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February 1, 2021 1:00 am
Have you or someone you love been swept up in the influence of pornography? Join FamilyLife Today hosts Dave and Ann Wilson as they talk with Dr. Joe Rigney, author of More Than a Battle, about how to find healing. He explains that pornography re-wires God-given parts of our brains meant to draw us to our mate. Dr. Rigney talks about unmasking the devil’s schemes and finding freedom. He outlines a strategy for the battles to overcome the enemy and walk in victory.
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Lust is nothing new. It's been around for a long time, and for that matter, so has pornography, but as author Joe Rigney says the fact that pornography can be engaged with anonymity today that something new. Everybody has this unprecedented access and anonymity.
You have to keep your eyes down at a store clerk whose your mind nagging front and so is that unprecedented access and anonymity that it brings.
That really makes this it takes it to a different level and then you add to that that there are corporations and people whose entire vocation is devoted to hooking you. This is family life today.
Our hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson. I'm Bob Lapine can find us firstname.lastname@example.org is there a strategy that is successful for dealing with the issue of pornography were to talk with Joe Rigney about that today.
Stay with us and welcome to family life today. Thanks for joining us here most of us had not spent a lot of time talking about global pandemics. Until recently, when one was in the news, but I think there is a global pandemic that has been around long before anybody heard about covert, 19 and you seen this in pastoral ministry using this as you work with athletes through the years. I'm guessing you're talking about pornography. Talk about the issue of lust and how that plays in them and what's going on with the guys and even end with women who are finding themselves engaged in and not looking at images as much, but women who are caught up in sexual fantasies or women are caught up in looking images now to agree Bob, I think this is something that's even going to become worse because of our access to the Internet and that things are going on. I think our marriages are really canopy hit. I do know that you know as a father. I remember having the start when the three sons. My oldest is 34 and I remember having thought when he was just a little guy and I wonder what will be like if he's ever exposed to pornography and then the thought hit me a tentative question. It's a win question in the world we live in will order the talk about how we deal with the pandemic and how we help our kids through this Dr. Joe Rigney is here with us today to help us talk about this. You're welcome extravagant beer. Joe is a pastor in Minnesota Pastor cities church and he's also an assistant professor of theology, and literature at Bethlehem college and seminary.
He has written a book on this subject called more than a battle you experienced this battle personally during adolescence rent absolutely yeah I was. This was sadly a part of my story is you document your kids you know growing up. I grew up in the 90s and and so is very different struggle in some ways than I can imagine doing it now, but is very, very sad. It's I you agree that it was it's a part of my story, but it is an there's things that happen in that kind of adolescence, junior high, high school up through college that really kind of shape you and and really, set trajectories over overtime and it's a deep work of grace to actually have some of those those ways you've informed to be reformed can be undone, and I'm grateful that God has done that in my life over the last 15 years and and so can can sort of be on this side of it. Looking back, but being on the side of it, and abide by it. I mean, not that sexual temptation is an issue at all that will happen until glory, but at least now there's been substantial measures of victory and healing and wholeness in relation to the struggle and so this is been a deeply personal one in my life and therefore I want to like look back and say I want to spare as many people as possible from having to walk through the sorts of stuff that I had to deal with in in high school and college kill. I'm wondering what you think the percentages are of man that struggle ought I would guess like 9900% I think that that there was a study depressed.
It is is so depressing that I there's a story I picked it up on the way doing some research where somebody was gonna try to study the effects of sort of the introduction of pornography to men.
And so they they said a put in a psychologist, but a call.
Hey, if you never looked at pornography, would you show up will pay you how much money to be a part of the study and they couldn't anybody nobody so they didn't. Nobody fit that bill and could do it and so in August. That's it is an anecdote, but I think that the. The reality on the ground is that this is a cultural universal for men and been very prevalent use and for for women.
More more and and is not just that everybody deals with it.
It's that substantial numbers of people are neckdeep and losing in it so that's the greater the greater tragedy. I mean, it's a different day when you said Joe you talk about the 90s.
I'm guessing I don't know exactly when the digital world hit us. But I me back then when I was a child not to 90s little earlier you had to go look for it. You had to go get a magazine you had to go by, it poured fall into it. Your buddy's house by day, but what is `is back to you know the struggle that you did initiated in your own life. How desired and how to progress.
Yeah. So for me and I was is that sort of thing you know kids bring in Playboy to school in Georgia behind in. I was in junior high and and everybody, sitting on the magazine, wide-eyed, right, and it's and is looking back and thinking like that was that was me know if it can you contend to distance yourself from it as an adult, but man, there was an innocence that was just lost in that in that moment and in the fascination that led to the unit will be in over a friend's house like you're saying and late-night HBO or something like that is those sort of things right and would like is that you do have to go look for and yet you know you had to get the magazines and you know avoid eye contact with the anybody or binder from and then you know you fast-forward and you the digital age's rights and Internet comes along and so that was an issue more for me in college and then today is likesexual sin, social temptation is old as dirt right this is not a new struggle. Paul had to deal with pagan prostitutes and them temple prostitutes and stuff like that in Victorians to have their brothels.
We have brothels in her pocket like that's the new thing is that everybody has this unprecedented access and anonymity. You don't have to keep your eyes down at a store clerk who's, you know you your mind magazine from and so is that unprecedented access and anonymity that it brings.
That really makes this it takes it to a different level and then you add to that that there are corporations and people whose entire vocation is devoted to hooking you like they know how to get the little you know the swiping and all that kind of stuff is designed to hook you, not just on your social media you know your Facebook and Twitter and everything else but to this and to there's people are human beings devoting concerted effort and then we have to imagine right that there's dark powers behind those human powers that are also orchestrating and so there's a there's a big array of forces that are trying to destroy individuals, families, churches around this issue and so I just felt in my ministry primarily college students over the last 15 years. May I see it, and I I want to help I want theirs it's possible I think that that's that that's the thing that was this would be a big difference between college me and you know 38-year-old me and and really you know 25 to 26 months. Once it happened it was like oh I had no idea seem possible. I couldn't imagine that you could be free like my imagination was so stunned that I start this is there's a there's a text in the Bible and the Romans eight Paul says we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according the flesh, and I remember feeling like that's that's exactly what it feels like it feels like I'm a debtor to the flesh, it feels like sin shows up flesh shows up and says you have to pay up now and there's nothing you can do about it. You're just your slave, so, and when you when you're trapped there and you can't have no horizon to to get a different kind air and so part of what this whole project is is I wanted I want to introduce men and mainly meant, but I think it could apply to women as well on there's a different air to brief the idea that there might be freedom.
Yes, there might be victory actually seems elusive for for so many guys I've had the experience of getting an email that I thought was one thing.
Clicking on the link in the email and go home.
You don't have hide the screen and click out of there as quick as I can. It seeks you out instead of you having to seek it out in the crazy thing is, in some ways, and again I will buy what exec your tongue but but the images that you may click on again, you stumble into compared to 20, 30 years ago. It may been more like a lingerie and now it's degrading and you think a 10-year-olds and eight-year-olds and 30 that's an image they see.
They should never see that none of us never see that any minute. In our life. Did your dad ever have a conversation with you to prepare you for what might be there. Not not really was very mean there was some you once it once it was ongoing.
You know there was an attempt I think I've I remember right, but there wasn't really sought I actually had other you know mentors at church and things like that is a bit awkward with my data guessing these Christian and I'm grateful for all of the good things you but this is an area where I don't think he knew quite what to do and so I had mentors at at church and then one of the things that I learned at some point we form some accountability groups peer level in also high school guys and and again now hindsight. Looking back those are just big puddles of sin I don't know those are actually all that help like there was something good in it.
We wanted to we knew this was wrong. We knew we didn't want to be addicted to pornography would and will be doing this but will we were all in it and so were all you know, to confess sin and is like now what we do know not nobody knew how to get out everybody was in the same boat and so another big element of this is just wrecking on Mike my project is in recognizing the importance of mentors and of godly men who are a step removed who have have had substantial victory in this area and therefore can can provide that model and that that hopefulness like hey you can you can come to where I met like it.
You don't have to stay in the pit. You can get out by the grace of God because that was a major thing for me in college I had a I had a college pastor who I didn't realize all of the good that he was doing to me in counseling me through this struggle, but in hindsight I might open. There was so much wisdom and there was so much he was. I had the Bible verses. I got all those memorized. I read books, but it was his presence that kind of connected the Scriptures and my life in such a way that there was actual transformation and so that's a major element of what I'm trying to encourage is is communities of men where you have have guys that have had victory in healing and restoration in this area who were trying to help walk with men who were still in the pit and help get out here and I think as I listen to you and obviously it's in your book the value in the importance of a man being in community yes cannot be overstated, correct, and again I'm not saying women is a struggle for them.
Same thing but man oh man, I mean just what you just said requires you initiating finding a mentor is initiating finding men and having the courage to be that real is I think you know we hide men just say this if you are if you're a man alone with this battle you're going down is not winnable without other men in your life right hidden sins kill Christians because the yeah and and I've never heard the mentor part. You know that's that's a different angle of her do we need accountability. In some ways I think I gave up because they went in there, you know, we like you said of zinc. We share our sin.
We kept sinning so that need to be a unique group of men, but the mentor is critical and I've never heard that older man, older, an older man and sometimes it may not even be oldest is mainly someone who on this issue has achieved by the grace of God. Substantial victory and so that they can provide a a hopefulness like they can look at you and say you're not gonna be here forever.
It may take time you're in have to do some things gonna get rewired because you've conditioned yourself by your habits that you formed when you were in junior high and high school like there's some things gonna take time is a long war, so long war you think long-term. Here, but you can get here and I want part of the audience here is on the pastor, I want to have something that I can hand to the got the guys in my church that are doing it that are live in it and say hey here.
You guys have this now go find the guys who are struggling so it's not just that the guys who are struggling or having to like initiate that's good but I want churches to be able to be the sort of place.
Words like it obvious where you go to know like there's a group of men. And we know those guys.
They know how to pastor guys through this. This struggle and they've they've they seen fruitfulness and they seen hopefulness and so then guys just go all that's wrong. I don't believe there's no question of who has to initiate for wives to read that and to have older women that are healthy and also say there is hope for your husband and for your marriage.
That is okay. Come back and talk to us about you talking that being in this pit in these other guys being the pit wetted that due to your spiritual walk with God while it's it's interesting. It was like a ping-pong match and it was a ping-pong match.
Honestly, between lust and pride is basically my my spiritual walk. The measuring stick became whether or not I had looked at pornography recently. If I hadn't, I felt pretty good about myself and kinda got a little swagger and then it would just like kinda be feeling pretty confident and you know it hadn't been all of that long, honestly.
But I felt good about myself. Did you feel like have kicked it again like there is a sense of like I'M good I'm good and in all the sudden he would come again, and I fall and then it would be the kindest hopelessness. This despair in okay that's the way it it it it pulls you is that there's an allurement and then the moment you're over the cliff right it's accusation right that you know you just on you like your fear of failure and you know part of what I talk about the book is the binge trap, which is basically the mentality that says after you failed well Arctic blue it might as well blow it a lot right and I might as well just go whole hog because I'm already down here in a tax interesting. I got them after writing the book I've in our church got some folks in working with him on different areas like on the anxiety and a lot of the say I just said hey what you read this, I give him some of the draft the manuscript and stenosis of his talk with sexual sin, but sin is sin.
Sin is sin, and so see if reading this helps and it actually did. So I mean there's ways in which the temptations operate on us and the patterns that we get into are very similar. I thought I picked up a little John on mortification of the flesh as I was reading Angela user since January talk about sort of the cycle and I remember and I'm sure were all Bible scholar sitting around here so were familiar with. James 113, where he talks about the pattern of sin. James says when tempted know what you say God is tempting me for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone.
By the way you ever done that and got through it. I have in a says, but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire, and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death and I remember you Joe you're talking about the feeling of being powerless and I've shared before one my first journeys into that powerless world was on a Detroit Lions trip actually my first ever trip as a chaplain, Detroit Lions, Seattle Seahawks preseason game. They put me in a hotel room in a nice hotel all by myself in only a few the listeners will remember these days, but that was when they had a little box on your TV where you could order a movie and there were six movies, a member stand in front of TV look at this box. Looking at the thing Hollywood three or more Hollywood movies, three were porn and as I looked at the thing on their forget I looked down I married do not get kids at home and I look at this little paragraph the says this will not be added to your room bill until after five minutes, which obviously that changed. But that's how was I so the thought. My head is like I can watch on the first four minutes and 59 Second Life and nobody will know and I thought I'll never do this and I clicked literally just standing there looking at TV just clicked on one of those bad channels for probably 10 seconds and turned it off and that 10 seconds, change my life. It was like he swim into this pit you are talking about a number. The next time I walked in the hotel room in the next road trip. It was this power draw me there in 10 seconds half and then I had a secret because I come home you gotta do chapel for the team and you know just what you're saying Joe you're live in this sort ally and so you think about what James says is that you're drawn and dragged in an interesting thing about the passage. I'm sure you know is it's a fishing term. It's always thoughts of so the pattern to lose. Looks like this.
There is bait right. He says you have an evil desire, there earned him a pastor sorry and do a little ration as you get bait you desire it, so this is Vern so here's the choice of either by innuendo bait.
He says you die and you have not physically, but the other option was talk that this gives us when we got to go is if you win with the pattern right talking that is the panic as I think some people think you'll never have this desire again, it'll just go away. And there's people that live with this utopia, like while they just don't have the desire I have so I can't beat up because they're different but I think the pattern similar right there still bait course, that's up to you. Yeah, you can eliminate dead somebody, but there still to be desire there, but yes, make the choice right you can biter you can walk away. I think two things are 11 is that the images get that the fishing metaphor in the text and then he was with the pregnancy metaphor and desires conceived since conceded that it gives birth to death. That's the language and so in some ways, what you try to do in a hotel room was be a little bit pregnant yeah yeah like that's and that's oftentimes how we process it would be a little bit pregnant. I want to get as close to that line as I can but try not to fall over and honestly for a lot of guys it's the foregoing from pornography, up to two orgasms. Like I can dabble up until then I can be I can swim in it.
But if I don't go over that cliff that I've I've had some measure of victory, which is alive sister moving closer close line eventually you're going to get get Bolden on the flipside is success breeds success like there's a way in which when you see the grace of God Lance or you can actually feel the pull feel that temptation and then walk away you go.
Oh, there's something different in one of the things that talk about here is in Galatians chapter 5, Paul says that self-control is a fruit of the spirit to the way in which God what what is God doing for us in our sinks, vacation he's restoring control of you to you so that you tell your eyes were to look you tell your fear. You know hand, what to touch you tell, you know what to click on like you're in control of you because why the spirit of God is at work in your life and so there's a way in which when we are faced with temptation and were able to buy the grace of God flee. That's bit biblical I would be runaway riot Leeward bolt a instead of Mayor Pastor Paul is probably a Baptist, I get all these guys are yet you're going to both your run of your flee. And then when you're when you're anyway you're going how I'm I'm real like the spirit of God's work in my life and that's emboldening and so there's times actually not even to this day where I can kinda feel you know that there's a greater degree of of polar Curie got kind of wrong that sinful curiosity and I will look for opportunities to win, I'll know I'm going to target and you can't walk them. You talk about not, you know, come looking for you as you walk in through Targus will get some milk and it's like what is going to be all over the billboards can be all over as I'm not high up everybody can see it is can be the laundry. As always, stuffer the or the magazine rack or whatever ethics I know that's common. I tell my eyes would look I tell my eyes were look because God is taking control of me and therefore he's restored control of me. To me, so I'm a get of a small victory here as I walk out the door and I'm in a thank God. As I walked out that I have to say guys this topic breeds fear into so many women I mean. As I listen I'm thinking of the moms to grandmothers the wives that are listening thinking. We are not to do. We don't know how to battle this with our husbands are for our kids and so I'm glad you're having this conversation because we need help well and I do think this is where life can come along and instead of saying I'm going to be afraid that you're going to fall or that this is gonna be an issue for you.
She can come along and say I want to be your ally in the battle here right I may not be able to understand what's actually going on in your thinking. But I do know that this is real for you. I know this is a challenge for guys and I think for us as we need to enter into the battle with our men and our daughters is really important and I remember when I told Dan you were talking 40 years ago I was battling against him. Yeah right. I mean it was one of the scariest moments my life to admit and then when I did I wanted bile I wanted her to be my ally, but she had to process anger first, which I really is a matter for being mad at me but she's like, and she thought this is all about me. I'm not enough and you know everyone of us is gone now as I do with you, honey. But a woman didn't understand that right. She's like no this is if I was adequate. You wouldn't have to like no house in some way. So the journey though because we get through it.
She got to a place were the anger again.
Not in a day or week, but now you're my ally. It's a beautiful thing in your book is here to help husbands and wives recognize not only what's going on but that there is a way to deal with the issue of lust and pornography. Joe's book is called more than a battle how to experience victory freedom and healing from lust. We think this book is so important were making available to anybody who can make a donation to help support the ministry of family life to when you invest in family life. What you're doing is helping more people more regularly be able to receive practical biblical help and hope for their marriage and their family. That's a part of our mission to effectively develop godly marriages and families.
When you support that mission you extend the reach of family life to we want to say thank you for your support by sending you a copy of Joe Rigney's book more than the battle go online to family life to a.com to make a donation or call one 800 FL today to donate and ask for your copy of the book more than a battle. How do we experience victory, freedom and healing from lust by Joe Rigney again donate email@example.com or call one 800 FL today to donate and we look forward to hearing from you about it tomorrow. Working to continue our conversation with Joe Rigney talking about what's really going on in a man's heart when he finds himself being drawn toward lust, pornography, Joe will be back with us again tomorrow. Hope you could be back with us as well. Think our engineer today. Keep links along with our entire broadcast team on behalf of our hosts David and Wilson Bob opinion will see you back next time for another edition of family life family like to use a production of family life of Little Rock, Arkansas crew ministry help for today hope for tomorrow