“The woman Folly is loud; she is seductive and knows nothing. She sits at the door of her house; she takes a seat on the highest places of the town, calling to those who pass by, who are going straight on their way, ‘Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!’ And to him who lacks sense she says, ‘Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.’ But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.” Proverbs 9:13-18
It has been over 50 years ago for me but I vividly remember my first exposure to a picture of a naked woman. It was in our fourth grade classroom in New York and one of the boys discovering bare-chested tribal women in National Geographic. We always noted where that particular issue was stored in the classroom and referred to it often. I can still recall the image when I put my mind to it. Particularly as a child, pornographic images have an impact upon your mind which can lead to the heart.
We often think of pornography in regards to men, but recent statistics indicate that access through technology has opened the door wide to children. Here are some statistics* regarding children and the internet:
- The average age of first internet exposure to pornography is 11 years old.
- 80% of 15-17 year olds (men and women) have had multiple hard-core exposures.
- 90% of 8-16 year olds have viewed pornography online.
- Concerning those between 7-17; 29% indicated they have freely given out their home address online and 14% their email address.
- According to the statistic resources, there are 26 children’s character names that are linked to thousands of pornographic sites. (i.e.; Pokeman, Action Man)
Now to you parents. Regarding the statistic that 90% of all 8-16 year olds have viewed pornography online; guess where and when most of these kid indicated they did it? It was at home while doing homework! You see this is not an “out of our home” scenario but most is done right under your nose. So what can be done by you as a parent?
First of all you need to protect your children. Here are some suggestions:
- Keep all internet devices in a central, open place in the home. Set up a homework station for when they need to use the computer. If you have several children and computers, then set up a multiple station.
- Keep iPads, iPhones or any other internet access devices in a central place. If you have multiple phones – place all the phones in a central location and give them distinctive tones so you know who is receiving a call. Do not permit the children to have the phone in their room except for phone calls.
- If you think your child needs a phone, do not give them one with internet capability.
- Place accountability programs on devices with internet capabilities. See my previous article about one such program.
Secondly, the problem with pornography on the internet is not technology. It is the human heart and that is what must be addressed with your child. With technology now such a part of our lives, you as a parent must teach your child how to use the internet for good purposes and to be suspicious of our sinful hearts and temptations to desires. See again the notes from my previous article from Bob Bevington’s talk and I will continue posting some articles on helping you and your child be victorious in this area.
(*You can check out my statistics resource and many more here.)
My thanks to Pastor Dustin Rogers of Heritage Bible Church in Lincoln for the invitation to join the men of his church to hear Dr. Bob Bevington speak. Bob is the author of the book Red Like Blood: Confrontations with Grace (Shepherd Press, 2011), and co-author with Jerry Bridges of two books, The Great Exchange: My Sin for His Righteousness (Crossway, 2007) and The Bookends of the Christian Life (Crossway, 2009).
Bob’s topic for the men was Pornography: Five Applications for Freedom. Here is a summary of his challenge and encouragement to us.
Men are in a battle and the stakes are high.
1 Peter 2:11 states that we are to abstain from passions of the flesh which wage war against our soul. There are many strategies out there given to fight this battle but nearly all of them put us in the middle of the struggle without proper preparation. We need something much bigger and stronger than therapeutic strategies. 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 tells us it is divine power which is needed to destroy strongholds.
The path to true freedom requires a sequence of five applications:
1. Apply the true names and call pornography what it is.
First of all Jesus calls it adultery of the heart (Matthew 5:27-28). It is looking with lustful intent upon an image of a woman. In Mark 7:20-23, Jesus says that from within us and from the heart come such things as evil thoughts, sexual immorality, adultery, sensuality which defile a person.
Besides being adultery of the heart, pornography is idol worship which demands a sacrifice (betrayal of your marriage and diminishing your parenting) and breaks fellowship with God (try to think of glorifying God while engaged in a sexual fantasy!)
Lastly pornography must be called sin. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 tells us that it is the will of God that we be sanctified and that we abstain from sexual immorality.
2. Apply the true gospel: The good news that changes everything.
False gospels abound and will not free us from the grip of sin like pornography. The real gospel is a costly gospel for we know the true gospel by the price that was paid (Philippians 2: 6-8).
The true gospel includes “the great exchange” where our sin is transferred to Christ through forgiveness and Christ’s righteousness is transferred to us by justification (2 Corinthians 5:21).
The true gospel preaches union with Christ where genuine faith connects us with Christ and by faith we put our reliance and dependency in Christ as the object of our faith.
The way we can apply the gospel is to have gratitude for the grace that was purchased (2 Corinthians 5: 14-15). We are to also exercise the “expulsive power of a new affection” where we battle the desires of the flesh with the desires of the Spirit and the desire that is strongest will win. When we see the treasures of the gospel and deepen our relationship with God, we can fan the flames of our desire for God (Galatians 5:17)
3. Apply God’s power to enable and deliver.
There are two kinds of power; both are outside of ourselves and both are accessed by faith.
The first one is synergistic power which is when we combine our effort with the enabling power of the Holy Spirit (Colossians 1:29 and Philippians 2:12-13).
The second kind of power is monergistic power which is when the Spirit works completely alone in us and completely independent. The Holy Spirit does it all and we are totally passive recipients (Ezekiel 36:24-29).
4. Apply God-given battle strategies.
It is here that many ministry strategies fail. Dr. Bevington gave us 30 different strategies based upon Scripture and memorization of things to do as strategies in the battle. The difference here compared with what I have seen from other ministries is that this step is undertaken only after you have done steps 1, 2 and 3. Most others want to skip them and jump right into the battle without the proper preparation. The 30 strategies are statements of truth about the battle of the flesh and commitments that need to be made. They represent the synergistic power mentioned above. If you would like these strategies, you can contact Bob via his blog RedLikeBlood.com.
5. Apply all of the above daily and diligently
Bob spoke of his mentor Jerry Bridges who may not have invented the saying but certainly popularized it, “preach the gospel to yourself everyday.” The battle of sin is one we fight every day and as long as we are sinners, we need the gospel.
Bob also recommends the technology accountability ministry of Covenant Eyes which if you go to his website, you can get the first month free by clicking on the banner.
I deeply appreciated Bob’s gospel-centered view on the battle of temptation for his counsel applies to many areas and not just pornography. Two great resources to help in understanding a gospel-centered view of dealing with temptation are to read his book; Bookends of the Christian Life and Russell Moore’s book Tempted and Tried: Temptation and the Triumph of Christ (Crossway, 2011).