ways I do this is by having a guest blogger. I’ve known Fred Jacoby for several years. He has been a great friend and mentor, and I have enjoyed his ministry – Foundations Christian Counseling Services – which he founded and directs. The people of Cornerstone have received training at several of his conferences. We also have partnered with them in counseling needs. I hope you enjoy his article below. For more articles by Fred and his team, go to foundchristcounsel.worpress.com.
One of the greatest plagues in the world today is not physical disease, but one that affects body, soul, heart, and mind. The plague of pornography has impacted millions of lives across the globe. There are many who believe that pornography is not a big deal, arguing that it is normal, natural, healthy, and possibly helpful. While I would disagree with this, the problems that arise within people and relationships from viewing it increase exponentially as it becomes an addiction. Viewing pornography hinders a deeper and personal relationship with God and others.
There are five reasons why I believe this is the case. Here are the first three.
1. Causes Discontentment – “That’s something I don’t have.”
I would define discontentment as an unhappiness or displeasure with God’s merciful and gracious gifts to you. Often stemming from ingratitude, discontentment focuses on what a person does not have, rather than what they do have.
Does discontentment in the heart lead to viewing pornography, or does viewing pornography lead to discontentment? I think the answer is YES! It is a cycle that often continues until contentment is found through 1) Christ and 2) gratitude for all He has given us. To look beyond what He has given is to say, “Lord, you have not given me all I want. I want more. I want something else in addition to what you’ve given or haven’t given me. If you haven’t given me what I want, I will go get what I want.” In doing so, we thumb our noses at God.
If we wish to keep ourselves from viewing pornography and remain close to our loved ones and God, we must learn to become content. Paul addresses this by stating “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. “I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Phil 4:12-13).
We grow in contentment through trusting in his love and wisdom of Christ – that what He has given is enough for us, and what He has not given has not been given for our benefit – for a time. Additionally, growing in gratitude for what Christ has done for us and all He has given to us on a daily basis will help us remain content in Christ. To look elsewhere is to betray our spouses and grieve God.
“May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth” (Prov 5:18).
2. Changes Desires – “That’s something I want to experience.”
Have you ever been scrolling Facebook or been in a store and saw something that caught your eye, and you immediately thought, “I want that.” It happens to me all the time when I scroll Facebook and see pictures of a chocolate and peanut butter dessert.
While desires don’t define us, they certainly can lead us in various directions. As we have seen through advertisements, our desires can be influenced and manipulated easily. Simply showing a picture or presenting the case of why you should have the product and how it will make you happy often moves a person to buy-in to the sales pitch.
Pornography has a product – sex, orgasm, happiness. Pornography has a sales pitch – “This will make you happy and sexually fulfilled,” or perhaps, “This will occupy your mind so that you don’t have to deal with the stresses of life.” The excitement and chemical release that accompanies the viewing of naked bodies, sexual acts, and accompanying masturbation is a reward in itself – giving a moment or two where the promise of satisfaction is fulfilled. It also reinforces the belief that pornography is your refuge – but it never truly satisfies the soul.
Whatever is viewed on the internet often becomes desired in real life. Did you view a certain position that looked interesting? Did you see a certain sexual act, tool, or other item that caught your eye? You will likely spend time fantasizing about it and want to use it or do it in person. This may cause conflicts in relationships if it is demanded or if there are negative responses.
Many have shared that viewing pornography started with a simple curiosity in childhood, or an innocent internet search that lead to pornographic sites. Yet in time and with continued viewing, looking at naked pictures turns into observing sexual acts, which later turns into deviant sexual behavior and acting out, which can lead to illegal or immoral activities. While not all sexual acts will become illegal, it is obvious that sexual desires change over time with the viewing of pornography. New desires are created and these desires often turn into demands – and demands need to be satisfied. As they become one’s focus, they become one’s idols, placing this action higher in importance, and reducing the spouse from a valued person to an object used for self-satisfaction.
“I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8).
3. Creates Dependency – “That’s something I need.”
Pornography, like alcohol and drugs, can become an addiction. In his book, Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave, Ed Welch defined addiction as a “voluntary slavery.” While there is a personal choice aspect in addictions (voluntary), the substance or behavior that is consumed ultimately enslaves the person through chemical responses in the body, thus creating a need or appetite for more. In pornography, the endorphins released through viewing and the reward through release (orgasm) create a unquenching need to view more pictures, movies, or acts.
Like many addictions, the physical dependency is often associated with an emotional need within the individual. Anxiousness, loneliness, and stress are three common internal and emotional struggles that lead to addictions. When these emotional struggles are relieved through the addictive behavior or substance, it reinforces the need to return to what has temporarily helped in the past.
Dependence on any person, substance, or behavior for relief of emotional or relational needs is placing these things above God. We are saying that we can handle our own problems without Him, and therefore are being our own saviors, or at minimum, turning to these substances or behaviors as our saviors. Scripture calls this idolatry.
Christ’s immense love for us and death on the cross for our sins set us free from obeying our sin nature and sinful desires. As He has loved us, He desires that we choose to walk with Him intimately, because when we do, we are able to work through anything. Our emotional and relational needs are met through a deeper relationship with Christ. Our goal, as believers, is to walk closer to Christ, yet when sin is present in our lives, we remain distant from Him.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Gal 5:1).
Thanks for taking time to read this Maddening Theology post. If you enjoyed this content you can find Pastor Tim’s sermons atwww.cornerstoneforestcity.org. You can also join us at 520 Marion St. Browndale, PA 18421 on Sundays at 10 AM. To make following the blog easier you can also register. You can also join us on Facebook at Cornerstone Forest City. Also, don’t forget to download our APP oniTunes orGoogleplay.