By Gbenga Awomodu & Emmanuel Aboje
Pornography comes from the Greek word porneia which means “having to do with sexual relations outside of marriage.” Now, a graph refers to drawings, etchings or life – like artistic representations. Thus, porn-o-graphy is the life – like representation of sexual relations (outside of marriage). There is a kind of “pleasure cult” in the world right now. People are trying to satisfy the desires and yearning inside of them by pursuing all kinds of pleasures whenever possible. Oblivious to them, they are fulfilling a prophecy in the Bible. It says in 2 Timothy 3: 4 that “men will be lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” Pornography production and sales worldwide is a multi-billion dollar industry and has been said to rival McDonald’s for the number of outlets it has.
Most of the porn viewed by the average human is seen through the television. Sitcoms now employ jokes and other humour to soften the viewer to immoral concepts ideas. Otherwise normal shows have broken the old decency barrier by showing and promoting foul language, sex outside marriage, as well as nudity. In some circles, this is considered “progress.” In the world today, more and more people are beginning to accept pornography as a normal thing and the effects are seen in day to day living, such as the way ladies dress. They remind us of the sleazy dressing of popular female artists most of whom engage in porn and shooting porn movies. Many people have changed their definition of the word to suit the present times and their selfish and sinful cravings of the heart. Two unmarried individuals can stand naked in front of a camera being viewed by millions of people and still feel “holy” as long as they do not have sex. The standards have been reduced to an unacceptable level – one which we as Christians must take a stand against.
Perhaps, you are out there and you are struggling with pornography. Today you make up your mind and you decide to stop, but after about two days you fall back to that old path, maybe even before nightfall on the day you make the decision. Maybe the internet has also worsened your case. You just secured internet connection for your laptop so you can do research for your final year project, small business, term paper, assignment or normal coursework, but after you have done some of those important tasks, you still get tempted to google some pornographic sites. (The internet card/modem or even the laptop may not even be yours!) Suddenly, something comes over you and you begin to thirst for some action. When no one is in the room, especially if you stay in the B/Q, late at night or during the weekends when the other guys and girls have gone home, house (some girls refer to their boyfriends’ abode as house), or somewhere partying, you download all the porn clips available and take opportunity to watch all the porn DVDs you have bought and hidden in a remote corner for some time. The way girls dress today may not even be helping matters and you think that you can derive sexual pleasure from porn since you are not bold enough to ask them out in order to sleep with them. You may even be a pastor or a well known worker in the house of God, but you are still struggling with pornography.
In Matthew 5: 28, the Lord Jesus makes it clear that whoever looks at a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her in his heart. Imagine then looking at nude pictures and video clips of men and women, and (unmarried) couples having sex? It is sin! Therefore, you need to change. You need to turn to God for help. You have always failed to lead a porn-free life because you tried to do it on your own, surrounded yourself with or stayed around friends and environments that made you have access to porn. Firstly, you need turn to God for help. Pour out your heart to Him today. Repentance is turning, and shifting your focus away from your sins and looking unto God for forgiveness (1 John 1:9). He is willing and ready to forgive you. Confess to Him and ask Him to give you strength to always focus on Him through proper study and meditation on His word and through prayers. Afterward, ensure that you study and meditate on the scriptures. Join a community of Christians, whether a fellowship in school or a church at home. Become accountable to a trusted Christian, preferably of the same gender. It could be your pastor. Let them know about you and help you grow. They can always check up on you and find out how well you’re living above pornography and making progress in your Christian walk.
“What if I already have a fellowship or church I attend, I’m even a worker, part of the fellowship executives, even the pastor of the church/fellowship?” you ask. Well, with God that’s not difficult. You must realize that there are a lot of people in your shoes who do not cry out for help in time. Some die with this problem while others are eventually publicly disgraced. Many ministers of God have had their ministries destroyed before their very own eyes because they were struggling with pornography and one day, someone caught them in the act and broadcast it to the world.
Some of them actually entered into physical adultery and fornication which destroyed their marriage and ministry. As a man/woman of God, you may have attained a very high level of respect in church and the society and may feel embarrassed opening up to someone else. They may just bring you down by telling other people. The truth is that you still need to be accountable to somebody (James 5:16). If you are married, it will be very helpful to let your spouse know about your challenges. You can both work together in love to solve it. Being accountable to God and man will help you think twice before doing certain things. Trusted friends can pray for you and help watch out for potentially harmful situations, ones that could open you up for sin. Your spouse may want to travel with you whenever you are going to be away for a long time, especially when you’ll be alone for a big part of the journey or programme you will be attending. If they cannot go with you, they may want to call you occasionally to ascertain where you are and what you are doing. After some time, you may not need this level of close monitoring again.
If you are a student, it will also help that you get some accountability partners to work with. They need to check on you from time to time, pray for you and ensure you are doing the right thing and not exposed to compromising situations (2 Timothy 2:22, 1 Thessalonians 5:22). No matter how much of the scriptures you think you know, avoid every appearance of evil. You do not overcome temptations by playing with them or rationalizing. You win such by running away from them! Some other tips may include that you avoid undue exposure and questionable proximity to people of the opposite sex, especially in dark or isolated corners, whether during the day or at night. Avoid gatherings where sexually suggestive and explicit talks are done. Stay in gatherings where only edifying things are being said. The church usually serves as a healthy avenue to mingle with people of the opposite sex in a safe atmosphere. Being a part of relevant and appropriate meetings such as singles’ forums/retreats, student retreats, and getting busy and committed to serving in the house of God could also help you shift your focus off the animal instincts of pornography. But you have to be careful that you do not abuse such avenues. Today, many people are in a hurry to join a church and may soon lose focus because they are in much hurry to get busy in the church for the wrong and selfish reasons. If you are single, do not be in a haste to go into a relationship, if you are not already in one, when you’ve just joined a church. Take your time to know God for yourself and make sure whatever you do for God, especially in the house of God, is borne out of genuine love for Him and not because of human attention.
Remember, pornography is not the will of God. It is a sin against God. Turn to God for help. In turn, pass the message across to other people struggling with this sin. Help them avoid compromising situations. Pray for yourself and those people out there. Take a stand against pornography. Share your experiences with trusted Christians, especially those who have also crossed this path and are now standing for God. Join them in standing for righteousness and grow thereby.
This piece was originally published in the 2009 Edition of Campus Mirror, an annual magazine of the Lagos Varsity Christian Union, University of Lagos, Nigeria. Emmanuel Aboje studies Metallurgy & Materials Engineering at the University of Lagos.