One of the deadliest temptations today is internet pornography. While pornographic images and videos have been around a long time, the internet has created easy, cheap, and fairly anonymous access to these terrible temptations. The shame of slinking into a sex shop or the disgrace of being recognized purchasing a bad magazine has become minimized online, and the temptation has become maximized.
God created sex. He gave it to his creatures as a very good gift. He designed it to be enjoyed between a husband and a wife. Pornographic images pervert and distort God's gift. Although dessert is great, gorging on sugar will make you miserable and will eventually kill you Turning love into lust will ruin your life, your family, and ultimately your soul.
Jesus famously described lust as adultery of the heart. He said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27, 28).
Whatever justifications you are telling yourself to keep lusting after images of women you aren't married to, please let Jesus' words arrest you in your tracks. You are breaking the commandment of God every time you lust. You are wrecking God's gift to you. Like drugs, you will only crave more and more images to get the same high.
You will not be able to enjoy normal relations with your spouse (or future spouse if you are not married). You will begin to view persons of the opposite sex as objects for your desires instead of people, people that God made. When you lust, you are craving someone's sister, daughter, and Someone's creature. This sin turns women and men into monsters.
More seriously than anything else though, when you are committing heart adultery, you are storing up the wrath of God. Although many assume God doesn't really keep track of every little sin, the Bible says otherwise. He will judge us for our words, actions, and even our stray thoughts.
I was talking to a wise friend the other day who compared Solomon's wise warnings about being led astray sexually with being led astray by internet pornography. I thought it might be interesting to imagine Solomon's 3,000 year old story in Proverbs 7 adapted to the internet. Grab your Bible and compare my adaptation to the inspired original.
“My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandment with you; keep my commandments and live...call insight your intimate friend, to keep you from the forbidden websites, from the heart adulteresses dressed in ways to lure you in (or not dressed at all!).
For at the window of his house I have looked in through the curtains he thought were pulled shut, and I have seen a young man lacking sense getting online, checking Facebook and clicking on seemingly harmless links, he goes to the advertisement that leads to her website in the twilight, in the evening, at the time of night and darkness when he assumes nobody sees him.
And behold, the image of the woman meets him, dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart. She is in his face. Her pictures brazenly go for his eyes and his heart. It is as if she seizes him and kisses him, and with bold face she says to him, “I've been waiting for you. I want you. Keep checking me out. I've got everything for you. I've got good food and a fancy place for your lust to be ignited into a bigger flame. Keep on clicking. Come, let us take our fill of love till morning; let us delight ourselves with love (really, this is what love is really about). For my husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey; you don't have to worry; no one will be hurt; you'll never be caught. After we've had our fun, just erase your history and empty your cache.”
With her seductive pictures and lust's lies, she persuades him; with her smooth talk she compels him. He keeps looking. All at once his heart follows her, his mind begins to fantasize. His lust carries his heart away as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a stag is caught fast till an arrow pierces its liver; as a bird rushes into a snare; he does not know that it will cost him his life.
And now, O sons, listen to me, and be attentive to the words of my mouth. Let not your heart turn aside to her websites; do not stray into her slinky advertisements, for many a victim has she laid low, and all her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is the way to the place of the dead, going down to the chambers of death” (adapted from Proverbs 7:1-27).
Solomon would warn us to steer clear of all seductive images and stories on the internet. They lead to lust, which leads to more lust, which is sin and will end in death—physically and spiritually. Pornography and the lust it generates is deadly serious sin.
God's good news, however, is that Jesus died for lustful men and lustful women. God punished Jesus in the place of lusters, so that he can justly offer mercy and forgiveness to you. Will you repent of putting yourself in harm's way? Will you repent from giving in to your temptation online over and over again? If you put your trust in Jesus as your Lord you will be declared perfectly righteous in God's sight.
That is the place to start, and the place to come back to again. But that doesn't mean that you no longer need Solomon's wise counsel. Tell the godliest person you know about your sin, and ask for help. If you don't have any wise friends in your life, ask God to bring you one. Go to the most Bible-based church you can find and ask one of the pastors to point you to a wise friend for help.
Internet pornography is serious sin, but Jesus is a serious Savior. His death accomplished redemption for even those who have given themselves completely over to their lusts. He can still rescue you. Repent and come to him today.