Pixel lust is really quite comical, if you think about it. I mean, pornography is not even human flesh; it’s a screen! It is simply light dancing across our eyes via pixels on a screen. What a sad and silly temptation.
I don’t mean to belittle the strength of this temptation; I merely wish to point out the humor of the thing! Every once in awhile, as Christians, we have to take our temptations out back and punch them around a bit. Really heckle them. Show’em who’s boss. Call it what it really is by declaring its illogical nature. Think your way to the destructive repercussions of sin and the utterly insane return you’ve received in the past for your sinful investments. I devoted the first post to the married among us, but this post is aimed at the single pixel lust struggler.
If you are in a season where God has placed upon you the unique gift and weight of singleness, Christ your Lord is enough for you. I don’t say this tritely; you must trust him in this season. If you set foot on the battlefield of sexual temptation—which, if you have a pulse, you will—believing that Jesus is not enough, or that he is not good in your singleness, you will be decisively dominated by your flesh and Satan. Trusting that Christ is more to you and for you is everything in this war of belief. Trusting God’s eternal gospel, believing him to be good in the middle of it, will become the fuel you use for the fight that awaits you just on the other side of that supposed cyber meadow. Those pixels represent a real fight for your soul. It’s going to take more than just applying a little pixie dust to your pixel lust; you must apply the steel cable strength of your union with Christ. You’re going to have to believe beyond all visible and biological means that Christ is more.
I want to give you a few texts that will serve as an arsenal in your battle against pixel lust. The first serves as a warning for us; a reminder that pixel lust is, always has, and always will be a mirage. Amnon will show us the utter futility of indulging this temptation. The second is a passage that helps the single person hold out hope in Christ’s provision through marriage. The third provides a means by which we can trust God to do the work.
Amnon Shows Us It’s a Mirage
Do you remember Amnon? If you don’t, his gut-wrenching story in 2 Samuel 13 is well worth the few moments it takes to read. The story of Amnon and Tamar stands in the biblical corpus as a harsh warning to us concerning the bitterness of our sin when we adhere to its cravings. Amnon, King David’s first son and seemingly rightful heir for a time, had languished for some time under the lustful desire for Tamar (Absalom’s sister and Amnon’s half-sister). After Jonadab’s counsel, a scoundrel in every sense of the word, Amnon contrives a snare for Tamar to lure her into his bed. She resists and Amnon suddenly shifts into an unforeseen rage and drags her into his bed and rapes her.
At this point, when Amnon’s premeditated sin finally blossoms to its fullest destructive degree, the Scriptures say, “Then Amnon hated her with very great hatred, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he loved her. And Amnon said to her, “Get up! Go!” (2 Samuel 13:15). Let me just stop here and say that the kind of logic that pixel lust throws at you is a lie. Amnon got exactly what he thought he wanted, and he despised it! Because its promise wasn’t really real! Amnon’s rape of Tamar became a key component in the devolution of David’s kingship.
This insidious episode takes place in the immediate wake of King David’s debacle with Bathsheba and Uriah. Amnon’s actions triggered a domino effect of familial conflict that would rival all soap operas combined. There is no end in sight to the possibility of the trigger effect of your sin of sexual immorality. Tamar’s brother Absalom eventually murders Amnon, and Tamar is left in desolation for the rest of her life. Subsequently, Absalom attempts to capitalize on the event by grasping for the throne. David is forced to use military force to put down his son’s rogue attempt, and Absalom is killed in the process.
The point for you and me resides in the narrator’s haunting summary of Amnon’s heart in the moments following his self-willed calamity. Our sin always takes us darker than we want to go and never ever delivers on its advertising. Brother or sister, if you give into the lies of your temptation, I can promise you that you will hate your life, your actions, and despise your future.
Proverbs 5:18-19, “Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love.”
Don’t think I draw on this passage to taunt you. Before I was married, I memorized this passage to remember the provision the Lord had laid up for me even in my singleness. Solomon says, “Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight.” The sexual fulfillment that you will one day own can be a powerful conversation partner in your temptation, meaning that even for the single person, under the patronage of holiness and completely devoid of lust, you can trust in Christ’s future (“at all times”) provision for you.
My counsel is to take hold of the principle of delayed gratification in the midst of this fight. If you are reading this post and struggle with this temptation, then I suspect that you are not the single forever type—although I recognize this as a category of Christians that exists (1 Corinthians 7:7-8). You are more than likely the type that Paul speaks of in 1 Corinthians 7:9. So come to Christ and ask for provision for the day, take hold of the promise of future sexual provision, and fight like a Christian. This is good news in the fight against pornography, adultery, and fornication. God has not made you asexual, but rather he has set you up for ultimate fulfillment in your sexuality by commanding you to keep your sex for the marriage bed alone.
Christ Fights For You
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”
Herein lies grace, brothers and sisters! The Savior’s hold on your life through the gospel is as unrelenting as gravity! He is faithful. Remember this truth when the wiles of the devil and the flesh have seized you. If you are saved, you are not strong enough to sin yourself away from your Lord. He won’t let you! He holds and keeps you (Jude 24). He is pushing you up into his sanctification. He is minting you into his image. He is pulling you into holiness. He is saving you holistically.
Your “win” in this war against pixel lust does not depend on the weak faith that resides in you, but rather in the unyielding spiritual muscle of the Lord Almighty. He is bending your affection toward himself. Take heart, dear struggler. Christ fights for you, and he is the universally undefeated, death-killing, sin-conquering King of creation. He fights for you.