Hi, My Name Is Ralph Bass...This Is My Library

The seventh in our series of counseling case studies.

Dear Pastor, I think that I have a problem with pornography. I look at magazines, videos, and now I’m looking at X rated material on the Internet. I find I’m doing this two or three times a week. My wife does not know about it. I am feeling a little guilty and I know this is not honoring to God.

I am being considered for the position of deacon in my church and I know what my pastor thinks about it. I have tried to give it up, but I find that I waste a lot of time dwelling on it. How can I break this ugly habit? Tom D.
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Counseling Case Study 7

Answer: From the White House to the out-house sins of immorality abound in our nation. Most express no guilt or remorse at these sins, while a few feel “a little guilty.” Jeremiah spoke to a generation like ours with sins like this saying:

“Why should I pardon you? Your sons have forsaken Me And sworn by those who are not gods. When I had fed them to the full, They committed adultery And trooped to the harlot’s house. They were well-fed lusty horses, Each one neighing after his neighbor’s wife. Shall I not punish these people,” declares the LORD, And on a nation such as this Shall I not avenge Myself?” Jeremiah 5-7-9

Please understand Tom, your actions in pursuing sexual immorality are an evil choice. If you are a believer, you are not in bondage to Satan, compelled to sin in this way. You do it because you love it. You love it more than you love God. This is your great sin, a love for the pleasures of the flesh more than a love for God. This love for sexual pleasure has now solidified in strong habits of thinking and acting.

Do you indeed want to put this out of your life? Good. However, note what you said, “I find that I waste a lot of time dwelling on it.” Thinking produces emotions. Your thoughts lead inevitably to emotional lust. The key to solution is in the word “repentance.” “Yes” you may be saying, “That is what I need to do.” And it is, but what would you be doing? The Greek word for repentance is made up of two words “change” and “mind.” This is what you must do. You need to change your mind as to what you are going to think about, and you need to keep it changed. You must begin to take “every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” II Corinthians 10:5. You don’t do that. Any filth or garbage that wants to run through your mind is given full opportunity to do so. This must stop. The Bible says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” Philippians 2:5. That is the key. You must put off one kind of thinking and put on another. Thoughts of immorality will be put off as you put on the mind of Christ. The kinds of things He would think about, you can think about, but nothing else. Make up a list of 50 things you can properly think about. Read Philippians 4:8 as you begin this project. Carry this list with you everywhere you go. Every time your mind wants to think sinfully, pull this list out of your pocket and begin to “think on these things.” By “putting on” you will “put off.”

What is needed in your life is an enormous change, a metamorphous if you will. Along that line Paul says this, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” Romans 12:2. The Greek word for “transformed” comes into English as “metamorphous.” A metamorphous is a change of indescribable magnitude. You need a change of such magnitude in your life. Paul says that this change comes about by “the renewing of your mind.” This homework assignment, based on Philippians 4:8, will bring about this change.

“For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. Consequently, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.” I Thessalonians 4:3-8

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