I figured I should email you because I've been having trouble. I've been going through it for the past week with pornography again. I kept telling God, "no more!" and there I go again.
I guess what I'm truly ashamed about is how easy it is to fall into sin. I worked up so much effort into trying to get right with God. I started over reading the Bible (from Genesis) to even having hour-long talks with God late at night.
Now, I'm slipping back into the 'life' by playing around with how weak my flesh is. I start out the day on a great note. Then, I would get curious and look at things. I keep telling myself, maybe if I could try this, it could help me defeat my shortcomings to porn, but it fails and brings me closer to depravity. It's like, I want to seem strong in the Lord, but my I think I'm too prideful to accept my weaknesses and do it God's way. I want to get clean, I really do! But it's like, I have this thought in my mind saying "you can handle it." I know I can't, so the cycle repeats.
I suspect that your problem with pornography is a combination of things. I think we talked about this once, but I've talked to so many that I get mixed up who I told what.
One problem is that most guys equate pornography with ejaculating. They can't imagine one without the other. Thus, when they realize that pornography they try to stop ejaculating in order not to look at pornography. The problem is that the male body is designed to have regular ejaculations. A guy can hold off for a while but eventually something has to give because he has to ejaculate. In desperation instinct takes over and a guy in the habit of looking at pornography to ejaculate will go back to pornography, even against his will, just to get relief.
What I tell guys to do is separate the two ideas. A guy can look at pornography without ejaculating (and it is still just as wrong). In the same way a guy can ejaculate without pornography.
A second problem is that you aren't fully convinced that pornography is a problem (I Thessalonians 4:3-5). Like many guys, you focus on the actions instead of the thoughts and motivations. So you convince yourself that a casual look isn't bad, but if you pull down your pants and masturbate then it suddenly becomes bad. "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man" (Mark 7:21-23). The problem with pornography is the lust it produces in you. The masturbating is merely a consequence of the lust.
Because you place the line you don't want to cross in the wrong place, you find it nearly impossible to resist. You've already went too far long before you pulled your pants down. Instinct is now running the show and you lost control of yourself.
My goal is to teach you self-control so that you'll be able to face other temptations, like fornication, without giving in to instinct. You have to realize that you are male. You have a body which you have to manage or it will end up running your life and ruining it.
Too often people want to make their own rules instead of simply looking for God's rules. "Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations -- "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle," which all concern things which perish with the using -- according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh" (Colossians 2:20-23). That means not making exceptions for things God says are wrong and not making rules against things God didn't say was wrong.
Thank you, Jeff, so much.
I have an optimistic feeling about this. I masturbated yesterday in the shower as a last resort to prevent any potential build up of semen. That being said, I didn't view any lust-inciting things before I got in the shower. To be honest, it kind if felt like I was forcing my body to do it. Nevertheless though, I like why you said about maintaining our male bodies.
Thank you, Jeff. I really appreciate your help and advice. I had no idea how many men and women you counsel.
Good for you!