2) Purpose – Here’s another consideration that always gets overlooked: What has God given you’re a burden for?
At this point, this concept is admittedly anecdotal; however, as you know, eNgage is all about stories anyway. So, here’s my thought: If you are actively pursuing something that you are passionate about accomplishing, you are more likely to also be actively seeking God. And, if you are actively seeking God, you are probably employing self-control in other areas of your life, as well (including restraining your lust).
Alternatively, if you’re not passionately pursuing some kind of worthwhile goal, I think you’re more susceptible to all kinds of temptation. If you’re in a place of complacency (i.e., your priorities revolve around making sure you catch every <insert team name here> game this season, or beat <insert game> before the next one comes out) you’re more likely to struggle with self-control in other areas, including lust/porn.
Why do I say this?
One, because I’ve experienced it; and, two, because I think the Bible indicates this to be the case. Proverbs 29:18a says that without vision, men cast off restraint. The implication here is that without vision men lack purpose; and, without purpose, men have no reason to restrain themselves. In other words, it’s easier to rationalize a lack of restraint because there is no pursuit of purpose for the detrimental consequences of a lack of restraint to negatively impact.
Whatever the reason, our experience here at eNgage demonstrates that a strong sense of purpose is helpful in combating lust. For some men that purpose involves a relationship (girlfriend, fiancé, wife, children), for others it’s an academic or professional pursuit. In any case, the pursuit of that purpose always involves seeking God as a central necessity, and results in greater resistance to temptation and sin.
For more on vision, passion, and purpose, please refer to the related section on the right-hand margin of this page.
3) Community – Here’s our final consideration: Are you in community with other guys who want to eradicate this filth from their lives?
If not, get into that kind of community. You will not beat porn without it!
Remember, God has hardwired you to enjoy the naked female figure, so this desire is obviously not a bad thing. But this reality also makes it very difficult to combat the temptation to view pornography alone because porn caters directly to that God-given desire and it’s so easily accessible. Therefore, you need other men around you who are passionate about wanting to honor God; other men who, like Job, have made a covenant with their eyes (Job 31:1).
You need other men around you to act as your armor bearers! As Henry Rogers, chaplain for the Dallas-based Interstate Batteries and author of The Silent War: Ministering to Those Trapped in the Deception of Pornography, states, “To be victorious, men need to be in fellowship with godly men. It is important to have relationships where you can speak freely and not be concerned about being judged.”
So, get into that kind of community.
Obviously, that’s easier said than done – I understand because the need for that kind of community was a foundational motivation for creating eNgage during law school.
But that’s also what this website is all about, as you undoubtedly realize. Explore the section on ‘armor bearing’ and think about what authentic masculine relationships should look like. Check out the interactive map to see if there are any men’s groups in your area. Use some of the lessons we have learned and talked about here on the site and start your own community. Refer to the forums to ask questions and get insight from other guys.
It takes some time and commitment to establish the kind of community of men who can deal with lust, masturbation, and pornography authentically because trust has to develop organically.
But, it’s worth it.