Posted On March 1, 2015

John Piper – You Can Say No To Porn

by | Mar 1, 2015 | Christian Life

Not all sexual desire is lust. God made sexual desire. It has its good place and it can, in fact, become an act of worship in the temple of marriage. But lust is sexual desire gone wrong. Here’s my definition:

Lust is a sexual desire that dishonors its object and disregards God. Disregards the promises and the warnings of having or losing the beauties of Christ.
The lusted-after woman or man in your head, or on the screen, or on the street, is dishonored — not treated as a sacred, precious, eternal person made in the image of God, whose eternal destiny is always paramount, and whose holiness we either long for or ignore. And the only way this dishonor can be so daringly carried out is by disregarding God while we are in the sway of our lust — disregarding the promises and warnings of having or losing the beauties of Christ. So lust is a sexual desire that dishonors its object and disregards God. Ponder with me for a few minutes the natural and the spiritual role of self-control in relation to lust. . .

Faith in Christ Conquers ‘Addiction’

Addiction is a relative term. I would stake my life on the assumption that no one in this room is absolutely addicted to pornography or any sexual sin. What I mean is this: If the stakes are high enough and sure enough, you will have all the self-control you need to resist any sexual temptation.

For example, if tonight you are feeling totally in the sway of sexual desire — more blazing, more powerful than you have ever felt it in your life — and you believe that you cannot resist the temptation to look at some nudity online, and suddenly a black-hooded ISIS member drags your best friend or your spouse into the room with a knife at his or her throat, and says, “If you look at that website, I will slit their throat,” you will have the self-control you thought you didn’t have. You won’t click.

Or if a man walks into the room and says, “If you do not look at that nudity, I will give you one million dollars cash, tax-free, tonight,” you will suddenly have the self-control you thought you did not have.

Addiction is a relative term. The fact is, 99% of those who give way to lust in pornography or fornication or adultery, are not decisively controlled by sexual desire. They are decisively controlled by what they believe — what they believe will happen if they act on their lust or don’t.

The Spirit of God Controls Us

The decisive issue is whether they believe the stakes are high enough and sure enough. If we are sure a friend will die a gruesome death, we will have self-control. If we are sure we’ll get the $1,000,000, we will have self-control.

Now there is nothing distinctly Christian about that analysis of motivation. That is simply the way human beings are wired. Self-control was a Stoic virtue before it was Christian, and there is nothing distinctly Christian about it.

And yet Paul lists self-control (engkrateia) as a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:23). So for those who believe the gospel of Christ, and are justified by faith alone (Romans 3:28), the Holy Spirit becomes the decisive cause of “self-control.” That’s what I take “fruit” to mean in Galatians 5. The Spirit produces self-control in the believer. The action of the self is vital and essential, but not decisive. The Spirit is decisive.

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