Reduced to a Loaf of Bread
Written by Pastor Jim Law
The explosion of Internet pornography into a multi-billion dollar industry seems to have come together like a perfect storm as the spiritual decline of our culture, with the jettisoning of biblical truth, merged with the rapid advance of the Internet.
Thomas Friedman, in his insightful work “The World is Flat,” wrote that the proliferation of the Internet has empowered and connected individuals globally through convergence of the personal computer with fiber optic cable and the rise of work flow software.
With this phenomenal global connection comes the good, the bad, and the ugly. With a flat world, believers can advance Kingdom causes freely from anywhere. And at the same time, purveyors of pornography have shown a brilliant entrepreneurial strategy which has catapulted pornography into the top spot of Internet commerce.
Once there were obstacles that had to be crossed to partake of pornography. One had to go to a place of business or subscribe through mail to make a purchase. Now, there is full accessibility from the privacy of one’s own home. No identification is necessary, just a few clicks and you are there.
Once there was a stigma attached to the public purchasing or partaking of pornography. That is gone, for now, with Internet access, one can view any and all the pornography one desires in full anonymity.
With its accessibility and stealth protection, we could rightly call Internet pornography a category 5 with regard to moral storms, and its effects have become catastrophic to the soul of this nation with well documented devastation to marriage, children, and productivity.
The surge in pornographic consumption has also impacted the church. From pastors, to deacons, to the rank and file of our churches, weekly we read or hear of the slaughter among the redeemed at the hands of pornography.
‘How shall we live?’ is the question believers in Jesus Christ have always had to ask. Whether in Ephesus, Corinth, or Rome, believers in the first century had to live as salt and light in sexually permissive cultures.
‘How shall we live?’ was the question that the Apostle Paul addressed to church at Corinth where he wrote, “Flee immorality!…You are not your own, you have been bought with a price—therefore glorify God with your bodies.” (I Corinthians 6:18-20)
Even a millennia before the Apostle Paul’s words, “How shall we live?” was the question addressed in the wisdom literature of Proverbs. In this valuable book we come to a series of “my son” passages in which an older man/father imparts seasoned counsel to his son.
In reading Proverbs 5-7 purity is high on the list of his wisdom talks. In these three chapters, the language is intense as the elder speaks of being intoxicated with the wife of one’s youth (5:18,19), underscoring that such affection is a glorious blessing. However, within the same conversation, he also warns this son, perhaps with tears in his eyes, “For on account of a harlot one is reduced to a loaf of bread.” (6:26)
What a word picture that is! This father had seen the fallout of immorality in his lifetime, and concludes a man having sex with a prostitute is reduced to nearly nothing.
This is a tragic step down from the position God has created us to be. We are created in His image to be the glory bearers of His creation, and when we fall into immorality the toll is great. In fact, this wise father gives a summary statement to it all, “The one who commits adultery with a woman is lacking sense; He who would destroy himself does it.” (6:32)
Someone may argue, “Yea, but Internet pornography is just looking, not actually doing.” Such thinking is irreconcilable with the teaching of Jesus who said in the Sermon on the Mount that lust in one’s heart was adultery.
Furthermore, since we are admonished in Scripture to think on “whatsoever things are true…honorable…,right…,pure…,gracious…, of good repute,” (Philippians 4:8) there is no room for the believer in Jesus Christ to be dismissive in regards to the dangers of pornography to one’s soul.
A. W. Tozer once said, ““No man suddenly goes base.” In other words, no one suddenly becomes a pervert. Like a battering ram which strikes a gate, the gate does not fall on the first blow, but over time the gate yields to the force of the blows. Even so, yielding to the sexual offerings of the Internet breaks down important barriers of the conscience that must be trained by biblical truth if we would live for God in this world.
One of the most important questions Christians face daily is, “What will I choose to view on my computer or phone today?” Certainly, we need to consider practical help and accountability, but above all we need grace and resolve. King David who had his own brush with immorality resolved that he would walk within his house in the integrity of his heart and that he would put no worthless thing before his eyes. (Psalm 101:2,3)
For the glory of Jesus Christ, the one who has redeemed us to shine as bright lights in this wicked and perverse generation, may we do our work on the Internet for the cause of His Kingdom, lest we find ourselves bobbing for apples in a bucket of sewage and reduced to a loaf of bread.