Issue 24 | July 24, 2015
SPECIAL EDITION: PART 3 OF 5
BATTLE PLAN PART 1: PRAY WITHOUT CEASING
In Galatians, Paul writes, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery...do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh." The preface to Galatians in Biblica's phenomenal The Books of the Bible project includes a striking observation about why grace, which might at first appear to open the door to more sin, actually keeps people from even desiring to sin in the first place: "Instead of external restraint, there will be inner transformation."
When it comes to the inevitable enslavement that pornography brings, no matter who we're talking about, without inner transformation there can be no real progress. As a parent, you can shut down every imaginable avenue for exposure you can think of, but if your child is still determined to find pornography, then he/she will, and those restrictions have done nothing to change the condition of his/her heart.
Therefore we must pray fervently and incessantly for the hearts of our children. All prayers and efforts around this issue must center on inner transformation that comes only from God's grace, more than on external restraint.
No matter the age of your children--or even if you don't yet have children--start praying yesterday for God to protect them, to give them true fulfillment and pleasure, and to continually renew their minds. Prayer is our best weapon against any and all temptation, and we cannot stress enough that the battle is won only through the Lord. Only He is stronger than our flesh and our enemy!
BATTLE PLAN PART 2: FOCUS ON INNER TRANSFORMATION
External restraint is a great tool, but again, if it's our only strategy for purity, we will likely fail. Regular accountability should not be neglected. But accountability is nowhere near as effective when the one needing accountability doesn't consent to it or doesn't see the value in it. Your most important advancement will occur when your kids actually begin to care about the fact that pornography is wrong and harmful--and when they realize that they won't be crucified for admitting that they have struggled with it.
Many teenagers already know it's wrong, but they don't care because the pleasure outweighs the guilt. Students need to hate pornography, and they cannot effectively hate it if we don't talk with them about why it's wrong. They need to get to the point where they associate pornography not only with sin against God, but also with broken marriages, failed relationships, sex trafficking, rape, the objectification of women (and men), pain, and destruction.
In addition to talking to your kids about how true flourishing and abundant life is only found by following God's beautiful design for marriage, sex, and life in general, here are a couple of the kinds of things regarding pornography you could make your child aware of (without being unnecessarily explicit):
- Porn habits that develop in the teenage years can contribute to the failure of marriages later on. This article reveals porn use as being an increasingly prevalent factor in divorce.
- With the exception of the "rape porn" genre, most pornography is designed to make it appear that the women involved are involved because they want to be. However, this article from Fight the New Drug reveals this not only to be a lie, but also reveals just how gruesome the truth can be. (Warning: aspects of this article are extremely disturbing.)
- Using porn feeds the same system that fuels sex trafficking. Pornography and sex trafficking have much more in common than not.
- Deviating from God's design for relationships and sex always leads to enslavement: to our physical desires, to pleasure, to another person, to feelings, and more. God's plan leads to true freedom.
TIME TO GET REAL
Below are several statements from people, all anonymous, about what finally helped them realize their porn use was a problem:
"I realized no self-respecting woman should or would want to be in a relationship with me if I continued my porn habit."
"It was when I realized that sex was supposed to be about both people involved, whereas using porn is just a one-person experience."
"Not only did I start to regard women as being just a bundle of parts, it started ruining my ability to interact confidently with other people. I felt dirty."
"I thought my porn habit would automatically go away when I got married. When it didn't, I realized that the issue ran deeper than I'd thought, and that I would need serious strategy to root it out."
If you have ever struggled with pornography (or anything other sexual sin), share it with your kids! Students crave authenticity and relatability, and your story has the ability to impact them in ways no anonymous person's story can. Above all, we ALL need to see porn as being a deviation from God's wildly benevolent plan for our social and sexual lives--a deviation that only brings immense harm. And if we can disciple our families to the place where we truly desire to keep pornography out of our lives and homes, then we'll be in the right position to reap the benefits of Internet accountability, which will be addressed next week!