In today’s digital world, hundreds of thousands of men and women—even Christian men and women—struggle with pornography. A survey was done just last year and nearly two thirds of self-identified Christian men said they watch porn at least once a month, most of them a lot more than that.
In that survey, 15% of self-identified Christian women said the same thing.
What if this was your church? Keep in mind, these are the kinds of stats we see across denominations, across socio-economic groups, across geographical boundaries. How does it feel knowing that around 2 out of every 3 guys in your church and at least 1 out of every 7 women are consuming porn monthly?
My goal in this video series is to outline for you one of the reasons—not the only reason—but one of the reasons why it seems like this sin can have such a grip on people. Maybe you’re a pastor or a group leader and you want to help someone overcome their besetting sins, or maybe you’re the one who wants to overcome them yourself. I want to lay some important groundwork for a key strategy that I’ve seen used over and over with amazing results. It isn’t a 12-steps-to-freedom kind of approach. It isn’t promising some kind of unshakable victory that makes you impervious to temptation. It’s a simple, biblical framework for you to see this problem with new eyes. My aim is to help you begin using these strategies or teaching these strategies to others today.
In the book of James, chapter 1, James gives his readers this probing statement:
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and He himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”
Notice the contrast here: God promises His people a crown of life, but temptation, when it leads to sin, only promises death. Now, in one sense, James is talking about a lifelong progression of sin. But in another sense, James is talking about a cycle of temptation, the day-in day-out temptations we all face. The cycle includes 6 key points, James says it all starts in desire. Desire then leads to enticement. Enticement leads to conception—the conception of sin in the heart. Conception leads to birth—the birth of sin. Then sin grows stronger. Then fully-grown sin brings forth death. This is the cycle of temptation and sin.
Join us next week for our next video where I dive deeper into this cycle and learn why addiction is so strong and how this is relevant in culture today.