Scripture warns of the sins of lewdness, fornication and adultery which God calls “works of the flesh” not fitting for His saints (Galatians 5:19–21). If not sincerely repented of, these sexual sins will lead to death (Romans 6:23)! Yet the Internet today is full of modern-day “works of the flesh” which many adults and even teens are participating in. What are these Internet works of the flesh? How can you protect yourself, your children, and those you love?
Whether the physical act, or the meditation of the heart, eyes and mind (cf. Matthew 5:27–28), Jesus Christ made it clear that lust, fornication and adultery are sin! Whether it is visiting pornographic websites, using sex “chat rooms” or mobile phone “sexting,” or even if the behavior may seem by some standards to be less extreme—such as sharing provocative pictures or messages with friends or strangers Facebook or Twitter—if it is behavior that God considers “lewd” and inappropriate, then like any sin, it can be overcome if we sincerely seek the help of our Lord and High Priest, Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:13).
So, what do parents need to be aware of? And whether teens or adults, what do Christians of any age need to repent of if they are participating in Internet works of the flesh?
Some studies claim that “30% of all data transferred across the Internet is porn” and that porn sites get more traffic each month than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined! Other studies cite equally disturbing statistics, such as some porn sites receiving 1.68 million visits per hour, that Google searches for “teen porn” have more than tripled in recent years around the globe, that 7 out of 10 youth have been exposed to online porn in the United States. More recent research indicates that 58 percent of free pornographic websites come from outside the U.S., that 1 in 5 mobile searches are for porn, and that pornographic activity on mobile and tablets is set to triple in the coming years!
It is vital to understand that pornography is a very dangerous sin that can become an addiction. In addition to broken marriages and broken lives, if unrepented of, the sin of pornography or sexual lewdness—just like any sin—will lead to death (James 1:14–15). And pornography does not affect only men—some research indicates that about 20 percent of women who claim to be “Christian” admit using porn.
Additionally, the very disturbing trend of sexting and sexual messaging is growing among today’s youth, and a whole lexicon has developed by youth to both talk about sex online…and to hide those conversations from their parents! Sexting terms like “GNOC” (get naked on camera), “IPN” (I’m posting naked), “LH6” (let’s have sex), “WTTP” (want to trade pictures?) and “GYPO” (get your pants off) are just some of the common terms that teens are now using to “KPC” (keep parents clueless) when “9” (parent is watching) or “PIR” (parent in room). Parents need to be aware of the very real dangers out there, and as mentioned in a prior article; “The Two Faces of Technology,” parents need to be attentive in establishing rules and boundaries to both guide and protect their children on the Internet, Facebook and other social media.
Whether parents or children, whether youth or old, a Christian must remember that obscenity, filthiness, lewdness, fornication and adultery are not to be named among the saints, and those who practice these things will not inherit the Kingdom of God (Ephesians 5:3–5). True Christians should not be guilty of Internet works of the flesh. True Christians should let their lights shine in a good way on the Internet, Facebook, Twitter and any social media so they may glorify our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).
Please read “Facebook Christians” and “Pornography: The Dirty Little Secret” for more on the subject. And, please remember that any sin and any weakness can be overcome, but the first step is to seek God in heartfelt prayer for the help and strength that He promises those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).