The evils of our age
While pornography is as old as history the successive technologies of printing, cinema, television and now the internet has meant that an ever-increasing number of people of all ages have access to the most vile and dangerous material; corrupting minds and behaviour.
The explosion of perverse sexual imagery through the internet and in all forms has become an immense problem. It afflicts society at a host of levels and is no respecter of age or gender.
A pastor recently overheard one Christian teenager say to this friend that he had managed to stay clear of (internet) pornography for three days that week.
Childline founder Esther Rantzen is reported as stating that Internet pornography is “warping” children’s understanding of sex and leading them to mimic “aggressive, harmful and dangerous” behaviour.
In a report by the Christian Institute the former That’s Life presenter says the number of youngsters ringing the helpline who have “been deeply alarmed by watching pornography has shot up by 34 per cent in the past year”.
She said: “We received 641 calls from children
who had been exposed to sexually indecent material — more than 50 a month. “The stuff our callers see is horrifying, and has stayed in their memories, haunting and frightening them” she added.
"The stuff our callers see is horrifying..."
With specific reference to children Ms. Rantzen commented: “Because hardcore adult videos are now just a few clicks away for many teenagers, their understanding of what is normal is becoming so warped that they are mimicking behaviour which is aggressive, harmful and dangerous.”
Meanwhile a CARE survey showed that 97% of church leaders considered on-line pornography to be a serious issue within the church. Accordingly, CARE for Scotland is - for a second year - running a False Intimacy conference.
The event is designed to assist church leaders provide informed pastoral support to those affected by the issue of pornography.
The following, with minor alterations, is a testimony by a
musically-gifted Christian believer who has written to Christians Together.
Paul wrote that 'our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.'
It might be just my experience but I haven’t generally come across much teaching on spiritual warfare. I think it’s a bit of a taboo subject because it’s often associated with overly charismatic, self glorifying and often counterfeit deliverance and healing ministries. I thank God for those He is raising up to teach this subject biblically, and to wake up the Church up on this vital issue.
I became a Christian five years ago when I accepted Christ as my Lord and Saviour; and I love him with everything I have. The first year I was so caught up in God I felt nothing could separate me from his love. This was confirmed to me through his word (Romans 8:39) and I even wrote songs about His (agapé) love.
During the next three years of my Christian life I grew in scriptural knowledge. I felt confident of my identity in Christ: I began to put to death sinful habits of my former lifestyle and put on the new self which was being renewed in knowledge after the image of my creator. I was writing many songs and through reading God’s Word, an intimate prayer life and regular worship, I began to mature in my faith. I found I was growing in the fruits of the spirit.
Yet, having been exposed to pornography at the age of eight I was also locked into a secret sexual and habitual sins which brought about allot of shame and guilt. It was only after I was born again and tried to stop these thing that this sin intensified and turned into an addiction. I prayed many times with repentance and brokenness for God to help me defeat this Giant in my life. However, after the first year I began to doubt God’s willingness to do so.
I quickly became confused about the discord there was between my love for Jesus and my rebellious behaviour. Both in my theological understanding and in my heart I knew I was a child of God — hidden in Christ; a citizen of heaven; a co-Heir with Christ; and predestined in him before the world even began. Yet as a Christian I was also struggling with bitterness, unforgiveness, and rejection from a past relationship. God’s Word declared to me I was a new creation In Christ (2 Cor. 5:17) and therefore more than a conqueror: yet I began to see myself as “just a sinner saved by Grace.”
I would often go from the one extreme of worshiping God, feeling secure in his presence and everlasting love, to being fearful He was going to strike me down and take my life at any moment because of my disobedience.
I would then be plagued with condemning thoughts about Hell and would be very insecure in my salvation; fearful that Jesus would say to me “away from me I never knew you” (Matt. 7:23). Also I began to hear accusations about the character of God that were contrary to the God whom I had and have come to know and love. These thoughts and feelings were not always strong or regular, but would always surface intently after I would do a concert or share the gospel with people or friends.
Tears and Confession
With many tears I would pray to God often asking him to help me put to death my habitual sins; and expressed this in one my songs. I confessed to some family and friends, took a biblical Christian counselling course and experienced momentary victory and relief, but I soon fell back into the old shameful habits: there was a thorn in my flesh that was stronger than my will and my Christian discipline. Never did I once consider that my struggles might be spiritual because I was taught that the Holy Spirit would not dwell in the same vessel as anything unclean.
One night after an incredible evening of worship I went back to my hotel and I was suddenly burning with lust and tempted to look at pornography. I took a conscious decision to submit to God and was ready to take the TV out of the room and smash my £700 computer to pieces.
Suddenly, and for no obvious reason, an overpowering sense of guilt and commendation overtook me. However this time I also had suicidal thoughts; and feelings of anger and hatred towards God which were not reflective of my true feelings at all. Immediately I felt oppressed and confused. I fell on my knees in prayer. I cried in silence for nearly three hours, and once again asked Jesus to forgive me and help me. I was emotionally and spiritually torn, not knowing what to pray for anymore.
A Sovereign work of the Spirit
In desperation I asked the Holy Spirit to pray on my behalf; something I had never done before. All of a sudden I started murmuring and talking in tongues. Again this was a totally new experience for me. I then cried out for deliverance not even knowing what that meant.
Two weeks later, I visited a Christian retreat in England. I had been invited there to help with the musical side of things, but it soon became apparent that I had been invited for another reason. One evening I went forward for prayer and without me saying anything, the pastor knew everything about me and my struggles with very detailed knowledge.
To cut a long story short I was delivered of an unclean spirit that had entered through my eyes and had gained a stronghold in my life through habitual sin. As a result I was living in bondage to sexual sin for three years of my Christian life. I was being robbed of my Joy in Christ, and tormented by deceiving spirits because I was holding on to bitterness and un-forgiveness in my heart (Matt.18:32-35). At that same time I was also delivered from pride in education, chronic tiredness and nightmares about snakes in my bed. These thing had plagued me since childhood.
Some say that a Christian who is born again and has the Holy Spirit cannot be demon possessed because they are a temple of the Holy Spirit. Whilst It is true a Christian cannot be ‘demon possessed’ because they belong to God. However, most scholars agree that ‘possessed’ is a mistranslation in the King James Bible. The more accurate translation is ‘demonized’.
Satan was, in effect, in the same room as Jesus during the last supper. He was in God’s presence when accusing Joshua before the angle of the Lord. He was the tempter with Jesus in the desert. He also he stood before God with the rest of the angles in the book of Job. What would be the point of casting out demons from an unbeliever who hasn’t accepted Christ as Lord and saviour? That person would end up in an even worse state than before (Luke 11:24). Deliverance is for the church and we have been given authority and power to trample on serpents and scorpions (Luke 10:19).
All glory to God
All glory to God I now have a clear head to love him with all of my mind; and I am free from condemning thoughts. I now have more energy than I have ever had in my life; and it has freed me up to be a more effective servant in the church. I can now see through the lies and accusations of the enemy as outlined in the word of God. I am no longer in bondage to the past and I have more songs of praise in my heart than ever before. I want to share with everyone how merciful and beautiful Jesus is.
We must never blame demons for our sin: it is our responsibility and choice as to whether we give in to temptation. However, Paul warns us “neither give place to the devil" (Eph 4:27). He wouldn’t warn us of this unless it wasn’t possible for us to do so.
Let us place all our focus, attention, and worship on the Lord Jesus Christ — glorifying him and rejoicing that our names are in heaven (Luke 10:11). He is the shepherd who gives abundant life. But also let us not be ignorant of our enemy’s devices. (2 Cor. 2 :11)
The sheep (Christians) belong to the shepherd (Jesus). However, it doesn’t stop the thief from coming in to steal, kill and destroy — especially if the sheep unknowingly invite him in.
The church needs to wake up and get to grips with spiritual warfare. Satan can only work through deception and lies,but we have allowed him to infiltrate the body of Christ through our passivity, ignorance and unbelief in this area. There is a lot of housecleaning to do. We need to take up the authority Christ gave us and drive out the roaring lion, because he is a mortally wounded foe and he has already been defeated and disarmed on the cross.
'Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.'