I hope to shed some light on some quotes I have here that I’ve gotten from e-mails in the last three years. The first one is, a person says, “I think my real problem is depression, and I use pornography to self-comfort. I know that is worthy of death before a holy God, but I am stuck.” I’ll tell you, that’s true! And the real problem, listen, there’s a domino that is falling here: you get depressed and you feel lonely; you fall into self-pity; you run to pornography. So you’re right – the root issue here is not pornography. But the root issue here also is not depression. The root issue here is not being satisfied in Christ. Because by not being satisfied in the Lord and dwelling in the house of the Lord and beholding the beauty of the Lord, you get depressed. You lose that perfect peace that Isaiah 26:3 talks about, and therefore you get lonely. And when you get lonely you feel a void inside, and you think, “Well, I need to fill that void.” And instead of repenting and taking the way of escape that 1 Corinthians 10:13 talks about, you then run to pornography, you run to an idol. And you raise that up, and it doesn’t satisfy.
You know, it says in Ezekiel 16 that the Israelites were whoring with their idols. Why? They were not satisfied. Because they weren’t satisfied, they went and pursued their idols, and it left them even more empty. It says, “Even still you were not satisfied.” And even yet still, they weren’t satisfied. And they were a bold-faced harlot – they were prostituting themselves with all of their false idols instead of returning to the Lord. And that’s what so many people do. Don’t focus on freedom from pornography. Focus on Christ, then you will have freedom from pornography. I guarantee it. Do not pursue freedom. You’ll never get it. You may get freedom from pornography, but then you got pride – now you’re a slave of pride. You traded one sin for another sin. And freedom doesn’t satisfy. When I wake up in the morning, I’m not thinking, “Well, how can I be a self-righteous pharisee and have freedom today, and then pat myself on the back and feel good at the end of the day?” No, I’m waking up and I’m saying this: “I want to behold the beauty of the Lord. My flesh faints for the Living God. I’m thirsting for Him. Earnestly am I going to seek the Lord.” And I’m going to go to bed tonight, I’m going to meditate on the Lord in the watches of the night, and I’m going to see the victories that He gave me throughout the day because I was relying on Him. I wasn’t trusting in the arm of my flesh for victory. I was trusting in the arm of the Living God, knowing the Lord is with me, the Lord will give me victory, the Lord will allow me to overcome. It’s not an Internet filter, it’s not an accountability partner. It’s beholding the beauty of Christ. That is the answer to freedom from pornography. It’s knowing Him.
I’ll tell you, don’t pursue freedom, and don’t focus on “I need freedom from pornography”. Focus and behold Christ, and you will have freedom. That’s the only reason I’ve had freedom since I’ve been converted. And if I stop beholding the Living God I will fall into sin, just like King David did. You read in Samuel about the victories that he had, the wars that he won, about every enemy being routed out. But then he made a mistake. At the time when the kings should have been at war, David didn’t go to war. He was proud. And some of you, instead of seeking the Lord and being in the Word, being satisfied in the beauty of Christ, you ignore the Scriptures. You go running around on Facebook all day. You go running around in all the other pursuits of the world – some of them even ministerial pursuits. You think: “Well, look what I’m doing for God.” Listen, we can do a whole lot for the Lord. But if we’re not being satisfied in the Lord, we can perform very well, but we will not overcome. It’s a deadly idol to get your joy from your performance and not from the perfect performance of Jesus Christ. I mean, that’s where my joy comes from, because even if I fall, Christ didn’t.
Jesus Christ, who laid the foundations of the world, lived a perfect life in my place. And then He died on that Cross as a perfect, spotless sacrifice once and for all, to satisfy the wrath of God that I deserved in hell for all of an eternity. And He rose again from the dead – He proved who He was. And that same victory that He had on Calvary, and that resurrection from the dead, He’ll give to the one who comes to Him, who stops trying to save himself, who gives up and surrenders, and says, “Lord, I cannot overcome this Goliath in my life. I can not. The Goliath is too big, he’s too great.” And then, there that David is – that Christ – and He comes in there, and He slays him on our behalf. That is the only hope of victory. You will never get victory through Internet filters and accountability partners. It just won’t work. It blows my mind how many people out there are not focusing on the root. The root issue is you’re not satisfied in the beauty of the Lord, because if you saw what He did on that Cross for your sins, you would look and when you feel impatience coming, when you feel the temptation to lust, there that way of escape is – “God is faithful” – you behold Christ! You’re satisfied with His likeness.
What does Psalms 90:14 say? “Lord, satisfy us with your steadfast love in the morning, that we can rejoice and be glad all of our days.” How do I overcome? It’s because I’m weak! I cannot overcome in and of myself. My only hope is that I’ll be satisfied through the Word of God, through prayer, through seeing Christ in those things – be satisfied in Jesus Christ – and therefore I overcome, because I’m satisfied. I don’t have to go whoring after an idol. I don’t have to go worship an idol. I don’t have to be impatient. I don’t have to go view pornography. I don’t have to do those things. I don’t have to worry about the approval of man or what my friends think about me on Facebook. I don’t have to worry about any of that. I don’t have to worry about my physical appearance. I don’t have to worry about how I’m performing, because Jesus Christ, in my place, performed perfectly. That’s feedom! And if you know that truth, it will set you free. And Jesus says, “Come unto Me, all who labor and are heavy-laden, I will give you rest.”
It’s not “come unto 60 days of freedom from pornography, and then you’ll have rest”. That’s not true rest. You may pat yourself on the back and feel good about yourself when you’re able to go to your accountability group that night and say, “I’ve been free 60 days.” God’s not impressed! Jesus Christ was free for all of an eternity, and He offered Himself up. That’s the perfect sacrifice. And that will motivate you to submit your life as a living sacrifice to God, holy and acceptable; and to not be conformed to the world. I don’t wake up today and think, “Well, I better not look at pornography. I better not make this an idol. I better not do that.” I wake up today and I say this, “Where are you at, Lord? Satisfy me. Lord, open my mind, my heart, to see the wonders in your Word, to see the beauty of Christ, then I will overcome.” That’s my one pursuit – it’s a heart burning to know Jesus Christ – and in that there’s freedom. There’s no other source of freedom. No other source.
Psalm 63, David says, “O God, You are my God; earnestly I seek You.” Notice, he’s not saying “I’m earnestly seeking freedom. I’m earnestly seeking to look good before my fellow man.” He’s not worried about those things. He’s worried about seeking God. He says, “I seek You. My soul thirsts for You.” His soul is not thirsting for freedom, his soul is not thirsting for a better performance, for a hundred days of freedom; his soul is seeking for God. He says, “My flesh faints for You, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon You.” He’s not looking for freedom for his joy. You see, he’s not satisfied, and where is he running? “To You,” to God, to Christ. It’s always the answer. He says, “In the sanctuary, beholding Your power and glory.” I mean, he is beholding the power and the glory of God; the power of the God who split the Red Sea and allowed Israel to pass through it, allowed them to endure through the trials. Yes, many fell away, but they made it in the end. “Few there be that find it.” But I’ll tell you, if you’re looking to the Lord, the hand of Him to deliver you, to our God, you will find victory.
He says, “Because Your stedfast love is better than life.” Do you believe that? Do you honestly believe that the stedfast love of Christ is better than life? That knowing Him is better than any thing in this life? He says, “My lips will praise You.” So often man wants to praise themselves. They want to say, “Look what I have done, look what I have…” I’ll tell you, the only reason I have victory is because I’m so weak and helpless that I realize my only hope is the Lord. And so I found myself totally cast on Christ every day. And there are days where I wasn’t cast on Christ, and idols and things crept in my life. And I learned a lesson the hard way, and God disciplined me from my idolatry and other things where I got my joy.
He says, “So I will bless You Lord as long as I live; in Your name I will lift up my hands.” And he says this, “My soul WILL be satisfied.” His soul will be satisfied, not because he has gained freedom, but because he has seen Christ, because he has been satisfied in Christ. “My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise You with joyful lips, when I remember You upon my bed, and meditate on You in the watches of the night; for You have been my help.” I mean, I praise God that I can go home tonight by God’s grace as I endure through the rest of this day, I can lay in the cot in the I’ll Be Honest little office in the Grace House, and I can lay there and meditate on the Lord and praise Him for the victory that He will give me. I’m confident in Him because I know that I need no other sacrifice than Jesus’ blood and righteousness, and my own performance will fail a million times over. My only hope is in the Lord. I mean, isn’t it glorious to meditate on the Lord? I mean, 21 years of my life I would be meditating on lust in the night, and I’d be driving myself in misery for hours, trying to get to bed with all these daydreams and anxious thoughts pummeling my mind. And I couldn’t overcome because I didn’t have the beauty of the Lord. I kept trying to find victory in myself.
“My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.” That’s my only hope. Is that yours? Is that yours? I’ve been getting e-mails from hundreds of you guys out there who are saying you’re addicted to pornography. I’ll tell you, the Lord’s right hand upholds me, that’s my only hope. That’s it. It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? But Luke 18:17 says, “Unless you receive the kingdom of heaven as a child, you will not enter it.” A child is helpless. They’re totally cast on Christ. They know their only hope of redemption, their only hope of freedom, is in the Lord Jesus Christ. They don’t wake up and rely on themselves and relying on their father. And that’s where my hope is; my reliance is my Father in Heaven. The only way out of victory is in the Lord Jesus Christ and Him alone. Go there, and you will find victory. Go to the arm of your flesh and rely on that, and you’ll fail, time and time again. And my friend, beware of practicing your righteousness, not only to be seen by men, but to think that on Judgment Day you’re going to stand before God and say, “God, look what I have done.” God is not impressed with 100 days of freedom. God is not impressed with 10 years of freedom. God is impressed with one thing: the perfect life of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice of Himself to atone for sinners’ sins on that Cross. He gave Himself up to set you free.
“If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed” (1 Corinth. 16:22). To find more content on I’ll Be Honest that deal with overcoming sexual sin, you can go to the “Media Library” and select a subject “Sexual Sin and Pornography”, and you can find a list of resources there. You’re also able to use your e-mail and subscribe for e-mail updates that you’ll automatically get from an RSS feed every time a new piece of content is uploaded to the Site. Again, our burden is just to put the truth out there, and I pray God will use it, and that people will walk in freedom and be lovers of Christ.