If there is one phrase that seems to me the most accurate description of what people in general are facing these days — not just porn and lust addicts — it would be “loss of heart.”
Life is unbelievably difficult.
It’s good, certainly, at times. There are moments of beauty and brilliance like the wedding of two dear friends who are deeply in love and well supported by well wishers. The sort of occasion that lifts your spirit just by being there to witness it. There are touching situations like the grace and kindness of a friend; a conversation that really connects you to another person; the stunning grandeur of the natural world displayed in the splendor of something like the ocean or the mountains or the warmth of sunshine melting away the last vestiges of winter.
Those are real. But in the midst of those wonderful things, there is still hardship and grief on the level of magnitude that makes the idea of giving up on the most important things in life appealing.
This is loss of heart.
John Eldredge says it this way in Desire:
We all share the same dilemma—we long for life and we’re not sure where to find it. We wonder if we ever do find it, can we make it last? The longing for life within us seems incongruent with the life we find around us. What is available seems at times close to what we want, but never quite a fit.
He goes on to say:
The greatest human tragedy is simply to give up the search. There is nothing of greater importance than the life of our deep heart. To lose heart is to lose everything. And if we are to bring our hearts along in our life’s journey, we simply must not, we cannot, abandon this desire.
Loss of heart is the result of living in a broken world in which the relentless pace of fallen humanity’s corruption presses in on us. It seems to barge through the door of our souls incessantly, never satisfied.
And this is where the escape into porn starts to look extremely attractive. It will provide relief, we think. It will give us a feeling of being alive. But the deception is that the feeling of being alive — which as a sense of legitimacy because sex makes us feel alive, and we are physically aroused by porn — is actually not making us more alive, it is killing us.
We must find our life in God and have our hearts healed and restored — continually — or the loss of heart we experience in this world will crush us.
And what does that mean, ‘find our life in God?’
There are many ways to answer that. For the sake of this discussion it means letting the things that are on God’s heart shape the desires of our own hearts. It means valuing what He values and asking Him to infuse us with the resurrection life that brought Jesus back from the dead.
That Life can conquer our loss of heart.