It happened when I least expected it. “Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name…” Then, BAM! Pictures danced across my mind that were not His will on earth or in Heaven. My prayer stopped in mid-sentence and my eyes flew open, welcoming the distractions around me, anything to make it go away. Anything to make it stop. When the screen finally went dark, I closed my eyes again and pray for God to renew my mind and heart. I felt guilty, ashamed and really screwed up.
How is it that my mind pulled up porn in the middle of a prayer.
It’s not like I was sitting around doing nothing. I was praying! That’s as far away from pornography as you can possibly get. On top of that, how could I remember porn I saw years ago when I couldn’t even remember the notes I just studied for my test? What was the deal?
The first few times, I tried to ignore it. Whenever it happened, I would stop whatever I was doing and purposefully engage my mind in something else– conversation with friends, looking at flowers, going for a walk, something– anything. I couldn’t be left alone with my mind at all. It was dangerous.
It was also frustrating. I wanted to be free, but freedom was really hard to find when my mind seemed to keep revisiting my old stopping grounds. I wanted to skin myself. I wrote that in my journals countless times. Why couldn’t I have a normal spiritual life? Because of my flesh, obviously, so if I could eliminate that problem, I’d be good.
That isn’t God’s answer though. God’s answer is found nestled away in 2 Corinthians 10:5. The end of that verse talks about bringing every thought captive to Christ, but it is the entire verse that packs the wallop we need to cancel the little X-rated show plaguing our mind.
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ
It was the answer to my specific problem. I had imaginations and things that were very specifically exalting themselves against God. Looking back, I don’t think the timing of those weaknesses was a coincidence.
They popped up specifically when I was doing something to draw nearer to God, and they always accomplished their purpose. They got me to stop.
To get the images to go away, I would distract myself from what I was doing. They were controlling my mind in a weird dysfunctional way. They were a roadblock between God and I. They were a hindrance to my freedom, and they were a nuisance. I tried to ignore them, but that is not what this verse is telling us to do.
There are some powerful words in that verse, words that speak of might, strength and, most of all, action. In verse 3 of 2 Corinthians 10, we are told we are in a war. In verse 4, we are told about our weapons and about strongholds. In verse 5, we are given our marching orders, or at least some of them.
The most powerful for me is bringing every thought into captivity.
I often tell people falling to lust is like having someone break into your house. You have three options. You can stand in the doorway with a shotgun, scared stiff that it will happen again, shooting everything in sight, living or not, while the house falls down around you. You can ignore it, while they break it again and rifle through your stuff; you could even fix them dinner if you would like. Or, you can wire the house with a state of the art alarm system and move on with life.
The question here is what do you do when the alarm goes off? When we are in the middle of prayer and that video we watched five years ago decides to resurface, we often get up and run from the scene. What we should do, though, is treat that thought for what it is– an unwelcomed intruder. You are in communion with the lover of your soul, the Saviour of the World, your Redeemer, your Healer, your Rock, your Strength, your Refuge and strong tower.
Who on earth does this thought think it is to come trouncing in here and mess with your time with Jesus, making you feel guilty and screwed up? Oh no. Not happening.
Next time it does happen, because it may, grab that thought by the throat and drag it to Jesus. Let Him take care of it. Bring it into captivity to Him– His glory, His holiness, and His purity. Cancel those shows one by one, and watch them fade away.