Studies show that pornography is an increasing challenge for many believers. This includes women, who may succumb to the temptation to lust. There’s a progressive nature to sexual sin. In his book Wired for Intimacy, Christian psychologist William M. Struthers lists the following stages of how men get hooked on pornography:
Denial—”Sure,” they may say, “I’ve looked at it in the past, but I don’t anymore.” Most men will confess their struggle with pornography only under the conditions of anonymity and confidentiality.
Minimization—At this stage a man will argue that his pornography use is insignificant and has no real effect on his life. He might say, “Well, I do look at porn, but only occasionally. It’s not like I’m addicted to it or anything.”
Normalization—At the next stage men say, “Everybody does it.” Explaining the use of pornography as a common form of entertainment is referred to as normalization.
Rationalization and Justification—At this stage a man finds logical reasons to argue why porn is okay. You rationalize what you are going to do and you justify what you just did.
Celebration—Over time and with repeated exposure, many men so completely buy into the deception of pornography that they don’t feel a need to defend their habit. Instead, they even celebrate it. As a result, a man’s conscience is seared and his moral compass becomes seriously compromised.
This movement from one phase of lust to another illustrates the subtle strategy of Satan. Almost imperceptibly, sexual impurity creeps into the human mind, capturing more and more ground, until it dominates a person’s heart. Satan convinces his victim that lust is really not an issue. He then trivializes the sin. Then lust becomes the ‘new normal’ and is seen as innocuous. Rationalization comes, followed by complete concession to the darkness of sin.
The apostle Paul summed up this progression in Ephesians 4:19, “Having lost all sensitivity they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.”
The consequences are devastating. Pornography objectifies women (and men), turning them into nothing but toys to be used and discarded. It damages and sometimes destroys marriages, becoming a substitute for genuine intimacy between husbands and wives. It interferes with a person’s relationship with God, since sex becomes an idol, instead of a beautiful gift to be enjoyed in the context of marriage. No wonder Paul writes in Ephesians 5:3, “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.”
There are some powerful resources available for overcoming pornography and lust. Steve Arterburn’s book, Every Man’s Battle, is an excellent read, along with Every Man’s Battle conferences held in major cities around the nation. Getting into a men’s group where you can practice accountability and prayer with others is a terrific help. Immersing yourself in scripture and memorizing scripture are also great tools for combating lust in your life.
God calls his people to holiness rather than impurity! Don’t let Satan destroy your mind and heart and soul by being passive in this battle. Take action to overcome this poison that has the power to destroy you.