When dealing with porn we need to look at the big picture and the little picture. We need to fight the small battles in order to win the war. Over the years I’ve become convinced that to win to war of lust we need to learn to live out the greatest and most important commandment of Christ: love. When we love God and love others we begin to win the war.
Love conquers lust. Porn teaches us a distorted view of love, intimacy, other people, and even God. Love teaches us to value our neighbors; porn teaches us to objectify them. Love teaches us to serve others; porn teaches us that others exist to serve us. Love teaches us that nothing matters more then knowing God; porn teaches us that nothing matters more then immediate temporary pleasure.
When we choose to love God and others, we choose to war against lust. But how do we fight in the daily battles? I believe this begins with love as well. Consider the concept of love as an acronym. We must fight with L.O.V.E.
L – Leave your sin.
If we ever want to see lust defeated in our lives, we must make the choice to leave our sin behind. Jesus often told people “Go, and sin no more.” Jesus calls us to the same. Have you made the choice to leave your sin?
We must make the choice to leave our sin every time the temptation strikes. The Bible tells us to flee from sexual immorality. Just like Joseph ran from Potiphar’s wife, we must run from our own temptations. Sometimes this means getting ourselves far from temptation before it even happens. Things like limiting your Internet access and Internet filtering are helpful tools here. Sometimes this means physically leaving when temptation strikes.
Go do something else. Ride your bike, cook a meal, call a friend, clean your house, just do something to leave the temptation. Leaving your sin is the first step to winning the battle.
O – Open yourself up to others.
Accountability is all about being open with others. It’s about following the Biblical commands to confess your sins and your struggles. Do you have someone who you can be honest with? If not, find someone. Just as we need to love our neighbors as ourselves, we need someone to love us enough to hold us accountable.
In the moment of temptation, one of the best things you can do is open up to someone else about your struggle. Hebrews 3:12-13 says, “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
In other words, one of the key ways we fight sin is by hearing the encouragement and exhortation of another. You need someone in your life to love you and to make sure you do not become hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Sin thrives in the darkness so expose it to the light of love. The battle will never be one alone.
V – Value the right things.
What do you really value? Porn teaches us to value temporary pleasure. The pleasure of porn only lasts as long as the time spent viewing it. God offers something better and He invites us to value the right things.
In Matthew 5:29, Jesus commands us to value our eternity even more then our physical bodies. He says, “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.” Do you value freedom from this sin? We must make the choice to value the things of God.
E – Engage with God.
Jesus simply says in Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” The more we “see God” the more pure we become, and vice versa. The cycle of porn is one of shame and more impurity. The cycle of engaging with God is one of love and purity. Have you been engaging with God lately? To win the battles we must engage with God.
Make the choice to love. Win the war by fighting the battles. The amazing truth of God’s word is that God loves us even in spite of our sin. If we strive to love Him and others I’m convinced that the chains of lust will be broken. Let’s defeat lust with love!
Ben Driver is the minister for the Bellevue Church of Christ in Bellevue, Ohio. He is passionate about Christians fulfilling the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. He cares deeply about the issue of pornography and wants to help others find freedom through Christ.