The moment has finally arrived: the day that Jim has been eagerly awaiting for months! Jim gazes down the aisle of the packed church. His beautiful bride, the woman of his dreams, slowly walks down the aisle. Finally, after what seems like an eternity, she reaches the front of the large cathedral, and faces him before the altar.
“Jim,” the pastor’s voice echoes above the pounding of Jim’s heart, “do you take Susan to be your wedded wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness or in health, to love and to cherish till death do you part?”
“I do,” Jim replies, his eyes never straying from the veil concealing the love of his life.
The pastor turns to the bride. “Susan, do you take Jim to be your wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness or in health, to love and to cherish till death do you part?”
“I do,” replies a muffled voice, “… but … I want to have a little bit of single time every now and then. Jim, I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you, but I’d like to have just one day out of the year that I’m not married to you.”
Jim feels the blood drain from his face. What? This can’t be happening. Why—? Jim glances at the congregation, then back at the pastor. His throat tightens.
After a moment, the pastor, who had been looking expectantly at Jim, breaks the silence. “Well, what do you think, Jim? Just one day of the year. That sounds pretty reasonable to me.”
Suddenly Jim finds his voice. “No!” he almost shouts, turning back towards Susan with pleading eyes. “You’re supposed to be mine every day of the year! I love you! Why would you even want a day without me?”
Was Jim being unreasonable? No, of course not! Marriage is an all-or-nothing arrangement. It is a relationship in which both parties have committed themselves completely to each other.
The Bible often uses marriage as a symbol of our relationship with God. “Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you: … and I will bring you to Zion” (Jeremiah 3:14).
God’s marriage to us is a symbol of His commitment to save us from sin, from pornography, and from anything that would hurt us and that would keep us from being able to love Him with everything we are and have. He longs to take the place of everything in our lives that would prevent us from spending eternity in heaven with Him. He promises, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. … I will also save you from all your uncleannesses” (Ezekiel 36:26, 29).
But the only way this transformation is possible is if we are committed to our relationship with Him—if coming closer to Him, learning to love Him more, is our number one priority. “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).
What’s your number one priority? What do you spend the most time, the most money, the most thought, trying to get? A secure future? A life of ease? More money? Pleasure?
The simple truth is this: Your problem isn’t pornography—your problem is a sinful heart. Pornography is a symptom. And if you do not choose to make a relationship with Christ your first priority, if you do not choose to sacrifice everything which would come between you and Him, you will never find lasting freedom from the root problem, sin. Surrendering everything to Christ is the only way.
But how are we—addicts—supposed to surrender this habit to God? It’s not like we haven’t promised God that we’d stop before. We’d love to stop; we want to stop. That’s why we’re taking this course. But our past failures discourage us, taunt us, and make us wonder if we really want freedom, and if God could accept us if we did.
Friend, don’t despair. You need to learn what is the true force of the will. The will is what you use when you make a decision or a choice. Everything hinges on what you do with your will, what you choose. God has given you your will so that you can exercise it.
You can’t change your heart simply by making a decision. You can’t make yourself love God by deciding. But there is one thing you can do: You can choose to serve God. By doing this, you give Him your will. Then He will work in you “to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). Through the Holy Spirit your thoughts, your desires, and your whole nature will be brought “into captivity … to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
Activity: Making Time
Think of your favorite pastime or, alternatively, the thing that takes up the majority of your day. Now, take just 30 minutes from that activity and devote it to prayer and to reading about the life of Jesus from the Bible every day. Next week, add five minutes to your daily reading time, and keep adding five more minutes every week for at least five more weeks.