It all started so innocently, or so it seemed, a few snickers from the adults who were watching. They seemed to want me to look at the magazine on the coffee table. It had Madonna or Vanna White or somebody on the cover. The very first sentiment of one of the adults was embarrassment that the magazine was left out in the open. There was an offer to put it away, then I distinctly heard, No, let’s see if he looks at it. Now it had become a challenge! The moral my young mind gathered from the interaction was if I didn’t look at the magazine displayed on top of the coffee table; I would never be a man. Men like to look at naked women, they can’t control themselves. The magazine was promising a look at a naked celebrity and if I were ‘normal’ I would take it up on its offer.
The magazine, of course, was Playboy and I would like to say this was the first time I saw one, but it wasn’t. The fact is, I knew where my dad kept his collection. Other men that I looked up to had similar collections so what other lesson was I to learn? I would like to say the pattern stopped with something as mild as Playboy, but it didn’t. I knew where the movies were too. This was coming of age believing that ‘real’ men had sex with lots of different women. There was no pattern of commitment taught, nothing taught of the sacred nature of sexuality, no trust was taught. My parents soon divorced and looking back I should not have been surprised. This was the lesson taught when it came to relationships, sex and desire, gratify yourself and when you have had your fill move on.
Ted Bundy claimed that this wicked cycle is what led him to his crimes. In his final confession he cited an FBI study which stated that violent criminals, serial killers had this common thread: addiction to pornography. While, thankfully, I have never been tempted to do any violence to anyone, I certainly can see the disconnect present that it would take to perform such heinous crimes. When you lust after a photograph or video the woman becomes less than human. If this is what you are taught, even if the teaching is subliminal, it is no surprise that narcissism is the result. People become objects for your personal pleasure. This is what pornography clearly teaches, whether people take it to the degree that Bundy did or not.
In ten years of Christianity this has been one of the biggest strongholds God has helped me to overcome. It started by recognizing it as evil. The magazines were burned along with all video— that was the easy part. The battle that ensued was realizing that it is much deeper than some magazines. Sex sells, advertisers know this, so this spirit is all around us, so, then goes the TV in hopes of living pure. Still, you cannot remove yourself from the world you live in.
“I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.”- I Corinthians 5:9-10
Burning the magazines didn’t solve it. The understanding that pornography is related closely with sex trafficking only brought added shame to my plight. This only increased the sorrow I felt when upon allowing lust to creep in from some image on a bill board or a woman dressed immodestly in public, I would fall to lustful fantasy. The thought was always the same if you don’t look people may think you are not a real man. The wages of sin is death, this vicious cycle was killing the possibility of any real, substantive relationship. Oh, how I longed for the gift of God, life eternal, a life free of this bondage!
What a horrible knowledge knowing that I was worthy of hell and if I died that is where I would likely go. Though I had left the physical act of fornication behind in my search for Jesus, I was still clinging to the character of a fornicator which I had been taught to be from such an early age. Jesus taught clearly to lust in your heart is enough to make you deserve hell, but how can I kill this old man?
, These verses haunted my life, could it be coming so far in this transformation God so clearly had begun, would I turn back? God forbid! It was here I cried out, here is where I found my deliverance. The things I had thought made manliness were illusions, they were lies. The man of God is described as noble, a warrior of righteousness, this is the answer to that old man the one who must be crucified. The key was right here: the virtue which was lacking was honor, nobility or, to speak Biblically, righteousness. This was the virtue I had learned to squash for so long in my pursuit of sexual desire and status among my peers.
“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
Flee youthful lusts, had I been taught this from the beginning—to think of the work God might have accomplished in this life! Greater works than these as Jesus said, if only I had realized it was possible to overcome. I have heard many times that the devil works double time in order to corrupt people who have a calling on their life. Once he has succeeded at any level, he never ceases to remind you of your transgression. Who will you listen to? God or the devil?
There is no time for languish, deliverance lies securely in the Word of God. Many are looking for some emotional experience where they ‘feel’ delivered, this may never come. A wicked generation seeketh a sign and no sign shall be given, except the sign of Jonah. Some things will go only when you make a clear decision to repent, that is renounce your former conversation. The old man will live on, if you let him! Crucify him today, you must learn to hate the garment spotted by the world.
“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,”-II Corinthians 6:17
This is a battle to the death. We will either overcome, put that old man to death or we will find ourselves dead in our sins in an eternal hell. There is no in between, pornography is that serious! This is an opportunity to find true deliverance; this is true salvation! Jesus said, if you believe in Him you would do the same works as Him. He came to set the captives free, but how can you do the same works as Him, if you are still captivated with the sin of this world?
“Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.”-I Corinthians 6:18
Are you a child of God? Then you will bear this testimony, having died to the flesh you will live as one resurrected from the dead. This is the strength by which dead men preach. Many call us proud or brash, but, if it is the truth which sets us free, then it is only reasonable that we settle for nothing less. Lies are vain and unreasonable and should rightfully make men of God angry. As Jonah said, “They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy (Jonah 2:8).” Still, we are but unprofitable servants, having only done our duty in contending for such a great living faith, a faith that has indeed set us free. It is only reasonable service.
They say we are intolerant when we draw clear lines against abhorrent sins, the sins that this current society seeks to accept. Yet, knowing the truth (the wages of sin is death) how could we do any less and still claim to love our neighbors as ourselves?
It is time for men of God to rise up! Society will make an outcast of all who accept this call, but God is faithful. Though hand join in hand the wicked will not go unpunished. We should always remember this, though we face public mocking and persecution, it is a worthy cause. In a society where people give themselves to be oversexualized and objectified it may be your strong stance against this evil which gives someone the hope they need to be delivered.
There is true freedom at the cross. Let us no longer be a stumbling block for others in their pursuit of that freedom, rather let us be ministers of reconciliation, even as we have been reconciled. We have the precious gift of the Holy Ghost and in this we can proclaim liberty! We can overcome by the blood of the lamb and by the word of our testimony! Hallelujah!
I am only a brother...
Can I tell you about my elder brother Jesus?