There are seasons when we find ourselves with extra time on our hands. Some cherish this time by reading, doing outdoor activities, spending quality time with people, and other things that bring joy. For others, too much extra time brings online sexual temptation. After some time, your boredom intensifies, and you believe the only thing that will satisfy your boredom will be pornography.

To be clear, pornography isn’t just a battle men face. It is a shared struggle between genders that misrepresents love and gives false expectations of how future spouses operate toward each other. Pornography promotes self-love where Scripture preaches selfless love.

Throughout Scripture, we are given many illustrations that describe our lives and how we operate. When it comes to sexual temptation, Scripture gives us an illustration of a young man going down a dangerous path. The path is dangerous not because of the terrain it is on, but rather why we go down it and where it leads to.

Proverbs 5:1-6 (ESV) teaches us: My son, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding, that you may keep discretion, and your lips may guard knowledge. For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil, but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps follow the path to Sheol; she does not ponder the path of life; her ways wander, and she does not know it.”

The pinnacle of teaching on dangerous paths is the book of Proverbs. Proverbs teaches us that every decision we make in life has two paths: one leading to life and the other leading to death. Proverbs gives us an overarching principle for every path you find yourself on: You can choose the path, but you don’t get to choose the destination. When you find yourself in tempting situations, you can either choose the path that leads to life—which is pursuing the Lord—or a path that leads to death, which slowly pulls you away from God.

Why is this principle important in light of online sexual temptation? How does this address why we go down the path of sexual temptation? Lastly, where does online sexual temptation find its end? Proverbs 5:1-6 teaches us three principles of the dangerous path of online sexual temptation.

  1. Sexual temptation always ends bitterly – Like our proverb, sexual temptation seems pleasant, harmless, and attractive, but will always end bitterly. You want more moments after you indulge and you become drawn to it all the time. The sensations that you once enjoyed now seem dull, so you seek out new sexual territory you thought you would never go to. Online temptation always over promises enjoyment, but never delivers.
  2. Sexual temptation destroys relationships – As you walk down the dangerous path of sexual temptation, you start to compare most relationships to what you see online. “Her feet go down to death; her steps follow the path to Sheol,” means you slowly kill yourself and distance yourself from others. You spend more time alone and view others as “less thans” in light of sexual temptation.
  3. Sexual temptation leaves you wandering – things you once enjoyed have become dull, your focus becomes blurry, and you only look forward to getting in front of the screen. What once made you feel sexually free now enslaves you. You are captive to needing your next “fix” instead of enjoying the moment. You are wandering throughout the day until you can get in front of the screen.

How do we avoid these three dangerous paths? Here are some ways to consider:

  1. Write a list of things that bring you pleasure. Read through your list. Are there things on the list that are leading you on a dangerous path? Do the things you find pleasure in reflect what Jesus finds pleasure in?
  2. Put together an hour-by-hour schedule of what you do through the day. Where do you find yourself mostly? If free time is available, how do you use it?
  3. Confess to others if you are struggling with online sexual temptation. You enter spiritual suicide if you believe you can handle sexual temptation on your own. Seek accountability and guidance from a mature believer in your life.
  4. Find ways to serve others during the day instead of serving yourself. Online sexual temptation is self-love. Practice selfless love throughout the day. Bonus if you can serve someone and they don’t know it was you!
  5. Spend time in God’s Word and prayer. Develop an understanding of what God calls right sexuality and wrong sexuality. Pray for the Lord to mold your heart to reflect his values.

Throughout your life, there will bring a lot of time to be alone and have free time on your hands. In order to avoid dangerous paths of sexual temptation online, you have to be prepared for it. Through Christ and his shed blood on the cross, he promises victory over sexual temptation and liberty from paths that lead to death. Remember, you can choose the path, but you cannot choose the destination. Let us be people who chose the path of life, not the path of death.

Foster Toft serves as the director of student ministry at the Crown Point campus of Bethel Church.

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