“How come you are not interested in pornography?”
Of all the questions I can think of, this one is not what I expected from my wife.
I watched porn during University. I wasn’t a believer then, and it was so easy to download off the internet. After a while, I loss interested in it.
I explained to Wai Jia there are currently many online communities, primarily guys, where they support each other to wean themselves from porn. It is like Alcoholics Anonymous for porn addicts. Knowing that many people are ensnared by it, why do I voluntarily want to get addicted to it?
Not interested in pornography doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with lust. There are times when I asked Wai Jia to pray for me because the temptation of lust is so great.
I reminded myself in James 1:14-15:
[B]ut each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.James 1:14-15 (NKJV)
Watching porn is ‘harmless,’ but it opens a door where it can enslave my soul. No one dies from watching pornography. At least not in the beginning. But ultimately, that’s where the path will lead. It is not just for pornography. It can be for any other temptation (alcohol, drugs, money, etc.)
Alcohol is the biggest temptation I struggled with growing up. The sad part is that I didn’t even realize I was under its bondage. In University, I was out of control. Given that I had a liver transplant when I was ten, I was squandering my second chance to live.
When I met Jesus, He gave me the power to control it. As a new believer at that time, control meant that I still drink occasionally but not getting drunk. But it wasn’t until I met Wai Jia that I stopped drinking altogether.
If you asked Wai Jia, she would say it is because of her that I stop drinking. In a way, it is true. When we were conversing through emails, she said that she wouldn’t date anyone who drinks. Then I told her I would stop and since then I have been somber.
But there is a deeper reason for that. Before meeting Wai Jia, I attended prayer meetings from Ratanak, an NGO that focused on stopping child sex trafficking in Cambodia. Whenever they shared what happened to the girls, alcohol is usually, if not, always, involved. The father is addicted to alcohol and needs to pay the loan shark back. So, they sold their daughter to pimps to get money. The sad part is that this happens all around the world. Whether it is North America, Asia, Africa, or Europe, you will hear story after story of how alcohol has a factor in poverty and violence.
By the time I was conversing with Wai Jia, I’ve found alcohol repulsing.
I know many will argue that there is no sin in having a glass of wine, and it is perfectly fine to do so. Why not? If Jesus changed water into wine, then it is perfectly acceptable to drink.
My post is not to make a point that Christians cannot drink. I am here to explain why I decided not to do so. First, I was once a slave to it. Now that Jesus set me free, why do I want to go back? Second, alcohol is repulsive because of how it caused many people to sin, violence, and poverty. Third, I am abstaining from alcohol is not because I have a holier-than-thou attitude. I don’t feel holier than others because I don’t drink. Remember what Jesus said; it is not what we consume that is sinful. Instead, it is from our heart that all sinful nature comes from (Matt. 15:16-20). Lastly, whether I drink or not doesn’t affect me. Just as Paul said, the most important is not to be drunk in wine but in the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18).
So going back to pornography, it may look ‘enjoyable,’ but it is repulsive when you realize that the pornography industry exploits women, who bear the image of God. When I realized that God created sex as a sacred consummation between husband and wife, why would I want to ruin that by temptation?
Ask anyone who is addicted to pornography, and they will tell you that watching once is not enough. They need to consume more and usually more violent and more perverse. Why? Because porn doesn’t satisfy. Of course, it doesn’t. If it does, we won’t have people addicted to it. This can be said the same for alcohol. No one can drink one beer or wine and say they have enough for their lives. They get drunk and the next day wants more.
Knowing these things don’t satisfy, why do I want to partake in them. Of course, not. It is as if you are very hungry and filling that need by sniffing a hamburger.
The temptation is real, and they can be overwhelming at times. I am learning to remind myself temptations, as the name implies, only look tempting. But they are fake. They do not satisfy, and they do not bring life. I do not want to go back to who I was before. I want to move forward. I want to overcome it. I want to be victorious. The only way is through Jesus Christ.
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.Hebrews 4:15-16 (NKJV)
Jesus is the High Priest, and He was tempted, just like us and did not sin. It is wrong to assume that Jesus is some mystical figure who did not understand sin. Jesus came on earth and lived among us as a man. Therefore, He can sympathize with us because He was tempted on earth, just like us. Sympathy doesn’t mean acceptance or excuse to sin. Instead, we can rely on His grace when we need help. I cannot rely on my own strength anymore when I can rely on His through the Holy Spirit.
When Jesus died on the cross, He bears the sins of the world, including my sins. Even though He was sinless, He was willing to take the consequences of sin, death, for me. Jesus suffered and paid for my sinful nature.
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring [f]us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit1 Peter 3:18 (NKJV)
Lastly and most importantly, Jesus is the only one who overcame sin and death. He resurrected. Through Him, there is victory over our bondages and sins. There is no one else on earth that can do that.
By God’s Grace, I have made it this far. I am not going back. I am going to move forward. I don’t want to sin, not because I am afraid of God’s punishment. Rather, it is because of what Jesus’ love for me by dying on the cross that makes me don’t want to sin. I do not want to go back again.
A pastor had me memorized 1 Corinthians 10:13. This verse is very powerful, and I will recite it when I am struggling with temptation. This verse reminds me that God will always provide a way of escape for me. My focus is to endure and not give in. He is faithful, and His Grace is sufficient enough to bear it.
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.1 Corinthian 10:13 (NKJV)
The biggest and most intense battle is often internal than external. I love how Paul said that he is training his body so that he won’t disqualify himself. He knows that ministry, no matter how successful he is (and he was successful and fruitful), doesn’t qualify him to heaven or justify his sinful nature. His internal struggle against his sinful flesh is as vital as his external struggle of preaching Christ.
But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.1 Corinthian 9:27 (NKJV)
I am not going back.