It was Sunday– always my weakest day.
Church that morning had been amazing– always my weakest moment.
I had a bit of a headache, so I should have seen this coming.
Sick on a Sunday– it has always proved fatal for my walk.
I got home from lunch with family, and headed to my room. Exhausted from a late night Friday working in our church’s food ministry, I laid down for a quick nap. The plan was to kick this headache first. Then, I would get up, do my devotions and work on some ministry stuff.
About watching porn.
I woke up, checked the time and then laid back down again. The dream picked up right where I left it. Why can’t the good dreams do this? I woke again, twenty minutes later.
That’s when it happened.
No one’s home.
No one’s home.
Wait… I knew this whisper. I knew this feeling. Oh, good night, not now. Really? Why is it my flesh always wakes up faster than my spirit? Still rubbing sleep out of my eyes, I tried to turn off the onslaught of temptation, but it had jumped me. In my dream, I had given in, with people in the room. With my family sitting right beside me, I had determined to watch and had actually turned the screen away from them. My flesh and arrogance already had a decent head start.
You have time. Just real quick. You’ve made it for a long time without watching it; what’s the big deal with just a little right now. Reward yourself. Then, you can start over.
Seriously? I groaned, and rolled over in my bed. Too late. The battle was full on. There was no going back to sleep but I still wasn’t fully awake. I finally pried my eyes open and sat up.
I didn’t do that for you.
Come on. Your family is gone. They won’t be home for hours.
I went through the mental checklist. Three siblings at work, mom at church. It was true; I was free for at least the next two hours. Wait? Why am I even listening to you?
Because you want it.
No, actually I don’t. What I want is for my headache to go away so I can work.
You know how to cure a headache, right?
Shut up. I got out of bed. Usually getting up and walking helps clear my mind and get me awake. Still, getting out of bed felt like it could easily be the first step toward my falling.
The computer is downstairs right where you left it. You can still clear your history on that one; you haven’t disabled that yet.
True again. My mistake.
So, see? No one has to know. You can just go down, get rid of your headache and then work on what you need to get done.
God will know.
And He will forgive. Just like He’s done before. Besides, you’ve already technically kinda messed up. I mean, after all, you did have a dream about it. You might as well do it for real so that you have something real to ask forgiveness for.
Seriously? What kind of twisted logic is that? Why am I even debating this?
Because you want it. Nothing hardcore, just the soft stuff. Just enough to clear that headache so you can think.
I made my way downstairs, still unsure of what choice I would make. The computer in question was sitting on the floor in the living room. Why hadn’t I disabled clearing the history when I was strong? How could I have been so foolish?
Just once. No one will know.
I sat in the chair and fired up the computer and opened up Internet Explorer. I don’t have headphones. I always use headphones. Wait, what am I doing? I’m rationalizing. Stop that!
Use your sister’s. They are sitting right there.
I am getting ready to write another chapter in my book! How can I do that twenty minutes after watching porn?
You are writing a book about grace. It makes perfect sense to write it from a place of failure where you need grace.
Where on earth was this coming from? I had just gotten home from church, for Heaven’s sake. Church, where I spent time under great teaching about the importance of living a genuine life and then turned around and discussed the importance of servanthood, stewardship and the body of Christ. Aha! Busted. That’s where this was coming from. Oh no, no, no. Not happening.
This was not an attack on my purity as much as it was an attack on my purpose. I know this story enough to know how it ends– with me feeling completely incapable of leading a purity ministry because I cannot seem to manage my own, much less encourage it in others.
No, you are not taking this. You aren’t doing this. You’re done.
For those of you wondering if the temptation ever goes away, the answer is no. I truly believe that I will have a weakness in this area for the rest of my life. In freedom, Christ gives me strength to fight, but the choice to do so is still mine. Without Him, I have no strength to fight at all.
I know the example of Christ is to fight temptation with Scripture. On occasion, I do, but God tells us He will make a way to escape temptation. He doesn’t confine that to just the use of Scripture. There are other ways to escape temptation. Obviously, one option is to flee, but since my temptation is internal, that could be difficult.
The other option is to call the devil on his bluff, to call my flesh on its foolishness, to call my heart on its deceit. To rip the blinds off and let the truth shine in.
For me, the best way to do that has been through honesty, and through writing. As I’ve worked in this ministry, I’ve battled with my motives. Am I bringing glory to sin? Wouldn’t it be easier if I just shut up and dealt with it on my own?
Easier? yes. But I have learned that there are two ways this can be used. It can either be used to glorify the power of sin or used to glorify the grace of God. I can take my experiences and let them destroy me or I can take those some experiences and edify others. Those are my choices, and I make those through writing. Now, I will happily shut off my computer, take some Advil for my headache, go for a prayer walk and return to my computer if and only when the temptation has been silenced. That is my escape, and I have made it now.