LOUISVILLE, Ky. – “You don’t have to wait until heaven to be free from pornography.”
Heath Lambert sets forth his case for a pornography-free life in his new book, Finally Free: Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace.
Lambert, a biblical counseling professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s undergraduate school, Boyce College in Louisville, Ky., also is executive director of the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors.
Lambert was interviewed about the book by Matt Damico, book review editor for Towers, Southern Seminary’s news magazine.
Heath Lambert, associate professor of biblical counseling at Boyce College at Southern Seminary, discusses his new book, Finally Free: Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace, which addresses the issue of pornography within today’s Christian culture.
Q: What’s the danger involved in viewing pornography?
A: Internet pornography kills us softly and quietly. The women that you fornicate with on the screen are as silent as the grave. And a lot of times you don’t find out that someone you love has a problem until they are lost in the abyss.
Q: What’s at risk when people think they can maintain a life of Christian discipleship while continuing to view pornography?
A: The lie of Internet pornography says, “I’ll do this little thing over here, and it’s nasty and ugly, but when it’s done I can cover it up and go back to the rest of my life.” The problem is that sin doesn’t stay covered up. You think you can control it, but you can’t. It will break out and it will ruin your life.
The worst consequences are the ones stored up over a long period of time. So the men who are doing this are sipping on poison that will eventually kill their ministry efforts and their marriage and family. They’re destroying their lives and effectiveness for Christ and they don’t even understand it.
Q: In the process of “putting off” the old man and “putting on” the new, what are some of the thoughts, actions and attitudes that people struggling with pornography should seek to put on?
A: One is gratitude. Men who look at porn are greedy for things they don’t have. That’s the logic of lust: I’m greedy for the things I don’t have. Gratitude is the antidote to that. Gratitude says, “Whatever the Lord has given me is what I’ll be thankful for.”
So as men grow and cultivate the fruit of gratitude, they grow in defeating the problem of pornography.
Another is humility. The only people who look at pornography are arrogant people. James tells us that selfish ambition leads to every vile practice. So, if viewing pornography is a vile practice, then viewing it stems from a heart that is selfish. It’s arrogance; it’s a prideful attitude of the heart. And one of the main virtues we can use to fight that is the fruit of humility.
Q: How are pastors particularly vulnerable to pornography?
A: There’s a recent statistic that says 75 percent of pastors do nothing to make themselves accountable to anyone in regard to pornography. I think that, in this pornographic age, it’s reckless and irresponsible for ministers of the gospel to take no measures to insulate themselves from pornography. The reality is that pornography is looking for you.
Pastors who are really concerned to protect themselves, their families and their flock from this silent killer need to be serious about putting some kind of accountability measures in their life, whether it’s an accountability partner to be honest with and pray with, or Internet filters and protection for phone and devices.
Q: Ultimately, what hope do people have to overcome the struggle with pornography?
A: Romans 6 says our old self was crucified so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. So, when you’re in Christ, porn is not your master. Jesus Christ is. Nobody’s going to be looking at porn in heaven, and the Good News of the gospel is that you don’t have to wait until heaven to be free from pornography. You have the Spirit right now who gives life to your mortal body so that you can walk in victory. In perfection? No. In victory? Yes.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – The full interview of Heath Lambert with the Towers book review editor is available here.)