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Accountability – An Impetus to Overcome Pornography

I have observed, whenever we fall in sin, for the most part we slip into it unprepared.

It happened to me that one day I was browsing on the Internet to read some inspirational stuff. I was low in my spirit and looking for some encouragement. It is when we are downcast that this lust within us reaches fever pitch. As I was rummaging through Google’s search engine, I was subtly enticed towards partial sensual content. My mind became dumb. I shut down my moral convictions. I lost control over my passions. My heart was hardened. Curiosity increased. And that later took me into watching porn for a while, indulging in sinful sight and imagination. I had the choice to resist and get back to my work but I foolishly gave in to temptation.

I need to admit that my past life, before Christ, was ruled by lust and that old nature reared up its ugly head again. I was completely shattered when I fell into this sin. I hated and condemned myself for yielding to it. I could not face myself, my family or anyone, even God. I degraded in my own eyes. I decided to give up ministry, for I thought I am unworthy to serve the LORD with an impure heart. What Ravi Zacharias said makes complete sense, “The loneliest moment in life is when you have just experienced that which you thought would deliver you the ultimate, and it has let you down.”

During this inward battle, a thought came, “Is this a solution to my sin?” I knew it’s not. Going away from God because of sin is to drive ourselves deeper in sin. I sincerely repented before the Lord. Although I was never addicted to watching porn, I was afraid that I may fall in it, for I have seen people how they had regretted only to see themselves helplessly turning to it again and again. They eventually came to a stage of such hardness of heart wherein they had lost that sense of guilt and guts to change. So I could not trust myself in this area and knew that I had to do more than repentance to guard myself against this sensual sin.

The next morning, I immediately called my good friend to visit me. It was humiliating but I confessed my sin to him. It was hurting but I asked him to hold me accountable in this area. It was painful but I wanted to live for the pleasure of God. After giving myself to accountability, I found great relief in my heart.

Guess what happened after few days? As I was doing my search on the Internet on some personal project, I again bumped into a strange link, lured to click and enter into the world of lust. I brought the cursor right on it to click. Then immediately it flashed into my mind that I am accountable to my friend. What would I tell him when he asks me? Should I tell him that I watched again? How would I face him? This brief reasoning pulled me back from clicking this site and saved me from falling into the pit of immorality. I thank God for this accountability, for it worked as an impetus, not just once but many times, to abscond from the traps of the evil one.

Since I gave myself to be accountable to my friend, by God’s grace, I haven’t returned to it again. And as God gives me opportunities to help those enslaved by lust, in my counseling to them struggling with addiction to pornography, I make sure to mention accountability as a way of discipline to overcome its temptation.

Fearing God or fearing only man
Some may suppose that this accountability structure implies that we fear man more than God. It could be, but not necessarily. Want to know my reasons?

1) It is the fear of God which drives a person to be accountable. If there is no fear of God, why should a person be bothered about voluntarily submitting himself to be accountable to someone in the first place? He could continue with his sinful lifestyle and live according to his sinful passions, right? Since he fears God and shuns evil, he uses God’s providence of accountability to walk in sexual purity.

2) If there is no fear of God how can a person tell the truth when asked about his dealing with the sin! Can’t he tell lies and live a life of secrecy, indulging himself in lust? It is the fear of God which causes a person to tell the truth when accountable. Since he loves God, he loves to come out of sexual immorality by the help of truth and loves to live for His glory.

Besides, lack of accountability actually proves fear of man. As good as accountability is, there is a hurdle for people in not being accountable – fear about what someone would think about them. We need to overcome this anxiety and choose a mature and trustworthy person to disclose our secret life. Let me give a caution here – If we don’t take serious measures to deal with our evil addictions, it would inevitably lead us some day to public disgrace. Doesn’t reason suggest present accountability, however painful, is better than future humiliation?

Scriptural Support for Accountability
Accountability is buttressed by the Holy Scripture. It is not man’s own invention, but God’s gracious providence. To quote C. J. Mahaney, "It's a gift from God, a vital means of experiencing His grace for protection from the deceitfulness of sin."
  • It is written in Pro. 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Isn’t a person sharpened in accountability structure?
  • Solomon offers wisdom in Ecc. 4:9-10, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” Helping a fallen friend – isn’t this exactly what happens in accountability?
  • Paul exhorted the young Timothy, “Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Tim. 2:22). Isn’t a person in accountability fleeing from the evil desires and seeking the Lord with the help of godly people?
  • The author of Hebrews wrote, “Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness” (3:13). Isn’t a person in accountability saved from the deceitfulness of sin, placed in transparency from living a life of secrecy and encouraged to live a holy life? Any person who has failed to personally discipline himself in sexual purity, and at the same time unwilling to give himself to some form of accountability in God’s community—he is most likely to live a life of deception and hypocrisy, invoking damage upon himself and in some way hurt those connected to him.
  • God’s word says, “My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins” (Jas. 5:19-20). Isn’t this what happens in accountability, saving a person from perishing in sexual immorality and bringing him or her back to the truth?
In this age of sensuality the storm of lust is so fierce that many God’s people are swept by its fascinating enticements. It would be shocking to know how many seemingly good people are caught in the web of pornography, secretly living a life ruled by sexual immorality.

Friends, if you helplessly find yourself strangled by the sin of lust, I encourage you to seek an accountable partner (reliable and helpful). Sometimes, to deal with this sin by ourselves is but to give ourselves more to its mastery. I have learned the assaults of the devil against us intensify when we live in secrecy, but it does decline in accountability. There are many ways to find deliverance and God has provided the structure of accountability as one such to experience the power of His grace.
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Comments

  1. Can my wife be an accountable partner....

    ReplyDelete
  2. thanks Stephen for sharing very openly this. I appreciate. It is a universal problems nowadays even amongst godly people! We all need to overcome this. May God help us to do so. - Muralee, Sri Lanka

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yes, brother, wife is the best person to whom we can be accountable. No human can take the place of a wife in helping a man live a life of sexual purity.

    ReplyDelete
  4. It is alarming to see the power that pornography tends to hold over people, regardless of our persuasions and positions.

    Porn ultimately perverts our image about ourselves and causes us to see ourselves as animals who are led only by instincts and drives. Porn is intrinsically dangerous because it's effect goes beyond our senses and invades our imagination as well. Once it does that, we don't have to be watching porn anymore to commit sin. Porn is one thing I wish I never toyed with.

    Any method that works to keep us from its growing addiction can and should be attempted. Accountability is good and should be used to help live more carefully. May the Lord have mercy on His people and destroy its power and hold over us.

    ReplyDelete

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