I was exposed to pornography at a young age—somewhere around 11 years old. I remember being at a friend’s house and finding a Playboy in his parents’ bathroom. It was then that I discovered that I was wired to find enjoyment and pleasure in a woman, or, in other words, the opposite sex. I was captivated by a woman’s form, covered or bare. At the time, I didn’t understand why. I didn’t understand the science behind all of it. I didn’t understand God’s purpose for my sexuality. But I didn’t care; I just knew it felt good. I knew there was pleasure in the fulfillment of my sexual desires.
My Exposure to a Lie
But with my exposure to pornography came my exposure to an enormous lie. This is a lie that our culture has bought into and continues to buy. We spend our life, our time, our money, our marriages, and even the lives of our children on this lie. The lie is this: SEX IS ULTIMATE. We’ve been led to believe that the ultimate satisfaction of our body and soul is found in sexual intimacy.
This is the lie that ruled, and almost ruined, my life. Within two years, what started with a peek into a Playboy magazine would become an addiction to pornography. Pornography hijacked my brain and distorted my view of women to the point that they became objects. My first girlfriend wasn’t someone I confided in. Though I cared for her, I subconsciously viewed her as something to be consumed.
Sex is good—We’ve made it God
I don’t doubt that this lie has tainted your mind. Some people have tried to convince you that sex is bad. Some people have taught you that sex is good. But many of us believe that sex is ultimate. We’ve taken something that God calls good and made it God. In other words, we’ve made sex an idol.
Freedom from an Addiction
Sex was my idol. And lust was my master. I was a slave to my passions. But in my first year of college, God began to give me new passions, new desires. I began to understand the gospel. I began to see the glory of a God who took on human flesh to die for a people who had no love for Him, in order that they might know Him. This told me something—God is not like anyone else I know. God is good. God is worthy of my trust and my worship. I quickly understood what God said about my sin. He hated it, so I began to hate it. I wanted to be free from my addiction to porn.
God delivered me from my addiction. I didn’t enter counseling (not that there is anything wrong with doing that). I did put accountability software on my laptop and phone. But the fight for freedom started in my heart. It started with my realization that God is for me. My fight with sin (in this case an addiction to porn—to lust and self-indulgence) was one I would fight with God’s help. He was fighting with me, not against me. In this fight, God’s help was clear. He had given me His Spirit (Jn. 14:16-17), His word (2 Tim. 3:16-17), and a community of confession and prayer (1 Jn. 1:9).
And in the midst of my failures, I found great comfort in Romans 6:14. It was a promise that because I was living under God’s grace, not God’s law, that this sin would not rule me. I was safe in His grace, He was fighting with me, and He had promised me freedom from the reign of lust, adultery, and self-indulgence in my life.
I began to see that God’s design for sex is good; it is to be enjoyed in the context of marriage (the science supporting this idea is amazing by the way). I began to submit to the Bible’s decree that any sex practiced outside of marriage is sin.
From One Idol to Another
But even as a Christian, I wasn’t free from the lie that once controlled my passions. In the back of my mind, sex was still ultimate. I wouldn’t act out sexually as I had before. I knew if I were going to have sex, it would have to be in the context of marriage. So, because sex was ultimate, and sex belonged in the context of marriage, guess what happened? Marriage became ultimate! I would be looked down upon if I confessed my continued idolatry of sex. On the other hand, an idolatry of sex confessed as a desire to be married was much safer.
But suddenly singleness became a burden...
*Part 2 coming on Monday.