Closing the Window: Steps to Living Porn Free (Part 3)

What follows is a continuation of my six-post summary of Tim Chester’s book “Closing the Window: Steps to Living Porn Free.” Again, I hope and pray that this brief summary can be used by God in your life or in some other person’s life. Thanks for reading.

Chapter 2 Freed by the Beauty of God

People use porn for a multitude of reasons. Some of the reasons or “triggers” as Chester calls them are boredom, exposure, loneliness, opportunity, stress, tiredness, and rejection (37). However, being aware of triggers doesn’t fully explain an individuals plunge into porn. In Mark 7:21-23 Jesus says,

For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All of these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.

Therefore, a desire for porn comes from the heart.

The root cause is always our hearts and their sinful desires. We sin because we believe lies about God, instead of believing God’s Word, and because we worship idols instead of worshiping God. If the problem were simply with our eyes, then the solution would be to avert our eyes. But if the problem begins in the heart, then the solution must be much more fundamental. So you need to ask yourself: When do I turn to porn? What’s going on in my heart when I turn to porn? (41)

Here are some questions that may serve you in discerning why you or a person you know turns to porn: when are you tempted; what’s happening in the rest of your life when you’re tempted; how are you feeling and what’s on your mind? (41) Answers to these questions may help you ascertain exactly what’s going on when you struggle. Is porn an escape, an act of revenge, a way to feel powerful, loved or wanted? Or is it a reward you give yourself?

Ultimately, the means of victory in overcoming porn use is faith in Christ Jesus. But, the question remains, “how exactly does faith in Jesus help an individual overcome sin, specifically the sin of porn use?” Chester writes, “faith sees through the false promises of porn, sees that God offers more than porn and sees that God is always bigger and better than porn. So faith chooses God, worships God, treasures God, adores God” (42). Continuing his explication of how faith leads to victory Chester quotes Piper who says, “suppose I am tempted to lust…the power of temptation is the prospect that it will make me happier. No one sins out of a sense of duty” (42). So what should that individual do? People will say it’s a question of the will; but Piper says, “people who strive for moral improvement can’t say, ‘The life I live I live…by faith’ (Galatians 2:20).”

When faith has the upper hand in my heart I am satisfied with Christ and his promises. This is what Jesus meant when he said, “He who believes in me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). When my thirst for joy and meaning and passion are satisfied by promises of Christ, the power of sin is broken (42).

Furthermore, porn also makes promises. Yet, there is a true promise of God that counters each false promise made by pornography. Chester lists six false promises of porn and with each he also offers a counter promise (which is true) that is rooted in an adoration of God. This adoration for God is rooted in a “confidence that he (God) offers more than porn” (44).

Here they are:

  • Porn promises respect. One of the triggers with this false promise is rejection and a sense of unworthiness.
    • Biblical truth: God is glorious and He is the One we should fear. “God offers genuine acceptance. We’re desperate to prove or justify ourselves, but we can’t. We’re not good enough, not man enough not adequate enough — not for God. But God graciously accepts us in Christ, justifying us through Christ. We need the humility to accept — and the faith to find — confidence in Christ” (47).
  • Porn promises relationship. All individuals crave in some form or fashion intimacy at a relational level.
    • Biblical truth: God is great – He is sovereign over our relationships. “If ‘porn as respect’ is driven by the fear of man, then ‘porn as relationship’ is driven by the fear of woman (or the fear of man, if you’re a woman). Fearing rejection, we retreat into the fantasy world of porn in which women adore us and offer themselves to us without risk. But again, this is an artificial world” (49).
  • Porn promises refuge. One person commenting on their use of porn said, “most often I went to porn when life or ministry got overwhelming. Porn became a means of escape” (49). Porn as a refuge appeals to the cultural stereotypes that shape our sense of what it means to be a man. Gordon McDonald writes, “a real man is a hunter and provider: he fears failure. A real man is a stud: he fears failure. A real man is a fighter: he fears powerlessness” (50). So it’s not hard to see why porn is so victorious in many men’s lives. “If you fear failure, then porn promises success — you always get the woman. If you fear rejection, then porn promises approval — a woman worships you. If you fear powerlessness, then promises potency — women are under your power” (50).
    • Biblical truth: God is great and He is sovereign over our lives. David tells us in Psalm 18:1-3, “I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.”  This Psalm serves as a great reminder that God is our refuge, not anything or anyone else.
  • Porn promises reward.
    • Biblical truth: God is good and He is our ultimate and lasting joy. “One of our problems is that we think only of moments. In the moment we think the pleasures of sin are real and the joy of God is insubstantial or distant. But in truth its the other way round: every joy we experience is but a shadow of the source of all joy, which is God” (53).
  • Porn promise revenge. Porn can be an expression of anger, revenge, resentment or ingratitude. Porn may be an act against your wife, God, etc. For example, an individual might say, “if God is treating me like this then I don’t see why I should bother with his ideals” (55).
    • Biblical truth: God is gracious and He gives us more than we deserve. Porn as revenge, “is that we feel someone isn’t giving us what we deserve” and it reflects a “contractual view of our relationship with God” (55). “But God doesn’t treat us on a contractual basis. He treats us according to his grace. He doesn’t give us what we deserve: he gives us more than we deserve. He gives us what Christ deserves. In a sense God does treat us on the basis of a contract — the covenant he makes with his people through the blood of Christ. But this is a covenant of grace. What we deserve from God is his wrath, but what we get is the righteousness of Christ” (56).
  • Porn promises redemption.
    • Biblical truth: God is gracious and He is the One who atones for our sin. “Don’t choose the pit. Don’t let porn shape your identity. God calls us his sons and daughters. Trust the finished work of Christ, who died to give you a new life. When you’re tempted to wallow in porn, remember this: ‘I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me’ (Galatians 2:20). Your old identity has been crucified; it’s dead and gone. Its habits of thought and behavior may linger on, but it no longer defines you. You can embrace a new life, lived by faith in the Son of God. You’re loved. And this is the measure of Christ’s love for you: he gave himself for you” (58).
Moving on from his explanation of the false promises of porn over against the true promises of the Bible Chester calls individuals to “the fight of faith.” Several comments by porn users revealed that porn is just easier than working out our faith in Christ. And surprisingly, I completely agree! He writes, “let no one suggest that turning from the false promises of porn to the promise of God is easy. Faith in Jesus is not a quick fix. It’s certainly not a case of ‘just believe.’ There’s no ‘just’ about it. Yes, the message is ‘believe.’ But it’s never ‘just believe.’ We’re called to the fight of faith. So instead of ‘just believe,’ the message is ‘fight to believe.’ And it will be a fight, a daily fight. Some days you’ll be wounded; some days you’ll lose the battle. Then you’ll have to pick yourself up, fight to believe in God’s grace and reenter the fray (60).
Lastly, Chester digs a little deeper with regards to the underlying reason many people delve into porn. He writes, “there’s something that lurks even behind the lies of porn. Underlying all these false promises (respect, relationship, refuge, reward, revenge, and redemption) is the desire to be worshiped” (61). Combating this idolatry we’re called to repent of self-worship and worship the one true God and “this begins with adoration” (63). If you remember, adoration of God is a “desire for God arising from a confidence that he offers more than porn. Instead of self-worship, we must worship God. Consider his merits, his worth, his glory, his beauty, his kindness, his grace, his majesty, his holiness, his power” (63).
So the question to ponder in your heart as this post comes to an end is who and what will your heart worship today? Prayerfully, may it be the Lord Jesus Christ.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s