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February 2, 2021 1:00 am
Have you or someone you love been swept up in the influence of pornography? Join Dave and Ann Wilson as they talk with Dr. Joe Rigney, author of More Than a Battle, about how to find healing.
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Jesus had some strong things to say about the issue of lust and about how we deal with that. Joe Rigney says we need to better understand what drives us as men to look at pornography. What's the hunger were trying to satisfy when a man goes to pornography. You might think he's just interested in naked women, but part of what he's doing in the fantasizing is he's imagining himself in the scenario and he's picturing himself as a strong masculine man capable of satisfying a woman. I think that for many men the actual pool to pornography is a deep desire for validation. This is family life today. Our hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson on Bob Lapine combine the sunlight and family life today.com if working route out the issue of lust in our lives.
We need to understand what's really driving us talk more about that today with Joe Rick stay with us and welcome to family life today.
Thanks for joining us this is an old thing. Some of our listeners would have no idea what were talking about opening and I don't let us talk about us.
Back when I was a kid there were no recycling bins or recycling centers but from time to time people would put their newspapers out at the curb and the Boy Scouts would have a paper drive and we come to really pick up the sex of paper did you make in some money by getting recycled goods.
I remember those five I was a Boy Scout.
Actually Cub Scout on a Cub Scout paper drive one Saturday morning I pick up sex a paper from the neighbors and one guy had set out at the curb. A sack of old pornographic magazines and I don't remember exactly how old I was, but I remember you remember picking up that cyan gone. Oh my goodness, and we took him back to the truck where we were loading everything up and I said I'll stay here at the truck and and just move stuff toward the back. Will you guys make the next run and that was my fall into the pit.
I think probably nine or 10 years old man. Years later I was with a group of guys at church fathers and sons and I just on the spur of the moment said let's do this. Let's go around the circle and dads tell the rest of of us. When was your first exposure to porn and I pulled my Cub Scout story and it wasn't if you've had one.
It was tell us when it was in every dad could tell his story and I think every son heard every dad telling their story and went first. Okay so what I felt.
Or maybe what I've fallen into is not.
I'm the only bad person in the world. But secondly, there was something that happened just in that communication. In that moment that open things up.
Were talking about how we get out of the pit once we've fallen him and Dr. Joe Rigney is joining us this week on family life today. Joe welcome back. I'm glad to be here to answer that question probably every man listening and probably some women are going. I know that story. It's a similar story, a lot of times eight, nine, 10 years old. Some inadvertent stumbling onto it, but that power like I can't remember the first time ever looked at Sports Illustrated in a sports magazine. I remember why. Why don't I remember that is just a sports thing.
Watching looking pictures athletes, but a visual sexual image has a power we got Dr. Joe to tell us what is that why is that well and here's my image I was four or five years old when in the younger cousins 12 cousins. We lived around each other and our older cousins told my cousin and I to her for five go steel or Koran any pornography, they would say any magazines of naked girls out of our uncles, bedrooms, or stash, or whenever. And then bring it back to us. So what is that communicate to a little girl are dads or uncles habit are cousins wanting and when we found it, and we looked at it, my thoughtless. This is what a man wants, and this is who I need to. Joe has written a book called more than a battle and you describe your own battle with this issue but you also talk about how God led you out of this and what you've seen is an ongoing pattern for how guys can get free from this temptation, the Triton, so you don't part of it is actually trying to help us see that there's a there's multiple lenses that we have to use when we think about the struggle I tend to default to the battle imagery that helped me and I think that that is a is a useful as a biblical lens in a put your sin to death that sort of thing, but there's also ways in which this is an addiction.
There's a deep bodily dimension to the struggle has to do and this is where that the technology today is designed to exploit those bodily weaknesses that we have so that sexual arousal producing honors sections in the book about the way that dopamine and endorphins and all of these things can't get involved to basically take snapshots of those arousal moments in your body is saying that felt good.
I want it to happen again and we need to stop here and say this is the wisdom of God that happens that's designed that in that snapshot of wow that was a pleasant experience. I want that again that's for marriage like it's meant to bind a husband and a wife together in the one flesh Union. That's what that's for and then sin rights in these companies and then the devil and are using that good gifts and exploiting the weakness in it which is you know you could have that same bodily experience at some level with an image on the screen with the fantasy in your mind and so were recognizing the way that our bodies we can actually westernize our bodies to where we make sin easy and real relationships hard so there's a bodily dimension and then there's this kind of a color brokenness lens. There's ways in which other issues in our lives.
Other areas of brokenness can actually be the driver of our sexual scent so sought. Talk about their sins that steel headlines in their sins that fund newspapers okay. Lust is a headlines dealer when you fall into that.
It's the one that you feel there's the guilt there's a shame there's that all of that.
That just carries on but planet up back room someplace in that theater is another sin might be anxiety, it might be desire for power, it might be anger at God.
There's all kinds of other sins that are actually the issue at this is the presenting symptom, but until you deal with the other back room type sins. You're never going to get free because they're fueling the intensity of that desire, and so I'm trying to take and say hey we need to get a more holistic view of this struggle is not just about the image is not just about sexual desire.
It's really, really complex and it takes wisdom to try to untangle is only titled your book more than a battle that every again that's exactly right because I think a lot of men in them. And again I can't speak for women but I know it's an issue you know it's easy to think of, do there's nothing in the back room is just I want to look at a naked woman. I don't need to go to back room so talk about that.
What is fueling that so many of us don't understand that we have to get at the root. Here's a good example. I think that for many men the actual pool to pornography is a deep desire for validation. When a man goes to pornography. You might think he's just interested in naked women. Part of what he's doing in the fantasizing is he's imagining himself in the scenario and he's picturing himself as a strong masculine man capable of satisfying a woman and again this is a good gift. This is a husband and wife in marriage receive pleasure by giving pleasure. It's a mutually it's a glorious and beautiful thing in the image it's I'm creating a version of myself and I'm able to be a strong man and so the real hunger. There is often I want to be perceived and seen as a strong man that the drug so then you have to step back and have to go or is that supposed to be met.
There's a good thing under their there's a desire to be a strong man is a good desire. Where did God intend for us to fulfill that desire, and so there's an and there's lots answers that question in marriage is one place, my sister respecting her husband with other men like for other men to respect you interview you like. This is one of the things I notice of looking back at my own struggle, I noticed that if other me if I thought other men looking down on me like is a college student fight I wasn't doing well, you know, in the in the opinion polls you know among 18 to 25 girls Mike Mike Mike approval rating was down in my self-assessment I have taken my Gallup poll and I my priorities down that made sexual sin really attractive for some reason I never knew at the time it was going on, but there was a deep kind of spiritual, emotional, psychological thing happening where, because I'm not being having the sense of approval from this group that woman on that screens the she thinks I'm awesome in my in the fantasy and plan ahead and then you have to get even deeper. Where's the fundamental approval supposed to come from it comes from God. Right. He's our father heat. This is what the gospel is for. I approve you. Well done.
This is my beloved son, with whom I will please that's what God said to Jesus, and because when Jesus that's what God says about us.
The fundamental approval is there, but that's a weird thing to think.
I'm going to fight my sexual sin by reminding myself that God approves me like you don't get that that's what's really underneath that won't make any sense.
And so we got a really untangle and do the heart work yet.
I think the typical guy and I'm done being that guy again. I'm not saying women don't think the same way as like yeah but to do it. The real way is so hard. Porn is easy. You can look at it and you feel all this stuff.
I walk in my bedroom inside my wife wants me to call about our relationship and I don't know if I should Dino rub her shoulder or you say on the having fun with identity is so much harder to be intimate real intimacy with my wife than it is to just get that superficial and I got by the way to finding as we been doing marriage conference for weekend to remember for over 30 years I have noticed a trend in that at the beginning when we first started getting her conferences. I would have women come up to me and say oh my goodness I don't want to do.
My husband is always wanting to have an intimate sexual relationship with me. Now I'm finding one of the bigger complaint since my husband has no desire for me and so the question is why you where are they having their needs not yet someplace else. Yes yeah II think you're right, you know.
So for for many men.
A relationship with a real woman looks suspiciously like work and you know and that is only talk about other sins that are feeding into this sin, the kind of laziness that says man cultivating a real relationship with my wife takes effort and is not because we don't live our lives or anything like that is just the same way a wife cultivating which of the husband takes effort is how people are hard and imaginary people are way easier. CS Lewis had described a quote this in the book is a great easily the letter that is writing to somebody who asked him for advice about this issue and he talks about you know the real sin in pornography is the creation of the imaginary harem says you know we collect these imaginary harem with women who far outstripped because they have all the qualities that we want with none of the downside and we are the perfect person in the scenario whose perfectly able and so he says that pornography basically becomes a mirror in which we can increasingly worship ourselves while it's a mirror for our distorted manhood were seeing our distorted glory reflected in the suppose it satisfaction of the fantasy. And so it's really a self worship that's happening in this thing and that that's a deeper issue. That's a different issue than simply a all guys.
You know what to look at naked women like this more complicated yet is really a deep centered rooted. I know that I've often thought the minerals also about the fear of intimacy and it's sort of a superficial intimacy and intimacy with your wife or even been really a close friend with another guy is hard work. It takes courage to open your soul and bear weakness. You know with your wife and then not know how she can respond and something on the screen is so easy but when is read your book I mean I was sorta struck is your struggle struggle you talk but then we talked about that and is partly right now is like, okay, let's get let's get to the victory, you know, in the there's a turning in your life where I was like well you had a revelation and understanding that started you on a path toward what you know you're right about victory now talk about that were changed. Marriage was a big element of it so I got engaged in basically up to the stakes and I think that was a major thing that the Lord used to, snap me awake if I can. You can't just muddle through here. There's another person involved that you love you love her, you don't want to hurt her and were you afraid all of course I'm not as terrified like it means that the kind of things we talked about. We know, I'm have to confess something if I fall everyone look at that see that look on my wife's face. I don't ever want to have to have that conversation with her ever again. Now this actually produce certain kinds of distortions we could talk about as well in terms of the relationship because husband who's dealing with. This can begin to treat his wife like God and feel like I'm not forgiven until I've been forgiven by her and she's happy with me again as opposed to I need to confess to make it right with her but your fundamental forgiveness who can forgive sins but God alone. He's going to forgive sin when you do that because I know exactly or saying you you lay that weight on her dress like you have to forgive me. Until you do. I'm not good and then she admits like a way she should have to write your your she can't be God to you, but you can't be God to her and so there's when would sometimes guys get in the trap of their unhealthy habits of confession where I feel have a guilty conscience because of something a thought or dinner or whatever and then I need to vomited on her and the boy I feel relief because I just got it out, but now she's covered in yeah and she's caring and ends not fair.
It's another way that we were harming our lives in that way.
And so a big shift for me was recognizing the value of other men. Particular older and wiser men helping me. The pattern of confession that that I've cultivated and committed others is first when you sin you confess it to God. No minced words no euphemisms know you know beat around the bush just what did you do and confess. You sincerely honestly forthrightly confess to God and the Bible says if we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
From there it's confess it to other men and and the reason for doing that name says, confess your sins to another, that you may be healed. So the confession of the other men is for healing and I would say counsel, so I'm not going to them ups and haters. I did hear the temptation I faced. Here's how for two seconds. I clicked on some or whatever it is, where everything is and the now I'm confessing it to them and ups and up now you help me.
How should I talk to my wife about it or should I say and I'm running that by them and the goal here. This is where the wives this is really important for wives. The guys that you're doing that with she needs to trust.
She needs to know they are going to be as hard upon you as God is that they're going to call you to live up to the standard that God wants you up to because otherwise she's gonna feel like hey I need to be involved here, because no one's going to care about your Holiness more than me, which isn't true God acts he cares about your Holiness more than she does, but that the felt sense of fear and the anger she was to be involved, but there has to be right ordering. She can be an ally, but only if she's your wife and not God and not germane accountability partner in the struggle because she won't understand what you mean like it was two seconds. That woman walked by, and your eyes just went there. What's wrong with you and is a woman in the mirror different. There temptations are different. The way we experience reality is is different God and it's good but she's not going to get it. And so you want to be able to confess to other Ms. this is a game changer for me and having a wise older counselor who embody what I call the gospel presence and that that's two elements to that gospel presence on the one hand, there was a compassionate stability. What I mean is I could tell him anything he was going in.
It didn't matter what came out of my mouth. He was going to lean in and say hey I switch you know I'm for you. I'm for you. I'm with you I'm not running when because the fear right is if I say this out loud, he's gonna go.
Oh, and like freak out and I'm in a be confirmed and I am the worst sinner and nobody else is been as bad as me, but instead when he goes all right. I heard what to do with that. I'm with you like that was massive in terms of like okay I'm safe here so gospel presence made it safe for sinners, but the second part was focused hostility is not safe for sin. Now we gotta go to work right is not just working to get together Juergen event and I'm to be like it's okay, God loves you anyway. Now it's see later, it was okay now what kind of things we can do going forward, wise strategies. Are we in a put in place out of this gospel reality that I love you and I'm communicating love of God to you out of that what we can do different tomorrow so that were not bacteria, and it was that combination of compassionate stability and focused hostility that was a massive game changer for me in the struggle. How did you find this friend because a lot of wives and be my husband has no men my he was that he was a college pastor at Texas A&M.
As I got to know him and he did. Our premarital counseling and was massively helpful both in terms of my own personal and in helping us to work together and so when we moved up here right after we got married I would still call him and just say hey there's fallout from the struggles the confession that happened during engagement and is still kinda lingering.
Help me and so he helped work through some of those things include the relational complications that come and so there's a major. This is a major focus of the book I wrote this. The idea was I want to write a book that guys who struggle and guys who want to help guys who struggle can read together and then talk about is do you think it can be a dad with his son yes dear yes I'm alive, so I haven't got the areas of evidence 11-year-old and nine-year-old we've begun those conversations and is not just the talk it's the talks Wendell by giving us an example with that sound like so with my 11-year-old is petabyte year or so ago I got some resources that can walk through kind of the this the birds and the bees type stuff right and so one day my wife took the other kids in, and often as me and him I said hey want talk and so he pulled out the book and I just gonna walk through with him and answered some questions and you Dr. in a little bit.
He was like okay that's out were okay okay and that present I'M done talking about this nest is clearly undone and then now it's in a be likely, when you revisit that or as things come to come up. It is never like okay I checked that box. It's the beginning of a conversation in which as new things arise and so we talk about modesty.
We talk about things like that with about wise eyes owner watching TV in a commercial comes on with that sailor boy is a wise eyes and that means their eyes go down and meet my eyes but I want to show them it's not that it's okay it's okay for dad to watch whatever that is but is not for you is like.
Note none of us need to see whatever that was and so wise eyes looked down okay and so that means that they know hey dad, where were the same in this.
He's in the struggle with this right and I'm hoping that that means that when the time comes.
You know in the next couple years.
When it becomes more acute that there's an openness and transparency that they'll feel like they can talk to me and I can then tell them the student do the same thing you guys are talking earlier.
Here's the story I think of there's a lot of Dan's listening that are afraid to take that step with their son.
Whether 10 or 15 or 18 because they're not women. Yes, you know they're in the middle.
The struggles are not winning. Maybe they're hiding yes and I like I don't have. I have one and I'm not winning. I'm not making right choices so to go there and I would just say this today is your day to start the step toward freedom is real Joe's experiences I've experience it. Bob experience it. Yes I know the battle but also no victory. It can happen.
This, but you've got to take a step to tell somebody get the book be the first step this real quick to single mom or a wife who has a husband that will not enter into this conversation can we as women enter into with sunlit son, I would probably say that's where you're only a pastor involved in open kinda weird and sleepy.
If they don't know him what it means is it's gotta be about community, so this is where your net, your family needs to be embedded in a church where you have where there's that overlaps of the single mom you know there's all kinds reason that you want your son to be around other godly men and you're going to be working together like hey, he's missing something that he needs and one of those things is how to help him with the struggle and so I think that for most boys, talking to mom about this is going to make things harder. And then we end and weirder and so the more that it can be mentors, and pastors and people like that who are helping them and provide us but that's what was true for me. My dad could've talked about, I think, but didn't and so I found another mentors youth pastors guys like that who helpful. Here's what's critical. Don't just think I'll get a copy of Joe's book and put it on my son's bed door. I'll get a copy and read it and hopefully will help what you're saying here is that it takes more than just information. It takes guys and accountability and our hope is that a lot of guys will go through this book with other guys fathers and sons men going through this with other guys from church or making Joe's book available this week to family life today listers any of you would like a copy. You can go online or you can call one 800 FL today to request your copy were asking that you would make a donation to support the ongoing work of this ministry and will send you Joe's book as a thank you gift. We really want to see men engaging with other men around the subject and so again would love to send you a copy of Joe's book as a way of saying thank you for your support of the work of family life.
Today we are listers supported you are the people who make today's program possible. If you've never made a donation. Somebody made today's program possible for you so you can pay it forward for somebody else go to family life today.com to donate or call one 800 FL today to donate and again asked for your copy of the book more than a battle by Joe Rigney when you get in touch with us. We look forward to sending you a copy and thanks in advance for your support of the ministry that tomorrow we want to talk about why we have such a distorted view of what God's good gift of marital intimacy is supposed to look like will continue our conversation about how we defeat lust in our lives, how we gain over pornography. Joe Rigney's gonna be back with us tomorrow. Hope you can be back as well. Thank our engineer today. Keith Lynch along with our entire broadcast production team on behalf of our hosts Dave and Ann Wilson on Bob Lapine will see you back tomorrow for another edition of family life today. Family life today is a production of family life of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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