Your Battle Isn’t With Porn

In the final days of his life, John Wesley, a minister in the Church of England, wrote a letter to a young politician named William Wilberforce. Wesley had urged him to use his political clout for opposing the slave trade in the British Empire. Wilberforce did. He made that fight his life mission. He was bitterly opposed by powerful people. But with God’s help, Wilberforce and his allies finally defeated the slave trade and made the world a better place.

Here is Wesley’s letter. And please overlook the old-fashioned style! Just notice what Wesley was asking Wilberforce to do— to take a bold stand against a successful evil that many people accepted as no big deal.

Dear Sir,
Unless the divine power has raised you up to be as Athanasius contra mundum, I see not how you can go through your glorious enterprise in opposing that execrable villainy which is the scandal of religion, of England, and of human nature. Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you? Are all of them together stronger than God? O be not weary of well doing! Go on, in the name of God and in the power of His might, till even American slavery (the vilest that ever saw the sun) shall vanish away before it.
Reading this morning a tract written by a poor African, I was particularly struck by that circumstance that a man who has black skin, being wronged or outraged by a white man, can have no redress, it being a law in all our colonies that the oath of a black against a white goes for nothing. What villainy is this!
That He who has guided you from youth up may continue to strengthen you in this and all things is the prayer of,
Dear Sir,
Your affectionate servant,
John Wesley
Balam
24 Feb. 1791

I love that. The dignified “Dear Sir,” the inspiring “glorious enterprise,” the blunt “execrable villainy,” the realistic “opposition of men and devils.” Sign me up!

Anyway, this old letter got me thinking: What about us today? What if not just one man but a whole generation of men takes a bold stand against the new slave trade of our time—pornography? Slavery is not gone. It’s still going strong, but in a new form. Multitudes of men and women are in bondage to the degrading slavery of porn.

Which makes porn a justice issue. And Son, I know you’re not okay with injustice! You know how God’s heart breaks when people are oppressed and vandalized and dehumanized. But did you know he’s calling you—just as he called Wilberforce—to do something about it? And you can do something about it, because God himself will help you.

Yes, the human odds are against you. The porn industry has dug in. It won’t loosen its grip easily. Many people in our day just accept it—the way people accepted racialized slavery back then. That’s why Wesley mentioned “Athanasius against the world.” Athanasius was a heroic man who went up against impossible odds, confronting a major wrong in his time for the sake of future generations. And he won, because God was with him—the way God is with you today.

Yes, you. Almighty God above is with you.

Don’t tell yourself you’re into your own sexual sin too deep to get free, much less to set others free. You have a future worth reaching for. I want to help you get there.

Here’s what I ask you to remember all along the way. Your battle against porn isn’t about porn. It isn’t about sex. It isn’t about willpower. Your battle is about hope. It’s about your heart believing that in spite of your many sins—like my many sins—God rejoices to give you a future you can scarcely dream of. You’ll win your fight by believing that God’s love for you is too great to be limited to what you deserve.

If you see yourself living under a grim law of crime and punishment, with you always getting the karma you deserve, your hope will die. Your despair will sink you down into resignation, and from there you’ll spiral down into porn and shame, then more porn and more shame, and on and on. You know what I mean.

Your battle against porn isn’t about porn. It isn’t about sex. It isn’t about willpower. Your battle is about hope.

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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