Did you know that pornography and lust can be just a habit? For some of us, our struggles with pornography and lust are habitual more than addictive. We struggle because we’re bored and are too lazy to find a more productive hobby. We watch not because we feel we have to but simply because we can.
Freedom can be the same- just a habit.
For some of us, we’ve just gotten used to being free. We’re not necessarily walking in a constant awareness of our freedom. We’ve rescheduled our lives to make no room for pornography and lust, but aren’t pursuing growth in freedom. We’re just not looking at porn anymore. We’ve figured out how to handle life without it. We’ve moved on but aren’t really moving on. We’ve learned to ignore pornography, but the necessary healing to live life without it still hasn’t taken place.
Here’s the problem with habitual freedom. Habitual freedom does not stand, it just sits there. It doesn’t really grow, or flourish; it just exists. It has no real life or substance of its own. Habitual freedom is more the lack of pornography than it is the presence of anything else. Habitual freedom is weak- it’s flimsy. It breaks.
How do you know if your freedom is only habitual?
One word: Change
You know what’s habit and what’s real when you come face to face with change.
I, for one, hate change, especially if I have little control over it. Even the slightest changes in my life can send me for a tailspin. My little INTJ, mastermind, long-distance planner kicks in and I somehow manage to trace that slight change today to some catastrophic outcome ten years down the road. (As if, having fish for dinner instead of steak will really affect my life 10 years from now.)
Change has this unsettling, stirring quality. It disrupts all that once comfortable and can bring up old sludge from the bottom of our hearts. Here’s the problem, if we don’t have the right foundation for our freedom, it will take a while for our lives to settle down again. In those moments of uncertainty and chaos, we might find ourselves running back to old faithful and falling.
Why? Because our freedom isn’t built on Christ or flowing out of an intimate relationship with Him.
If all we have is a ‘freedom’ that stems from a lack of pornography then we have nothing more than the atheist feminist down the street who has never even looked at pornography. Christ came to free us, yes, and with that freedom comes life. True, whole, healed freedom bring abundant life, healing, and joy, not simply the ability to say no to pornography.
How can you make sure your freedom will stand change?
Build it on Christ, not circumstances. Too often we have an “oh, that’s nice” approach to grace, freedom, and redemption. Calvary was not “nice.” Calvary was humiliating, bloody, and awful. Root your freedom down further than your circumstances or your momentary dislike for your sin. Root your freedom in the cross of Christ- that does not change.
Then build it. Work it out. Push your freedom to its depths, allow it to flood the broken places in your heart and soul. Don’t settle for life without pornography, strive for the abundant life promised by Christ. Open your heart to a healing freedom that will reach down into your heart, soul, and mind, and tear up anything not in line with Christ. Press on toward that freedom.
“People do not drift toward Holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom” D.A. Carson