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The Empty Soul

Michael Beck Michael Beck

“Yea, thou hast played the harlot with them, and yet couldest not be satisfied.” (Ezekiel 16:28)

Pornography is not without its pleasure. The Bible admits that men may “enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.” (Hebrews 11:25) Pornography promises its victims happy relief in the midst of an otherwise unhappy existence. Like any other numbing and temporary pleasure, such as drugs or alcohol, the relief is so short-lived that one finds himself soon needing it again. But a life of worship in the presence of God brings true life, containing complete joy and unending pleasure. “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (Psalm 16:11)

Pornography promises its victims happy relief in the midst of an otherwise unhappy existence.

The privileges of being in covenant with God are enormous. To be brought into God’s covenant is to be brought into an intimate bond with God where He announces: “I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (2 Corinthians 6:16) Most people ignorantly believe that the Lord is their God simply because He made them or loves them. But the Lord only becomes our God when we enter into covenant with Him. Likewise, only then do we become His people. Concerning those in covenant, God says, “I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord GOD, and thou becamest mine.” (Ezekiel 16:8) Until we enter covenant relationship with God through Jesus Christ we do not belong to God and God does not belong to us. We are without God in the world. All those who enter God’s covenant acknowledge this fact concerning their previous life: “At that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” (Ephesians 2:11,12)

When men’s lives are empty of the true life and joy that the worship of God brings to the soul they are ripe for the making of idols. The Bible calls God “the fountain of living waters.” Yet men persistantly and foolishly forsake God and opt for cisterns that hold no thirst-quenching water, but only the fleeting pleasures of sin which are for a season. “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 2:13) What can be done for one who continues to head in the wrong direction to satisfy their thirst? Tragically, the soul of the fornicator will remain parched until he is able to escape the delusion he is under. Repentance begins with the recognition that pornography is a “broken cistern that can hold no water” and that God is the true “fountain of living waters.”

Repentance begins with the recognition that pornography is a “broken cistern that can hold no water” and that God is the true “fountain of living waters.”

The worship of God and the worship of Eros are mutually exclusive. “What agreement hath the temple of God with idols?” (2 Corinthians 6:16) The fleeting pleasures of pornography serve as a replacement for the true joy and lasting pleasure that is found in the worship and service of God. Pornography is a symptom of being God-less. When we are without God in the world we are empty. In our emptiness we seek “other” things to fill us. The fornicator has substituted an idol, the “corruptible image” of a man or woman, for the incorruptible God. He worships and serves the creation, rather than the Creator.

The high and heady “pleasure” that the fornicator sees himself immersed in masks a horrible sadness and loneliness that has not been properly filled with God. Spiritual thirst can only be quenched by true relationship with God. By looking to idols rather than God to fill their souls, men deepen the gaping hole within and only intensify the aching loneliness and emptiness that God intended to satisfy. The man or woman involved in pornography is the loneliest person on the earth. The Bible refers to the sexual act as “knowing” someone. The images of other human beings naked or involved in sexual acts gives the fornicator a false sense of intimacy and a fleeting sense of “connection” with humanity.

By looking to idols rather than God to fill their souls, men deepen the gaping hole within and only intensify the aching loneliness and emptiness that God intended to satisfy.

In truth, the fornicator is deeply alienated from others, but most importantly, the fornicator is alienated from God. Paul wrote vividly about this state which is characteristic of those who do not know God. “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.” (Ephesians 4:17-19)

Alienation from the life of God opens the door to the false intimacy experiened in fornication. To have God in one’s life, to belong to Him and to know that He belongs to us is the greatest privilege of being brought into covenant. The fornicator cannot be healed until he belongs to God and God belongs to Him. The false intimacy of pornography must be replaced by true intimacy with one’s Maker. Such intimacy brings with it a deep sense of belonging. “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine” (Song of Solomon 6:3)

The impetus of fornication goes far beyond the simple desire to copulate. Fornication has its roots in a desire to possess that which is desirable in this world. Since the fornicator is empty of God, he needs the hole in his soul filled with some “thing.” He has been duped into believing that the momentary possession of some figure before the lens of his eyes can somehow satisfy the longing in his soul. But the Bible says, “Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.” (Proverbs 27:20)

The pornographer needs and will only be filled by God Himself. He is a “bottomless pit” of desire whose desperate thirst cannot be quenched by any other but God.

When men are “alienated from the life of God” they “give themselves over unto lasciviousness.” Lasciviousness is the purposeful stirring up of sexual desire. Pornographers make an art of lasciviousness. They purposefully, energetically give over their minds and bodies to “work all uncleanness with greediness.“ Pornographers bow down and serve their own lust. Why such compulsion? It is not because of a lack of closeness with mother or father, husband or wife. The pornographer needs and will only be filled by God Himself. He is a “bottomless pit” of desire whose desperate thirst cannot be quenched by any other but God.


Michael Beck is a pastor in New York City and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.