For the most part, pornography is referred to as a man’s addiction. Women bash men, calling them “sexist pigs” for looking at various types of what we like to call smut. It is a struggle for most men and most of them fight to overcome this.
What we don’t hear about is the struggle women face. Some women might not even see it as a struggle like I did and still do at times, but it’s wrong all the same. Our version of pornography is a little classier. They’re called romance novels and not the Christian type.
I have visited many church yard sales and go straight to the book section. I love reading. As I search for Christian book steals, I see an overwhelming number of fictional romance novels and my excitement fades. My first thought is ugh! My next emotion is despair because they are not godly and we are subjecting ourselves to this. Finally, I struggle to resist when I see one that interests me. That’s when I have to flee temptation and resist the enemy of my flesh.
Christian women and Christians as a whole have fallen so far out of alignment with God that we cannot even feel convicted to not read trashy romance novels. Many see no harm in it at all.
Now, I have struggled with this on and off for about six or seven years, so I know what is in this area. The books I favored were not quite the Harlequin novels, though I have occasionally seen some while browsing, but they are a close tie. Authors jazz up the books by adding the paranormal, military, or any number of plots and characters that draw you in. The action and mystery were always a plus for me (I like the kick butt and take names later type), but as a woman who was living in an unfulfilled marriage, the intimate scenes and the words of love were what originally drew me in. I chose books with a strong female characters because I had no control over my life and “tried” to live through the heroine. It was an escape from my living nightmare to a fairytale land of temporary excitement.
When women subject their spirit to this style of reading, it leaves voids and unfulfilled needs that are only fleeting and cause you to look for you next fix. Even if your marriage is a happy one or even content, it causes unrealistic expectations towards your spouse. It becomes an addiction of fantasy.
I mean seriously, what woman doesn’t want a highland warrior in a kilt swinging a broadsword to rescue her and fall in love? But, this is the real world and we have our own version of a modern knight in shining armor. More than two thousand years ago, we had the ultimate Knight who died for us.
James 1:14-16 ESV: But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 ESV: For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God;
Colossians 3:5 ESV: Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
This last one is one of my favorites:
For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 2 Corinthians 10: 3-5 ESV
Many would not see it, but we are in a battle when we read sexually contented books, watch certain movies, or look at sensual pictures. It’s called the spirit of lust and it’s a powerful adversary. It slowly draws you in until you are hooked and then there is no stopping it; your soul becomes its playground. One hour turns to three. One book turns to ten. The consequences are endless and the chains are heavy.
Movies are luring in a different way. They show actual images of intimate acts when in a book, our imagination plays out the picture for us. So really, what is the difference between anyone, male or female, watching or reading? Guys can claim they like reading the articles all they want, but what is beside that article is not Godly by any means. The same can be said for a woman concerning romance books that are not from a Christian stand point.
I remember I would sit down and read anywhere from 2-3 books a day. The house work was done at bare minimum, the kids were always being yelled at because they interrupted me while reading, and dinner was sometimes cereal if it was only the kids eating. I was so consumed by my lust, that I couldn’t get enough. The drive was just one more page. Thoughts of “what would happen next” were at the forefront of my mind. The excitement kept my feelings up to a high and then the book would be over and I would feel empty again, unsatisfied with my life, and obsessed with getting the next one in the series or starting a new series all together. It became my costly escape from reality. I spent hundreds in books only to sell them or trade them when I became convicted again.
The catch is if you are in a place where your life doesn’t add up in your eyes or you are not where you thought you should be, it’s up to you to change those circumstances, not outside forces. Only YOU are able to overcome yourself so that GOD can do His perfect will in your life. He gave us freewill and will not force us to bend to His will. God says in John 15:5 “Apart from me, you can do nothing.” Don’t get caught up in some fantasy wishing that life would change. DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!
God is the best medicine out there and the Bible the best weapon. I posted scriptures on index cards all around my house to help remind me of the spiritual fight and to resist the temptation of reading the “bad books”. I am not saying it’s easy, it’s not by a long shot. I am still struggling to avoid books that have sexual content. I love to read, especially historical and action based books. I even had to have a reading fast all together for a while. The key, like any other addiction, is to constantly fight it. Just say NO!
I have a stronger relationship with God now than I ever have and that has helped me in more ways that I can say. Prayer, friends, and soaking in His presence is a wonderful thing. Talk about a high? The presence of God is such an amazing feeling that no cheap novel can compare. Wake up and put on the armor of God to overcome the sexual temptation. Do something to spice up your marriage. Go out on a date with your husband or get some nice lingerie.
If you’re single, find some friends to get together with or a church group to get involved with. Never go alone with the opposite gender. This leads to temptations and weak thoughts. The point is to never isolate yourself with the negative feelings and loneliness. The enemy knows our weaknesses and will try to use that against us.
Reading Romans 1:18-31 gives us a good illustration of how God allows us free will and following the desires of the flesh.
When you have been subjecting your flesh to the spirit of lust and pornography for so long and then make an effort to stop, it will stomp its foot and say “Fine, you want to play it that way? Let’s see how you handle me raging inside of you more than before.” The urges will increase and thing will pop up all over that will cause you to want to slip back into old habits. That’s how you know it’s a war.
There is a whole other set of rules and consequences for our actions when we live by our flesh. The grass is not always greener on the other side. Most of the time, the results are not as pleasant as when we are following God. If we make a mistake while being Spirit-led, we have God’s grace and mercy to soften the blow. But if you are not in Christ, the blows will come much harder and will take longer to recover from.
Another good thing to help you overcome this desire is to confide in one person and have them help keep you accountable. Allow them to check your house, check whatever tablet you use to read, your phone. Give them all out access to your life. Speaking from experience, when the enemy is backed in a corner, he will give you ideas. I tried to hide my books from people in my car, under my mattress, even in my dresser.
In John 15, God tells us to abide in Him. That He is the vine and we are His branches. If we abide in Him there will be such a joy that blossoms that we will no longer crave the things of this world to fulfill that void in our lives. God made that void in our souls for Him to fill and nothing and no one will ever be able to compare.
It is a hard journey that we as Christians must walk, but God’s right there with us every step of the way. He will never leave us nor forsake us. When you stumble, just get up, dust yourself off and start again. I am reminded of a song in my teen years that says “I get knocked down, but I get up again. You’re never going to keep me down.” Life is about trial and error. The enemy does not want us to succeed in our Christian walk. He wants us to be subjected to a life of chains and misery. We have to fight back and take the freedom that was paid for by such a precious price. If you make a mistake, try again. Never give up on fighting for a better life for yourself and those around you.
So, we must crucify our flesh daily (Gal 5:24) and remember that the Spirit of the living God lives in you (Romans 8:11, 1 Cor 3:16). We are overcomers and the devil (flesh) is a liar! He who is in us is stronger than he who is in the world bc Jesus overcame the world!! Hallelujah!