Hamstrung by Porn

There is a popular video on YouTube of this athlete competing in a race where he stops running midway. Shortly after the race starts, he clutches the back of his thigh and goes down on one knee. His face is written with agony and he knew what was wrong. He tore his hamstring.

If you’ve watched or played any kind of sports, you know a hamstring injury can be bad because it puts you out on the sidelines.

I see sin like that sometimes. It’s like an injury that puts you out on the sidelines. Especially something as debilitating and guilt inflicting as the sin of pornography use. Considering its addictive nature and how it affects us, pornography use is bad for the Christian.

It affects us not only physically but emotionally and spiritually too, and there are three ways I think it does that:

 1) It affects, firstly, our sight towards God’s beauty. The Bible speaks of the beauty of God, his character, his attributes, his infinite nature, his power, his majesty and his love through Jesus Christ. The sun, moon and stars all declare the glory of God. Porn use blinds us and inhibits our capacity to enjoy and appreciate this God.

2) It makes us selfish. Porn use brings with it the inevitable guilt and shame. While we’re dealing with these avalanche of emotions, we tend not to look beyond our current predicament, but inwards. This affects all our relationships including relations with our brothers and sisters in Christ. As an important part of the local body of believers (our church), we are needed.

Porn use makes us selfish where we’re hiding ourselves from others, either to prevent exposing the sin or to try to deal with it privately.

3) A third insidious effect of porn use is how we look at women. Our sinful tendency to lust after women, in real life and on screen, is amplified with porn use. Porn shows women as objects to be taken advantage of or as nothing beyond flesh and bone that wants to have sex.

Unbeknown to us, our thoughts are trained to objectify women the more we use porn. This is tragic when we do this to our sisters in Christ and fellow image bearers of God.

Using porn is a serious sin and a problem. However, it’s not all doom and gloom for the Christian. There is hope.

Hope for the Christian

Yes, as born again followers of Jesus, we have hope. The strength to overcome this sin was made available when Jesus died on the cross, for it says in 1 Peter 2:24, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.”

When Jesus died and rose again, and after we put our faith in him, we died to our former ways and are now alive with Christ to live a life of righteousness and purity.

With this new identity as children of God, we can now pursue him. And we ought to pursue him with all our might. God has chosen a few disciplines to follow in order for us to “live to righteousness”, and these disciplines are both private and public.

1) The private disciplines to pursue God is through reading and meditating on the Bible and through prayer. We must be hearing this for the umpteenth time but let me share something that I’ve been told by someone who’s been discipling me: Bible and prayer is meant to help us know and love Jesus.

Bible study and prayer is done to grow in love and appreciation for Christ. It’s through this that God reveals himself, shapes us to be like him, confronts our sin and reassures our heart. Make this a habit. Even if the Bible and prayer hasn’t been making sense, don’t skip it, it’s too precious.

2) The public disciplines would be to participate actively in the life of the church. This means being there for Sunday morning services, being part of small groups, being discipled and discipling someone and reaching out to those who don’t know Christ.

How does following all this help? We get to hear God’s Word being preached, sing songs to him, be involved in the lives of fellow church members, build life-giving friendship that provide a place for accountability, gives us the chance to help another grow in Christ and help to reach a world that needs Jesus.
The need for all these public disciplines cannot be reiterated enough.

These private and public disciplines don’t save us, of course, but it is God’s appointed means for us to pursue him and kill sin.

The Fight Goes On

I’ve been hamstrung by porn far too many times than I can count, and I’ve been affected in the same ways that I wrote about. Yet the God who sanctifies is faithful and has shown me grace through the same disciplines I mentioned.

If we are in Christ, we are never out of the boundaries of God’s grace and forgiveness.

Let us make it our aim – as we fight on to overcome and kill this sin – to worship and behold God like Paul did: “To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Timothy 1:17)


Author’s Note: This article also appears on The Gathering Community Church website.

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