ELICIT images are not currently a problem for me, and for most of my life that’s been the case, but there was a time — over a decade ago now — when I was living like an unbeliever — when I used ‘soft’ porn. People magazine styled porn. Of course, I’m not proud of the fact, but I’m also not ashamed of it, either. God has shown me his incredible loving, forgiving grace so I can be honest about it. I recognise, however, how much a habitual hold such images could have if I even went there again, once! Abstinence is the only sensible strategy when it comes to stopping porn.
I must contend, though, my thought life has not been as pure. I have to admit I’m a normal carnal man and that I notice there are attractive women everywhere. God shows me on a daily basis, in my awareness, the effect of my unflagging flesh desire. I’m very fortunate that I’m head-over-heels in love with my wife, but that, alone, is no protection from going into the arena of fantasising over other women. Oh my unrelenting desire, and where it would take me, if not for God and my desire to live for him, alone!
I have had to learn to embrace a New Thinking in order to negate the images my eyes see, which my fleshly desires want to engage with. Not only are these other women my mothers, sisters, and daughters, they’re made in the image of God, they’re God’s possessions, if not another man’s, and they’re innocent of my potential mental transgressions with them. My inappropriate attractions must be stopped at their source or I’m ruined.
Abstinence is the only sensible strategy when it comes to stopping porn.
Step Into a New Thinking
God’s invitation is to explore the problem from its very source. Instead of being fascinated by the shape of a woman’s breasts, buttocks or body, we ought to take those reflections of her shape to God. This New Thinking is part confession, part reflection, and part edification — as we journey with God through the acknowledgement of our sin.
I’ve found that when I become aware of my thinking to the point that it’s sin, acknowledging that it’s inappropriate, I then have the choice: what to do with it? Being honest before the Throne of Grace, I take that wicked thought and find God will hold court with me. If I were to leave the sin as it is, even glory in it, God’s Spirit, I’m sure, would quickly depart. But in our willingness to be honest, God, sitting atop his Throne of Grace, will enable us to unpack our thoughts. And I find this works well when he helps us process the thoughts through a New Thinking: mechanically.
I might ask, “What’s this fascination with a person’s shape, the sound of their voice, or the features of their face?”
Enquiring into the mechanics of attraction does a few positive things. Firstly, it’s an acknowledgement of the truth; I’ve fallen into an inappropriate, sinful pattern of behavioural thinking. Secondly, it’s a worthy and warranted distraction. Thirdly, it allows the Holy Spirit to shed important light onto not only the circumstances the attraction occurred, but also what it is we’re actually attracted to, which is an empowering we need in order to be more aware, and appropriately safeguarded, for next time.
The distraction element is not only worthy and warranted, with communion with God, it takes us into a state of being where perspective elucidates our thinking beyond matters merely of the flesh. God makes our attractions to porn be inferior, as they are, when we bring him into the picture. When we see nature as it is, for instance, a plethora of natural phenomena in myriad manifestation, we’re quickly admonished by the sheer weight of truth before our eyes. God’s glory is self-evident when we see beyond the tunnel vision of pathetic carnal fantasy. When I considered the shadow of a bird atop a shade sail, for example, I saw something new, and I was fascinated beyond the fascination of ogling a person.
So, a New Thinking helps because God is brought into relationship with our struggle. We don’t hide from God what only he can help with.
Honesty on approach to God ensures God approaches us with grace. But to lie to God is to depart; God’s felt Presence departing from us.
If our aim is the target of grace, the bullseye is hit when we bring our sin to God.
An archer never intends to miss. Likewise, our target is hit in being honest with God.
God’s powerful grace is ours to overcome when sin’s power is exposed before grace.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.