This morning I stood in my room and faced the seemingly simply decision of whether of not to open up my laptop or sit down with my Bible…
I was feeling lustful since the time I awoke and knew no one else was home. If I sat down at the computer with those ideas in the back of my mind, I almost certainly would fall into sin… hundreds of situations have built up a pretty predictable track record: I would sit down and open up a “private browsing” window (just in case I ended up “needing” to go somewhere “questionable”). I would open Gmail and Facebook. Some pictures, ads, or phrases may have caught my attention and drug me deeper into tempting thoughts; maybe a status update from my ex, new pictures from someone’s winter Caribbean cruise, or a suggestively illustrated cartoon ad for women’s swimsuits.
But as I stood transfixed on this scenario, on this possible adventure into Satan’s territory, I recalled a list of Bible verses I had made while browsing through the New Testament a few days ago. (To me, if Jesus was who he said he was (which I certainly believe) then the entire Bible rings with truth and guidance for my character and relationships.)
Somehow, as I stood there, I felt I was choosing faith in eternal life or faith in eternal death. If I chose life, I would sit in my reading chair and learn more about God, gaining more understanding of His purposes for me. I would pray for his Spirit in me to cause me to flee from sin (especially sexually immorality, 1 Corinthians 6:18) and that He would continue teaching me how to rid myself of unrighteousness (1 Corinthians 8). Basically, I’d be going out on a limb, calling God’s bluff so to speak, and waiting to see if Christ really does free us from sin.
Because of my past struggles with porn, this was such a hard decision! This morning was the most aware I have been of it’s complexity. It reminds me of Jesus, perfectly blameless and never submitting to temptation (Matthew 4:1-11; Isaiah 53:9). If he had been standing there with me looking at my laptop and Bible, how hard would He (or I, for that matter) have to think on this one?
I inhaled deeply and sighed as I fell into my reading chair. As I sat, it felt like I was killing a bit of my sinful nature – not the most enjoyable feeling really – like trying to kick a familiar and comfortable habit. I grabbed my bible and flipped directly to the list of verses I had made a few days prior and began praying, reading, and thinking.
You know, I place faith in God. That means living as his servant, as one indebted to and inspired by God’s grace. It saddens me that so many do not see this grace more often because of their own walls or inhibitions, or because of the influence their surroundings, sacred or secular. To loosely quote Jim Congdon: I urge everyone to consider God’s grace in the face of our stupidity (or flat-out filth), because it is stupendous!
As I continue to battle against sexual temptation, I’m also going to make a conscious effort to pray or read the Word BEFORE I spend time on Facebook each day. And later in the day before surfing (or stalking) during a block of free time, I think I’ll hit up the Bible or phone an old friend or take a moment to catch up with my family. These are things of a more true and eternal significance: learning, growing, forgiving, befriending, loving. The internet is really too tempting anyway…