Day 4: Cultivate Humility
Several summers ago I worked at a church as an intern while the associate pastor was on sabbatical. On my first Sunday night, I was all set to lead youth group. After eating pizza for dinner, I made my way to the restroom to wash my greasy hands. But as soon as I entered, I noticed a problem: toilet water covered the floor.
I thought to myself, Hmmm . . . I wonder whose job it is to clean that?
Because I was new to the job of summer intern, I couldn’t resolve this perplexing question. But I had an idea. I’ll put a sign on the door that says, “Do not use. Out of order.” I made the sign, put it on the door, and proceeded to go on with youth group.
As the night went on, I started thinking that perhaps I should make it my job to clean up the mess. I was the summer intern after all. So when the kids left, I found the mop and started to clean. It was a hot and humid Missouri night, and I was in a small, dimly lit room now full of bleach and toilet smells. As I wrung out the mop, I caught a picture of myself in the mirror. And here’s the thought that popped into my head: Is this what I went to grad school for?
A toilet had overflowed, and so had my prideful heart.
If we are to fight against pornography, we must cultivate humility and root out pride. Victory depends on it. It takes arrogance to believe you have the right to look at and imagine touching another woman’s private parts. Even the name presupposes this—private parts, those parts that are to be hidden and, well, private.
In the Song of Solomon, the husband calls his wife a locked garden (4:12), a garden that one sees only inside the covenant of marriage (4:16–5:1). There’s an anatomical aspect to a woman’s virginity that makes her “locked” (her hymen), but there’s also a social and spiritual aspect to being locked. God’s design is that a woman is sealed off from all others except her husband. Therefore, it requires arrogance to kick down the door to a locked garden.
Your pride, in all its manifestations, is incompatible with purity. As one author has put it, “[Porn] puts [you] at the center, creating a world in which [you’re] worshiped” (Tim Chester, Closing the Window, 75).
And your pride loves this. It will cause you to think you’re entitled to things you’re not. Additionally, pride will keep you from asking for the help you need. As the psalmist writes, “In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek [God]” (Psalm 10:4). The proud man, to save face, won’t wave the white flag. Only those who surrender to God are saved.
In what ways might your pride be preventing you from receiving the help you need?
In what ways might pride be causing you to hide your struggle from others?
Take 5 minutes to think and pray about these questions. Tomorrow we’ll talk about the connection between flattery and pornography.
Thank you for watching these videos. If you’ve found them helpful, be sure to share them with your friends and church leadership. To go deeper on each of these strategies (and a dozen other strategies), check out my book Struggle Against Porn: 29 Diagnostics for Your Head and Heart.