Truth: It is absolutely normal – and according to God’s design – that we should be drawn to (appreciate/admire) the beauty of the natural human form.
Pastor David has articulated this more clearly than I ever could in his article, “Addiction to Pornography”
Even so, saying it “out loud” like that might sound “suspicious.” It may sound like an attempt to excuse or condone exposing ourselves to all the nudity we could ever want. It is not. But let me tell you why the acknowledgment of this truth is so vital to finding freedom from the allure of pornography.
We Have it Backwards
Here is what we have been told for all our lives… if not overtly, then at least by implication:
“If you have a longing in your heart to see naked women, then there’s something really wrong with you! You need to repent and beg the Lord to have mercy on your soul and remove that wickedness from your heart!”
Then we are told:
“Young person, you have to guard your eyes and guard them well! God made you to be aroused by what you see and that lust is forbidden by God.”
Put more bluntly, the two statements boil down to this:
Enjoying the sight of the nude form is perverse.
Always having a sexual response to the sight of nudity is natural.
But those two statements are exactly backwards. Here is the truth:
Enjoying the sight of the nude form is natural.
Always having a sexual response to the sight of nudity is perverse.
The Bible clearly warns that we should not call that which is evil, “good” or call that which is good, “Evil.” (Isa. 5:20) But this is what we have done.
The Wrong Battle
What happens if we live by the false statements? Answer: We fight the wrong battle.
We fight against the first response and accept the second without any fight at all.
Allow me to address this personally.
For years, I could never shake the attraction I had in my heart towards the nude female form. I had to admit to myself that I really enjoyed the sight. Its beauty drew me. But I “knew” that it was wrong; I “knew” that it was “perverse.” I “knew” that it was “offensive” to God. So I confessed it and prayed to the Lord to take it away. But He never did. I tried my best to eliminate the opportunities to see it. But time and again, that attraction would combine with “the allure of the forbidden” and I would give in and seek it out, only to be guilt-laden. Once again, I would repent and confess my continued tolerance of this “perversion” in my heart.
What I did not know is that I was fighting against the way God intended me to be. He made me that way and He still wants me to be that way. It is part of the goodness that God has built into every one of us… we are attracted to the beauty of God’s image stamped on God’s highest creation. My prayer to be delivered from that natural and good trait was not a prayer that God was willing to answer, because it was contrary to His will for me. So He didn’t take it away. And in my ignorance, I questioned the faithfulness of God, for He never helped me to be free from the “wickedness” that resided in my very being.
Meanwhile… I assumed that when I saw nudity, I would “naturally” have a sexual response. I expected it. I anticipated it. I enjoyed it. The truth is, I chose it… because I had no idea that there was another choice. When I finally broke down and viewed the nudity, I was by default also deciding to lust. The decision had already been made… after all, I am a “red-blooded male!” In fact, I would have worried about myself if I had not had a sexual response! If for some reason my sight of those naked women had not produced a sexual response, I would have questioned my normalcy! Not surprisingly, my anticipated response was always there. I never even remotely expected anything different.
What I did not know was that such a response is not a measure of “normalcy” at all.
I did not realize that it was possible to appreciate beauty
without indulging in that beauty for my own selfish gratification.
It never occurred to me to ask God to eradicate that response from my heart and mind. That’s a prayer that He would have been delighted to answer in my life… indeed, now He has.
Let me summarize.
Jesus did not tell us that looking at a woman was mental adultery, He said that looking at a woman lustfully was. God did not command us not to look at our neighbor’s house, wife, servants or animals, He commanded us not to covet them.
We have been fighting the wrong battle all along.
I can tell you from personal experience that it is much easier to battle the “lust” response in my heart than it ever was to battle my natural, God-given attraction to the nude form. And the wonderful reality is that I no longer need to fear what I may see in the course of a day… be it a coworker, billboard, commercial, or TV show. None of these things lead me inevitably to lust. I can genuinely appreciate the beauty of God’s creation honestly and honorably without lust. This is true freedom.