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Our eyes are powerful receptors that can quickly corrupt our thoughts with evil. If we fill our eyes with porn, the images become the memories we lust over. We can be porn addicts long after we stop looking at porn! Jesus explained, "The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness. Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp gives you light." (Luke 11:34-36 NKJV). When we look at evil things with our eyes, our minds are filled with that evil and our reflection of Jesus is obscured.
High standards: Consider God's standard for his own eyes. Habakkuk said of God, "Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong" (Habakkuk 1:13 NKJV). As God's adopted sons in Christ (Romans 8:14-17), we are called to his standard of purity for our eyes. Peter wrote, "as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct" (1 Peter 1:15 NKJV). Since God commands us to be holy, we really have no excuse for filling our eyes with evil. Disobeying God with our eyes is tantamount to pride, i.e. that we think we know better than God. When we allow pride to creep into our life, we cut ourselves off from God's help. James 4:6-7 says, "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (NKJV). We need God's help in order to walk in freedom!
Television, movies, magazines and computers can easily fill our eyes and ears with unlimited depictions of evil. These depictions cause memories that will hinder or block our progress toward obeying God. We must shut them off! Isaiah said, "...[He]who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed, and shuts his eyes from seeing evil: he will dwell on high; his place of defense will be the fortress of rocks; bread will be given him, his water will be sure" (Isaiah 33:15-16 NKJV). If we want to live in God's favor and blessing, we will have to remove the sources of evil we are viewing.
Change our plans: We can eliminate many temptations by simply not planning to do things that will feed our lusts. Romans 13:14 says, "But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts." Each of us has certain triggers that can lead us into addictive behavior. The key is to recognize the triggers and avoid them ahead of time. Some examples:
Change our viewing habits: This area may be painful for us to bring under control. Entertainment has become a pillar of our world culture. Doing without it may seem Spartan, but we must ask ourselves how much our purity is worth to us. The underlying question is, are we ready to bring our entertainment habits into submission to God? James 4:7 commands us to "submit to God" and to "resist the devil." If we fail to bring our entertainment habits into submission, this could be the stumbling block that keeps us in addiction. Before reading through our suggestions, we encourage you to ask God to convict you of the entertainment sources that need to be reduced or removed from your life.
These are merely suggestions – they won’t influence your salvation with God, because your salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ. These measures will help you close potential doors of temptation. Though implementing such measures may not be easy, God will help you do them.
Reduce or eliminate cable television options: It's a challenge to find wholesome programs on television. The abundance of cable channels seems to only increase the chances of falling to temptation. Many cable companies offer porn as well as movie channels that feature less explicit sexual depictions. I encourage people to reduce their cable service to exclude the movie and porn channels at a minimum. In our home, we cancelled our cable service and bought a basic TV antenna. The reception isn't that great, so we don't watch much TV as a result. At first we missed having all the things to watch, but later we found other things to do with our time. We've noticed that the lack of TV has helped keep our thoughts cleaner and has increased the peace in our home. When we do watch an occasional program, we find that our minds have been re-sensitized for purity. Program content and even the commercials often are promoting some worldly value that doesn't line up with following God. This further strengthens our resolve to continue to reduce our "TV intake."
Don’t stay up late watching TV alone: Staying up late watching TV is asking for trouble. Late night TV offers some more risqué themes, along with the phone chat advertisements, Psychic hotlines and other solicitations. When we're tired, we have a tendency to let our spiritual guard down. We're more susceptible to getting in to trouble. For example, one of my accountability partners was falling to sexual temptation by watching HBO and Cinemax after his wife went to bed each night. He finally mustered the courage to explain to her that he was being tempted by the HBO and Cinemax. They agreed to reduced their cable service to exclude those channels. He also committed to not watching TV after she went to bed. The results were that he no longer fell to sexual temptation in that area and he started getting a better night's sleep.
Don’t channel surf: I like the fishing analogy of trolling to illustrate the danger of channel surfing. Certain types of fish are best caught by driving your boat very slowly with the hooked bait trolling in the water. Channel surfing is like trolling in that we're moving slowly through the channels looking for something interesting. With the many channels out there, we're almost guaranteed to find something juicy to feed our eyes on. Even without cable television, I find flipping through the channels dangerous. Whether it's somebody shooting another person or two people having sex, or some other sin depiction, I'm better off going to the program guide instead of flipping through the channels.
The “adults only” lie: In A Way of Escape, Dr. Neil Anderson pointed out that many people are buying into the adults only lie. It goes something like this: "I am old enough to handle the mature subject theme of what I am watching." Though we may understand the "mature theme" better than a younger person, our minds are still affected negatively. In fact, our understanding of what is going on may make the damage even deeper in our minds than in a child's. A friend of mine adopted a movie/TV policy for his family that I think is a good safeguard addressing the adults only lie. They agreed that if a program was not suitable for the kids, the parents wouldn't watch it either. I encourage you to adopt the same policy in your home.
My wife and I decided to stop seeing rated "R" movies several years ago. At first, it was difficult to give up the action-packed kind of movies I loved. I had to die to that hunger for violent entertainment. The pangs slowly subsided. As we went to see the "PG" rated movies, we noticed more and more objectionable elements in them as well. After seeing a few things that really bothered our consciences, we agreed to read a Christian movie review before going to see any movie. Armed with the truth about the things we wanted to see, we decided not to go to many of movies we read the reviews on. Even when we did go to the movies, the graphic previews of other movies gave us some bad feelings. We're at the point now that we hardly ever go to the movies. Some of the benefits are that we have saved some money, we have more time together as a family and our thoughts are less cluttered with worldly themes like violence and sex sin.
Consider shredding your movie card: While some people may not find it hard to stop going to the movies, I'm guessing that many people will have difficulty surrendering their movie rental cards to God. The movie rental stores are usually mirror images of the movie theaters with an added temptation: the video covers. After God brought me out of sex addiction, I began to notice how sexually explicit many of the video covers were in the rental store. It was like 7 out 10 covers featured some type of sexual theme. Like channel surfing, walking around the movie rental store was trolling for trouble. I realized that this was a not a good place for me to be spending time looking around. The clincher was that it was becoming increasingly difficult to find wholesome movies to rent. Some places were courting the homosexual audience with "alternative lifestyle" rental sections and the porn audience with soft core porn themes. As a result, my wife and I decided to shred our "Blockbuster" rental card as a sacrifice to God and a step towards purity. It was a painful few weeks after we shredded our movie card. We found other things to do and now don't miss our Blockbuster days.
Read a Christian movie review before deciding to go: Christian movie reviews will help arm you with truth regarding the movie you want to see. As I mentioned above, we found the reviews helpful in weeding out the bad movies. Focus on the Family's Unplugged site provides helpful Christian reviews of movies, television and music.Computers
Get a filtered service provider: Whether you're free or addicted, filtered internet service makes good sense. There are increasingly easy ways to end up at porn sites on the net. A filtered provider removes many of these avenues to porn. There are several providers offering inexpensive filtered service ranging from free to $19 per month. How much is your visual purity worth to you? If you signup for one of these services, be sure to give your password to a friend, so you are not tempted to take a peek. See our filters page for suggested sources.
Set up PC Accountability: This is a great tool to help you stay off tempting websites. Covenant Eyes offers a monthly service where a list of every website you visit is emailed to your accountability partner automatically.
Magazines / Print material
Communicate with your spouse or
roommate: Tell your spouse/roommate about any of their magazines
that are causing you to fall to temptation. You may ask them
to secure or discard the magazines so that you won't see them.
Examples: women's glamour magazines, Victoria's Secret catalogues,
clothing catalogues, porn, etc. Reduce/eliminate hobby magazines
with sexual overtones: Hobby magazines for men often
feature sexy girls in the advertisements and subject articles. Sex
sells, especially to men. How important is your hobby? Is it more
important than your journey to freedom from sexual
addiction? The above measures may seem extreme, but I
propose that we have to do some extreme things to reverse the effects of
the extreme things we've viewed. It takes strength and determination
to resist the flow of our worldly culture and live as a "counter-culture"
Christian. God will help us do this and realize the benefits
of keeping our eyes in purity. One of the biggest benefits of
keeping our eyes pure will be realized in our thoughts. We'll have
less temptations for our minds to dwell on and fantasize about. Personal Application
Questions Next Page: Control
Communicate with your spouse or roommate: Tell your spouse/roommate about any of their magazines that are causing you to fall to temptation. You may ask them to secure or discard the magazines so that you won't see them. Examples: women's glamour magazines, Victoria's Secret catalogues, clothing catalogues, porn, etc.
Reduce/eliminate hobby magazines with sexual overtones: Hobby magazines for men often feature sexy girls in the advertisements and subject articles. Sex sells, especially to men. How important is your hobby? Is it more important than your journey to freedom from sexual addiction?
The above measures may seem extreme, but I propose that we have to do some extreme things to reverse the effects of the extreme things we've viewed. It takes strength and determination to resist the flow of our worldly culture and live as a "counter-culture" Christian. God will help us do this and realize the benefits of keeping our eyes in purity. One of the biggest benefits of keeping our eyes pure will be realized in our thoughts. We'll have less temptations for our minds to dwell on and fantasize about.
Personal Application Questions
Next Page: Control Thoughts
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