A story is told about a young Bible college student walking across the street with one of his aged professors. As a very attractive young woman crossed right in front of them, the student said to the professor, “I’ll be glad when I reach the point in my spiritual growth when that does not bother me anymore.” The professor responded, “Yes me too!” The attraction of our eyes to members of the opposite sex, knows no age limitations. It never goes away completely but we can learn how to process our thoughts when we encounter temptation in order to be able to lead a victorious Christian life.
Pornography, like so many things in life, starts out as a small temptation, then leads to something that controls our life. I really wish that I knew as a young man what I know today about this rabbit hole. Even though it has been over fifty-five years since I gave my life to Christ as a nine year old boy, I am still learning about understanding who we are in Christ, and how to use the power of the name of Jesus to win out over temptation.
Several years ago I was at a regional denominational ministers meeting. The guest speaker was working on a national level with an organization with ties close to the White House. This organization was attempting to address the multiple problems surrounding pornography and its consequences such as prostitution, child molestation and child trafficking. I had introduced myself as someone who worked exclusively with teenagers and had a syndicated radio program for youth and shared how that subjects surrounding these atrocities were common subjects for our programming. As he began to tell me what his work entailed, he described having to view hundreds of photographs taken from the possession of criminals in this industry. In the middle of his description he stopped for a minute. He looked right at me and blurted “How do you get those images out of your head?”
I asked him if I could pray for him and explained that I believed that while all this goes on in the natural world, in actuality it is mostly a spiritual battle. I explained to him that I felt that in prayer we can change the thoughts in our head by using the name of Jesus, just like we are changing the channel on a television. I shared with him that I had found that speaking 2nd Corinthians 10:5 “Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ”(KJV), in spiritual authority believing, causes thoughts of temptation to vanish. In addition I reminded him that we can replace a bad thought with a good thought and that as we learn to fight this battle God will give us scriptures for that purpose as well. I will never forget as he shook my hand with a big smile on his face, revealing that he knew in his heart that what I was sharing with him was true.
Coming to accept that the roots of pornographic attraction are spiritual is a huge step in overcoming its lure. In my life whenever I sense the smallest thought starting to creep in, I immediately deal with it spiritually. Sometimes I inadvertently see a sexually stimulating image, either through a walk across town, watching a television program or movie that I did not realize had nudity in it or by opening a Facebook friend request see a sexually stimulating image. In that instant I immediately look away, and then speak to the image, saying in my heart “Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, in Jesus name, leave me now!” I also of course, and immediately, change the channel to get my mind on something wholesome. Philippians 4:8,9 states, “Finally my brethren, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”(NKJV) When you first try this and see that it actually works, you will be amazed!
Years ago, while I was doing ministry in the Bedford Stuyvesant district of Brooklyn, the area had one of the highest crime rates of any place in the nation. The drug dealers laughed smugly as they drove by with “Just say no to drugs” bumper stickers affixed to their luxury vehicles. Likewise, I believe the devil has been laughing smugly as we have told believers for decades to “Just say no to Porn.” Porn addiction continues to be rampant, even among pastors. ‘A few years ago a hotel monitored the adult only television viewing during a youth ministers conference. What it revealed is that the “Adult Only” viewing went up at a rate equal to secular conferences. When the author of the article did further research he found out that other such conference centers had monitored similar Christian events and found the same thing was sadly true.
In light of the fact that a major evangelical denomination recently reported that thousands of instances of sexual impropriety have been brought to light their churches within one year, we need to face the fact that whatever it is that we have been doing is not enough! We need men and women to go back to praying “Search me, O God and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. “Psalm 139:23, 24 (NKJV). Its time we dealt with pornography for what it is. A sexual temptation from the enemy that must and can be defeated in the power of Jesus name!
Rev Nolan J Harkness is the President and CEO of Nolan Harkness Evangelistic Ministries Inc. since 1985. He spent most of his adult life working in youth ministry. He also felt the calling of Evangelist/Revivalist and traveled as the door was open holding evangelistic meetings in churches throughout the Northeast. His website is www.verticalsound.org.