4 minute read

Hope for Husbands Who Watch Porn

Last Updated: April 16, 2015

Luke Gilkerson

Luke Gilkerson has a BA in Philosophy and Religious Studies and an MA in Religion. He is the author of Coming Clean: Overcoming Lust Through Biblical Accountability and The Talk: 7 Lessons to Introduce Your Child to Biblical Sexuality. Luke and his wife Trisha blog at IntoxicatedOnLife.com

Yesterday we addressed the question many wives ask us: Am I to blame for my husband’s porn addiction? The answer: Absolutely not.

We speak to many men who are married to charming and attentive women, yet they are still drawn to pornography. Yesterday we looked the biblical reason for this draw: as sinners we are enticed by what we cannot have. The Bible calls this “covetousness” or “lust.” Today we look at the solution.

The Solution of the Spirit

How did Paul deal with this law-provoked covetous drive within him? How did he break free? For Paul, the answer was found in Christ:

“[D]o you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.

“Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.” (Romans 7:1-6)

While Paul acknowledged his sinful passions still existed, his old relationship to the law no longer did. His “marriage” to the law was over. How? Because he was spiritually united to Another, to someone who literally died and rose again. Just as sure as Christ bled and died on the cross, it was as if Paul had died with Him. United to Christ’s Spirit, Paul had passed into a new realm. He had “died to the law,” and God’s commandments no longer provoked his sinful urges.

When Paul says we’ve died to the law, this does not mean we can live however we want. Far from it. If anything the moral stakes are even higher. Paul still serves God, but not in the “old way” of obeying laws written on tablets of stone, but in the “new way” of obeying God’s Spirit.

This was revolutionary for Paul. This is the new covenant Christ offers His people, a covenant unlike the one ratified at Mt. Sinai. The law is no longer just a written code “out there” to which I must conform my behaviors. The law is now written on our hearts (Jeremiah 31:33), making us desire to do what is good and right.

This is the ministry of the Spirit. Before Christ the Spirit worked through the prophets, pointing God’s people back to the law of Moses and forward to the coming of the Promised One. Now that Christ has come in the flesh, the Spirit points us not to a written code but to a living Person, to the one who perfectly obeyed God in all respects and bore the penalty of our sin. The Spirit within has unveiled the eyes of our heart to behold God’s beautiful glory in the face of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18; 4:6).

Help for the Porn Addict

What does this means for husbands who feel hopelessly drawn to pornography? We need to know real heart-level change is available for followers of Christ.

When we are tempted to gaze at “the other woman” (whether in person or on screen) we must not justify our lust, blaming our wives for not looking, acting, or sounding like the fantasy woman. This is falling to the same blame-shifting of our father, Adam, who pointed to his wife as the reason for his moral failure.

When we are tempted to lust, we also must not try to resist using mere willpower, as if merely bouncing our eyes away will do the trick. Of course it is good to train our eyes to do this, but once the eyes are off the object of our lust, what prevents our minds from ruminating in sin? Merely quoting “Thou shalt not lust” a dozen times is not the sort of motivation promised to Christ’s disciples. This sort of cold, rule-keeping mentality only serves to provoke our lust, not restrain it (Colossians 2:20-23).

Instead, we must believe the Spirit is doing something powerful within us, producing in us new desires to live like Christ. The Spirit is etching God’s law into the fleshly tablets of our hearts. He is drawing our mind’s eye to Christ, making Him our new obsession.

The Spirit will certainly impart power to us, but not, as it were, a mere boost to human willpower. When the Spirit empowers obedience to God, He comes not as surge of power, but clothed with words of truth and visions of Christ’s glory (John 16:13-15). When the Spirit empowers, He does not give a boost to our self-confidence, but He comes to convict us of our depravity (John 16:8-11). The Spirit is not an impersonal substance but a real Person who comes to communicate a powerful vision of who Christ is and how badly we need Him. Through this new inner vision of Christ, He empowers the whole person (mind, emotion, and will) to rely in faith on Christ alone for resurrection power which transforms us from the inside out.

This only scratches the surface. God is certainly at work within us to give us new desires, but this means we must work out that experience of salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12-13). Each step we take away from disobedience to obedience must be taken with bare feet, for we walk on holy ground. And when the new creation dawns, we will become what we’ve always longed to be.

  • Comments on: Hope for Husbands Who Watch Porn
    1. Seth Watson on

      I’m always encouraged and motivated to further pursue purity by your posts. Thanks.

      Reply
    2. Ms. Wifey on

      You may have answered this in a previous post but is divorce acceptable when Porn is involved?

      Reply

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