Thursday, January 2, 2014

Light and Darkness, Jesus and Pornography

I love how brief statements can have such an impact. In the Gospel of John, we have such a statement:

“He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.” (John 1:10)

This is dense, theologically. How could the Creator (“made through him”) infiltrate his own creation and not be recognized? What does this say about the perceptive ability of “the world”? 

Another statement, mentioned by John a few verses earlier, establishes the groundwork for the one above:

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5)

Darkness attempts to overcome the light. This verse implies that the light coexists with darkness--at least in the same way that two opposing forces coexist on a battlefield. What an accurate picture of the spiritual climate of Planet Earth.

Since the Creator himself has infiltrated a world that is said to be under the power of the Devil (1 John 5:19) for the sole purpose of overthrowing his works (1 John 3:8), it makes sense to say that such a move would incite war.

War is thus upon us, yet how often do we consider our daily trudging in life to be tactical? How often do we prepare for the onslaught of darkness?

What about the darkness that looms and lingers inside our minds and desires?

I certainly know how irritating it is to “coexist” with darkness. My worst nightmare for many years was not found while I slept, but in my own desires. Addiction sounds psychological, and perhaps even clinical, but the basis for all addiction is rooted in spiritual darkness; my addiction was no exception. 

The digital age comes with many blessings, but my early years of swimming in its possibilities consisted of finding its curses. Pornography is not a pleasant word, and it is commonly seen as a taboo subject, but it is just as dangerous to one’s well-being as methamphetamine, self-infliction, or drunkenness. Porn takes the craving for physical intimacy and mutilates it with its facades to create a monstrosity that destroys all appreciation, honor and love for the opposite sex. Instead of a selfless offering, there is a selfish vacuum. There are no positive aspects to pornography, despite what “experts” may say. 

While I was dating the woman who is now my unforgettable wife, my fascination with the fabricated beauty and vicariously euphoria of pornography had effectively poisoned how I viewed her. It took a great deal of spiritual and mental readjustment and letting God change my eyes before I could see things clearer. Although I have been removed from its clutches and find my bride more beautiful than ever, I am still in “detox,” since the poison of pornography is the type of disease that will always stay with us--like Lyme Disease, where an infected individual will always carry the disease with them, even when they recover back to health. Indeed, the same holds true for anyone after a season of habitual sinning, but that doesnt make them unredeemable and unable to recover.

Even though sinners, like porn addicts, are redeemable, that doesnt give one license to keep sinning (Rom. 6:1-2). I beg men and women who can’t stop looking at it to stop looking at it because it really is that simple. Stop making the problem into a religion. Jesus made you free, so be free. Darkness cannot change into light; it must be cast out by the light. 

This is indeed a difficult truth to learn.

Jesus has already saved us from the bondage to “self.” Paul calls us “slaves of Christ” (Rom. 6:22), which is the best possible way to say, “you are free.” The more we submit ourselves to his lordship as obedient slaves, the more we can see how free we really are.  We will no longer feel compelled to bow before the throne of “self”; instead, we bow, live and thrive at the throne of Heaven (Col. 3:1).

As we abide there, we discover that our enslavement to God is far from oppressive or tyrannical. For those who have suffered the oppression of sin and all that is corrupt in the world, Jesus says:

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

We will find rest for our souls only when we give up trying to do Gods work in our lives--when we try to rid ourselves of our own sinfulness. To say we must rid ourselves of darkness is akin to commanding a corpse to live. Let us simply live as light, for that is what we are in Christ.

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