Closing the Window: Steps to Living Porn Free (Part 2)

Here’s the second of six summary posts I’ll be writing on Tim Chester’s book “Closing the Window: Steps to Living Porn Free.”

Chapter 1 “Looking Beyond the Frame”

Chester’s book does not delve into the issue of pornography with vagueness, but he’s rather quite specific in describing the pornography industry, as well as the effects it has on its users; yet, he isn’t specific to the point of being unnecessarily crass or vulgar. In his introductory comments he says that “whenever you put the book down (speaking of his book), spend a few moments in prayer and praise. Make sure when you finish reading that you’re thinking about Christ and not porn” (13).

In chapter 1 Chester shares several things concerning Christians who are chronically involved with porn or dabble with it in some capacity. He says with pin-point accuracy, “the reality is that often we dislike the shame and the consequences of sin, but we still like the sin itself. We dislike the shame of porn, but in reality we still want to view it. That’s because porn is pleasurable.

The Bible speaks about the pleasures of sin as temporary, dangerous, empty, and not compared with the glory of God (15). And yet, many Christians become experts at rationalizing their sin over against the call to live for the glory of God. In order to walk in victory Chester submits five ingredients that are necessary in the battle against sin. They are: (1) Abhorrence of sin (a hatred of porn itself [not just the shame it brings]), (2) Adoration of God (a desire for God, arising from a confidence that he offers more than porn, (3) Assurance of grace (an assurance that you are loved by God and right with God through faith in the work of Jesus), (4) Avoidance of temptation (a commitment to do all in your power to avoid temptation, starting with controls on your computer), and (5) Accountability to others (a community of Christians who are holding you accountable and supporting you in your struggle) (17).

In addition, speaking to the “abhorrence of sin,” Chester gives twelve reasons to give up porn. They are:

(1) Porn wrecks your view of sex.

In underscoring this point, Chester cites several attitudes that are associated with individuals who are involved in pornography. The following attitudes were derived from a survey specifically involving college students.

  • Increased tolerance toward sexually explicit material thereby requiring more novel or bizarre material to achieve the same level of arousal or interest
  • Misperceptions about exaggerated sexual activity in the general populace and the prevalence of less common sexual practices
    acceptance of promiscuity as a normal state of interaction
  • Viewing sexual inactivity or abstinence as a health risk
  • Diminished trust in intimate partners
  • Decreased desire to achieve sexual exclusivity with a partner
  • Cynicism about love
  • Believing superior sexual satisfaction is attainable without affection for one’s partner
  • Believing marriage is sexually confining
  • Finding child rearing an unattractive prospect

(2) Porn wrecks your view of women

The sexualization of girls is not just shattering the lives of girls and women, it is preventing boys and young men from relating to girls and women as complex human beings with so much to offer them. It is preventing boys from forming healthy friendships and working relationships with girls and women (20).

(3) Porn wrecks women’s view of themselves

(4) The porn industry abuses women

(5) Porn is a sin against your wife

Quoting Jesus in Matthew 5:27 Chester states that being involved with pornography is tantamount to committing adultery against your wife (if married) and then quickly adds that if you’re not married you’re committing adultery against your future wife. And I would add if you’re one of the very few that are called to singlehood than you’re committing adultery with someone else’s wife.

(6) Porn wrecks families

Porn endangers your children in that there’s a possibility they may find your “stash” (which nowadays is not magazines under the bed but porn on your hard drive on your computer), but also it erodes your moral authority within the home. You may fail to discipline them as you should because you feel a hypocrite. Or you your discipline may be erratic and inconsistent, depending on how you recently you used porn (26).

(7) Porn is enslaving

The law of diminishing returns certainly applies to pornography in that pornography promises much, but truly can’t deliver. An individual addicted to porn will find themselves enslaved to it and each subsequent engagement with pornography will leave them desirous of more, while never being fulfilled. You see the deception and stupidity of sin in this point that Chester makes.

(8) Porn erodes your character

Speaking of lust, Jesus says, ‘If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell’ (Matthew 5:30). The words translated ’causes you to sin” are used by Jesus elsewhere in Matthew’s Gospel to describe the person like seed sown on rocky ground who ‘falls away’ when persecution comes (Matthew 13:21), and again, to describe in a time of persecution those who ‘will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other’ (Matthew 24:10). The habit of sinning through lust does not end with lust. Left unchecked, it ends with falling away from Jesus (29).

(9) Porn wastes your time, energy and money

Think about a meal. You feel hungry, you consume the meal and then you feel satisfied. Twenty minutes later, you feel full and you don’t want to eat any more. Think about porn. You feel a desire, you consume porn, but you don’t feel satisfied. Porn doesn’t deliver. Twenty minutes later, you still feel empty and you still want more (29).

(10) Porn weakens your relationship with God

Regarding this point he quotes an individual who makes a comment that is profound; they’re profound because they’re scary true and spot-on. Consider what this individuals says: “One thing I’ve found when I’m struggling with pornography is that when I hear the word ‘sin’ I hear it to mean pornography” (31). Following that thought, Chester writes,

Imagine you’re listening to a sermon. The preachers talks about the need to address sin in your life. There’s only ever one sin that comes into your mind at that point: porn. And so you only ever address the issue of porn. The other sins of your heart go unaddressed…the irony is that the sins that get ignored may well be the sins that underlie your use of porn (31).

(11) Porn weakens your service

(12) God’s wrath is against people who use porn

Chester, taking Proverbs 5 and applying it to the sin of pornography says that porn looks sweet, but leads to destruction (3-6); it wastes your time, energy, and money (7-11); it leads to remorse and shame (12-14); it is a sin against your wife (15-20); it is a sin against the women involved and their husband (20); it may seem secret, but it is seen by God (21); it is enslaving (22) and it leads to judgment (23) (34-35).

Lastly, Chester says, “look beyond the frame. See the warping of your view of sex, of your wife and of sisters in Christ. See the damage to your relationship with God and your service of His people. See God’s wrath against your sin. Look beyond the fame” (35).

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