Nighttime for many men and women is danger time. Before I got free of my addiction to pornography, nighttime was a dangerous time for me. Especially after a long day of work, I felt a strong temptation to watch pornography during the evenings, and I’d often sadly give in to the siren call of lust and selfishness.
Perhaps you don’t struggle with pornography. Maybe you struggle with going to the store for some late night ice cream or an extra snack after you’ve already eaten a full meal. Nighttime isn’t only danger time for those who struggle with pornography. We all have our own temptations.
It takes intentionality to guard your heart and protect your marriage. As I’ve walked with God, I’ve learned that it’s best for me to leave my phone charging on my nightstand if I’m alone at night. I don’t pick it up for any reason other than if my wife, mom, or a close friend calls. It’s ensures that I’m guarding my heart against temptation. In the evening I don’t get on my laptop except for rare circumstances where I have a burning article idea and feel the need to write. I spend my evenings reading with my wife, talking to her, or I’m at some event or with a good friend. If you struggle with sexual sin of any kind in your life, nighttime is danger time. Set yourself up well to resist its pull–whether that’s putting your phone on the nightstand or somewhere else in your residence.
Pornography cripples the lives of many men and women. It sells them a bill of goods that seems to promise much. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t deliver, and instead, leaves them bound in the shackles of guilt and shame, rather than in the freedom of hope in the Gospel.
To fight for our growth in God’s grace and to stand firm in the Lord, we need to do the following: 1) grow in the Gospel, 2) understand the place of accountability, and 3) develop a plan of attack.
Growing in the Gospel
First, we need to come to understand that our sin offends God. Jesus didn’t die so we could all have a group hug and join a social club. Instead, He died in the place of sinners and for their sin so they would put their sin to death. Theologians call this “progressive sanctification”–that is daily growing into who we are already in Christ now. In other words, because we are His and He is ours, now we can love God and others as He intends for His glory.
We can see the awfulness of our sin only because the veil that clouded our vision has been removed by God when He replaced our heart of stone with a new heart, with new desires, and new affections for His glory. When nighttime temptation comes is not the time to prepare against the allure of lust. The time to prepare for the siren song of lust is beforehand.
We do this by understanding that caving into the siren song of lust breaks our fellowship with God. We remain wholly Christ’s, but Christ is not an approver of our sin. Our security remains in Christ, but our fellowship with the Lord is broken because of our sin. This is why 1 John 1:9 tells us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” If we say we don’t have sin, 1 John 1:6 tells us we are deceived.
My experience in ministering to men has taught me that many Christian men are deceived. They have bought into the lie that they can live however they want. Many young men think they can sleep around with no consequences. When consequences come, as they always do, they don’t own up to them. Instead, they continue down the wrong path, away from God, instead of owning up to them. Our sin always takes us farther than we want.
Nighttime is a good picture of the darkness that we give into. Rather than being in the light and walking in it, we would rather walk in darkness, especially at night. It is only because of Jesus that we can see the Light, know the Light, and walk in the Light.
Understanding the Importance of Accountability
We need to understand the place of accountability. If you don’t have any Internet accountability or filter, you need to get it. The lust of the eyes is real. You might not think so now, but there will come a time when thinking about something else will not help. You might be alone in a hotel room one night or somewhere else and get tempted. It doesn’t even have to be at night, it could be during the day. The point is you need Internet accountability and filtering software to protect you against yourself.
You see, we are our own worst enemies. It’s not the person down the road from you or even in the next cubicle at your job that you need to be first and primarily concerned about. Instead, it’s you, the person reading this article that you need to be most concerned about. God desires for His people to break free from the chains that hold them back from living out their identity in Christ. To do that, we need help.
We need to not only have accountability services like that offered by Covenant Eyes, but we need solid, godly individuals of your gender around you to speak into your life and offer support when you do struggle. You need to have people you can go to and say, “Look, I’ve sinned again in this area of my life. Will you please pray for me?” And if it’s a serious struggle, we need the professional guidance of biblical counselors to help us retrain our hearts and minds with the Word of God so that we will fight against sexual sin rather than cave into it.
And asking for help doesn’t mean that you aren’t smart. Asking for help confronts our pride and selfishness, and it’s especially difficult when people believe they are doing just fine without the help. Sexual sin deceives us, making us think we are all good, when in fact, we’re not.
If we’re giving into the lust of the eyes and flesh once a day, once a week, once a month, or even once a year, that is once too much. We need accountability. We need people to continue speaking into our lives, and we need to share openly about the hard stuff of life with these trusted people. No matter where we find ourselves in our Christian journeys, we all need accountability. Such accountability will help us to see our own sin more clearly and to continue growing in the grace of God.Get Started With Covenant Eyes Internet Accountability
Developing Your Plan of Attack
In our Christian lives, it’s all too easy to say one thing and then do another. It’s an entirely different approach to take our own sin seriously because Jesus paid for it, and then to implement strategies by God’s grace to actually kill our sin.
So I want to challenge you: Stop playing pretend. Stop playing games. Stop saying you are all good and singing all is well with your soul when your sin is eating you alive. Just stop it. It’s not okay that you are looking at pornography however much you are. You can’t deceive an all-knowing and all-seeing God who will hold you accountable for your actions. Instead, you need to have a plan of attack.
For me, this means at night I don’t get on my laptop and my phone. I put my devices away in a different room at night, especially after a hard day. I’ve learned over time that the seduction of temptation is very real. It summons me to come and to give into the lust of my eyes and my flesh. True happiness in the Christian life is the byproduct of our fight against sin. We rest in Christ and strive by God’s grace. We don’t strive by our own effort to fight against sin. We don’t resist sin in our own power. Instead, we press in because of and by God’s grace through the convicting work of the Holy Spirit.
When we fail, and fail we will, whether in the day or at night, we repent of our sin. We don’t turn towards ourselves for forgiveness. We don’t let go and let God. We also don’t overanalyze and kick ourselves to the curb over our sin. Instead, we turn away from our sin and to Jesus Christ. We trust not in our own good works, because they are as filthy rags. Instead, we trust in Christ alone in the perfect, spotless righteousness of Christ.
Nighttime Doesn’t Have to be Danger Time
Perhaps you struggle with pornography today. Or perhaps it’s been awhile, but the seduction still lingers. Let me urge you wherever you are at in the process of recovery from a porn addiction to look to Christ. Know the loveliness of Christ and sing of His great glory.
Open your Bible and read it, for there you will learn about Christ. Get in a solid Bible-believing church, there you will sit under the teaching of God’s Word and learn God’s plan for your life. In the local church, you will meet others like yourself–those who have issues but pursue God’s grace in the midst of them.
Nighttime is danger time. Know and grow in the grace of God. Get accountability and make a plan of attack by God’s grace. Surround yourself with God’s people. Then nighttime doesn’t have to be danger time; it can be a time where you focus on your family. Instead of wasting time looking at porn, you’ll have more time to focus on your own walk with God, your spouse, and your family.
Stop making excuses for your own sin and struggles. Instead, by God’s grace refuse to treat your sin lightly, and in light of the death, burial, and resurrection, learn that the costly sacrifice of Jesus demands we take our own sin seriously and grow to be like Christ in every sphere of life, all for His great name and glory.