Accepting the fact that at least half of Christian men (pastors, missionaries, and children’s ministry workers included) have an issue with porn is a big pill to swallow. We don’t want the problem to be this big because the church is in serious trouble if it is.
“Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression.” Psalm 19:13(NIV)
Eve’s response to the serpent and, I think more importantly, Adam’s response to Eve’s temptation, produced a curse on humanity. As a result, every one of us has had our DNA stamped indelibly with markers that predispose us to critical flaws. Husbands, you need to be aware of those tendencies and how they set you up for failure.
The first marker imposed by original sin is PASSIVITY. Genesis 3 describes the scene. Satan enters the Garden disguised as a snake and begins telling Eve the opposite of what her husband told her about the tree (which Adam heard directly from God). Satan said, “Go ahead, eat the fruit!” What was Adam thinking? His wife, Eve, was in mortal danger, standing in the crosshairs of Satan’s diabolical plot. Yet, he sits there and does absolutely nothing. In case you are thinking that Adam wasn’t even around when all of this went down, Genesis 3:6 says, “She also gave some to her husband, who was with her…”
Think about the implications. Instead of protecting his wife he waited to see how it would all play out. I wonder how many times you and I have failed to protect those God has given us? You know pornography is a lie and yet you have allowed it to enter your “garden.” More than likely, your wife has told you more than once what she needs to feel loved and protected, but it would require so much work to do for her what is not reasonable or natural for you. You know you are to be the spiritual leader of your home but you won’t get past the mistakes you have made or confront the sins that plague you now. That passivity is part of your sin nature and it sets you up for the lies of pornography. Passivity seeks the path of least resistance. True intimacy takes work. The images of porn don’t disagree with you. They don’t reject you. They don’t have a schedule or responsibilities outside of you. To complicate matters, our culture is steeped in sexual impurity and, typically, porn is only one click away from a tempted heart.
The second marker is FEAR. Genesis 3:9-10 reads, “But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
Did you know that God said, “Do not be afraid” to Biblical legends like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Elijah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, the disciples, and Paul? God gave Adam authority and dominion over everything in the Garden. The terms used in Genesis are very violent, militant terms. Simply put, God authorized Adam to destroy anything in the Garden opposed to God’s will or word.
Fear avoids and hides. I have witnessed many different expressions of fear in men. I’m sure you have heard the old indictment against us that we “run into our caves and hide.” What are you avoiding? Do you avoid your wife because she makes you feel inadequate? Do you stay at work as long as you can because the chaos at home is more than you can handle? Have you relinquished your parental and spiritual responsibilities to your wife or someone else? Fear is a primary reason we refuse to enter into intimacy. True intimacy demands vulnerability, transparency, and honesty. Our fear of intimacy is just another reason why pornography is alluring.
The third marker is ANGER. Genesis 4:4-7 tells us, “The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. Then the LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.’”
Cain had the opportunity to use his power and energy for good or evil, for self or for others. Cain, like many of us, used his strength for the wrong purpose. God gave Cain a choice of either being angry (and sinning) or becoming forceful. Matthew 11:12 says that forceful men lay hold of the Kingdom. God created us as men to be forceful. Because of sin that forcefulness takes on one of two negative expressions – on the one hand it manifests in passivity and timidity. On the other hand it manifests in unrestrained strength that abuses and usurps authority over others.
Strength expressed through anger usually results in destruction and chaos. Forcefulness is an energy purposed to do what is right; an inner strength that is fueled by the Spirit. Most men never fulfill their destiny because they never become forceful. Instead, like Cain, they are controlled rather than in control.