The “Requiem for a Dream” Problem

Requiem_for_a_dreamAs anyone in the pornography recovery community can attest, there is a real challenge in determining what is safe to watch at the movies. There are bits of culture that are more difficult to avoid like commercials and billboards, but what we pay for at the theater is very much in our control.

The classic case of this is what I call the Requiem for a Dream Problem. The movie, Requiem for a Dream, is the story of how heroin addiction destroys the lives of four friends. Everything about the movie appeals to me. I have struggled with pornography addiction myself (not heroin, by God’s grace) and I love the raw nature of the movie. By all accounts, it is a classic film and worth seeing.

Unfortunately, it also has graphic sexuality and nudity which is only aggravated by the fact that I find Jennifer Connelly to be one of the loveliest actresses out there. So this movie is my equivalent of  an alcoholic walking into a bar. I should not watch it.

Hence, the Requiem for a Dream Problem. At what point does the artistic merit of the film fail to outweigh the sexual temptation it will cause me. I suppose it could be called the Black Swan Problem or the American Beauty Problem, both of which are thought-provoking movies with serious sexual content. I wish I could watch them, but I can’t.

As with most problems, one should first look at the Bible. I looked for the movie watching guide in there and wasn’t able to find one. But there are important principles that apply. I should be cognizant of my own weaknesses for lust and considerate of the harm the film may do to others. Requiem for a Dream might make put a friend with a history of heroin addiction in a terrible position for entirely different reasons.

We should remember that movies are just stories and storytelling is an important art in all cultures. There is real artistic value that serves my soul in many films. We should be looking for the good in them. The Passion of the Christ may have an attractive woman in it, but the merit for honoring God is so profound that I should resist temptation and enjoy the wealth of God-honoring praise this movie brings to my heart.

There are also many foolish ways to approach this problem. For anyone who struggles with lust (read men), the idea of flipping through channels or going to a movie with no research is foolish. No plan is a plan and in this case, it is a very bad one. Our art culture is far to saturated with sexual imagery for us to march on with no plan. If you’re going to a movie, check it out online to see if it meets your conscience’s standard.

This begs the question, What is my conscience’s standard? How do I determine when a film (or any piece of art) crosses the line from being flawed but acceptable and when it becomes too harmful to warrant watching at all? This is a very personal line, but I want to discuss some ways to think about the issue.

Redeeming Value vs. Tempting Content

To be sure, images and movements are not evil in and of themselves. Sins only happen in my heart. A nude image of a women is not inherently evil (in fact, she was created “very good”). What if that image were of my wife? It would be good and even holy for me to drink deeply in delighting in her. The Bible in unblushing in its recommendations to enjoy one’s spouse (Pro 5:18-19).

Additionally, there is merit to the idea of redeeming value in a film. The Shawshank Redemption is one of the greatest films ever made and yet it opens with a sex scene. It holds out such virtues as perseverance, hope, kindness, and justice. I love the line that Andy Dufresne gives, “Hope is a good thing. Maybe the best of things. And a good thing never dies.”

I don’t know if Andy is right, but it is a great quote in a wonderful movie. Is the film worth the temptation I face in the opening scene? I think so. I often skip the opening entirely as it is not that pertinent to the rest of the film.

But I must be careful. More often than not, I am tempted to find a movie I want to see, then I go scrounging around for artistic merit so I have an excuse to watch it. I am not an unbiased observer. Many men are looking for excuses to see these films and it is not in a search for holiness, but in a search for cute girls not wearing much.

We are like a kid at the grand canyon. We don’t ask what is a safe distance to view the canyon from, we ask how close we can get to the edge without falling.

What is tempting to me?

Another important consideration is what specifically tempts me. Obviously, nudity is very tempting and I almost never watch films with nude women. I had to give up the shows House of Cards and Game of Thrones for this reason. I really like both, but it was simply not worth the temptation and sin it was causing.

I can’t watch any movie where girls kiss other girls. For whatever reason, this is a weak spot for me. A film need not have nudity or even sex scenes to be problematic. So when you are determining what is acceptable for you, know your own heart and steer clear of your own weaknesses.

What is loving for the actor or actress?

If 1 Corinthians  6:18 is right and whenever an actor or actress sins sexually, they sin against their own body. It would be unloving in that case to support their efforts to hurt themselves. The fact that it is consensual is irrelevant. I recently had a compelling discussion with a friend who said that he will not watch a movie where an actress had to undress in front of the camera crew even if no nudity is shown on screen. He argues that it is unloving to her to support her exploitation by men.

A more compelling argument is to ask, What if she were my daughter? I love my daughter very much and it would break my heart if she were to be ogled by a whole camera crew (who, by the way, would immediately go an jack off in the bathroom). It would break my heart.

To be honest, I don’t know how far to carry this standard, but I found it very compelling. If you want a more clear discussion about it, check out Cap Stewart’s excellent article Sex, Lies, and Star Trek.

Is it Lawful? Is it Helpful? Is it Enslaving?

In the book Real Marriage by Mark Driscoll makes the case that many of the wisdom decisions we make need to not simply ask, “Is this a clear sin?” There needs to be a higher standard. He suggests 1 Corinthians 6:12 as a guide. In Paul’s argument, he asks whether something is not only sinful, but helpful. Pastor Mark then applies this more broadly to ask the following three questions.

Is it lawful? This excludes everything the Bible forbids and that the state forbids.

Is it helpful? This asks if the film benefits me. Is there a good reason to consume the film beyond the fact I have an evening free.

Is it enslaving? Will the image of that girl follow me around the rest of my life? Will I have to use extra self-control later because I won’t use it now? Will I sin because I watched this film?

Will your freedom cause others to stumble?

Let’s say you set a clear standard and have satisfied your own conscience. You are fully convinced in your own mind what is safe for you and are comfortable with a film. Wait, there is a final consideration.

Romans 14 is a whole chapter about how Christians should give deference to the weaker brother. We should always ask if this will cause another to stumble. This is strange for me to say because I may be the weak brother. I am asking you not to put me in a tempting situation. Almost every time I see someone cite Romans 14, they assume they are the stronger believer. Not so this time. I am the weaker brother.

We need to be very cautious and respectful when recommending and watching films that we are not setting up a brother to sin. Practically, this means no one should ever watch any of the Transformer films (they are so sexualized and they are just awful movies anyway).

So What do I do?

If you have asked all the above and your conscience is still uneasy about a film, you probably shouldn’t watch it. The solution to the Requiem for a Dream Problem is that I will never watch the movie. I want to. I really do. But it is not safe for me.

-Chip

The Movie Poster above is under copyright and is used under a Fair Use.

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Count Vicegrim’s Letters: Chapter 8 Marriage

The Count Vicegrim LettersThe Demon Mudpot’s Annual Review regarding the Temptation of the Patient in His 22nd Year

Mudpot,

No, No, No! Why is it that every day you keep trying to crush your patient in a single stroke? That technique has gone through extensive testing and found to be risky at best. Crushing your victim with temptation only works if they don’t turn to the Enemy for help. As it is, your patient is primed to do just that. Calm down, slow down, and be ready for the long game.

An old mentor of mine once told me, “Vicegrim, outlast your vermin. If they win today, make them win a thousand tomorrows and you have a real chance of getting them.” This is excellent advice for you Mudpot and I am giving it to you despite how repulsed I am by you. Please do not interpret this as fatherly affection. It’s not.

Well, not that my system is cleared a bit, on to your review.

The Good

There is precious little that went well this year. The only positive development is that you have gotten him into one of our most promising seminaries. We have worked for centuries to infiltrate the seminaries as they are key battlegrounds for us. This was working well until several churches started opening their own. It is easier to corrupt an ongoing institution than it is to destroy these upstart seminaries.

One of the strange qualities of the vermin is their ability to compartmentalize. They can honestly go to a school for teaching their pastors and then not be that interested in the church. As if education about the Enemy has nothing to do with relationship with other vermin. The Enemy is crafty, but I think he may have gotten a little to artistic when he built the vermin that way.

Fortunately for us, your patient is willing go to one of our institutions. We have worked hard at this school to emphasize “helping people” to the point that they don’t care that much about the Enemy’s Book. Remember the five Anything Buts, we have really gotten them so obsessed with “loving people” (by that I mean, not making people angry) that they are afraid to challenge sin. It really is so delightful to watch the mental gymnastics the staff goes through to even pretend they are honoring the Enemy’s teaching.

That said Mudpot, be careful. The Enemy’s Spirit is very, very subtle. There are still classes on the Enemy’s Book and verses on the walls. This is treacherous territory. You never know when the Enemy’s Spirit will spring a new trap for you. Be vigilant.

The Bad

As I mentioned in my last annual review, almost every tempter in the world can pull off getting their vermin to fornicate. Seriously, much better the 90%. Yet here we are, just a few weeks before your patient’s wedding and he has still not fornicated. Mudpot, I may roast you for this.

It’s NOT HARD. You get the female to wear something revealing. You get the male to think he is strong enough to be alone with her. You put them in a private place and let hormones do their thing. Many tempters don’t even need to tempt. They just wait and watch. This works Mudpot! I have seen terrible tempters pull this minimal requirement off. What kind of lazy, fat, putrid, ineffective, vermin loving, moron are you!!!

I….I….I’m speechless. How am I ever going to become a Lord again if you…

I have taken a short break from writing. My secretary, Vice-Count Penwort, will be writing the rest as I dictate. It seems in my rage I have turned myself into a roach and I am in no mood to change back.

Let me summarize by saying that if (I mean when) this goes badly and I am blamed for your incompetence, I will personally rip your into little pieces and burn them in my fireplace. You are an idiot and you’re taking me down with you.

We need to prepare for his upcoming wedding. It is likely too late, but anything you can do to derail this wedding, do it. She is too solid in the Enemy’s camp (I checked with her tempter) and she will be an asset to your patient against us. How could you let this happen?

So we need to be prepared for him to be married. Because they have not fornicated, you will need to change your focus. As soon as they are married, we need to do whatever it takes to prevent sexual relations. The Enemy has built into the vermin a special and deep bond that develops between sexual pairs (pardon me while I vomit). This bond can be deepened between them should they enjoy sex with each other. So if you can prevent sexual encounters, do it.

But what can be more fruitful than preventing sex is to poison it. This is dangerous territory Mudpot, but we must go there. We must make his sexual relationship with his wife like the one he has with those pornographic images. Make it solely for his enjoyment. If both partners can be solely pursuing their own enjoyment, we can poison it and make sure that neither enjoy it.

Generally, the male is the key. They are more easily persuaded to be  self-centered. One good trick to try is to get him to try to get the female to do those ridiculous things that he learned in the pornographic images. Help him to feel entitled to sexual enjoyments that she does not enjoy. Make sex as burdensome for the female as possible. This can be a spike to drive between them.

It is key that he never suspects that the pornography is not normal. A cursory review of the sexual literature that the humans have would show him that the pornography was extreme in every way. Don’t ever let him suspect it or he may discover what a fool he is.

Finally, make sex a right. There is a verse in the Enemy’s book that says that married vermin should have regular sex. Make sure he interprets that to mean that they will have sex whenever he wants. Make sure he ignores the verses about serving and loving her. If you can do this, sex will become a chore for the female very quickly.

By the way, if I didn’t have enough reasons to despise you, how is it that your patient is not using pornography any more. Again, every other tempter on the planet seems to pull this off except for you. There are a growing number of tempters with female patients who are succeeding where you are failing. You really are my punishment from the Enemy. As if the Hell he threatens isn’t frightening enough, I have to deal with you in the mean time.

You have been fostering a fear of commitment and responsibility for many years. Make sure to  extend this to being a terror at the idea of having infant vermin. Separate sex and reproduction from each other as if they are wholly unrelated. I have seen males paralyzed with fear and sadness over the prospect of an infant they created. Their tempters were so effective at separating sex and infants that the males are honestly surprised and afraid. Make this happen with your patient.

The other main area to focus on is degrading trust between them. Of course, the best way to do this is to make him untrustworthy. But even if he is acting honorably in most situations, make sure they have miscommunications that are interpreted as lacking trust. Sometimes it is good enough to simply have the appearance of distrust. Drive a wedge between them and slowly expand. Hear me now, I mean do it very slowly.

Mudpot, be patient. Though it looks dark today, it is only through patience that this High Risk will be brought under control. I feel pretty hopeless right now but when I think long and hard about what you can do if you will just be patient….

Nevermind. It is hopeless.

-Count Vicegrim

Image created by Cavin and used with permission

Porn and the Christian Guy: Part 19, Bibles, Husbands, and Abuse

gun-on-bible-spritual-abuseAbuse is gross! And the absolutely slimiest and most putrid kind of abuse is abuse using the Bible. To take the good word of God and to use it as a weapon against your wife, disgusting!

So imagine my surprise when I found myself unknowingly contributing to such abuse. To be sure, I don’t know of any specific case, but someone may have read my blog and walked away with a false and dangerous belief.

I would like to correct that today.

As God does sometimes, he smacked me around. I was innocently reading the Desiring God Blog, minding my own business. I saw an article by Jonathon Parnell call When Sex Should Stop. The title piqued my interest. Then God began the beating. Jonathon lays out the case that we as a people (and I as an individual) has been misinterpreting 1 Corinthians 7:3-5. Let’s look at those verses.

The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

The verses are fairly straightforward. married couples should make sure to have regular sex unless there is a need to separate to “devote yourselves to prayer.” As a guy who is a big fan of sex, what a boon. Now I have a verse for my wife!

Jonathon (and the Holy Spirit) don’t let me get away with that. He clarifies that this is not Paul saying, “My body is mine AND your body is mine!” This is saying that we each have authority over each other’s body. Far from verses I can use to manipulate my wife into more sex, these are verses that press me to serve my wife with sex. She has authority over my body. My body is there to serve her.

That hit me hard. I have pressured my wife before. It was very hurtful to her. I wasn’t treating her as a fellow heir in Christ but as a body that I had a right to. Rather than asking why she doesn’t want sex, I became irritable and entitled. Remember, the Bible does say her body is mine, right? The fact is, I didn’t marry a body. I married a person. She wants to be loved as a whole person, not as the only body the Bible says I can have.

Gentlemen, we have felt entitled to our wives for too long. I feel that because I believed wrongly about sex, that I may have lead you to use the Bible as a bludgeon for your cravings. God expects us to be like Him and to love her sacrificially like Christ loves the church. For my part in leading you away from that, I’m sorry.

Please read the article. Jonathon Parnell has challenged us to love our wives by being their servants. He’s right. We can do so much better.

-Chip

Count Vicegrim’s Letters: Chapter 5 Responsible and Tolerant

The Count Vicegrim LettersThe Demon Mudpot’s Annual Review regarding the Temptation of the Patient in His 19th Year

Mudpot, I Hate You!

I really do. No sooner do you show some success and then you allow a failure like this. While you were taking short trips away to enjoy yourself, you left the Enemy’s Spirit unsupervised with your patient. Am I surprised? No. Am I angry? Yes, with the fire of Hell. You better get this turned around soon. By soon, I mean right now.

So, let us proceed with your review.

What Went At Least Sort of OK, Maybe

Unlike your previous failing year, there was some good done. Unfortunately, I am not in the mood to discuss it. So let’s just skip to your failures.

What Went So Badly I Could Vomit

First, how could you leave your assignment alone? Mudpot, it is your job to watch and carefully monitor your patient. This is a deadly serious business and you left your patient by himself with the Enemy’s Spirit. You are a weak tempter but I didn’t expect this kind of naivete. Don’t let it happen again. I have instructed Count Pageslip, the demon responsible for the patient’s University, to check on you frequently. If he finds anything not to his liking, he has free reign to… how shall I put it…correct the situation. Having known Count Pageslip for a long time, I would advise you to make sure everything is in order at all times.

As I understood your report, you left your patient and he met a female vermin who invited him to a Bible study at a local campus ministry. He went to the study and the Enemy’s Spirit woke him up there. By the time you returned several days later, he had moved out of the fraternity and was reading the Bible regularly. Wow, Mudpot, how many days were you gone?

We need to work with double effort to remedy this very dangerous situation. Don’t forget that he is still listed as high risk. If this one becomes a prominent servant of the Enemy, I will take this out of your hide!

First, get him to stop reading that Bible. For him, I think the most effective way to accomplish this is to have him trade Bible reading for something less threatening for us. Try to get him busy helping the poor or feeding the hungry. In his current state, we won’t be able to get him to stop by attacking directly. We need to drown out the Bible with other “good things.” As one of the their author’s says, the greatest enemy of the perfect is the good. The shortest path to destruction sometimes goes through the outskirts of heaven.

One gigantic advantage of “good deeds” as a way of drowning Bible reading is that the human ego is often stroked by praise for helping humans. It is very hard to convince a vermin looking into the Bible that he is great and wonderful. No, that vermin is far more likely to say that the Enemy is good and they they are sinners: exactly the opposite of what we want.

Second, I think it is time to press your patient into a romantic relationship. You will have difficulty getting him to abuse pornography right now (thought keep the temptation coming). Guide him to a girl who at least says she believes in the Enemy’s Son but has a history of fornication. The advantage this brings is that a real female is closer to the Enemy’s plan for him, but if he can be led to fornicate with her, she can bring him back to us. Just because he has stopped staring at the naked vermin does not mean that all of those years of looking haven’t caused him to have serious misconceptions about the vermin female.

You see, most of his education about sex has been from those magazines and websites. He will really believe that the females want sexual intercourse in all of those absurd positions. He will be surprised when the female is not interested in sex several times a day or that she really wants him to be her friend before he is her lover. You see, he views sex as being about his enjoyment and he is not aware that the path to that enjoyment is to serve her. None of those magazines or videos or images showed vermin males sacrificing and loving the females. No, they show the females giving them sex for nothing. Your patient can be lead to deep disillusionment and you can derail the work of the Enemy’s Spirit if you handle this right.

Third, as I instructed you last year to press that your patient should sin “Responsibly”, you should also now press him to be “Tolerant”. He is going to develop some deep convictions from the Enemy’s Spirit. You need to press him to ask if any such conviction it “tolerant”. You see, other vermin who are sinning will be offended at your patient’s view. Make sure that he feels that their offense means he is “intolerant”. We have made intolerance on college campuses to be almost on par with genocide. Everyone avoids the label and it would be very helpful if your patient also was skiddish about being intolerant. Many a dangerous vermin has been neutered by attempting to be tolerant.

For example, if he is tempted to talk about the Enemy’s Son to another vermin, make absolutely sure that the word “intolerant” is said by someone in the room. It makes me laugh because by definition, the person who says this is trying to silence your patient. Yet, is silencing someone “Tolerant”. Anyway, between keeping him “responsible” and “tolerant” you might be able to avoid the some difficult situations.

Finally, I am going to be making a site visit in the next few weeks. Get things in order or I will discipline you properly. You should be grateful to have a tempter of my caliber to help you.

I am not so lucky.

Count Vicegrim

Image created by Cavin and used with permission

Porn and the Christian Guy: Part 18, No Other Gods

altar“You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,
(Exo 20:3-5 ESV)

When reading the Ten Commandments, it is easy to overlook the first two. Not once in my life have I looked at a rock or block of wood and considered worshiping it. Even ones shaped like animals. No overwhelming urge to bow to them.

So obviously I should be more concerned with the other commandments, right?

Wrong!

People are worshipers. All of us. We have gods and we bow to them every day, every moment. My god is whatever I bow down to: whatever I will sacrifice everything else to keep. The man who gives up his family, his money, his church, his integrity, and his religion for porn. It is obvious what that man worships.

He, of course, would not give up everything if he didn’t have to. But if all of those things are put on the altar to porn and that man will light the match and sacrifice them. He has chosen his god and no one will get between him and the true love of his life.

We know we love them more because we sacrifice things to them. If our wive’s heart is broken, that is a sacrifice we are willing to make. Will our children be crippled in life from a very distracted dad? That’s OK, we are serving our true master. Could this be a primary cause of  a future divorce? Maybe, but that is a risk we are willing to take to serve our god.

So, obviously we should just stop bowing down to porn. Stop serving that god. That is when we discover the we must worship. Our souls will find something to pay homage to. The only thing that can topple one god is another god.

Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.
(Rom 6:16-18 ESV)

The key to defeating the god of porn (or any false god) is to bow to the true God. Stop being slaves to sin and become slaves to righteousness. The fact is, Jesus is a good God. A kind God who loves me and wants to bring joy into my life. He is the only God that loves me enough to die for me. He commands me to abandon all other gods because he knows that they will kill me. He is the a God worth serving.

So brothers, don’t bow down to a naked god who will rob you of joy. Bow down to Jesus. He is the only one who can satisfy. With Jesus as your supreme joy, every other joy (sex, food, rest, work) can be a wonderful servant, not a terrible master.

-Chip

Please Remember to Sin Responsibly

sin_responsibly_gstringSin has a marketing problem. You see, defying the God of the Universe has negative consequences in our lives. Be it sickness, hurt relationships, and that sense that we are not meant to be this way, we all feel the ongoing consequences of sin.

Yet there is in our heart a desire to do what we want AND not feel the consequences. It would be great if some marketing person could help us feel like we could do both. Clearly God would not want us to simply stop sinning. He wants us to be “happy” and “free” to sin.

Enter, the beer industry. You see, it is bad publicity to have their customers hitting station wagons with kids in them. There is nothing unbiblical about a beer, but the Bible clearly speaks against drunkeness. Unfortunately, the drunks are their best customers. What is a beer company to do?

Never fear, there is a solution. Miller tells us “With Great Beer come Great Responsibility.” The answer isn’t to avoid drunkeness. It is “Don’t Drink and Drive.” It is to avoid the consequences of sin without addressing the sin itself.

Now, I should be clear, you shouldn’t drink and drive. I don’t want to get hit by the theologically sound drunk who knows that he shouldn’t be drunk in the first place. All sins are evil, but some have much more profound consequences.

Sex outside of marriage also has a public relations problem. Sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies have all caused so many problems. So we make sure to have “Safe Sex.” But, should “Safe Sex” fail, can still do the “Responsible” thing. We can murder that baby because it is inconvenient.

There is real joy in obedience. The most responsible thing we can ever do is avoid sin and cling to Jesus. While the world is wresting with the most effective ways to sin without consequences, we have a true hope. Jesus offers a hope beyond responsibility, he offers right standing with God.

-Chip

Porn and the Christian Guy: Part 17, My Battle Plan

chessIn my recovery group, a recent topic was what our plan is for temptation: our battle plan.

When facing temptation to lust, there are so may opportunities to fail. The consensus was that if you don’t have a plan, you are much more likely to give into temptation when it comes.

Honestly, I sorta kinda might have a semblance of a modicum of a procedure that, when looked at a certain way, could be considered a plan. Now my sorta plan has worked OK, but that makes me think that if I had a real plan, it might work better.

Today, I will make a plan.

I have decided to divide my plan up into the three components of a person: Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual.

The Physical

Sexuality is a physical drive. Like sleep and thirst, it serve a necessary biological function and has a prominent physical dimension. So my plan includes:

  • Get enough sleep. I am much more prone to all temptations when I don’t get enough sleep.
  • Have frequent sex with my wife. God has given a proper and good place for sex to be enjoyed. I should drink deeply from it, then I won’t be as hungry for things I shouldn’t have.
  • Avoid going to places of previous temptation. I should not park in front of a strip club (even though I have never gone into a strip club, I have been tempted). I should also avoid adult stores.
  • It is important what I look at. My eyes should linger on my wife and should look away from other women. I have come to believe that I delight in what I look at. So I need to be careful to look at what is good for my soul.

The Emotional

Pornography does not simply fulfill physical drives, it also tries to satisfy emotional drives (though in the end, it leaves you unsatisfied). It feels empowering to have a woman looking longingly at you, even if it is just a video. So it is important to address the emotional needs.

  • Spend time with my wife. It is important to enjoy the right place for real community. It helps me see how counterfeit the buzz from porn really is.
  • Spend time with God. He is my Father and he loves me. If I believe he loves me, it is much easier to trust him with he says, “Watch Out! This is dangerous.”
  • Write my blog. Helping guys who struggle with porn is very helpful in my own struggles.
  • Have Covenant Eyes on every internet access. Knowing that my accountability partners will call with any questionable site visits is often enough to help me resist temptation in the moment.

The Spiritual

In the end, no sin is a physical act. It starts in my heart and comes out in my actions. So caring for my spiritual needs is essential.

  • I need to regularly pray. Talking with God has an uncanny power to reduce temptation. I think it is because I am enjoying a better pleasure in prayer.
  • I need to regularly read the Bible. God created a book that ” is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” I should pay attention.
  • It is very helpful to me to listen sermons online. there are great preachers out there and it is so good to have the technology that I can listen to them .
  • Regularly attending a recovery group. One of the best ways for me to keep focused on resisting the temptations of pornography is to help other men in their struggle. It is really good for my soul and constantly reminds me what I have left behind.

Now that plan is what I will do before I am tempted, but it really doesn’t address what I will do when I am tempted. Really, when temptation strikes, I will do all of the same things I did to prevent temptation. Leaving a tempting environment, praying, talking with my wife, listening to a sermon; all of these are effective in the moment as well.

So gentleman, I would encourage you to write out your plan. It can help you.

God Bless.

-Chip