The pervasiveness of pornography in our culture is having devastating consequences in our society. It is a “secret sin” which flourishes in the dark, yet its toll on the souls of men is unraveling families. What is so alarming is that researchers say that 68% of American men who attend a local evangelical church access porn on a regular basis, quenching the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. That number rises to 76% of men who are 18-24 years of age. Pastors are vulnerable too. It’s sobering, but 50% of pastors regularly watch porn. It’s disheartening, I know. These are men who identify with Jesus and are seeking to fulfill God’s call on their lives, yet their minds are continually being contaminated with sexual images. Sadly, what began as a lust of their flesh with isolated incidents has spun out of control. Their brains are now being re-wired just like a meth addict. Pornography has become a noose around their neck and the harder they try to stop on their own, the tighter the grip becomes. It’s choking the life out of them. Trying harder, reading their Bible, praying more, and making promises to God is not working. They have an addiction that must be exposed to the light.
About 2 months ago, I received an unexpected phone call from a Christian friend who lives here in Montana. He is dear to my heart so it was good to hear from him, but from the tone of his voice and his erratic breathing, I knew right away there was a serious issue on his heart. Finally, he said with tears, “Darren, I have a problem. Over the last year, I have become addicted to porn and I can’t stop. I need help.” This desperate plea became a lifeline of understanding, hope, and steps to healing. We began the Conquer DVD series together with weekly calls to discuss the lessons. He is learning a strategy to be set free and to overcome his shame. We installed monitoring apps on all his devices and we share continual text messages and calls to identify the lies of the enemy and the triggers that lead to temptation. As of today, he has not watched porn in 49 days. God is renewing his heart and mind and the accountability is helping him guard his eyes and retrain his brain.
If the statistics are accurate, there are many more pastors in Montana who are consumed by this addictive behavior. How can you be set free? Expose it and it will no longer have control over you. Yes, its embarrassing. What will others think? Will I lose my ministry? Those thoughts will keep you trapped in addiction and undermine any significant impact you will ever have in the Kingdom of God. David says in Psalm 32 that when he acknowledged his sin and openly confessed, God forgave the guilt of his sin. Let that sink in. There are resources and relationships that are life giving that you desperately need. Let a brother loosen the noose. It starts with a simple plea for help.