by Bryan Atkinson
As far as temptations online goes, it can be very easy to allow yourself to do things that you will harm your mental integrity. I’ve experienced the pull that happens when you are tempted to go somewhere or search something on the Internet when you know no one else is looking. I’ve experienced that voice that’s telling you that pornography is natural and healthy. Yet I find that it fails to deliver true satisfaction.
Although by God’s grace I have not allowed myself to fully embrace pornography, I have flirted with it at times. I think it is God’s wisdom alone that enlightens and transforms our minds to see this evil for what it really is.
Philippians 4:8 is one verse that always comes to mind when I’m debating with myself. “Set your mind on whatever things are good, noble, true, worthy of good report…” How can looking at naked women who you are not in covenant with and who you do not even know be noble or pure? Yet as I write this I think about how strong the curiosity and desire is for us as men.
I hope all of us as young men (definitely myself included) would consider how our choices with pornography will effect our relationship with our future spouses and how it does not satisfy sexual desires. I heard once that pornography is like looking at food without being able to eat the food. How can you become full or satisfied with only looking at images of what you want? The answer? You can’t. Pornography sets you in a cycle of wanting more and more—it’s so deceiving!
Another thing that comes to mind: after I have struggled or even stumbled with pornography I find myself having a hard time interacting with my girl relations or friends. I lose any social skills I had and become shy, perhaps because my mind has been in a place that only values women for their bodies! This messes with my mind and gives me grief.
This is why the online accountability of Covenant Eyes makes perfect sense to me. If I know that my parents have knowledge of what I’ve been doing on the Internet, it will definitely effect what I do! Most of my online activity these days is at Mesa Community College. The only accountability there is other people who may notice the screen next to them and will report it. But at home on my PC it can be easier to be tempted. That’s why I need accountability with my computer at home.
I am very thankful that my mom made this choice for our family. Having a solid relationship with my parents has helped me fight against sexual struggles because talking with them about my issues helps get secrets “out of the closet” and “on the table.”
I believe that no matter what accountability-producing software systems exist there will always be a struggle with pornography and mental purity. If our heart is not focused on Christ and the renewed life that we share because of His life then we will, I assure you, find outlets to practice these sinful desires. It may be easy to cover up for looking at pornographic magazines at Walmart when you’re alone, for instance. That is why I stress that we must focus on renewing our minds so that we can see clearly the harm that pornography inflicts. This renewing of our mind comes from walking with Jesus Christ and realizing that He is Lord.
I love that Jesus knows what we’re going through because He experienced the same sexual temptations even without the Internet! He knows and wants to help us through it. I pray that God would help us run to Him, pray to Him, and find strength in Him! God be with you all!
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Byran Atkinson is a student at Mesa Community College in Arizona.