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Biblical Counseling Coalition: Grace & Truth

14 Gospel Promises That Trump the Power of Lust: A Buzz Better Than Porn

Lust and Pornography Series - 14 Gospel Promises That Trump the Power of Lust

BCC Staff Note: You’re reading the first in a four-part BCC Grace & Truth blog series on grace-based, gospel-centered approaches to overcoming lust and pornography. In addition to today’s post by Luke Gilkerson (14 Gospel Promises That Trump the Power of Lust), you will find posts by Heath Lambert (Pornography, Radical Measures, and the Gospel), by Deepak Reju (Dumb Down Your Smart Phone), and by Julie Ganschow (Ensnared by Lust).

An Account of God’s Transforming Grace

I opened my e-mail to find the usual assortment of business and junk mail, but then I saw an e-mail that caught my eye: an Internet accountability report for my friend “Matt.” I get a report like this every week for Matt, detailing any questionable websites he visits. It is part of his ongoing effort to stay honest about where his eyes fall online.

I knew after looking at this report I was in for a long conversation with him.

The report indicated he spent about 4 hours one evening binging on porn, and it wasn’t the first time I had seen this kind of thing. It seems to come in spurts for Matt. He goes weeks with a pretty clean record, then for a day or two he devours as much porn as he can.

As his accountability partner, my job is not to just hear an account of his sin; I’m also to give him an account of God’s transforming grace.

I want him to remember that God’s grace does not merely save us from the guilt of sin. It saves us from the grip of sin.

Looking to the Reward

When Dr. Richard Wiseman tracked the progress of 5,000 people who made New Year’s resolutions, only 10% succeeded. But one of the things the 10% did differently was that they regularly reminded themselves about the benefits of their goals. What will be the reward? What will they gain?

For a lot of Christian men and women, the fight against porn feels futile because all they can see what they are losing. I know it was for me. For so long I can came to believe that sex was life. Giving up the pleasure of porn felt a bit like dying. Leaving porn only left me empty. (It was idolatry, plain and simple. I didn’t see that then, but I do now.)

In Porn-Free Church, Tim Chester writes:

“A life-with-porn versus a life-without-porn is a poor choice. If you set it up in these terms then you won’t produce lasting change. We need to set it up (as it truly is) as a choice between life-with-porn versus life-with-God. We need to show how God always offers more than porn.”

The Bible is filled with the language of reward. Moses could avoid the fleeting pleasures of sin in Pharaoh’s palace because “he was looking to the reward” (Hebrews 11:26). This is what saving faith is all about. It is “the assurance of things hoped for” (11:1)—the anticipation that the life we are promised is real.

Porn vs. Precious Promises

I had to learn through a lot of prayer, a lot of good conversations, and a lot of failure, that saying no to porn is about saying yes to the life God promises—both eternally and in the here and now. There are tailor-made promises in the Scriptures that hold out to us the blessings of having a sexually pure mind and body.

The apostle Peter writes that we can become more like God Himself through His “precious and very great promises” (2 Peter 1:3). This is what a porn-filled mind needs the most.

  1. If you are pure in heart, God promises you will see Him (Matthew 5:8).
  1. If you are sexually pure, your mind will no longer be foggy, your heart will be teachable, and you will be filled with the life of God (Ephesians 4:17-19).
  1. If you fill your mind with that which is honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy, then God’s peaceful presence will be with you (Philippians 4:8-9).
  1. If you are sexually pure, your heart will not be enslaved to the worship sex, which means you can wholeheartedly devote yourself to the true and living God (1 Kings 11:4).
  1. If you are sexually pure, you will see and treat men as brothers and women as sisters, not as objects to be used for lust (1 Timothy 5:1-2).
  1. If you are not enslaved to your lusts, you will be freer to serve others in love (Galatians 5:13).
  1. If you are sexually pure, you will be more prepared to be a great lover and to enjoy sexual intimacy with your spouse or future spouse (Proverbs 5:18-19).
  1. If you are sexually pure, you will keep your marriage bed undefiled (Hebrews 13:4).
  1. If you are sexually pure, you will no longer waste time but instead make the most of it (Ephesians 5:16).
  1. If you are sexually pure, your life will be fruitful, and that fruit will be full of goodness, rightness, and truth (Ephesians 5:8-9).
  1. If you are sexually pure, you will be an honorable person (1 Thessalonians 4:4).
  1. If you are a sexually pure person, you will not be enslaved to your passions (1 Corinthians 6:12).
  1. If you are pure, you will be more like the glorious, risen Christ (1 John 3:1-3).
  1. If you are sexually pure, you will be living in the will of God for your life (1 Thessalonians 4:3).

C.S. Lewis calls these some of the “unblushing promises of reward” that are found in the Bible.

“We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

This is where the fight against porn gains traction. Write down these promises and read them every day. Study them. When you get together with your accountability partner, read them to each other. Take it one day at a time, and each day speak these promises aloud. When you do, say to yourself: “Today, this is the kind of person I desire to be.”

Join the Conversation

What additional “precious and great promises” would you list in the grace-centered battle to say “Yes” to righteousness and “No” to unrighteousness?

This entry was posted in Gospel-Centered Ministry, Grace, People in Need of Care, People Who Offer Care, People Who Train Caregivers, Pornography, Sexual Purity and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

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