Stop Looking at Porn, “but instead let there be thanksgiving”

In Father Hunger Douglas Wilson makes a simple but profound thought that I’ve been chewing on for the last couple days (see pp. 173-75). He contrasts Paul admonition to thieves with his word for the sexual immoral, foul mouthed, and covetous. The thieves he tells to stop stealing but the other group Paul says, “But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving” Ephesians 5:3-4.

The growth and availability of pornography is huge. The stuff is everywhere. And the stuff our parents called porn is today’s network television and is in our grocery line magazine stands. Now more than ever you have to actively fight against lust and the pull of porn.

Negatively, our first line of defense against porn whether you have given in and are actively viewing porn and bathing yourself in that lust-filled cistern or whether you are fighting the pull of porn as you walk in the world is the same--“let there be thanksgiving.”

Odd that thieves are told to steal no more, but the sexually immoral are told to stop be such ingrates. First, notice sexually immorality and covetousness are linked together. These sins are twin sisters. You will never be sexually immoral without first being covetous. If you are satisfied with the wife of your youth and actively pursuing her and if you are passionately seeking to know Jesus more then you will not be sexually immoral.

Second, our first line of defense is often an accountability software, a self-help book, a support group, or something similar but Paul says, “No the first line of defense is thanksgiving.” I would unpack that by asking thankful foremost for what? I believe Paul would say for the gospel. This concept is central for Christian living. We do not obey to earn our salvation and we do not obey primarily out of duty. We obey and live victoriously because Jesus Christ lived, died and was raised again by the power of the Spirit and so we obey out of the overflowing joy and thanksgiving in our heart by the power of that same Spirit.

Also, I want to apply this specifically to men who have wives. Men, God has provided you a great gift and someone specifically designed to complement you. It doesn’t matter if you think she’s a real doozy. Stop making excuses about why you aren’t loving, serving, and sacrificing your preferences for her and start being thankful for her. You must be intentional in this endeavor. Write things down. Tie them to your forehead, your hands, and meditate on them while you eat, walk, and sleep. But most of all, if you haven’t already told your wife about your sin, confess it, repent of it, and turn from it. Ask her to ask the tough questions. Nay, demand that she prod, poke, and peer over your shoulder in a spirit of love and hope of course.

Third, after making all these things primary now start using some of these help tools. If you’re in so deep you just can’t stop looking at porn, unplug yourself from the e-world. Take a sabbatical from your favorite TV shows, your iPhone, and computer. Too tough? Too extreme? Is it better to enter heaven and have missed your favorite TV show? Or to to go to hell with your tivo and iPhone in hand?

Just one more warning. Lest you think after two weeks of unplugging that you’re a verifiable apostle Paul, realize that covetousness is sin within your heart. And it’s desperate and it’s wicked. Don’t be easily deceived. Make sure you have taken the truth of the gospel into the deepest, darkest parts of your hearts. That you have pulled off all the scabs and bled all the wounds. The pain may be severe but the joy will be eternal.