I know that many of you are trying to crush this addiction. By the grace of God you are have victory every single day. Others of you have not come under conviction and believe that a porn addiction, as long as it remains secret, will not hurt anyone. But what you don't realize is that porn does hurt people. It hurts God, spouses, children, sex slaves and porn workers. Additionally, it hurts you. Porn creates a false reality and grid from which you view sexuality. For those who are struggling through this addiction I would like to offer some encouragement and instruction with this question - what legacy do you want to leave?
Pornography offers a great time for the time being. There is no question that for many, porn offers pleasure. It is exciting to think that a beautiful person is ready for sex and ready to give it whenever asked. Not only are they ready but if they aren't willing, they can be made willing. You can satisfy whatever craving you have by typing your desire into a search bar. And for a few moments you become the most powerful person in the world. Isn't this what Satan has promised since the beginning? He promised, "You can be like God!" Isn't pleasure what the adulteress promises us in Proverbs 5-7? And yet God tells us that this path leads down to rot in our bones and death. When you are struggling with whether or not to give into the temptation to be like God and to worship the idols of porn ask yourself what kind of legacy you want to leave. Ask yourself why you are here.
If you are here for immediate and instantaneous pleasure then you will be tempted to give in to your idol once again. If you exist for a series of experiences that offer as much pleasure as possible for the time being then you will be tempted by your idol again and again. If the here and now is what matters then you will give into your idol and be crushed by your idol once again.
Our sinful lusts and addictions become a question of legacy - what is our mission and purpose? In one pastor's account of his addiction to pornography and strip joints he asks the question, "Why are we here? Are we on earth primarily to experience pleasure, to have fun? If so, Christianity, with its offer of a cross and sacrificial love and concern for the weak and the poor, seems pretty thin. If we are here for no real reason, why go through all the bother of trying to connect glandular desire with lofty goals like intimacy and marriage? Or are we here on a mission? Are we indeed creatures who will best find fulfillment by living up to the demands of the Creator? If the latter, then the thrills offered by the easy lie of pornography will not permanently satisfy. Indulgence is not an option for me, and neither is repression. I have only one option: to seek God with all my heart, so that God may continue his process of healing and bring me to sexual fulfillment—at home, with my wife, where I belong."
I recently heard of a prominent man's funeral where legacy was on display. He was a successful business man and admired both in his local community and throughout our region. He was a man who loved Jesus Christ and allowed the Gospel to drive his generosity and his life. At his memorial service it was impressive to see his many children, grandchildren and great grandchildren lining up to remember this man. He left a legacy. His name continues on through the lives of his wife, children, his children's children, and his children's children children. What will your legacy be? Will it be a path of selfish pleasure that last's for a time? Or will your legacy be heard of for generations? It all depends on your mission. If your mission is self-seeking then you have no hope of leaving a lasting legacy. If your mission and purpose is to glorify God then your legacy will be lasting.
I want to encourage those of you who are struggling with sexual addiction. Many churches have not done a very good job walking by your side. Regardless of how you may have been theologically mistreated, I want you to know that Jesus became even your sin, died even your death, and promises to crush your sin by a work of God's grace through the power of His Holy Spirit in your life. You are on a journey. This journey involves the dying of the old person every day and the transformation into the new creation that you are in Jesus Christ if you have come to faith in Jesus. I want to leave you with these words from a pastor who struggled with porn addiction so that you will know there is hope:
"I now view my pilgrimage differently. I believe God was with me at each stage of my struggle with lust. It wasn’t that I had to climb toward a state of repentance to earn God’s approval; that would be a religion of works. Rather, God was present with me even as I fled from him. At the moment when I was most aware of my own inadequacy and failure, at that moment I was probably closest to God. That is a religion of grace."