Sunday, 1 March 2015

Porneia: Hooked On Porn

Proverbs 20:12 The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them. 

      Vincent Van Gogh said, "Conscience is a man's compass."
      The spirit of porneia. It is one of those topics that can polarize and bring acrimonious debate and that is not my intention. I want people to know that this habit can be conquered. I will try to establish a starting point for the people and families who are struggling with the consequences and feelings of helplessness that can occur when a pornographic spirit has brought harm to a relationship. I hope this blog helps some of the thought processes that will be needed to overcome this vice and any other bondage that has control within a soul.
   
PART ONE: The Eye OF Porneia
   
      
It is difficult for people who have tried to stop entertaining themselves with the vice of porneia to admit that there is a stronghold in their lives because there is often a harsh treatment that comes from their closest friends and family members when the user is exposed. There is a plague-like attitude that results toward the participants of porneia when they come forth asking for help in the areas of this obsession. Most of the time it is because the people close to the one asking for help have as many hang-ups and secret sin themselves that no one looks for answers because there seems to be no way out. 1 Cor. 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
      There is a way out, but there has to be a real desire to get out of porneia's grasp. No half-measures work because porneia is like leaven; it affects the whole body, soul, and spirit of a person. I will attempt to explain some of the complicated effects that are strongly attached to the spirit of porneia and reveal some of its shaded faces.
      Porneia is a spirit that causes great hurt within families, marriages, and individuals. My personal belief is that we have been approaching this subject, (craving porn), from the point of an addiction rather than an obsession. Addictions have a bodily desire; a craving, as ingesting drugs, alcohol, cigarette smoke and excessive food eating disorders where the body is addicted to these substances. However, gambling, compulsive-spending, kleptomania, hoarding and participating in the multiple activities of porneia are obsessions. Some might say at this point, "You say potato and I say, blah blah blah." 

      I am putting forth an observation from my experiences in helping people with addictions and helping people with obsessions. The approach is different when dealing with an obsession because the obsessed are dealing with a passion of mental titillation rather than a craving of bodily ingesting of an addictive substance. Both are an invasion of the soul and the person who is in bondage with an addiction or obsession just wants to be free of it regardless of the label put on it. Both approaches need the word of God as the foundational truth and power to overcome when the chronic user is honestly ready to overcome this destructive behavior in their lives. Matt. 6:23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
     
What is the spirit of porneia? Is it only a seductive spirit that saps our spiritual strength or is it just a cheap-thrills activity men and women entertain themselves with? The problem with trying to give a readers digest version of porneia (a Greek word) that encompasses most sexual sin causes a deluded interpretation of its culpability within the souls of the afflicted. The best we seem to come up with is a quick and substandard answer; so we say, "It means pornography." That is like saying, "Einstein was pretty good at math." There is more to it, but because we don't like to associate with this subject we end up with a diluted answer and a weak battle plan for overcoming it.
      This sin, like all other sins, is forgiven when repented of. However, those entangled by its merciless pull have a hard time accepting the forgiveness offered to them. Why? One of the reasons is that the spouse and family members affected by it often have a hard time forgiving the one asking forgiveness and help. This happens even though God is willing to forgive and has forgiven entirely. Matt.12:31a Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men. 

      We lean toward having a personal measuring-stick when it comes to certain types of sin. We tend to borrow a page from the Roman Catholic catechism as in mortal and venial sins. A really big sin is hard to forgive but a small one, ah, no problem. Sorry saints. Sin is sin, and God forgives all manner of sin when repented of - even the big ones. 1 John 5:17a All unrighteousness is sin. The finished work of the cross has grace for all sin and those who repent of immorality are forgiven.
      Will there be some difficulty and hard choices for the repentant to make as they now live and go forward in a different direction for victory? Yes, absolutely. Their routines and thought processes will have to be radically acted upon in order to break away from their seductive worn-out paths that are still clearly etched in their minds. They will have to make difficult choices whether to even log on to a computer or not. 

      These people will need help fighting their good fight of faith to win their personal war on porneia, and with the Holy Spirit's leading it can be done. Rom. 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. With deliberate choices and a prayer-led recovery, they can become victors and no longer victims of the obsessive foul spirit of porneia. We all have to remember to keep an eye on our own hearts when discerning the ones going through this battle. Gal. 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

PART TWO: The Eye ON Porneia

      
Philip R. Leineweber says in his thesis, (PORNEIA IN THE MATTHEAN EXCEPTION CLAUSES.) He says, "The scholarly understanding of the word porneia, it is important to realize that it is broadly used and understood to mean: the general term for all illicit or immoral sexual intercourse. The specific form may sometimes be indicated by the context. If the payment of wages is involved, it is prostitution. If it involves close relatives, it is incest. If it involves persons of the same sex, it is homosexuality. If it involves an unmarried couple, it is unchaste. If it involves a married person outside of marriage, it is adultery."
      As you have just read there is a broad meaning to the word porneia as it crosses a smorgasbord of immoral activity; thus the spirit of porneia is what needs to be defeated. In the Gospel of Matthew, we read an exhortation that if our eye is in need of discipline then be drastically pro-active to defeat whatever vice has captured the eye of our heart. Matt. 5:29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
      I am not advocating ripping your eyes out of your head. The word is saying go the distance to overcome your personal battle. Do whatever it takes to win this demonic attack. For example, I know a man who cancelled all his Internet use at home and kept his Blackberry device only so he could accommodate his business emails and make his calls. He said that he did not have the fight in him to overcome the pornographic temptation in his home. Some might say, "He is not dealing with the problem, he is just skirting around it." I say, "Good for him." 
      The battle starts and is won with one thought at a time or as the word of God says, "Line upon line, precept upon precept." His attempt may seem weak in someone's eye but God can take that first step and turn it into a leap of victorious faith. Matt. 12:20 A bruised reed shall He not break, and smoking flax shall He not quench, till He send forth judgment unto victory. 21 And in His name shall the Gentiles trust.
      The paradox with sexual sin is that sex, in general, is so overrated that it has been made numbingly boring by TV sitcoms. A general blasé attitude and cheap exploitations that cause an emptiness of joy have become a status-quo. Prov. 29:3b But he that keeps company with harlots spends his substance. On the other hand, sex is so underrated because those who have nurtured and developed a wonderful sex life with their spouse can only thank God for this incredible gift and fulfillment. Gen. 2:25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. Prov. 5:18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. 19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love. 

      Another paradox that faces us concerning sex is that unlike an addiction to drug use, where we can eventually stop using the drug, the addiction ends because consumption ends. If we are obsessed with porn we cannot stop having sex with our spouse, so the problem becomes insidious because it literally follows us into the bedroom. 
      When I was an alcoholic, I prayed and asked God to remove the craving from me and I made sure not to buy any more alcohol or accept it when it was offered. I covenanted that I would not drink anymore. Thank God I was totally delivered from that addiction and have been sober every day since; therefore, overcoming addiction by grace. I do not need to bring alcohol with me into the house, bedroom or relationship. 
      The arousal obsession, excess chronic consumption, affects the binge mechanism with the spirit of porneia. This causes a problem in that porn captivates the soul and mind with thoughts and pictures that have burned themselves into the psyche of the afflicted. Therefore, the spirit of porneia will come with the user into the bedroom during lovemaking. The eventual problem will be as the proverb says in Prov. 23:33 Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. 
      Therein is the paradox. We can give up drugs and gambling, but we cannot give up sex in our marriages as this is convenantly owned between both spouses. This is why the spirit of porneia is at work in great force today. One may be involved with porneia, but two are eventually being scarred and hurt. The enemy of our souls wants to destroy us in every part of our lives and that includes our most intimate moments of marriage as well. John 10:10 The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. 
      With the easy accessibility of porneia from all avenues within our society, there will have to be an honest desire to overcome this spirit that afflicts family life. The first thing that has to be expressed from the heart of the afflicted is to call porneia the evil it is because being lulled into its web has no happy endings. Prov. 9:17 Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. 18 But he knows not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.

PART THREE: The Eye OFF Porneia
 
      Creating real love-making memories with our spouses rather than imagining sexual fantasies in a Pansexual overcharged society is the direction and path we are looking for. In order to battle the problem of craving and living a life controlled by porneia, we will have to magnify the solution and the Lord is the solution. I know this sounds old fashioned but God is still God and the plan of life that He has established from the beginning is still the right plan. Magnifying Jesus, rather than being led by the overcharged flesh, is the only long term way out of the stronghold controlling the thoughts of the obsessed. 

      There will have to be some radicalism in the person's life and mind who are fighting the evil spirit of pornography. Learning to say "No" to ourselves may be common sense to some, but it is a new concept to many. Self-denial is definitely not something that is promoted in this over-indulgent time in our history. Consumption is the god of this age. 
      People's morality is being challenged with hyper sensations and strong feelings because the obsessed are rationalizing their behavior while walking in their personal version and interpretation of God's word. They are re-writing the word of God to suit their own cravings. "How far can I go before it is sin?" is a question I am often asked when counseling. The fact that this question has been asked means they have gone too far already. James 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death.
      I had a bible study with a young unmarried couple who were asking that very question, "How far can we go?" They did not like my answer when I said, "You have gone too far already." With a few light questions, it was obvious that they had been intimate already and their consciences were bothering them both. Thank God there is grace and forgiveness for all our sins and that the young couple's conscience was still being heard.1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
      Someone said, “The chains of habit are too light to be felt until they’re too heavy to be broken.” Part of the problem with breaking a habit of any kind is the slothful attitude of "Here God, you force this bad habit from me. Take my cigarettes, Lord!" News flash! God does not smoke so why would He want them. "Make me stop overeating, Lord!" No, you stop the habit of hanging out in the pantry and refrigerator. We want God to take the habit from us with no effort from our hearts to give it up. 
      There has to be an honest choice and free will that comes from the very core of our being to break any habit. The word of God says that we are to humble ourselves before God. It is not God who humbles us, but we who humble ourselves. 1 Pet. 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7 Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you. The word says to come to Him boldly, not being forced and dragged along. Heb. 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. 
      The desire to overcome sin must come from our real relationship with God. True, we come to God utterly lost and without hope but we still ask to be saved by the drawing grace of the Holy Spirit. The chronic user of porneia has to choose to make an effort to overcome the obsession they are bound up with because they will never get their fill in the activity, and deep down the one who is hooked knows it. Prov. 27:20 Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied. The pornographer will literally have to make a covenant with his own heart and eyes. Job 31:2 I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?
      There have been some statistics lately that indicate there has been a 10% drop in Internet porn. Statistics are fleeting and can change in a day, but more importantly, there are more and more sites opening up dedicated to helping anyone who wants to get unhooked from their chronic porn activities. The testimonials from these people who have looked for help and got it are just wonderful to hear. Just after ninety days of porn free living, they have made great strides toward freedom. Their productivity at work, home, hobbies, and healing in their marriages is a common statement from these former users. 

      They all say it has been worth the extreme effort they are taking to change their lives. With real joy, they state categorically that the battle is worth it. In most cases, these are people who do not know the Lord and His miraculous power and these are some of the results as they are going for victory. How much more could be accomplished with God healing the obsessed all the way to victory. Isa. 40:31 He gives power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

PART FOUR: No Eyes For Porneia

     There is a billboard with a call for help phone number showing up in British Columbia these days that says, "When gambling is no longer fun."  Well, maybe there should be a billboard for the people who are hooked on porneia as well because it can be a wrecking-ball to good family life just as much as gambling does its terrible work. As I indicated in the above chapters, everyone gets affected by people in their lives who are hooked on anything self-destructive. 

      The spirit of porneia affects all genders, social classes, and nations on this earth. Women are surprised when they hear that other women can be hooked on porn. I am surprised that anyone can be surprised about anything anymore. Eccl. 1:9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. 
      There is nothing new here as far as vice is concerned. All genders are being tempted with the spirit of pornography and all genders need deliverance. They need to know that there is a way out. Nothing is hopeless when the Lord is on your side, helping you become victorious. What is the reward for the obsessed who have kicked the habit? Happy is the man whose sins are forgiven, yes happy is that man! Psalm 32:2 Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! 
      Learning to say "No" to a bad habit is the new habit that will have to be established and it must first happen in the heart. Jer. 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. If a person does not have the heart for victory then they had better pray for miraculous help. There is no weaning off of an obsession. The cutting of the umbilical-cord of that malicious spirit must be clean and complete. 

      Perhaps borrowing the words of Jesus might become the battle cry that has to be loud and clear when shouted, "It is finished!"  Choosing to focus on other things will bring life to the wounded soul. Phil. 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
      When this iniquity is brought to Jesus for healing in the soul and memories, it is not something that is beyond the redemptive work of the cross. This sin and every other conceivable sin has been forgiven by grace. This gift has been offered to anyone who wants their freedom from the bondage of any kind. When sin is repented of, it was not the first time that Jesus heard of it. The Lord carried every thought and sinful activity that ever was, is, and will be on the cross. 

      The full and complete accusations of every sin known to man were nailed right in the Lord's flesh to the cross, where the penalty of sin was paid in full. Don't let the enemy of your soul tell you that this particular sin (that is most often done in secret), cannot be forgiven. It has been forgiven openly with the holy blood of Christ and His resurrection power that lives in us all who have received Him as Lord. 1 Pet. 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 
      Yes, God made our eyes and they can be used to look at whatever we want. However, if we could use them to see what Jesus sees, then we would be in awe of the love and future God has for us. Eph. 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us. God can, and will help anyone bound and obsessed overcome anything wicked or evil. He can break the chains of any unwanted habit. Ask Him and see what the Lord can do.

1 comment:

  1. Porneia is such a taboo subject and I think you did a great job of eloquently addressing the many forms that the spirit of porneia can take shape, as well as outlining an effective ‘action plan’. I can appreciate you comment on how we measure sin with some being forgivable and others being unforgivable, however sin is sin and as stated in John 5:17 “all unrighteousness is sin", which needs to be defeated. I am so thankful that all things are possible through Christ who strengths us (Phil 4:13). I know when I am attempting to overcome a challenge; I can get discouraged because I think I am not where I ought to be. However, “the battle starts and is won one though at a time and although we might feel like its a feeble attempt, God can take that and turn it into a leap of victorious faith.” Zec 4:10 “For who has despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plumbline in the hand of Zerubbabel; these seven are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth.”
    With Gods grace through relationship with him, we can break every chain and be free from bondage. As you said in the 3rd part of your blog, ‘magnify the solution, not the problem’, because through God we can have our strength renewed. We can do this by humbling ourselves before God by casting our care unto him. So why are we complaining to the people around us and not to God? He tells us to! Psalms 55:22 “ Cast your burden upon to LORD, and he shall sustain you: he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”
    As you stated at the beginning, this is a very touchy subject and many people are too frightened to talk about it, but let's call it what it is and let God work his wonders to cleanse us of our sins, so that he can activates our gifts and make us ‘better’ at what we do. 1 Cor 4:5 “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.” As Kennith Hagen says, “It doesn’t cost to follow God’s will, it pays.” Thank you God for the power that comes in your name.

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