Jared (not his real name) is a long-time Christian and pastor. He is also a regular reader of this blog.
….his occasional dabbling with pornography got out of hand.
Last week Jared called me and shared a story from his life. It is a cautionary tale and he is hoping others will learn from his experience.
To his horror, surprise and frustration—and not very long ago—he had let lust overwhelm him.
This happened to him even though lust had not previously been a major problem for him. He has been a happily married family man and his Christian walk was strong. However, without realizing it, his occasional dabbling with pornography got out of hand. Instead of being something he could shake off, it ensnared him.
This is a common story these days. Those who do not remain vigilant are extremely vulnerable to being sucked down the deep drain of on-line porn. If you treat this sin casually you will stand no chance against the sheer volume, accessibility and intensity of temptations coming your way.
For a season—about six months or so—lust became the elephant in the room. Time with his computer became a time of sinning and failure. His walk with Christ became dry and unfruitful. He felt trapped and without hope. Overcoming lust seemed impossible.
Having been trained in theology, Jared reached back into his learning.
He recalled a famous sermon, The Expulsive Power of a New Affection, by the Scottish preacher Thomas Chalmers (1780-1840) and it helped point him in the right direction. In a follow up email Jared wrote:
The only way to uproot an idol is the expulsive power of a new affection that fills you and leaves no room for the old idol. Anyway it was uprooting for me and also provided a way to continue to think about temptations going forward. I see temptation now as something trying to compete with Jesus’ love for me and when I start to compare what “it” does for me compared to what “He” did and does for me then He wins in my thoughts. So the habit of taking a temptation to the gospel or the cross has helped a ton because it reminds me that His love is really what I’m looking for and the idol is an empty fake poison.
Here are three takeaways from Jared’s experience:
- Do not dabble with lust at any level. This sin will damage you and may ensnare you as well. Why go down the risky road that Jared followed? Why play with fire?
- Respect Paul’s teaching, “let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.” You will be tempted and must “take heed.” No one is bullet proof (I Corinthians 10:12-13).
- If you are ensnared, there is hope. God has provided the means to set you free.
Will you encourage others to overcome lust and pray for them—including those who seem strong?
Will you, yourself, stay vigilant?