Advent and Pornography
Four things that every Christian man needs to consider.
JAY LAMPART - TUESDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2018
Since the fourth century, Advent has played a significant role in the faith and tradition of Western Christianity. Advent signifies the coming of Christ (derived from the Latin word adventus). For four weeks, Catholics and other Christians are encouraged to prepare their homes and their hearts in anticipation of Christ’s coming on the Liturgical calendar.
The greatest battle Christian men are faced with today is undoubtedly internet pornography. As we enter the season of Advent, here are four things to consider about the current crisis we must face as men in the Church.
1. ‘Tis the season for temptation In all of my years speaking to other men who struggle with pornography, the spring and summer seem to be the most arduous to endure. The reasons are quite obvious, and as a result, the holiday season is often overlooked as a time of great temptation.
Here in the western world, we put a great deal of pressure on ourselves between the months of November and December. Thanksgiving, Christmas and even New Year’s Eve can really bring out the worst in us. Dysfunctional families, broken relationships, the feeling of never measuring up or meeting our goals in time are all amplified when we go through the motions of getting together throughout the Holiday season. The anxiety leading up to such milestones can trigger us to act out in ways we would never expect or imagine. Satan loves to attack the family, and he always get’s us when our guard is down. It’s during these times we must put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). Discover 5 ways we can defeat pornography as Christian men here.
2. Resolutions don’t stick How many times have you said to yourself, “this is the last time?” How many times have you drawn a line in the sand, only to step over it again and again? If you are like most men, you haven’t stopped drawing those lines. Instead, you are just drawing them from progressively darker places. Places you never thought you would find yourself in five years ago, or even a week ago. Pornography diminishes our reaction to what we would normally find disturbing or disgusting. Over time, our appetite escalates, and this compounds the shame and guilt we feel each time we act out. This is the addictive nature of pornography.
Every person struggling with pornography is dealing with a different degree of addiction. This is based on many factors that affect each individual. Depending upon where you are and how far things have progressed, it may be possible to overcome pornography by seriously reexamining your walk with Christ, implementing a few disciplines and intentionally sticking with them. It’s one thing to have good intentions. It’s another thing to be intentional. Advent is a great time to be intentional about spiritual disciplines.
When my wife was pregnant, I would spent months preparing the house for our children’s arrival. For our first daughter, I built a deck and remodeled the kitchen. Our second child, I remodeling the bathroom. By our third, I finished the basement. Advent is a season of preparation. This Advent is a great time to clean house and "make room" in your heart for the coming of Christ by purging pornography from it. If you aren’t sure whether you are addicted, or past the point of no return - but you are serious about turning away from pornography for good, start here. If a method like this doesn’t work, it may be time to seek professional counseling or treatment.
3. “From Atlantic to Pacific. Gee, the traffic is......” On the coattails of the “me too” movement, it seems that sex trafficking has become the latest awareness-raising buzzword of social media outlets and Hollywood elites. As Christians, we might use this as an opportunity to point out the perceived hypocrisy of an industry that seems to freely promote promiscuity, finding itself on a platform to speak out against such an issue. Whether you agree or disagree with such an assessment, to quote a famous celebrity - it starts with the man in the mirror.
Most people, including Christian men; fail to see the direct correlation between internet pornography and sex trafficking. It’s unequivocal and far too complex to explain in a short article. For more information on this connection, I would encourage you to read Lost on Planet XXX: How the Church can solve the modern crisis of internet pornography. Its bad enough that we inadvertently allow demonic spirits into our home when we subject ourselves to pornography. Once you see the connection between internet pornography and sex trafficking, you will be forced to consider the impact your decisions are having on others, particularly women. And trust me when I say this......it’s demonic. As Christian men, how can we even begin to reconcile that?
During Advent we wait. We reflect. This Advent, reflect on the victims of sex trafficking. Think of all the mothers and fathers who are waiting for their daughters to come back home safely. Then make a decision to turn away from pornography for good. Although Christians have not been the drivers of the pornography industry, we have been willing passengers along for the ride. Your decision to get off at the next stop will not reverse the magnitude of decades and decades of evil, but you will certainly no longer contribute to it.
4. What Would Joseph Do? During Advent, we are reminded of the moments leading up to the arrival of Christ in a manger. We don’t know much about the life of Saint Joseph from the Bible. If we go strictly by what is accounted for in the Gospels, we could surmise that he was a man of few words. What we can agree on emphatically, is that Saint Joseph was a man of action - wholly devoted to his wife, totally sold out and obedient to God. Every time he heard from an Angel, Saint Joseph obeyed the Angel’s command.
Actions speak louder than words. Take some time this Advent to reflect on the life of Saint Joseph as he stood by Blessed Mary awaiting the first coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus. As Christians, we are to live our lives as if Christ will come again any minute. Sacred Scripture promises that He will come again like a thief in the night (1 Thesselonians 5:2). With this kind of knowledge and truth in the back of our minds, how can we continue to give ourselves permission to indulge in porn? If we have confessed with our mouth that we are through with submitting to pornography, it’s time to take action! This Advent, it’s time to clean house and purge porn from our lives, for good!