By: Cale Baker
4 min read
Pornography and Doubting Faith
During my senior year in college, I went through a lengthy period of doubt, and I questioned a lot about the Christianity I was living. Questions about hell, about sexual morality, about God’s goodness, and about God’s love plagued me, and since this was my first extended period of doubt, I didn’t really know how to process through my thoughts.
Do I Even Know God?
All of these questions came at once, and it felt like the doubt stripped me away from a large part of my Christian foundation. I remember one particular instance when the doubt drove me to a crossroad while I was praying. I was on my hands and knees with my face to the ground, crying. Tears poured down my face because I felt like I had lost the God I had spent so many years with.
My inability to process through my doubts pushed me to a place where I felt like I didn’t even know the God I was praying to.
With my Christian foundation seemingly gone, I grew more and more unsure about the God I served, and I felt the liberty to turn to porn. Since I didn’t know who God was exactly, I rationalized my way into thinking that maybe—just maybe—I could get away with some pornographic indulgence during my time of spiritual insecurity. I had lost the God I thought I knew, so maybe God was even cool with my addiction to porn. I wasn’t sure about God’s goodness, but I was sure about the quick pleasure of porn.
Porn didn’t answer my questions, but I thought that it grounded me to something solid in a space where my foundation was rotting and giving way. It wasn’t long before I realized that the foundation of porn was filled with its own rotting support. My questions about God clouded my vision about who He was, and porn only made Jesus seem further than before.
The Patience of Jesus
Thankfully, Jesus was remarkably gentle with me during this time, and He patiently showed me that my response to doubt doesn’t really look any different than my response to times of belief. Every season, whether it be seasons of poverty or plenty, comes down to abiding.
Jesus urged me to abide in Him even when I couldn’t clearly see Him. What I wanted in my time of doubt was clearer vision regarding my faith. I wanted answers, but Jesus wanted to show me how to follow Him even when the direction was unclear. Like being led in the dark by someone who knows the way through the darkness. I wanted to know what was around me but Jesus just wanted me to know that He was leading me through the confusion and despair. He wanted me to trust him.
As I continued to learn to follow after Jesus, I found peace in the midst of my doubt. When lust caused more insecurity, Jesus gave me solid ground to stand on.
Doubting Faith and Real Love
My questions didn’t disappear, but God’s love became much more evident in the midst of the confusion. The abiding love expressed in John 15:9 grounded my soul in God’s love, rather than the emptiness of a screen. Jesus told his disciples that just “as the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.” In that passage, immediately after Jesus expresses His love, he tells His disciples, “Abide in my love” and He beckons us to do the same.
As we follow Him, questions surrounding our faith are bound to arise—whether that be through our suffering or through questions we don’t have answers to. Porn doesn’t give us an answer to these questions; instead, porn only makes the answers more unclear.
Abiding in Jesus, on the other hand, does much more than give us answers to questions. Abiding in Jesus grounds us in a living God who gives us the space to move forward in faith, knowing that Jesus is walking slowly and deliberately by our side the entire way.
Lust and Love
Battling porn doesn’t mean you won’t doubt. The act of faith in the midst of failure is believing that He still loves you and knowing that you still love Him. That is the essence of abiding, everything else follows from there.
Most of us have been in spaces of spiritual doubt before. We might have questions about God’s existence, about if He is good, about whether or not He loves us (and if so how much), or even questions about God’s presence with us in the everyday. The list of potential spiritual doubts is endless, and what we do with these doubts is crucial in the development of our faith. Doubt can either push us closer to Jesus, or it can cause us to feel like God is far from us.
Lust is always an option, but it’s an option that chokes out your questions. The love of lust will never answer your questions, nor will it ever give you peace. Yet, the love of God will lead you through your doubts, where real hope and beautiful relationships are gained along the way.
Cale Baker is currently working on a Masters degree in English at Liberty University. He works as a Graduate Student Assistant where he gets to teach English to college freshmen. Cale finds himself most fulfilled when he gets to teach, read and write, and hang out with people. If he could do all of these for the rest of his life, he’d be a happy camper.