Welcome to the Spiritual Principles of Power Over Pornography. We give God all the glory and credit for all that is good about this program and its power to heal and make whole. We ask for His forgiveness for any mistakes that we’ve made in our implementation.
Let’s start by talking about the prophecies of Jesus Christ for the last days. In Matthew 24:12, He prophesies that “…the love of many will wax cold.” One of the key consequences of viewing pornography is the drastic drop in the capacity to love. I believe that the pervasiveness of pornography viewing is leading to the love of many waxing cold. It has become a major problem throughout the world in almost all cultures. It is negatively impacting individuals, families and societies. This prophecy is being fulfilled now. It’s time to slow, stop and then reverse the love of many waxing cold, starting with you.
The way forward in overcoming pornography viewing and masturbation is found in the scriptures if we will but search and find them. Let’s walk through the major concepts and the scriptures that reveal them.
Clarify the consequences. In Genesis chapter 25 we see that Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for one meal of bread and pottage. His birthright had great blessings associated with it for not only his life but for the lives of his descendants. He forfeited these great blessings to satisfy his appetite for four to six hours.
Paul in his epistle to the Hebrews commented on Esau’s selling his birthright as “…Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.” (Hebrews 12:16-17)
We learn from this story and Paul’s mention of it that Esau made a terrible mistake because he failed to focus on the long-term consequences of his decision and made the decision for short-term gratification. In essence, the long-term blessings were cloudy so he elected to gratify his hunger. Pornography viewers make the same mistake.
Viewers let the consequences of their actions grow cloudy and then elect to gratify their desire to view despite the very negative but longer term consequences. By paying attention to Esau’s negative example, we can see the power of choosing consequences and ensure we’re seeing those consequences clearly.
We’ll cover more on clarifying consequences as we move to the next scripture.
Immediately acknowledge the temptation. Let’s analyze Christ’s response to temptation in Matthew 4:3-4. He is tempted to turn stones into bread after fasting for 40 days and nights. Once tempted, he did not try to push the temptation out of his mind, did not run from it, but answered (acknowledged) and confronted it immediately: “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
Not only did Christ acknowledge the temptation immediately by answering, he also removed the cloudiness of the consequences by citing scripture (vision–I wonder if all scripture is vision to the Author of that scripture). He deliberately recognized the unsatisfactory nature of being satisfied for one meal against the power of God obtained through his word. What a great example of immediately acknowledging the temptation and then clarifying the consequences.
Accept the temptation as normal. When going through this example, I often ask, “If Christ himself is not above being tempted, why should we think that we should not be tempted?” The temptation should not be the source of guilt and shame. Being tempted does not indicate that we are evil or wicked. Temptation comes to all, including to Jesus Christ himself.
Notice in James 1:12 the use of the word when, not if, referring to temptation coming: “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” Part of our reason for coming to earth is be “tried” by temptation. Recognizing this, it is easier to accept the temptation to view pornography as normal and as one that happens to all people. We have no reason to feel bad about being tempted. In fact, we can take comfort that we are normal when we are tempted.
We’ll address this more fully in a later section but let’s touch on the Power of Vision. I believe Christ’s identifying His vision with scripture is natural. He is the source of scripture so it makes sense that he refers to scripture when choosing His vision, living by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. This vision may be too broad and ambiguous for you and me to grasp and make tangible. Jesus spoke often about aligning His will with the will of the Father. This powerful vision of the importance of God’s will was vital to his enduring incomprehensible suffering and completing His sacrifice for all mankind.
The Power to Choose has many spiritual underpinnings. The first is the power itself that God granted to us. When placing Adam and Eve in the garden he gave them a big choice, partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil or not. Let’s discuss five aspects of choice:
1. You always have a choice. Sometimes our language to ourselves and to others takes away our choice. As we just discussed, God gave us the ability to choose. To recognize this power in every day activity, we may want to choose to stop saying “I have to” and replace it with “I choose to.”
2. Your choice is temporary. Joshua commanded the Israelites in battle and was with them every day in the wilderness for decades. He knew of their commitment yet before he died he gathered them together and told them in Joshua 24:15. “Choose you this day whom you will serve.” He recognized that their choice to serve the Lord was a new choice every day, just like all of our choices. We are faced with making the same choice every day and with every temptation. I’ve been asked “What about making the choice once as many prominent leaders have advised?” I believe this represents the difference between commitment and choice. We commit (in fact we covenant at baptism) to live a certain way but each time we face temptation we again have the choice to continue living that way or to choose differently, just as Joshua recognized.
3. When you choose an action, you also choose the consequences associated with that action. Moses said in Deuteronomy 30:19, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.” It’s interesting that Moses focused on the consequences of the actions, not the actions themselves as the choice. This pattern is repeated in many places throughout scripture. When faced with choices, a scriptural pattern that leads us to make wise choices is focusing on the consequences, not the actions.
4. You tend to rebel when compelled. In Galations 5:1 we read: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Christ’s example also showed us that he freely chose to give his life for us. When we seek to compel ourselves to do something, our God-given freedom to choose rebels and the compulsion backfires. When we seek to tell ourselves we must, have to, should, better, etc. we are setting ourselves up for rebellion and failure. God has given us the right to choose and doesn’t want it taken from us.
5. Your unconscious choices lose their power when brought to the conscious mind. Let’s refer back to the story of Esau. His overpowering hunger led him to make a choice from his unconscious mind. If he would have weighed the consequences in his conscious mind, he may have chosen differently. When we acknowledge and accept the temptation and then go through the process of choosing, we have changed an unconscious choice into a conscious one.
The Power of Vision. Proverbs 29:19 reads “Where there is no vision, the people perish…” A positive vision is vital to choice and vital to making wise choices. When God needed his prophets to act courageously despite tribulation, he opened a vision of the consequences of their choices (think Moses leading the children of Israel out of Egypt). If we want to act courageously, we need to have vision of what our lives will be like without viewing.
We’ll continue to add to this section. So far, we’ve focused on certain principles as stated in the Bible. We’ll explore the power of repetition as well as the scriptural response to stress and tribulation. Stay tuned and please add your thoughts on the spiritual principles.