As porn addicts, one of the most important questions we need to ask ourselves is this: what do we want?
– Do we want to stop looking at porn?
– Do we want to not feel crappy about ourselves every waking moment anymore?
– Do we want complete freedom?
Most of us want all of those. If pushed, we say we want freedom, but really we don’t want freedom; we want control. Think about how we talk about addiction in the church. We regularly say things like, “Through God all things are possible,” or, “God offers us freedom from our sins,” but in the next breath, we talk about porn and lust and sin as “something we will always have to deal with.”
Are all things possible for God, except complete freedom from addiction and lust?
As the saying goes, “Once an addict, always an addict.”
Really? Is our God that small?
Too many Christians are terrified of sin. In fact, I would go as far as saying we have a very unhealthy obsession with it. This is why, when it comes down to it, we don’t want freedom but simply control. The Christian life for millions of us is nothing more than a game of How Can I Not Screw Up Anymore. We’re so weighed down by the stress of not living a moral failure in front of others that we don’t actually get to enjoy life as fully as we can.
We like control because, for many of us, not sinning has become the ultimate goal. And freedom terrifies us because it requires us to give up the need to be in control.
But true freedom for a believer in Jesus means we are no longer controlled by living up to certain standards set for us. If we really think about it, we have no standards to reach anymore, because there is nothing we can do to be accepted. You can screw up everyday for the rest of your life or never screw up again.
God welcomes you. Period.
It’s like Brennan Manning writes: “Real freedom is freedom from the opinions of others. Above all, freedom from your opinions about yourself.”
Now some of you will read this as an excuse to do whatever the heck you like. Like Paul’s warning in Romans. But this is anything but. In fact, Jesus spent a lot of His time trying to break down the control over people’s actions that many religious people would use to keep people in order.
Countless times, Jesus opposed the very message that even today some pastors or books or churches provide: that we have to live a certain way or we are failures. But that’s exactly the point! We’re already failures. We’re already broken and we’re already in need of rescuing. You don’t need rescuing because you stay up to 3 am every morning to look at porn. We believe that for Jesus to accept us, we need to stop; and so when we can’t, we drown in shame.
The good news is not that if you just manage to keep your head above the water you’ll be fine.
The Good News is actually much, much better than that.
It’s that in the very act of letting go of trying to swim, we can learn to breathe.
You see the Gospel message is not one of getting our crap together so we look good. It’s about laying our crap out for all to see and learning that our strength has nothing to do with how we appear, but rather in our honesty and openness to be real.
Having some sort of control over the sin in our lives may be important in the short term, but eventually we will simply get burned out and will grow tired of fighting or clinging on simply because we’re not dealing with the deeper issues. This is why Jesus didn’t just tell His listeners not to murder or to commit adultery but not to even be angry or think lustfully about another person.
Why? So He could put further unattainable standards and pressure on us to behave, like the Pharisees?
He told us to not even do those things because ultimately there is something deeper going on when we murder. You can go your whole life without killing someone but still harbor deep anger towards someone that will slowly kill you.
So, too, with porn. Maybe you won’t cheat on your spouse or hire prostitutes. But when you carry around pain and it begins to express itself in using porn, a quiet disconnect from the people that matter the most in your life creeps in.
If being free from lust and porn is simply never looking at porn again, then great. But if that’s as far as our definition goes, we’re missing out on so much peace, joy, and life.
In Jesus’ Sermon on Mount, there is no call to those who are well, who are healthy, who say and do all the right “Christian” things or who are not looking at porn. There is simply a call to come.
The people described in that sermon are not people whose live have worked out to plan. Yet, shockingly they are the ones called “blessed.” Which are you? I know who I’d rather be.
If you think you need to have your crap together before you are accepted, all I can say is, “Good luck with that.”
Because ultimately, freedom might mean you never lust and look at porn again, but never looking at porn again doesn’t always mean you are free.
The post Can a Christian Ever Really Be Free from Lust and Porn? appeared first on XXXchurch.com.Read More