Spiritual maturity is a lifelong process of replacing lies with truth. — Kurt Bruner —
What Does WorkI used to think there was some sort of “Key” to being a Christian, and if I could just find that “key,” I would be an instantly mature Christian, because I had so much knowledge of God’s Word from growing up in a Pastor’s home. Then I figured out that there was no “key” that would make me instantly mature and victorious. Finally, I learned that there actually is a key… But it’s not like I thought. The “key” to victory in the Christian life is not really a single key, but a “key ring” full of keys. There’s no “master key” which opens all the doors barring our progress, but there is a key to every one of them on the ring. The “key ring” is TRUTH. The individual keys are specific truths applied to our lives. Jesus told us so in John 8:32 “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” This is the key [ring] to victory in our lives. We experience it in our salvation (entering into the truth that Jesus died for you and rose again to life), and it’s the only way we will ever live free from the bondage to habitual sin. (I will add here that this applies to any area of sin bondage, not just pornography!) Before we talk about how it applies specifically to the bondage to pornography, let me open the Scriptures and tell you why we can be confident that this is the key we are looking for.
The Truth That Sets FreeWhen Jesus spoke those words in John 8:32, He was not referring to Himself as “the Truth” (John 14:6) being the way to God. That came six chapters later. Rather, He was talking about truth as it relates to our bondage to sin. We know this because when Jesus spoke these words to the Pharisees, they retorted that they had never been slaves (v.33). Jesus immediately responds that those who sin are slaves to sin (v. 34). Clearly, the freedom that Jesus was speaking about in this context was freedom from the bondage to sin. As Pastor Bill pointed out, we know that Satan is the father of lies (v. 44) and that it is his strategy to deceive. In fact, since he was utterly defeated at the cross, he has no other weapon against us except the lie. Paul told us in Romans 6:16 that we are slaves of the one we obey. This means that if Satan can deceive us, and we act as if his lies are true, then we are actually doing the will of—obeying—Satan. Consequently, we will experience bondage to sin wherever we have embraced his lies. That’s the bad news. But the good news is that such bondage is not irrevocable nor permanent. We can choose to believe truth—no longer obeying Satan—and break the bondage. The truth that sets us free is not a “master key” truth. In other words, acknowledging Jesus as Lord is an important truth to embrace—and it will set you free from the penalty of sin—but is not by itself the truth that will set you free from the bondage to individual sin habits. I know that for some this might sound blasphemous, but hang with me here and let me illustrate.
Examples:If a follower of Jesus has not yet grasped the truth regarding the importance of forgiveness towards others, that believer will experience great bondage to bitterness. By contrast, if even an unbeliever understands and practices true forgiveness towards others, that person will live free from bitterness even as a non-Christian. In the same way, if a believer does not fully grasp how deeply he or she is loved by God and valuable to Him, he or she will live in constant uncertainty in reference to their self-worth. However, if an unbeliever somehow learns and understands that we are all valuable and special simply for being human, that person will experience a strong sense of self-value. Is it any wonder that Jesus declared so clearly that in order to have a life “built on a rock” that we must hear his words and “put them into practice” (Matthew 7:24)? These are the truths that Jesus taught. We have to not only believe them, but also live our lives as if they are true. Simply being a Christian will not automatically cause us to be free in every way. We must also embrace and live the truths that He taught (not just in Matthew 5-7, but the entire counsel of God’s Word). I further point you to Paul’s words in Romans 12:2, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Transformation in our lives comes by the renewal of our minds. Our minds are the seat of belief and the source of our decisions and choices. Our minds are renewed by learning to think, believe, and to choose according to what is really true rather than that which is false. Finally, remember David’s words when he was repenting for his sexual sin with Bathsheba? He prays to God, “Surely, You desire truth in the inner parts” (Psa. 51:6). David sinned because he had embraced falsehood in his “inner parts.” As it was for David, so it is for us.
Not a Strategy…Now if you’re reading this article hoping to hear about some strategy against lust that you’ve never heard before, I’m afraid you might be disappointed. You see, my primary point in the article is that when we find ourselves struggling with a bondage to sin, the answer is not to seek a better “strategy” to guard us against any opportunity to indulge in that sin, but to uncover the lie that is causing us to remain in bondage! When you discover and reject the lie, then embrace the truth instead, “the truth will make you free”… It will literally cause freedom to overtake you. It’s not the fruit of a “strategy,” it’s a reality you will experience! It will not be a power struggle in your heart. It will not be a strengthening of will power. You will simply be free. Like the first man in the story, The Chain, you will find it startlingly easy to walk away from the sin without any desire to return to it. You will realize for the first time in your life that real freedom is not a matter of keeping away from your sin for a longer time than ever before, but to actually remove the chain that keeps you forever so close to the pit of filth. (Sound like a pipe dream? Well, that’s what I thought, too, once upon a time. Stay with me…)
How Does it Work?So, how do you use the “key ring”? It works like this:
1. Look for and uncover the lie or lies that keep you bound to your sin. 2. Learn the truth of God that had formerly been supplanted by the lies. 3. Begin to live as if the truth is true instead of living as if the lie were true.That third point is crucial. It is the “putting into practice” that Jesus spoke of. We cannot simply make mental assent to a truth but continue to act as if it were not true and expect such a “profession” of truth to set us free. Like James reminds us, we must be doers of the Word, and not hearers only (James 1:22-25). It is only in the living of truth that our freedom is promised. This understanding of Jesus’ words is critically important to moving towards the truth that will really set you free. As you continue to read the articles on this website, we will share with you the lies that we have uncovered and the truths from God’s Word that have been distorted and/or lost. We don’t pretend to have a corner on truth, nor do we know what lies are keeping you bound, but we know what set us free, and we can see how the lies that kept us bound are woven into the fabric of our lives and our culture so deeply that you may have never even considered that they might not be true. We’ll get to those lies in another article, but first, consider this quote attributed to Dresden James:
“A truth’s initial commotion is directly proportional to how deeply the lie was believed. It wasn’t the world being round that agitated people, but that the world wasn’t flat. When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.”Some of what we tell you may indeed seem “preposterous” to you. You may think us “raving lunatics” for even suggesting that things you’ve never questioned before are actually lies, and that things you have long stood against are actually true.
Trust me, these truths at one time seemed just as preposterous to us… but that was before we were set free by them.And once you’ve been really set free, nothing will make more sense. — Pastor David Martin
Next up: The Pornographic View of the Body