Covenant Eyes
Covenant Eyes

Sam Black / 18 NOV 2014 – “Porn is only consumed by thankless people.”

Dr. Heath Lambert isn’t coddling readers in his book Finally Free: Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace. While the quote from his book might sound like a tough rebuke, this counselor and professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary firmly roots his advice and teachings in the unfathomable grace and mercy of Jesus Christ.

Finally Free is an inspirational read and a user-friendly guide to both the person struggling with pornography and the mentor, friend, or pastor who is seeking to give support. Lambert delivers an impassioned description of how to pursue repentance, receive grace, and prepare a road toward freedom from pornography.

Thanksgiving and the Battle with Lust

It is in Chapter 8 of this nine-chapter book that Lambert explores the power of being thankful. Lambert starts his argument for using gratitude to fight pornography with Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.

“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.” Ephesians 5:3-4 (italics added)

The majority of this verse is pretty straightforward, but it’s pretty easy to gloss over the words greed in the first sentence and thanksgiving in the second sentence. Lambert points out that God forbids “greed” to strengthen His command against sexual immorality, and He urges us in “thanksgiving” to spur us to healthy action.

Greed isn’t just about money. You can be greedy for food, power, and in this context, you can be greedy in your sexual appetite. Greed is being focused on what you do not have. This lustful greed is not to be confused with sexual desire — after all, God gave you a healthy sexual attraction that is designed to attract and bind you to your spouse. Sexual desire is not sinful, but greed points and perverts that desire to someone who is not your spouse and to lust.

Thanksgiving or thankfulness is the polar opposite of lust.

“The logic of lust requires you to be discontent with what you have and pay attention to all the things you don’t have. The logic of thankfulness requires you to focus on what you have already received and to be overcome with thanks. Gratitude is the opposite of greed“ (p. 126).

“If you struggle with porn, one of your greatest needs is to grow in the grace of gratitude. Just because you may never have thought about it doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Porn is only consumed by thankless people. The desire for porn is a desire to escape from what the Lord has given you into a fake universe full of things you do not have and will never have. Porn is the trading of gratitude for greed” (p. 127).

Cultivating Thankfulness

So what now? In recognizing this battle of the mind and spirit, Lambert urges people to use gratitude as an offensive weapon in one’s fight for purity. Intentionally focus on the blessings God has given you, from friendships and relationships, to extended family to your children, to your spouse and the good times you’ve shared. Be thankful for the talents God has given you and be thankful for the responsibilities in your life. And be thankful for God’s gift of salvation and for the price Christ paid for your sins.

Lambert’s words might inspire you to list your blessings. Write them down as a reminder when you feel greed and lust entering your mind. Journal about the good and honorable gifts in your life, and run from temptations that lead to porn.

“Every greedy glance at pornography is a missed opportunity to be thankful to the Lord and to others for all the good things in your life,” Lambert writes.

The result of continually exercising thankfulness is growing in gladness.

There is no authentic joy in pornography; rather, it delivers a promise of joy for a moment and that brief time is fleeting. The battle for freedom from pornography is a battle to find deeper joy. Greedy lust undercuts gladness, Lambert says, while gratitude produces it.

“Lust guarantees that as soon as you possess the object of your longing, you will get a new greedy desire for something more. This explains why marriage isn’t the cure for lust and masturbation that singles believe it will be. Once a man has a wife, he starts wanting the next thing he does not have. This is the vicious cycle of lust” (p. 130).

Lust is never satisfied.

But gratitude energizes and fuels a glad and thankful heart and mind. It is the logic of gratitude to be thankful for what is yours rather than longing for what is not, and that leads to deeper joy. Lambert points to 1 Thessalonians 5:18: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”


About Sam Black
Sam Black is an Internet Safety Consultant and a manager at Covenant Eyes. He joined the Covenant Eyes team in 2007 after 18 years as a journalist, serving as a reporter and editor for newspapers and magazines in six states. He has been married for 17 years and is a father of two.
Source: Covenant Eyes

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