Interestingly, people are in the maze of sexual immorality even as death whispers for many of us. COVID-19 has brought the world into a forced quarantine mode. Not much is happening in the streets where people went to expend their energies and get busy. This freedom leaves us with two challenges: unplanned time and a wicked mind that is beyond human cure. For the employed, students or even business people, it is always a fantastic thing to think that the annual leave is coming or for students that the school holidays are near. Now, we have a forced leave; a forced getaway; a forced school holiday. The question is, “What on earth do I do with 24 hours?” With a very sexualised culture, the mind has found out a false getaway; a retreat centre called incognito, pornography online!
Data from a very popular pornography website showed that there a massive spike in traffic after a free trial was offered during this COVID-19 pandemic. The pornographic website offer was sent out to people globally, and it led to a 57% spike in traffic in Italy, a 38% increase in France and 61% in Spain, all of which are the worst hit European countries. Pornography has been consumed at an all-time high rate globally according to this well known pornographic website. In a time of reflection and suffering and death, sin still has a way of creeping into people’s hearts. So what is it about porn that lulls the minds of internet users worldwide to the point where they cannot see the real need at hand and seek for lasting rest which is found only in Jesus (Matthew 11:28-29)?
Have you ever been so hungry and then someone brought you a nice bowl of popcorn? Especially nicely salted ones? You know the feeling. You get to that bowl and devour that pile of popcorn like you hadn’t eaten for a whole month. After a few minutes, you belch, and then all that you had eaten disappears in a moment. It’s like you hadn’t eaten at all. That’s what the porn rush is. It is never real food that satisfies. It lies that it can fulfil. It makes one think, at its look, that it is all one needs. But then after a short while, all is gone. You need more of it like you would a bowl of popcorn when you are hungry.
Porn will give you an emotional high and deceive you that you are okay only to throw in more desire and demands. After a short while, you want to browse again and hide again (as we’ll see below). The cycle goes on. Man is hungry for something more than sexual rush and sinful belches of the soul. Jesus told the Samaritan woman in John 4:1-30 that he has water that one can drink and never get thirsty; food that one can eat and never get hungry (John 4:14). He reminded still that man cannot live by bread alone (Matthew 4:4) when he was responding the temptations thrown at him by Satan. We are hungry for assurance and certainty and hope. God created us for something higher than passing passions. The problem with us is that we are far too easily pleased with little, temporary pleasures.
Porn has no lasting satisfaction. It is all a lie. In a time of fear and uncertainty- like we are in right now- how is it possible for the heart and mind of man to find pleasure in empty passions? That is the power of deception, my friends. Porn says to us, “Hey. I have something that will remove all the anxiety from your mind and calm your mind.” In essence, it is telling us to stop looking at eternal hope and cling to perishing and fleeting things. Our souls do not need ecstasy. They need the truth that will satisfy totally. God says in Isaiah 55:1-3 that we should not waste money on what is not bread and our labour for what does not satisfy. There is nothing in porn for you other than misery and filth and death. Come everyone who thirsts. Come to the waters.
One of the most deceitful things that I hid in as I struggled with this animal called porn back in the day was the realisation of this thing called “online incognito” or having my identity hidden as I enjoyed porn. It was like I had hit the jackpot. ‘You Mean I can just watch, and no one else will ever know what I have been watching?’ It felt like a miracle that I can hide away all my evil thoughts and actions. At least I thought I could hide them all. Later on, as I grew in knowledge of technology and faith in the Lord, I understood that there was nothing on the net like incognito and life in the Lord offered nothing like secrecy.
The lie of online incognito is that we are hidden from all the world and hence safe. In reality, though that’s not true. There is nothing like hidden identity in browsing. Someone is always watching. But that is not the scariest thing about it- God is watching. Hebrews 4:13 reminds us that there is nothing that is hidden before the sight of God. Psalm 139:7-9 brings the realities of God’s All-knowing nature. Even if I hid in the furthest parts of the ocean, there the Lord will find me (Psalm 139:9).
Next, there is no way you can hide from yourself. You see, when someone is secure, they don’t need to hide from others or fear anything. Why? Because they are safe. No fear for the moment or later. But that is not the kind of thing that this online incognito brings to us. We are always watching over our shoulder for who might be coming our way. We are ashamed of what might be known about us. So the question is, “Why do we fall for the lie?” Because we are desperately hoping that something will come and calm down our minds. That something is the Word of God. In it lies real security—no fear of life and no shame in death.
How do we deal with this time in a way that is God-exalting and honouring? How should we spend our time in ways that will cause God to say “well done” as opposed to “a waste of time”? The answer is by seeking the grace of God. In Christ, we have provisions of grace at our disposal to help us get that nice commendation from God, “well done.”:
Prayer. Take time and pray alone using scriptures. Open Bible and pray out Psalms and scriptures that stir up your faith and spur you on to think upon holy things. Then pray for your emotions and hearts attitudes. God is strong. He can hold the sun and moon and stars, and he can also change your heart’s desires.
Scripture– Read the texts of the Bible, memorise and meditate on them. The Psalmist says that scripture is what guards our hearts into purity lifestyles (Psalm 119:9-11).
Exercise- Get out of the house and do some physical workout. Refresh your body and mind in the morning and evening. Download some workout and follow through. Paul told Timothy that physical exercise has some value (1Timothy 4:8). A fresh mind affords much more than just sitting around doing nothing.
Accountability– Get brothers and sisters in Christ to hold you accountable. Let them talk with you and ask you difficult questions. Be sure to share with reliable and honourable people about your progress and failures that they may help you in prayer, scripture and exercise.
Keeping free from enslavement to sexual sin is a responsibility we have (Galatians 5:1), however getting the freedom is a work that Christ does by His Word (John 8:31-32). Study it today and receive the grace that God offers to overcome temptations to pornography during this COVID-19 season.