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Do I Need a Filter?


Before even stepping into the deeper waters of whether a filter shows wisdom or weakness; you can’t  ignore the tsunami coming at you. Do I Need a Filter?

Listen in as Josh describes the unique age we’re living in as two powerful waves of sexual immorality and digital connectivity crashing on us 24/7.

They create floodwaters rushing through your living room, bedroom, locker room, office space, car. Is a filter enough?

Let’s find out.

HIGHLIGHTS

Common Objections to Filters:

  1. A filter is an obstacle on my computer getting in the way of work, school, and everyday tasks.
  2. My device is given to me and I can’t put a filter on it because it will expose my addiction.
  3. A filter will expose me to my spouse or family on the home computer.
  4. I want to engage in more than  “ behavior management.” 

We are living in an incredibly unique time in the history of humankind. This is a unique moment. There are two powerful waves that have converged in the same direction. One of those waves is the sexual immorality of our culture. In addition, the immense digital connectivity of everyone and everything in our culture.

Remember pornography actually changes the wiring of your brain. It creates new neural networks that learn to run automatically.

A filter creates some space, some barriers so your brain (over time), will begin to rewire in a different way and stop recognizing the screen as a conduit to sexual pleasure. 

You want to get after heart issues. But in order to do so, you need some space from pornography because pornography has a way of numbing your senses to what your heart is really looking for. Pornography has a way of distracting you, leading you down a path away from the things that matter most to your heart.

The ultimate goal is not just abstinence from pornography, not just abstinence from sexually explicit material, the ultimate goal is that our hearts would be transformed into Christ’s likeness.

Our heart begins to beat for the things that Christ’s heart beats for.

Our hearts would begin to love where we in the past have just lusted.

Our hearts would begin to receive the love of God instead of seeking out false loves through unwanted sexual behaviors.

This Episode’s Transcription

Josh 0:03
Do I need a filter on my device in order to break free from pornography? That’s the question we’re gonna be picking up in today’s episode. What do you think? Here are the objections. First of all, let’s just start with this, I hear these objections from people who say they don’t want to filter, what is a practical objection of a filter, and the filter gets in the way of the work that I need to do for my job, or it gets in the way of regular things I need to do for school. And so it’s just too inconvenient for me. Another related one would be, my device is actually one that I have given to me by my school or given to me my work, and I’m not allowed to put a filter on it. Or if I put a filter on it, it’s gonna expose that I’ve got some kind of problem to my boss, or to HR or to the school, and I’m not willing to go down that road. Next objection. Related to that would be I’ve got a spouse or family members. And so if I want to filter, then that means they’re going to know that something’s up with me and the kind of content that I’ve been looking for online. And I’m not willing to go there. The other objection I hear a lot of times is, I don’t want to just get after behavior management, I want to actually want to I want to get after why I’m doing this and break free from a heart level. And so I don’t want it to be that I’m not looking at pornography, just because there’s a filter blocking me I want to I want to make it so I’m not looking at pornography, because God’s actually changed me from the inside out. And so now I’m free. And it’s that I’m not looking because I’m not looking. Make sense. So I’m not going to just answer those objections point for point, what I’m going to do is talk about why I think a filter can be valuable in the journey away from pornography addiction. And I hope in doing so I’ll answer some of the objections to why people don’t want filters. First and foremost, we have to acknowledge the elephant in the room. Because we are living in an incredibly unique time in the history of humankind. This is a unique moment, in that there are these two powerful waves that have converged in the same direction. One of those waves is the sexual immorality of our culture, that we are not living in a time where people recognize that they’re that we need sexual restraints that we need, temperance, that we need self mastery in the area of sexuality. Rather, we’re living in a time where whatever you feel goes, as long as it’s consensual, nothing is wrong, nothing is out of bounds. You can be who you want to be sexually, you can do what you want to do sexually. And anyone who tells you otherwise, is is fearful, hateful, or living in the dark ages. So that’s one powerful wave. Now, granted, there have been other times in history where that that wave has also been actively moving through the culture. The first century church is one example of that. The church in Corinth, the church in Greece, the church in Rome, those were places where sexual immorality was was a present and very real issue that the church had to deal with. So likewise, that there weren’t sexual, you know, Judy, Judeo Christian, sexual mores in place in those cultures. So that’s that alone is a powerful force. But it’s not what makes this age in this moment, specifically unique. What makes it unique is that add to that wave, this other powerful wave moving in the same direction, which is the digital age that we’re living in the immense, almost ubiquitous digital connectivity of everyone and everything in our culture. So our go to, when it comes to finding truth, information, directions, how to spell something, what a recipe is for something, how to do something, what’s normal, what’s abnormal, what’s healthy, what’s not healthy, the go to resource for all those things. And entertainment even mentioned, entertainment, is the internet, the online world where we’re billions and billions of, of bits of information and images are coming together in a day illusion. So things that used to be fringe things that used to be looked at as, as rather abnormal, have this platform now we’re people from all places are coming together. And those things are now becoming normalized. And so we have these two places together, these two waves, these monuments, monumental waves moving in the same way. And we’re up against that. Now, why do I get into that when we’re talking about filters? Because because the fact that we are living in that unique age, it would be unfair for us to answer the question about filters without taking an honest look at the reality of the dangers that are available online. It would be dishonest it would be ingenuous for us to say it’s like every other age people in the past didn’t need it. Why would I need it? Because we’re living in a day and age where there are floodwaters moving through the living rooms, moving through the locker rooms moving through the schools, moving through the businesses of nearly everyone on the earth because of our digital devices.

So come back to the question about filters. Steven arterburn years ago I raised this question he said, he said, if you live in a society where you knew when you left your your home in the morning that you would run into saber toothed lions, their packs of Saber Tooth lions, running wild in the streets? Would you be foolish to consider that when you’re living your home? Would you be foolish to consider that you need to make provision for the fact that you’re going to run into those on the way to work? And the answer obviously, is no, you would not be foolish, it would be wise to consider that. So if you were to grab a spear, or a gun, or find a safari proof vehicle to drive or leave in groups, making loud noise and carrying torches to scare away the saber tooth, lions, to set up traps, all those things would be wisdom for you. In so in the same way, I’d say, when we are going online to do schooling, when we’re going online to do our work when you’re going online to shop when we’re going online. For entertainment. Is it foolish for us to have defensive weapons in place? And I’d say no, it’s just wisdom. And so I think in many ways, a filter serves as that kind of wisdom for us. And I hope you hear in that an answer to the one objection about like, well, I want to actually have a real victory that comes from the heart. Is it really my victory? If it’s because I put a filter in place? And I would answer, Is it really your victory? That you used a spear against the saber tooth line? Is it really your victory, that the saber tooth line fell in the trap that you said, yes, it’s really your victory. But I didn’t do it by hand to hand combat, I didn’t do it on my own, I could not run it by myself. Okay, you can run it by yourself, and you’re wise enough to know that you could not run it, you’re wise enough to know that you can’t wrestle a saber tooth line to the ground yet. So you carry to spear you set up a trap. That was wisdom, folks, it was wisdom. So don’t feel like a filter is like a, you know, crutches or something that the babies need. It’s just wisdom in this dangerous day and age that we’re living in. Alright, with that out of the way, let me talk about two of the reasons why I think a filter is especially helpful. And this is specifically aimed at those of you who have a habit of looking at sexually explicit or pornographic material online. If you have developed an addiction habit, you’ve acclimated yourself to looking at stuff, if you find yourself saying I’m not going to do it anymore. But then every day or once a week, or once a month, or once every couple of months, you’re you’re sliding down that rabbit hole again, and you’re doing for the 1,000th time what you promised yourself nine and 99 times you’d never do again, if that’s you, here are two reasons why it filters really helpful. Pornography actually changes the wiring of your brain, it creates new neural networks that learn to run automatically. And you don’t need to do much. I mean, it’s it’s like walking into a room and the lights just go on. So you log on to the internet and those lights just go on, you’re not necessarily choosing but your brain remembers, ah, I know what happens here. It fires up those neural pathways. And it remembers the end is some type of sexual titillation. So yeah, you went to go shopping? Yeah, you were just trying to do your homework. Yeah, you just wanted a little bit of entertainment. But your brain recognizes and Associates this screen that you’re on with some type of sexual titillation. And so a filter actually creates some space, it creates some barriers so that your brain over time, even though it may push you that direction, because it recognizes, hey, you know that this is where we have the feel good feeling right, right, right. But because the filter is there, now it’s not getting it there anymore, it’s not getting that same feeling. And so your brain will begin to rewire in a different way. And, and stop recognizing the screen as the conduit that leads to that sexual pleasure. That’s one of the reasons that a filter is so helpful. Related to that is the second reason I want to say a filter is helpful for those who are who have habituated to pornography use. And that is, you want to get up to heart issues. You don’t want this just to be about I can’t access porn. And but in order to get up to the heart issues, you need some space from pornography, you need some space from using sexually explicit materials. Because pornography has a way of numbing your senses to what your heart is really looking for. Pornography has as a way of distracting you, leading you down a path away from the things that matter most to your heart. This is the nature of addiction in general. It’s not that you’re such a bad, crazy, unworthy person. It’s not that you have so little control. It’s that you’re looking for something that’s legitimate and important, but you’re just bringing that legitimate need to an illegitimate source. And so a filter, in essence, forces some space, so that you can begin to ask the question, you won’t be asking that question by yourself.

You can just fill that space with something else. I can’t access porn, while I’m just gonna binge on, you know, PG Netflix. I can’t access porn, so I’m just gonna go get drunk. I can’t access points. I’m just gonna eat all the food I can. So just having a filter won’t necessarily to addressing your heart, but it will provide some space so that you can address your heart. Because the ultimate goal is not just abstinence from pornography, it’s not just abstinence from sexually explicit material. The ultimate goal is that our hearts would be transformed into Christ’s likeness, our hearts would begin to beat for the things that Christ’s heart beats for, our hearts would begin to love. Where we have in the past just lusted, our hearts would learn to receive the love of God, instead of seeking out faulty false loves and false gods, through pornography and other whatever, you know, sexual activity. We want to create space for our hearts to begin to engage those deeper questions. Because at the end of the day, our hearts are really looking for eternity, they’re looking for what God has created us for, to be the men and women He’s created us to be, and to relate with him to commune with Him as he’s designed us to, and and to subsequently relate with others as he’s designed us to. So do you need to filter to heal from sexual addictions? Or to break free from sexual sin? Maybe not? Maybe you don’t? But why not? Why not? Now, going back to a couple those objections from the very beginning, where you’re concerned about what others might think, I’d like to just suggest to you and I’ll throw this out there without giving holiday explanation, that that mechanism of concern about what other people think may actually be more a part of the problem that’s going on in your heart than you imagine on the outset. And so that actually is feeding the same problem that fear what they think is feeding the same problem as the pornography problem. All right. Do you have questions, comments about that? We’d love to engage with you about that topic. It’s not a law. It’s just an invitation. Just some things to think about. Jesus, thanks so much for loving us, thank you that you do desire to set us free to change us from the inside out to transform our nature, Lord, that we would be Christ like and all we say and think and do whether in person or online, or would you continue to transform us, for our sake for the sake of the world and for your glory? Amen.


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