Whenever you look at porn how does it make you feel? If you are anything like me it made me feel either guilty, ashamed, isolated, hatred for myself and sadness. 95% of the time that is how I felt.
But then there was the 5% of the time. The 5% of the time when I didn’t feel those things. When I felt an unbelievable feeling of love and Grace and heard a voice saying ‘it is alright, I still love you. You don’t have to look at porn. You ARE made for more’.
And usually during the 95% times I felt like I would always end up looking at porn. It was hopeless. But during the 5% I would feel awesome. I would feel like I could go the rest of my life living in total purity. I felt like God cared, that he was going to help, that my life was going to begin again.
Which then led to the almost inevitable promise I always vaguely made to myself and to God.
‘I will never, ever look at porn again. That’s it. I am finished’.
Well that’s simple then isn’t it. Wow that was easy. Great!
Although I am sure many of you are reading this and know by experience it never quite works out that way. In fact in almost 100% of the time after I looked at porn I would look again. Which means that 100% of the time I would break my promise.
Which usually contributed to one of the 95% times where I felt ashamed, guilty, and alone.
Talk about a vicious circle.
Which makes me ask something. Did I feel that way because I just looked at porn or simply because I broke a promise?
Or put another way, because I kept coming back to the same place that I swore I would never go back to. When you keep telling yourself that you will never look at porn again and when you always ultimately do, that seriously messes with you.
It messes with who you think you are. It messes with your perception of God and it messes up your confidence. There is a verse in the Bible that I love so much, but it also frustrates me so much sometimes.
In the message Romans 8 verse 1 says..
Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud.
Porn and sin are a bit like a ‘continuous low lying, dark cloud’ in our lives. Even if it’s not actually raining you know that eventually it will. Eventually it will come. You don’t want it to. You try so hard to stop it. But it seems hopeless. Before you know it you are getting drenched. And it feels like it will never end. That the storm won’t ever stop. But it does. And for a brief day or two you feel hope again. But the cloud is still there. Just waiting for the next downpour.
You don’t have to live with the threat of dark clouds. You are free from it but yet somehow you still find yourself looking up waiting to get soaked on.
Which is why that is frustrating when you are stuck in porn. You think you believe the right things. You think you are being genuine and honest when you tell God you don’t want to look at porn again. You do all the right things. You mean it. You love God and you desperately want to be free from this crap. But you never can.
And yet despite those frustrations a couple of verses later we find that real freedom is not just possible, it is staring us right in the face.
Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them-living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life (Romans 8v5,6)
We get so bogged down by our own failures, with our own sin that we forget about God. That is why 95% of the time I felt so helpless. Because I was so focused on what I had done that God wasn’t even in my mind. That he lived in me and His spirit was alive in me wasn’t just an after thought, it was a never thought. I had chosen, even if I didn’t realise it, to listen to my own voice instead of God’s.
Don’t listen to yourself. Listen to God. Don’t believe you can’t beat porn. Believe you are filled with Jesus and there is no other conclusion than victory.
When you stop zoning in on your own promises and start zoning in on God’s promises something happens. There isn’t room for both.
And eventually those 95% times become less and less.
Maybe today is the day when you put your umbrella away trying to stop the rain yourself.
Because maybe all you are really doing is just blocking the sun.