From a Woman of God to The Man of God Who Struggles with Pornography
Greetings, beautiful people! This particular post was one that I struggled with posting out of fear of how it would be received. As a woman of God who has not struggled with the sin of pornography, there are many men and women who may assume that I have no right to discuss this topic if I have not personally struggled with it. (I have struggled with other sins; you can read about many of them on my blog – and I will be posting my testimony to the blog site very soon.) Although I may not understand this particular sin, I do understand sin. We are all sinners in need of a Savior. And with this truth alone, God has equipped me to discuss it – and write this post as an encouragement and exhortation to the Body of Christ. So, beautiful people: here it is. 🙂
A few things I would like to mention before you read this post:
- As a member of the Body of Christ, I love the Bride of Christ just like my Savior does. There is no greater love than the love that Christ has for His church. Jesus set the standard, so we must live up to it. That love includes speaking the truth, exhorting, encouraging, teaching, and warning both my brothers and my sisters (as well as those who have yet to come to the knowledge of truth) so as to present every man perfect in Christ Jesus (Colossians 1:28). I do understand that some of the things I say may not always be received well, but if my goal were to please man I would not be an effective servant of Christ (Galatians 1:10). As long as I am obedient to God and my heart is pure before Him, I must follow through on what He has asked me to do regardless of outside opinions.
- This is definitely a topic that needs to be addressed in the church – especially in light of the Ashley Madison controversy, the men of God who were exposed, and the many men and women who are susceptible to the sin of pornography (and the sin of adultery, lust, fornication, sexual impurity, etc). Although there are several pastors, ministries, magazines, etc. who have spoken out against this, God has given me a unique voice and a different perspective on His truth that I know will bless others simply because He has asked me to do it. Yes, I’ve read 1 Timothy 2 and you will never catch me in a pulpit preaching – or willfully attempting to exercise authority over a man…however, as Christians, we must understand that wisdom has not been entrusted to a specific gender, race, or age group. Wisdom comes from God. So we must remain humble and open to receiving a word from God regardless of who it may come from. Myself included.
- The publishing of this post is long overdue. And for this, I had to repent to my Father God. Delayed obedience is still disobedience. I am thankful for grace. I am praying that God still receives ALL of the glory that He desires and deserves (and more) out of this post.
- No, I could not shorten the post. 🙂 There was much to say about this topic. I am usually very long-winded anyway when I write…and God has made me that way. He did not tell me to write a series of posts on this subject – or even take some things out so as not to take up too much of your time! If it’s for you, I trust that God will make sure that you read it all the way through (even if you have to take a break and come back to it!)
- I love you! Some of the things I’ve stated here may be uncomfortable to read. Yet and still, there is a lot of love in this post. Please allow the Holy Spirit to help you see with supernatural eyes. Ask Him to help you manage your emotions and flesh so that He can speak to your spirit. Knowledge is power, and whether this post directly applies to you or not, God can still work wonders in us (and those around us) through knowledge alone. God Bless You!
Pornography is serious. But much more than serious, it is deadly. It is deceitful. It is detrimental. It is misleading. It is a threat to the personhood and identity of both the man and the woman who were created in the image of God, and especially to those who have professed Christ as their Lord and Savior. Not only is it a world-wide sin issue, it is a stronghold that so many in the faith struggle with. The spirit of lust and pornography is an issue that needs to be addressed within the Body of Christ. Although men are not the only ones who struggle with this particular sin (one-third of women struggle with pornography as well), it is undoubtedly both an increasing and troubling epidemic amongst men – and yes, as mentioned prior, even amongst men of God.
I can recall the day many years ago when I was encouraged by a man who exhibited true strength and courage when he decided to openly disclose that he was a married Christian man who had struggled with pornography. He chronicled his entire struggle with this sin; how it started, how it continued during his marriage, how it affected his relationships, how it affected his wife and children, etc. And as his wife sat there with him, holding his hand and supporting him as he told his story, I smiled. It was a beautiful display of the grace, mercy, and love of God between a man and a woman who had committed themselves to God in marriage through everything. Love endures. It was a big deal to me. His act of bravery was extremely monumental at that time (at least in my mind), because there wasn’t a person with his status – in both the Christian sphere of influence and the mainstream world – who had done such a thing. I was proud; for my people, for the Christian community, and for the deliverance that would come to those who had witnessed and experienced his life-changing confession.
Based on the statistics alone, there are clearly many men out there who are struggling with this particular sin. So, there are many men who are hiding behind their sin of pornography; men who have been shamed…men who are guilt-ridden, talked about, ostracized, and who just feel downright dirty about it. Men who are embarrassed, thus seek no accountability for their secret indulgences for fear that their embarrassment would increase. Men who are arrogant in that they do not see the severity of this sin or do not proactively take measures to overcome this sin. But, I strongly believe that there are men who are changing the course of history for Christian men – men like Mike Jones and Jarrad Miller Sr., the founders of the ministry – God Over Porn (godoverporn.org)! There are men, like these young men, who are challenging all men who are in hiding to come out of hiding. There are men who are challenging all men who are afraid of coming clean to confess their sin, reveal their sin, and repent of their sin. There are men who are challenging all men of God to take a stand for God. To come out of the darkness into the marvelous light.
I admire men who have the courage, boldness, fearlessness, strength, and tenacity to stand for Christ – even if it means revealing their flaws and imperfections in order to provoke change – to the ones they love and trust, and in some cases, to the world. I admire men who display these qualities even if it means risking their “squeaky clean” reputation, their status, or their position in life. I admire men who are willing to admit their faults, their sin, and their struggles in order to be victorious over their sin. I admire men who are not ashamed of their stories. And of course, I know a man like this. His humility, his vulnerability, his strength, and his courage in feeling comfortable enough to disclose this area of struggle to me…inspired and encouraged me like you wouldn’t believe. He – a friend and a brother in Christ – was the vessel that God used to inspire me to write this blog post.
As a young Christian man fully committed to the Lord, he admitted that he too struggled with lust and pornography. Like Paul, this was his thorn in the flesh (and we all have one). Of course he knew that his struggle was something that needed to be surrendered to God. But Him disclosing this to me as an act of obedience was the beginning of him accepting this painful part of his life in an entirely new way than he had before. This was what God wanted.
At the time of his very transparent disclosure, I knew there was a reason why God had allowed this personal exchange of information to take place. I knew that there was a reason why I had been entrusted with such a delicate piece of his heart and life. I didn’t know why just yet, but I was honored that God chose me to be the receiver of this information as his sister in Christ. And I told him this. I was genuinely happy that this man of God would obey the Spirit of the Lord and speak out as he was being confronted with and convicted of his sin by the Holy Spirit. I did not find it odd that he would disclose this information to a woman – someone of the opposite sex who may not understand his struggle. Instead, I felt honored that he trusted me, and privileged that God would use me as a vessel to help him. Of course, the part of me that knew what the Bible said about sexual sin definitely wanted to teach, preach, exhort, and quote scripture to him. But, in that moment, God wanted something different. So I yielded to Him.
In that moment, God wanted me to encourage him. He wanted me to strengthen him with love, grace, and kindness. He wanted me to be sympathetic, compassionate, and understanding. He didn’t want me to problem-solve; He didn’t want me to provide answers towards a solution (because the solution is found in Christ and Christ alone). Rather, He wanted my presence to be his comfort as he confessed those things. He wanted me to be a listening ear. He wanted me to gently point him in the direction of true growth and sanctification…to gently point Him to Christ, our Savior – the horn of our salvation. He wanted me to point him to the giver of everything good in this life; the One who is the source of all fruit that we bear, and the One who saves us from all of our transgressions. He wanted me to remind him of the Gospel. He wanted me to support and encourage his God-given gift and calling of leadership. And as I did that, God worked wonders in his life.
He needed to get to the root of his sin, and how it started (and even resurfaced) in his own life. He needed to do the work so that God could equip him for a special work that would soon follow. And I have witnessed some of this work and I am still witnessing it! I have watched him grow tremendously – in a very short amount of time – right before my eyes. His act of disclosing this to me was also the beginning of him seeking more of God as well as more male accountability in this area, and not being afraid to be real and honest about his struggles.
You have just read my applicable story. I always have a story for everything I write about. 🙂
As a woman who loves her God and also loves His truth, I wanted to provide some biblical exhortation from a woman’s perspective that I pray will help men (and all of us – as it can be applied both ways!) in abstaining from lust and pornography through God’s power:
I encourage you to think on these things when you are under the temptation of lust and pornography:
- Whenever you give in to the temptation of pornography, you are defiling your marriage bed every single time. You are dishonoring your wife and your covenant with the Lord. Ephesians 5:28 says: So men ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves himself.
Even as a single man who is not yet married, the Word says that you and your future wife will be one flesh one day. God desires for a man of God to cherish his godly woman as his own body –today. When you commit sin against your own body, you also sin against her. You defile her. Therefore, even now, you cannot think with an individualistic mindset. Everything you do now affects your future. Your wife or future wife is not an addition to you; she is you – as two become one in marriage (Ephesians 5:31). Honor her.
I am hoping and praying that my future husband is honoring God now – while he is single. This is what the Lord desires for him, and this is what I desire for him as well.
I am praying that this truth will be ingrained in the hearts of men and women all over the world: Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength. Love your neighbor as you love yourself (Mark 12:30-31). The two greatest commandments, and there are none greater than these. When we fulfill these two, we fulfill them all.
- Whenever sin is present in our lives, we can always trace it back to a root. The ultimate root of sin occurred of course when our first parents Adam and Eve decided to disobey God in the Garden of Eden. If we can get to the root of our sin in our own lives, it is much easier to remove the presence of sin.
Can you think back to a particular time or a particular situation when the sin of pornography was ingrained in your heart and mind?
Was it a cousin or a friend who introduced you to adult magazines or movies at a young age that opened your heart and mind up to this sin?
Was it your uncle, father, or another (ungodly) male influence that deemed it okay and acceptable to watch movies that objectified women, or deemed it acceptable to view or treat women in a demeaning, degrading, or disrespectful way?
Was it as a result of you being molested, raped, or sexually abused as a child or teen?
Was it as a result of you discovering the pleasures of sex, but not putting it in the context of marriage and how God designed it? Was it as a result of not having the spiritual guidance and godly male influence that you needed to teach you the ways of the Lord?
Where did this distorted view of sex come from in your life? Allow God to renew your mind. Allow God to heal and restore everything that concerns you, troubles you, or has been a source of pain for you. Allow God to reconcile it by surrendering it to Him.
- Remember that the woman you are lusting after and fantasizing over (in magazines, on the computer screen, or in a movie) has been created in the image of God. She is also someone’s daughter, sister, mother, girlfriend, or wife (and maybe all of the above). Read Matthew 5:27-30 in its entirety. Please. Even looking at a woman with lustful intent is sin. Adultery has been committed in the heart (as well as dishonor to God, the woman, and yourself) when this happens. You are also supporting this woman in her sin (and aiding in Satan’s agenda) when you indulge in pornography and lust. A key thing to also remember is that every woman deserves to be treated like royalty – regardless of who this woman is, what she is currently doing, or what she has done in the past.
- Sexual purity is not sexual punishment (thank you to another brother in Christ – Aisosa Oyiboke – for this truth nugget!) Your commitment to God in sexual purity honors Him in a profound way. We have been bought at a price; therefore we are required to honor God with our bodies. Who cares what the world says about you for doing what God commands? Let them persecute you, mock you, revile you. You answer to God, not man. The Bible says that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God. And man cannot save you on judgment day. Therefore, commit to living righteously.
- Watch what you watch. Watch what you listen to. Guard your heart and mind. Get in the Word. Reading and studying the Word of God is one of the best ways to fight against the enemy’s schemes. Only open your heart and mind to people and things that will sharpen, strengthen, build, and edify. And, it’s okay to walk alone in this regard – and in any regard. Do anything to save your soul. Work out your salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).
- If you struggle with pornography, God and His Son Jesus Christ is not embarrassed by you. Nor is He surprised by it in the least bit. Love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). And He has promised to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness when we confess our sins. And He tosses those sins into a sea of forgetfulness and remembers them no more. He loves you and everything that comes along with you. Even your sin and your baggage. Remember that Satan condemns; the Spirit of the Lord convicts. Grieve for your sin. Repent to the Lord and allow Him to heal you. Accept His mercy and His grace. Our Savior loves to transform brokenness for His glory.
Let us then with confidence and boldness draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16
- Remember the truth of the Gospel – not just when you are faced with temptation, but every day and in every area of your life. Reflect on what He has done for you in the past, and trust in what He will do for you in the future. He is never slack on His promises. He is always faithful. Even when we are not.
The Gospel is the Good News of Jesus Christ. Christ died a death that He did not deserve so that we could be reconciled to God through His death. Then He rose on the third day, conquering death and sin once and for all. So, Christ came to save sinners. He died on the Cross for sinners. He died on the Cross for me and for you. “Never lose confidence in the power of the Gospel to save the hardest of sinners. God can do what we can’t do – a spiritual resurrection.” And through His power, He has also provided us a way out of sin when we are tempted. Heed to His instruction and His warnings when you are being tempted.
We can’t live right by ourselves. We need Jesus. We need the Holy Spirit. Seek accountability with people who will strengthen you, encourage you, sharpen you, correct you, and rebuke you in Christ. Confess those sins to people that you trust in the Body of Christ so that they can pray for you. Don’t stay hidden in your sin and in darkness; that’s where Satan lies. If you do not have people that you can be transparent with, seek out ministries like God Over Porn that support one another in becoming more like Christ. Also, ask God to send people to you if you are not currently in community. If you are in community and you are hiding in your sin, I encourage you right now to come out of hiding and seek accountability so that you can be whole.
- This battle is constant; it is not a one-day battle. We choose every day to follow Christ or to follow your flesh (Satan). Children of God do not love their sin; they hate it. They despise it. If anyone loves sin and the things of this world, the love of the Father is not in them (1 John 2:15-17). You must be in constant battle against your sin. You must fight for purity and holiness. You must crucify the flesh daily. You must kill sin, lust, and pornography daily. If you are not fighting daily, you will not win. Put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20).
- The Word says: Flee youthful lusts (2 Timothy 2:22), abstain from all sexual immorality (1 Thessalonians 4:3); it also says that men are to model holiness as spiritual leaders (Titus 1-2), and love and cherish their wives (and their sisters in Christ) as Christ loves and cherishes the church (Ephesians 5:25). Fight your sin for us; for your daughters, your sisters, your wives (or future wives), your mothers, your nieces, and the church. We are all affected by this sin. The Holy Spirit equips us to succeed in everything.
- If we are in Christ, His righteousness is ours. We have been made perfect in Him by grace through faith. Should we fall, there’s grace to catch us. God knows our heart. And He will search our heart. So be committed to Him. Repent and keep moving forward in purity.
- Godliness and obedience is still honorable. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed – which is idolatry (Colossians 3:5).
- And finally, brethren, think on these things! 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; and if there be any praise, think on these things (Philippians 4:8).
John Piper has several videos that really expound upon the seriousness of the sin of pornography. One (the first one) focuses on the dating relationship, and the other video focuses on the marriage relationship. Single or married, this is for you. Both videos contain sound biblical truth and exhortation for both the ladies and the men! I’ve mentioned them because they have encouraged me, and I hope that they encourage you as well. They are both apart of the Ask Pastor John series and this podcast series can be listened to via Soundcloud or desiringgod.org by using the search tab. Men, I encourage you to find these podcasts and listen to them. And ladies, please take a listen as well!
I feel that it is important to note that the man of God that I speak about in this post is not someone that I am currently dating or in a relationship with. This is what makes the story more amazing to me. He is simply a friend and a brother in Christ who is connected to me through Christ. We are family in Christ. Our job is to provoke one another to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24) regardless of the depth of our relationship with them. We serve each other because we love God, not because we are tied to someone outside of being bonded through Christ. We are both members of Christ’s body. And in Him, we are one. We are all one (1 Corinthians 12:12, 1 Corinthians 12:26). So we grow together. We support one another. And we help each other.
I pray that this post has blessed you. Let’s exhort one another! Let’s fight against our sin daily. Please share this love letter with someone that you love!
Grace abounds. Mercy endures. Love conquers. Spread love.
Soli Deo Gloria,
About Me: I am a daughter of God and a servant of Christ who loves to support, edify, encourage, and strengthen her brothers and sisters in Christ with the truth of God’s Word. I am an educator, a freelance writer and editor, a servant leader, and an author of the book Happily Ever After: Biblical Womanhood, The Pursuit of Christ….and Marriage which focuses on living Christ-centered lives in every area of our lives. I have a chapter in this book devoted to God’s design for sex. I also discuss the detriments of sex outside of marriage and the serious implications of ungodly sex. You can follow me on Facebook (Porsche R. Armstrong) and Twitter (@TheRealPorsche). You can also follow my blog and my ministry for more truth spoken in love at loveisalifestyle.org!
#LoveLetters will be launching in several weeks! I would love for you to join me in what God is doing! More details forthcoming!