Night time for many men and women is danger time. Before I got free of my addiction to pornography night time was a dangerous time for me. It was a time when I was tempted, especially after a particularly long day of work, to look at pornography. During this time of my life, now well over a decade ago, I would often sadly give in to the siren call of lust and selfishness.
Perhaps your struggle isn’t with pornography. You might struggle with going to the store or some restaurant to get ice cream late at night, or an extra snack after you’ve already eaten a full meal. Night time as danger time doesn’t have to be restricted to only pornography. Each one of us has specific temptations and points where we are being pressured to cave into temptation.
In my own walk with God, I’ve learned that it’s best at night if I’m alone I leave my phone on my nightstand charging. I don’t pick it up for any reason other than if my wife, mom or a close friend calls. This also ensures that I’m guarding my heart against temptation. In the evening I don’t get on my laptop except for rare circumstances where I have a burning article idea and feel the need to write. My evenings are spent with my wife reading, talking to her, or I’m at some event, or with a good friend.
To guard your heart and protect your marriage, you are going to have to be intentional. If you struggle with sexual sin of any kind in your life, nighttime is danger time. It means that you need help, whether that’s putting your phone on the nightstand or somewhere else in your residence; do it.
Pornography is crippling the lives of many men and women. It is selling them a bill of goods that seems to promise much but at the end of the day doesn’t. Instead, it leaves them bound in the shackles of guilt and shame; instead of in the freedom of hope in the gospel.
To fight for our growth in God’s grace and to stand firm in the Lord, we need to do the following: 1) we need ourselves to be growing in the gospel, 2) we need to understand the place of accountability, and lastly, 3) we need a plan of attack.
Growing in the gospel
First, we need to come to understand that our sin offends God. Jesus didn’t die so we could all have a group hug and join a social club. Instead, He died in the place of sinners and for their sin so they would put their sin to death. Theologians call this progressive sanctification that is daily growing into who we are already in Christ now. In other words, because we are His and He is ours, now we can love God and others as He intends for His glory.
We can see the awfulness of our sin only because the veil that clouded our vision has been removed by God when He replaced our heart of stone with a new heart, with new desires, and new affections for His glory. When nighttime temptation comes is not the time to prepare against the allure of lust. The time to prepare for the siren song of lust is beforehand.
We do this by understanding that if we just cave into the siren song of lust our fellowship with God will be broken. We remain wholly Christ’s, but Christ is not an approver of our sin. Our security remains in Christ, but our fellowship with the Lord is broken because of our sin. This is why 1 John 1:9 tells us that we must confess our sin and He is faithful and just to forgive of our sin. If we say we don’t have sin, 1 John 1:6 tells us we are deceived.
My experience in ministering to men has taught me that many Christian men are deceived. They have bought into the lie that they can live however they want too. Many young men think they can sleep around with no consequences. When consequences come as they always do, they don’t own up to them. Instead, they continue down the wrong path away from God instead of owning up to them. Our sin always takes us farther than we want.
Night time is a good picture of the darkness that we give into. Rather than being in the light and walking in it, we would rather, especially at night, walk in darkness than in the light of One who in Jesus has so clearly through His light opened our eyes to see through the darkness. It is only because of Jesus that we can see the Light, know the Light and walk in the Light.
The Place of Accountability
We need to understand the place of accountability. If you don’t have any Internet filter, you need to get it. The lust of the eyes is real. You might not think so now but there will come a time when thinking about something else will not help. You might be alone in a hotel room one night or somewhere else and get tempted. It doesn’t even have to be at night it could be during the day. The point is you need accountability and software to protect you against yourself.
You see, we are our own worst enemies. It’s not the person down the road from you or even in the next cubicle at your job that you need to be first and primarily concerned about. Instead, it’s you, the person reading this article that you need to be most concerned about. God wants to minister and break His people free from the chains that hold them back from being who they are now in and through Christ. To do that, we need help.
We need not only to have filtering software like that offered by Covenant Eyes, but we need solid, godly men if you are a guy, or if you are a lady solid, godly women around you to speak into your life. You need these men and women of God in your life for times when you do struggle. You need to have people you can go to and say, “Look I’ve sinned again in this area of my life, will you please pray for me?” We need, if the struggle is serious, the professional help of biblical counselors to help us retrain our hearts and minds with the Word of God so that we will fight against rather than cave into sexual sin.
And asking for help doesn’t mean that you aren’t smart. Asking for help confronts our pride and selfishness. It’s hard for people to ask for help on the one hand when they think they are doing just fine the way they are when they aren’t. Sexual sin is deceptive. It makes us think we are all good, but in fact, we’re not.
If we’re giving into the lust of the eyes and flesh once a day, once a week, once a month, or even once a year, that is once too much. This is why we need accountability; we need people to continue to speak into our lives and to have people we can share openly about the stuff of life. Night time is danger time for many men and women especially after a long day who only want to unwind but use pornography as a vehicle to relax. We all need accountability wherever we are in our Christian lives. Such accountability will help us to see clearer our own sin and to continue to grow in the grace of God.
A Plan of Attack
It’s all too easy in our Christian lives to say one thing and then do another. It’s an entirely different approach to take our own sin seriously because Jesus paid for it, and then to implement strategies by God’s grace to actually kill our sin. So I want to challenge you to stop playing pretend. Stop playing games. Stop saying you are all good and singing all is well with your soul when your sin is eating you alive. Just stop it. It’s not OK that you are looking at pornography however much you are. You are not deceiving an all knowing and all seeing God who sees all that you do and will hold you accountable. Instead, you need to have a plan of attack.
For me, this means at night I don’t get on my laptop and my phone. I put away my devices at night especially after a particularly hard day in a different room than where I’ll be. I’ve learned over time that the seduction of temptation is very real. It summons me to come and to give into the lust of my eyes and my flesh. True happiness in the Christian life is the byproduct of our fight against sin. We rest in Christ and strive by God’s grace. We don’t strive by our own effort to fight against sin. We don’t resist sin in our own power. Instead, we press in because of and by God’s grace through the convicting work of the Holy Spirit.
When we fail, and fail we will whether in the day or at night, we repent of our sin. We don’t turn toward ourselves for forgiveness. We don’t let go and let God. We also don’t analyze and kick ourselves to the curb over our sin. Instead, we turn away from our sin and to Jesus Christ. We trust not in our own good works because they are as filthy rags. Instead, we trust in Christ alone in the perfect, spotless righteousness of Christ.
Perhaps today you are struggling with pornography. Perhaps it’s also been awhile, but the seduction is still there. Let me urge you wherever you are at in the process of recovery from an addiction to pornography to look to Christ. Know the loveliness of Christ and sing of His great glory.
Open your Bible and read it, for there you will learn about Christ. Get in a solid Bible-believing church where you will sit under the teaching of God’s Word and learn God’s plan for your life. In the local church, you will meet others like yourself, those who have issues but are pursuing God’s grace in the midst of them.
Night time is danger time. Know and grow in the grace of God. Get accountability and make a plan of attack by God’s grace. Surround yourself with God’s people. Then night time doesn’t have to be danger time; it can be a time where before bed you focus on time with family instead of wasting your time looking at pornography. Instead of wasting time you’ll have more time to focus on your own walk with God, your family and time with your spouse.
Stop making excuses for your own sin and struggles. Instead, by God’s grace, refuse to treat your sin lightly, and in light of the death, burial and resurrection, learn that the costly sacrifice of Jesus demands we take our own sin seriously and grow to be like Christ in every sphere of life, all for His great name and glory.
This article originally appeared here.