I have an interesting relationship with LMP.
I’ve been familiar with the feeling of lust for as long as I can remember. From the R-rated movies I watched as a kid, to the Mills & Boon novels I read, to the guys with “swag” I’ve been surrounded by in school and work settings. I know lust firsthand.
As for porn, I can almost pinpoint the exact moment I discovered it. I was around 9. I had stayed up extra late that night, when everyone in my house had gone to bed, and turned on the television to find person A and person B doing a tad bit more than cuddling. I was enthralled, to say the least. It became something of a phenomenon to me and throughout my life, I found myself returning to watch an online video or two to get my “quick fix”.
And then there’s masturbation. It goes without saying that after an hour or two of watching porn, the next logical thing to follow is a bit of hand-to-self action.
I consider LMP something to take very seriously in my life...now. For a long time, I thought of it as my dirty little secret that I could simply indulge in at my discretion. As I grow in spiritual maturity, I see it for what it is – a problem. The problem with LMP is that it has a way of clouding my vision, making me view the world around me in a hyper-sexualized way. The problem with LMP is that it makes it difficult for me to sit in Church and focus on the much-needed Word of God when I have x-rated images and visuals flashing across my mind. The problem with LMP is that it breeds addiction and leaves me feeling like a true savage with an inability to exercise self-control (the flesh wants what it wants…why not give it what it wants? Oh goodness no.) The problem with LMP is that it drenches my spirit with guilt and shame, leaving me feeling disappointed and disconnected from God. The problem with LMP is that it promises me nothing more than short bursts of physical pleasure with lasting toxic effects on my soul. The problem with LMP is that it won’t ever fully satisfy me and if I’m not careful, it will ruin me. So, knowing all this, I actively take steps in my life to fight the tug and pull of lust, masturbation, and porn. Here are three of those steps:
1. Confess and Surrender: “Hi. My name is Adaeze and I like porn.” Ok, maybe not that clinical. As I continue to grow in my Christian walk, I’ve become more appreciative of calling the sins I deal with by their name. Honesty is freeing; granted it can be scary and have undesired consequences but it undoubtedly lightens the load on your spirit and offers you the opportunity for peace. It’s not different when it comes LMP – all of which I find attractive, all of which I’ve indulged in, and all of which I struggle with. I do my best to continuously confess my sinful nature – to God and to people strong in faith that can empathize with my situation and give me honest, sage advice. I also believe in the power of “giving it to Jesus”. In my own might, I’m no match for my lustful/sinful desires. But, when I continuously surrender it to God, asking for Him to intercede, He bestows His grace upon me in such a powerful way that I find the courage and power to say “No”. (Keep in mind that when I don’t do this, I usually fall into LMP).
2. Setting Boundaries: It takes the grace of God to be released from the bondage of LMP. With that being said, there’s much to consider about the saying, “God helps those who help themselves.” It isn’t wise for a recovering alcoholic to spend his/her nights at the local pub surrounded by all forms of liquor. No matter how “strong” you think you might be, you’re still human and still susceptible to temptation. I can’t deny the power of setting boundaries when it comes to achieving spiritual goals. In recent years, I started filtering what I watch, the music I listen to, and the places I go. Why? Because I know me. I know what triggers lustful thoughts in my mind. I know what tips me over the edge. Without boundaries, I might as well throw in the towel now and concede defeat. Boundaries are 100% necessary in life.
3. Finding More Pleasure in God than in LMP: Truth is, I like the feeling LMP gives me. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be “struggling” with it. It’s the age-old flesh versus spirit war. However, there are times in my life when the lure of LMP has been practically non-existent. And it’s no doubt due to the fact that in those times, I am deeply head over heels in love with God and excited about the things of God. In those times, I have found more pleasure in God than in LMP. How did that happen for me? I became inundated with the things of God – feeding on the Word of God like a hungry child, conversing eagerly and openly with God on a daily basis, listening to powerful sermons, and surrounding myself with people that are genuinely in love with God. The truth is that when I am not deeply in love and satisfied with God, LMP knocks on the door of my life with a vengeance.
And those are my three steps to battling lust, masturbation, and porn. The important thing to take into account is that all of these practices are doable. They’re not meant to feel extreme or overwhelming. They’re simple steps that when consciously taken, provide great spiritual results. They’re steps that have worked for me and still work for me – when I choose to apply them. They’re steps of hope for any one of you that deals with LMP in your life and feels like it’s a losing battle – it’s not. It’s just going to take a whole lot of discipline, faith, sacrifice, and work – which I’ve been told happens to be a requirement for all areas of life.
Go figure :)