In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, we read of some of the human characteristics that will be seen during the end times. One of the warnings in this list of end times vices comes in the form of men becoming “lovers of pleasure, rather than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:4). But what precedes these words is the statement that men will be “lovers of self” (2 Timothy 3:2). You see, in this selfish day and age, men have become so enamored with their own pleasures that the love of others has gone by the wayside.
In the very next verse we see that the love of the family will be lost as well. In 2 Timothy 3:3 we are given a specific Greek word to describe the lack of love that will happen in the end times. The word used in this verse is ἄστοργοι or astorgoi. A word combination similar to A-theist. The prefix "A" meaning without and “Storgoi” meaning family love. There is a lack of family love that is going to be highly prevalent in the end times. Because so many men (and women) have become lovers of self and pleasure, they have lacked the love of their own family that would hinder them from looking at sinful material that will bring to ruin the marriage that God brought together. Because so many have grown accustomed to appeasing their own palate and do not care about grieving the Holy Spirit, men have become lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. To love God is to know Him and wish to obey Him. In John 14:15 Jesus says “If you love me, keep my commandments.” In 1 John 1 we are told:
“This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” (1 John 1:5-6).
In 1 John 3 we are even given the guidelines by which to identify God’s children:
"Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother” (1 John 3:7-10).
When we place our own pleasures above the obedience that God requires of us, we forget the great sacrifice that Jesus gave in open shame on our behalf. This chain of self love is a devil’s trifecta that will bring many would-be, God-glorifying families to ruin. The fathers have allowed God to take a back seat to their own pleasure, to their own self, and lack the family love that would motivate them to repent of such sin. Because their own needs are placed above that of his family’s, the fate of his marriage and family is that of calamity.
It is also imperative to point out that man is not saved by good works, we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). With that said, there is fruit that is going to be evident in a believer’s life that will mark them as an obvious child of God (Matthew 7:15-20, 1 John 3:10). I would not want anyone to think that because they have stumbled in this area that it means that they do not know the Lord. Scripture tells us, My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (1 John 2:1). This article has been written for the same purpose, that you may not sin against God in this area of your life. God commands us to be obedient to His calling and to test ourselves to see if we are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). I encourage anyone who is knowingly continuing in sin to take account today (Hebrews 10:26), do not wait for tomorrow. Do not dance on the fence. Confess your sins, for if you do, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). The Christian walk is to be one of victory and not defeat. In Paul’s letter to the Romans, we are told that those who are in Christ Jesus are "more than conquerors" (Romans 8:37). Not by their own strength, but by the power of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit! For apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5).
Jesus’ Warnings To Us
There are a couple of different warnings that come to mind when we think about what Jesus told His very own disciples regarding this subject. When Christ brought the audience’s thoughts captive to the idea that we need to keep a “kingdom perspective” in Matthew 6, He contrasted men fasting for man’s approval versus fasting for God’s approval. He then warned that we should not store up our treasures on Earth because these things are fleeting and inconsequential in regards to our ultimate dwelling place for eternity. He then said these words:
“The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness” (Matthew 6:22-23)!
While these words were directed at the fact that man’s heart needs to be fully devoted to God and not his own possessions, what we concentrate our attention on should be God-glorifying. If we use the eyes that God gave us to stare upon things that He sees as wicked, we will be encompassed by such darkness. This warning by Jesus can also be summed up in His answer to the greatest commandment question. He told us that the greatest commandment was to love the Lord thy God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, and the second is like it, to love our neighbor as ourself. Many of the men who are being entertained by pornographic material would not want their wives to be watching pornography. I am also certain that they would not want their daughter to be seen sleeping with men on film. If we truly love God and wish to obey Him, we wouldn’t see people as objects and recognize that the love of the Father should give us a love that transcends, not one that is similar to the world, but that doesn’t make sense to the world. If we fill our heart with the love of God it will bring about a reverential fear of dishonoring our beloved King. If we love God with all of our mind and place the helmet of salvation on our heads, we would not allow wicked thoughts to enter and would correct ourselves so that we will not have to be corrected. If we use all of the strength that God has given us to battle against temptation, He will give us the strength to endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13)!
Any conversation about pornography in light of Scripture should start and end with Jesus’ warning in Matthew 5:27-30. In these verses, and much of the Chapter, Jesus makes it clear that He is after our hearts. He is not after mere outward religion. He is not after us drawing near with our lips and being far from Him with our hearts. He is not after those who wish to do wickedness in their heart though they do not do it out in the open. Jesus warns previously of the perils that come from having hatred in your heart and then says this:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28).
And lest we think that pornography cannot become a salvation issue, here is what Jesus has to say:
“If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell” (Matthew 5:29-30).
For some people, plucking out your eye and cutting off your arm could be symbolic of turning off the computer. If you cannot go on your computer without longing for something that is aiming to damn your soul, you should throw it out. Better to be computerless in this world than be joyless in eternity. There are certain parameters that you may need to take to keep this evil from taking over your heart. There is a love for God that should also bring out a reverential fear of Him.
This is not a mere fight, this is war!
We need to recognize the spiritual warfare that is going on. One of the chief dangers when it comes to men fighting against this sin is not knowing who the enemy is! The Bible gives us an exact guideline on not only who he is, but how to defeat him! The Bible says that we aren’t fighting merely against a flesh and blood battle. It is not only our fleshly desires that are tempting us, but a cunning enemy who will bring about temptation in our life. This is a battle that is won not only on our knees but with our comrades. We have fellow soldiers in the army of God who need to come together and fight this battle with us.
In Exodus chapter 17 we read of the battle of Amalek and Israel. Not only did Moses raise his arms to Heaven, but his brothers came to his aid when he didn’t have the strength to hold them up himself:
“So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands were heavy. Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sun set. So Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword” (Exodus 17:11-13).
This is where the Body of Christ needs to step up. We need to hold our brothers arms up when they are lacking in strength. We need to make sure we hold each other accountable. If you are struggling with sin, find a brother that you can confide in and ask him to pray for you.
As God puts it:
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of the righteous man can accomplish much” (James 5:16).
Remember, don’t let Google know more about your struggles than a brother in the Lord. Pray without ceasing. Do not simply pray THAT God will get you through the struggle, pray UNTIL God gets you through the struggle and lean on your brothers. Carry one another’s burdens and fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:1-2)!