Many years ago I attended a church where it was not unusual for the pastor to make application in his sermons that related to sexual sins. As a result I overheard some saying things like, “What’s his hangup — all he talks about is sex?”
After having pastored myself for more than a few years now, I know what his hangup was — he was grieved and sorrowful over seeing so many fall into sexual sin and he desperately wanted to help those who had fallen and keep those who were still standing from falling into the same quagmire. His problem was not personal but pastoral.
As Al Mohler recently noted,
“We are fast becoming the pornographic society. Over the course of the last decade, explicitly sexual images have crept into advertising, marketing, and virtually every niche of American life. This ambient pornography is now almost everywhere, from the local shopping mall to prime-time television.”
And this pornographic influence is impacting men and women alike — adults, teens, and even children. It is neither an amoral nor private sin — it is the result of a form of idolatry that is rooted in heart desires that fail to delight in God above all things, and it has the power not only to destroy the one imbibing in the sin, but all those who are around him.
One of the first steps to repentance is a sober realization of what sin has done to one’s own heart and how the destructiveness of sin has torn asunder fellowship with both God and one’s spouse. Mohler’s commentary, “Hijacking the Brain: How Pornography Works” (a summary of a recent book entitled Wired for Intimacy: How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brain) is a first step in comprehending the influence and devastation that pornography wreaks on a man’s heart. [Aside: I have recommended many times the address Mohler gave several years ago to the men at Boyce College — “The Seduction of Pornography and the Integrity of Christian Marriage (audio | transcript).]
In addition to these insights, I recently came across a series of articles that Tim Challies wrote on the subject of sexuality. Dealing with more than just the topic of pornography, he provides a firm Biblical foundation for understanding a (God-glorifying) theology of sexuality, pornography, masturbation, and freedom from the entanglements of sexual sins.
While brief, these articles are some of the most helpful things I have read on the topics he considers. His counsel is Biblical, clear, concise, articulate, and encouraging. In some ways, the reading is not easy, but for anyone who struggles with these sins or knows anyone who struggles with these sins, they are important reading.
Challies has graciously assimilated all the articles into booklet form — one for married men and one for single men (they differ primarily in the questions asked at the end of each chapter) — and they may be downloaded for free (“Sexual Detox: The E-Book”).
He insightfully concludes his pamphlet this way:
My encouragement to you in this is to find a biblical basis for purity, a biblical basis for avoiding pornography.…Sin carries with it consequences whether you sin at eighteen or eighty. Turn from your sin today. Pursue freedom. Pursue Christ.
May these resources, applied in the context of an increasing hunger for and application of the Word of God produce just such change.