If you’re reading this, then you have an idol in your home. Well, to be more precise, you have the potential to have an idol in your home. Before I tell you what it is, you need to know that this post is going to be about porn. So the idol I’m referring to has to do with your screen, whether a computer, phone, or tablet. The actual idol is pornography.
When you think about an idol, you may imagine a carved statue, sitting on the mantel or in a spot within the home where it can be best venerated. You might picture the people in the house offering sacrifices to the idol or spending time sitting in front of it expectantly and entranced. You might imagine someone bowing down to it and it holding power over a person.
Am I talking about idols or porn? It’s easy to get the two confused.
I don’t know about you, but I have the tendency to look on ancient people and think condescendingly to myself, ‘They were so primitive! How could they actually bow down to a wooden or metal idol and worship it? How could they actually believe it could give them something in return for their sacrifice?’ Most of us believe we’ve ‘evolved’ past the days of statues and idolatry. We think idolatry like this is a thing of the past. Oh, sure, we might believe in idolatry metaphorically, as in our capacity to make money or career an ‘idol,’ but we don’t mean it literally, heavens, no.
But I mean it literally.
Our sophisticated, evolved, cultured, educated, christianized, western world bows down before idols each night and worships. Just about every household. Don’t believe me? Then what do you call this: a person sits down before his computer (an idol carved from various metals and materials); types in search words (tells the idol the magical incantation so the idol gives the person what he wants); goes into a trance staring at the pornographic images (worships); wastes countless minutes and hours each day searching and staring (the sacrifices he offers to the idol are time, health, resources, work, relationship, and family); perhaps he masturbates or fantasizes (more offerings to the idol); feels shame and guilt afterwards (idolatry always wrecks you). Need more evidence? In ancient times, there were prostitutes in pagan temples, because part of worshipping the idol culminated in ritual sex; again, this is just like how our worship of the porn idol often leads to masterbation.
Whenever you seek after or watch porn, you engage in idol worship. And every idol has a demon attached to it. This is why it’s so hard to stop, why you feel so much shame and guilt, and why it consumes your life. Pornography devours because that’s what demons do. You may get a little rush, just as someone receives some sort of ecstasy from idol worship, but the demon quickly revokes the ecstasy and replaces it with misery. Whenever you look at porn, you are inviting a demon into your home and it will wreak havoc on you and those around you.
In ancient times, people prayed to an idol so it would comfort them or help them avoid problems; in modern times, we pray to porn so it can comfort us and help us avoid problems. We do it for the same reasons.
Does it have to be porn explicitly? Here’s a rule of thumb: it’s porn if you make it porn. It could be a PG-13 movie, but if you use it as porn, then it is porn, an idol. So be careful and don’t play games with these demonic idols.
The vast majority of us would never bow down to a wooden idol in our home and worship it, knowing full well that God hates idolatry. Most of us know that God truly loves us and can make our lives better, not worse. We’ve just never realized the connection between idols and porn.
But now you know.
The best way to stop worshipping a false god is to start worshipping a real God. So instead of bowing down before a screen and worshipping the porn idol, bend your knees to God and seek his beautiful Face. You will find love, meaning, and forgiveness; and your life will start to come together, rather than continue to fall apart.
Here’s a prayer Martin Luther taught us to pray every morning, why not start to do the same:
“I thank you, my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray that You would keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.”