Logic says if God Almighty can’t make us do stuff what makes us think the devil can? Yet don’t be deceived. Satan exists. If you believe Jesus is God’s Son you mustn’t dismiss His teaching that the devil’s a genuine entity. Still, the porn addict doesn’t get to blame their sin on Old Scratch. The Word emphasizes our flesh is the main culprit. Actually, my disgusting habit sprang from a coalition of both. My frisky libido is a vulnerable target for Satan to focus his attacks on. Realize he doesn’t wear a red suit with a pointed tail and therefore a cinch to spot. He’s cleverer than that. Scripture tells us he’s an angel who, like us, is restricted by time and space. He’s nevertheless a spiritual being free of physical limitations. Plus he’s not alone. He commands a formidable army of demons who worship him. Paul wrote, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens” (Ephesians 6:12). As a Christian I trust Paul because there are days when evil seems to rule civilization, causing horrible atrocities that defy rational explanation. If the devil can instigate mass murders then luring me into viewing porn is small potatoes.
It perplexes many believers that God gave Satan the same free will He gave us. Truth is, we can both choose to sin. God allows it. However, the consequences of sin are as predictable as basic math. Sin comes with a steep price. If I do what I know is sinful I’m aligning myself with the devil whether I want to admit it or not. “The one who practices sin is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning” (1 John 3:8). If I hanker for porn I’m foolishly making myself easy pickings for demons that have nothing better to do than tempt me into indulging in self-gratification. Merrill Unger wrote, “Although the human race fell in Adam and became a prey to Satan and demons, the forces of darkness have always been severely restricted. They can enslave and oppress fallen man only to the degree he willingly violates the eternal moral law of God and exposes himself to evil.” In the depths of my addiction I became, albeit unwittingly, my own worst enemy. As Merlin Carothers commented, “It’s never safe to step into Satan’s territory.” I stepped in it all the time.
Those who don’t believe in angels or demons because they can’t see them are being unreasonably selective. Physicists now claim the immense universe surrounding our planet is 80% filled with an invisible substance they call dark matter. They don’t know what it is, what it looks like, how it behaves or where it came from but they’re 100% sure it’s as real as your elbow. It has to be there. Thus we can’t rule out the existence of spiritual personalities solely because they dwell in a dimension humans aren’t privy to. Bible-reading Christians know this is true. Paul wrote, “…I am afraid that just as the serpent deceived Eve by his treachery, your minds may be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:13-14). Steve Gallagher opined, “Make no mistake, demons will do anything they can to get the believer to fall in order to draw him away from the Lord. They’re brilliant strategists who’ve probably been following the man since he was born. They’re knowledgeable of his weaknesses and know exactly how to entice him into their snares.”
I spent decades wallowing in the bottomless cesspool of pornography. When I finally stepped out of denial and earnestly sought to defeat my addiction I had to come to grips with the fact porn had built a virtual stronghold in my psyche and it’d have to be assailed relentlessly. “For though we live as human beings, we do not wage war according to human standards, for the weapons of our warfare and not human weapons, but are made powerful by God for tearing down strongholds. We tear down arguments and every arrogant obstacle that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to make it obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). The question arises: “Why’s the success rate for Christ-centered ministries like Celebrate Recovery no better than that of secular programs?” I think it’s because God doesn’t intend to cure His children of only their most destructive affliction, He intends to remove everything that doesn’t look/act like Jesus. And that thorough scouring process requires more effort, dedication and determination than most addicts are willing to commit to.
What I’m trying to convey is that any addiction, porn in particular, needs to be considered both a physical and spiritual illness. As the initial passage cited confirms, the battle to combat the sinful desires of the flesh is fought primarily in the spiritual heart and mind of the believer. And the more powerless a Christian admits to being in that war, the stronger God will prove Himself to be for them. Paul openly complained about his infamous thorn-in-the-side weakness explicitly but also acknowledged it made him more dependent on his Heavenly Father who informed him, “…My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” which prompted Paul to write, “Therefore I am content with weaknesses, with insults, with troubles, with persecutions and difficulties for the sake of Christ, for whenever I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:8-10). As a confident man, it was embarrassing to confess my inability to conquer porn addiction on my own. I had to humble my ego; else my bloated pride would’ve shut God out. I had to don “God’s armor”, not just to protect myself from demonic assaults, but from my own sinful nature.