It is indicated that over 50% of pastors struggle with porn.
It is an epidemic at this point. With easy access by way of the Internet and portable private devices, and other means of connecting to porn, the availability and accessibility to free porn is unlimited.
Walking out in the street and riding in the car, there is no lack of women wearing close to nothing and tight fitting clothing leaves nothing to the imagination. Women get daring at church services as well. These modern dresses above the knees and low cleavage dresses is a walking sexual time bomb. The failure to “cover up” for church service is detrimental to a man.
Truly, feminine power, unfortunately, is exhibited without regard to how it truly affects the hearts of men that desire to live holy.
For the men, Matthew 5:27-30 is quickly jettisoned and forget about the covenant with your eyes.
What is a pastor to do when temptation is around him? How can he escape the daily barrage of sexual temptation?
First, he must come to grips that there is very little that he can do about the way women dress, much less stop them from wearing sexually suggested clothing. We all know that most women desire the attention of men and will dress appropriately to get it. Even if they are married. This is not to say that women are to blame. Sadly, it is a give in.
Second, what is more important is what is going on in the mind of a man. According to Dr. William Struthers in his powerful book called “Wired For Intimacy,” we men have it bad. The responsibility is laid upon us to discipline our minds, guard our thoughts, and train our eyes. Even if it means to disrespect a woman. Not verbal reprimanding them or labeling them as hookers or whores. Just simply look in another direction. Especially you married men. Just look in another direction.
I like Stephen Arteburn’s book “Every Man’s Battle” which articulates what a man does when he is tempted to look. He instructs that a man should “bounce his eyes” else where. That’s real effective, by the way. It gives the mind little chance to “feast” on the flesh.
There are some that agree that there’s some things in his book that makes it very easy to fall into the same habits, patterns, and cycles that you are trying to break free of, but I also believe that a little honesty about what we do is necessary if we are going to be serious about breaking free.
Third, we must come to grips with the fact that grace is never an individual thing. The Lord uses other people to help us walk through the process of deliverance. We cannot see everything that goes on in our lives. The grace of God to break free comes in a variety of ways. From an accountability partner that you feel safe to share your inner secrets, to an association of fellow “valley walkers.”
With pastors, it can be a very lonely job and often, we believe that we can do it on our own. We believe that not only do we have the solutions to help others, we mistakenly believe that we can help ourselves. That means we assume the throne of God.
Well that is just another way to keep the Secret Sexual Sins embedded in our lives going a little longer. Pastors are notorious for making our lives secret and off limits to prying eyes.
We must remember that pornography is not an end in itself. It is the fuel for masturbation, prostitution, adulterous affairs, and homosexuality. No one does porn and never release sexual tension.
We as pastors must come to grips with the fact that Secret Sexual Sins is a hidden life of self deception.
The trigger that drive our out of control sex life must never be pulled. Even if the trigger is pulled, there must be enough of the love of God or love for God in us to never want to be a slave to our own bodies. As Paul said, our bodies were not created for fornication. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit. The moment we recognize that we are the temple where God dwells, should be the moment that we respect the purpose of the temple.
A habitation of God through the Spirit.
Steps To Break Free
1. Get Help.
Almost every starting point begins with either a discovery by your wife, or self admission of a sexual sin. The exposure, discovery, or self admission reveals that God was involved in getting you to admit your sexual sins. The thing that you have to do now is initiate getting the quality help. Sometimes we fall into the sin of denial so that we can stay attached to the porn.
Denial is just a part that remorse plays. True repentance means that you are done with Secret Sexual Sins. Remorse means that you will recover and continue in Secret Sexual Sins.
To get help, you need the help of qualified competent help to steer you and watch your progress along the way.
2. Never Make Up Your Own Rules Of Redemption.
When you make up your rules as to how long you are willing to be questioned, ministered to, and told what to watch and all, is the moment that you’ve made up in your mind that you will continue in sin. If you look at many of the men of God that prematurely cut off the path towards deliverance, they ended their sessions and resumed ministry, it is just a matter of time before they resume old habits, patterns, and cycles.
When you refuse to make up the rules and submit to a regimented discipline, it’s a good starting point.
This means that you are not in control of the amount of time that is needed to break free.
The grace of God must be worked into your life where there is a complete dismantling of trained habits, cycles and patterns for making provision to fulfill the lusts of the flesh, mind, and spirit. Just as it took time to train yourself to fulfill sin, it will take time to train righteousness within you.
This is, perhaps, the most difficult part. Relinquishing control of your hidden life. But it is necessary.
3. It Takes A Willingness To Submit To Scrutiny
Let’s face it. If we could trust ourselves, we wouldn’t need the spot light. Many of our hidden lives escape scrutiny because we became masters of hypocrisy and deception. We knew how to keep a lie going. When it is time to Come Clean, the game come to an abrupt end. Besides, there comes a point where one gets tired of keeping the game going.
4. Your Wife Is Just As Hurt, If Not Worse.
The attention of sexual sins is usually upon the man, but few realize that the wives suffer the brunt of sexual sins because the betrayal entered the home when the decision was made to look lustfully at another woman. The moment we look to get help, we must also look to get meaningful help for the wife to help her through the process of your recovery.
Your wife will play a critical role in your deliverance, but you have to remember that she is a person. The worse thing that you can do is isolate yourself further and make the process of deliverance all about you. This is another form of selfishness after the fact. The goal of the deliverance is to repair the breach by reestablishing your relationship with the Lord and then repair the breach in your relationship with your wife and children, if any.
These are just some helpful steps to get started on the road to completely break free of pornography and masturbation.