Romance videos and romance novels are ungodly akin to pornography, by a personal testimony from a member of Christian Faith Assembly. Some of the information and scriptures I will share has come from Bible commentaries. I will begin by saying that I had a tremendous battle with what I found out to be lasciviousness. It started out in complete innocence and God in His mercy delivered me from watching romance videos and reading romance novels both of which are ungodly. They are used by the devil to bring a person into bondage without them realizing it. This is certainly true of an unsaved person who will suffer greatly if indulging themselves in these areas. I was involved in both. I will get into the heart, mind and feelings from a Biblical perspective in hopes of helping you.
A saved person has been given the Word to live by and though he or she may be subjected to this sin at present, there is deliverance for you if you will humbly submit to God’s instruction. You will find that giving place in any way to romance books and movies are ungodly and this may be an area which you have not considered because it is so subtle. Before I was saved, I used to gratify a desire for romance and the feelings that would go along with it through romance novels lending to the imagination. I used to go to movies for the same reasons, and even when I was a child of nine or ten years I would love the romance movies and felt a gratification though I was too young to understand. I read many clean novels for the thrills I felt, which were also by demonic design. I believed indulging in clean romance books as a single person and movies brought oppression into my life before I became a Christian though I did not know this was the root. There was of course no conviction and complete justification for my actions. I did not realize the snare involved in this until I became saved and got back into movies again (not the novels).
I had always had a craving for fantasy as a single person many year’s ago not realizing that this is what the indulgences produced in my soul, as this is the demonic snare that is all over in the media, books, and music (that being another story). It promised much as an escape as “the standard,” but it created such a lack of fulfillment in reality in my real life causing much depression as an unsaved person. I wondered why these things presented as truth could not be this way with me and thought it to be true in the lives of all other people though this was the biggest lie! I thought people had the perfect man and the ideals presented were supposed to be the norm. I did not realize the devil’s devices with respect to indulging in fantasy this way until my recent years as a Christian. The full impact became loud and clear through a lengthy trial which began with my starting to watch movies again after twenty years of not having a television as a Christian, but then buying one to watch “safe” things with the children. It was in 2004 that I was confronted by God in a major way.
The definition for fantasy: An unrealistic approach to the known world. Fantasies are summoned by the imagination to procure a satisfaction that is erotic. Romance stories relate to improbable adventures of idealized characters in some remote setting opposite to realism. I would never have thought of this as erotic by any means as this seems too harsh, but I do now.
I want to expose this dilemma and please give careful consideration and take heed as this is a beguiling and seductive way of the devil to get into your minds and hearts under the guise of complete innocence. In my innocence, I fell prey to this by justifying buying turn-of-the-century movies (and many others). I felt they were innocent, the ladies always wore long dresses and I thought the romance would be “pure.” I would watch some of these initially without much conviction. I bought several. When I watched the courting scenes it gave me a measure of inside thrills and goose bumps which I thought was also innocent. There was a measure of fulfillment that I would “feel” inside when the two would-be lovers met and flirted, etc. This is fantasy at work. It reminded me of my single days reading the novels in my twenties and going to movies of this sort as a child.
There is no such thing as an innocent romance video or book. If you examine your reasoning behind doing this you will find that you are in reality ingratiating a desire of the flesh which is unholy and therefore quenching the spirit! The Spirit of God started to get ahold of me slowly but not enough to get my full attention. It came to my attention in a major way when I was watching one of these so-called innocent, clean movies. A scene came where the two persons who cared for each other, but never showed this openly for a long time and it building up, finally came together to express their feelings with an embrace and kiss that I literally felt within my being. I felt the emotions that had been building up and my heart started to beat fast and I broke out in a cold sweat! I kept recalling the feelings later on and the emotions were so strong. I couldn’t get it off my mind. I began to question the feelings that I felt and whether this was okay to God as it was so extreme. Before, with other movies the feelings would come and I would let them go. I started to feel deeper convictions about these “unholy passions” and my mind was warring with my flesh. That was my renewed spirit warring with my carnal flesh. In Gal 5:17 it states, “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh and these are contrary the one to the other so that you cannot do the things that you would.”
Here is why this happens and here is what happened to me. The inclination of the flesh is contrary to the Spirit and it draws away in an opposite direction. While the Spirit would lead me one way the flesh produced a painful controversy in my mind. I did not know what was going on. This created such a warfare and conflict in my soul inhibiting the full control of the Spirit with His peace. Jas 1:21 says to “lay aside all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness and receive with meekness the engrafted word which is able to save your souls.” This is any impurity that cleaves to the soul implying that all impure unholy affections blind the soul! A mind corrupted and full of sensuality is not favorable to the reception of truth. It is with meekness that we stand to be corrected to bear fruits of righteousness. I had to yield fully to the total control of the Spirit and thereby walk by the Spirit and stop fulfilling the desires of my flesh! This was done over a period of time. God was in His mercy bringing conviction into my heart and I had not even realized the deeper revelation through His Word on this subject as of yet! I eventually started to look up scriptures. This led me to a study on the word “lasciviousness.”
Lasciviousness: tending to excite lust (Webster’s). In Vine’s Expository of New Testament Words it says this: denotes excess licentiousness and is the absence of restraint, indecency, wantonness (all uncleanness), tending to excite lust, and shameless conduct. It also refers to impurity of every kind in Eph 4:17-19, walking after the vanity of the mind because of the excess of lasciviousness. It is listed as one of the “works of the flesh” in Gal 5:19 where it means all lewdness and lack of restraint. It has to do with lust and it is akin to pornography because of its intention to excite lustful desires affecting both thoughts and actions in an immoral way. Lust is to feel an intense desire, especially a sexual desire. That which excites lewd and improper feelings and associations in the mind, and wanton thoughts or emotions as objects or pictures. This clouds our spiritual vision and interrupts the life of God in the heart. You can see that both reading and watching can have these same effects. We need to run from immorality!
Recently, I received a newspaper from a Christian book distributer which had an actual section for romance books and videos! How the devil hides his wares under a “Christian” label. I also noticed in this newspaper that a series of pioneer romance novels fitted to be Christian by the sellers had also been made into several movies. I will go back several years when I was still in a transition period cleaning out some of the videos. I had owned the first in this series made into a movie and decided to watch it again during this transition period in hopes I could get away with it not being too bad. It was somewhat innocent though played with my emotions romantically throughout, but especially toward the end a scene of the mounting fruition of love between the couple was finally shown and I again felt the sensual indulgence as they slowly came together and kissed and I tried to look away. By then you won’t want to look away! Of course I again repented and got rid of the movie. God worked with me over a long period of time bringing more instant conviction as time went on. Some other videos were not so extreme and my feelings not so extreme, so I thought. It took time as I tried to keep some of the movies that weren’t as bad. It never worked. I was more and more convicted with unclean feelings arising most of the time even when I tried to look away. I tried to watch the newest movie in this series as it was shown on television last year and am careful to stay away from romance in general which I have found to be nearly 90% of all movies! Even the ones that are not romance sometimes have sensual unexpected scenes and I have been caught in innocence though I come under conviction each time. I watched the first hour of this last in the pioneer series thwarted to be clean and the description sounded like it would not be like the others but between a married couple. I was still trying to find the balance moving with careful consideration, but to my dismay a scene came in this innocent “Christian” movie (from the novel) where the husband was in bed with his shirt off and they were speaking of being able to produce a child. I immediately shut it off as the scene of him half naked was bad enough and quite sensual and because I found the movie to be good in general it became hard to turn off though I did! That is another snare.
I initially wondered if I was taking this too far because my family thought over a long period of time that I was crazy and too extreme often criticizing me, but they did not understand the extent of what God was doing and revealing to me bringing conviction. So many, many times I would try to watch something hoping it would not be bad or that I could watch the bulk of the story without any negative consequences. That is logical, but a big snare. I did not cut the temptation off.
In 1Pe 2:11 it states, “I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.” The flesh should not rule us. Paul kept his “body in subjection” to the Spirit so he would not be a castaway. (1Co 9:27) The lust of watching these movies gratified me, but it ultimately fought against my soul with the intent of bringing my soul into a snare. This is the object and operation of every earthly and sensual desire which hinders spiritual progress. The thoughts and affection for this entertainment got imbalanced without me realizing it and then I was baited! Jas 1:15 says that “when lust conceives it brings forth sin” which eventually leads to death. In 1Co 10:6, it speaks about the examples left us from those who sinned in the Old Testament because they lusted after evil things. The evil eventually turns into idolatry because the lust has gone beyond its bounds. Carnal desires gain strength by indulgence. The fear of the Lord in the heart is the greatest means of safety. Our pure worship should be to the Lord alone without divided affections. He should be the only God in our lives having our pure and total devotion.
In 2Pe 2:14, it speaks of “eyes full of adultery.” This is a corrupt passion that wholly seizes and possesses the mind. I can testify to this regarding this situation. I thought about this a lot and couldn’t wait to fulfill the lust and indulgence because I thought it was pure. This was wholly on my mind more than things of the Lord. I had become controlled and brought under its power. Ro 6:16 says, “Whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servant you are to whom you obey…” What I felt to be liberty became a snare. Nothing in this realm should control us. 1Co 6:12 says “All things are not expedient (profitable)…I will not be brought under the power of any.”
Lascivious feelings were what I wanted though not fully recognizing this for what it was or as sin until I got into the Word. I wanted to gratify a sensual desire (2Pe 2:18, lusts of the flesh and wantonness). Any strong desire is referred to as concupiscence and is generally “evil concupiscence” in the Word (Col 3:5;1Th 4:5; Ro 7:7-8) as it has to do with desiring that which is forbidden and opposes God in that it is an unholy desire and lust. Lasciviousness is one of the evils that proceeds from the heart in Mr 7:22. It is a degrading passion. It also speaks in that same verse of an “evil eye” which means unreal mental images. These things affected my mind and produced fantasies which are unreal to the natural realm. Sometimes I would recall the feelings and the pictures in my mind and it was a battle to pull the thoughts down. I would have guilt and then repent and basically go do it again trying to find a balance. Gal 5:24 says, “They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” Being crucified with Christ we should not serve sin (Ro 6:6). We are to give up all disorderly wishes and desires and all wanton (unclean) feelings contrary to love and purity.
In Mt 5:28 Jesus speaks of the thoughts being the root of the sin. “Looking to lust” means evil thoughts and wanton (unclean) imaginations with full consent of one’s will to feed one’s unholy desire. Any person who engages in unchaste imaginations (here promoted by books/movies), desires (here promoted by books/movies), and intentions are guilty before God (2Pe 2:14, eyes full of adultery). The heart (affections and will) is the root causing quivering and palpitating once the lust is enticed and Jesus calls this adultery in the eye and heart before the outward act; the eye and the heart are the two conductors of sin. Jesus explained here that it is not just the external act. Jesus forbids the use of any of our senses to stir up lust. The wanton glance (which can be seen in those innocent videos and arises in the imagination no less) is the principle occasion for exciting the sin. Perhaps you have pornographic thoughts from the past or present either by viewing photos, reading a novel or videos, you can accept the temptation, and move into the lust by savoring that lustful experience again in your mind. Every time you do this you are committing adultery in the heart as Jesus said. Stop exposing yourself to evil material. Evil thoughts and imaginations of the heart and fulfilling the lust of the eyes will lead to this sin. So heinous in His sight are these thoughts and feelings. These are adulterous thoughts and dispositions which may never proceed to the actual act. The law of God extends to the thoughts. Men may violate them in their heart without ever manifesting in their outward conduct. Yes, you can do this in the privacy of your own room! We must keep all members of our body chaste and avoid all opportunity that might move us to evil.
We are to mortify (habitually repress and do violence to) (Col 3:5) corrupt desires of which the members of one’s body are instruments. Do not at all indulge in evil propensities so they will have no remains of life. Stop feeding the lust!! To gratify any sensual appetite is to give it the food it lives on. The appetite increases with the indulgence. We are to strike at the root of any unholy disposition and cut off all occasions which tend to stimulate them. We are to keep our eye single and thereby full of light (Mt 6:22) or there will be darkness there which affects the whole man. Our body should be an instrument to God’s glory directed by a holy mind and a conscience trained by God’s Word. It was a painful because no sooner did I think I was going along fine that I would then watch something and fall again and get convicted. Even if it was ever so small a feeling. I learned not to toy with the temptation at all even if it seems innocent at first. It was a learning process. Don’t watch anything or read anything that involves a romantic confrontation. I have learned it is always a snare without exception.
In Job 31:1-5, 6-9 it says about Job, “I made a covenant with my eyes; why then should I think upon a maid…” He did not want to look upon anything that could excite any unholy desire in his senses and give place to anything that might lend to impure imaginations or desires. It also means keeping from corrupt glances and their defiling impressions. Job felt it to be as a fire that consumes to destruction rooting out all his increase. He did not want to be deceived (Job 31:9) by a woman.
We should not allow for one moment in the mind and affections an evil passion or sinful appetite followed with the heart producing an “evil eye.” This would be any occasion of stumbling, for example casting a wanton look, which will eventually bring indulgence leading to its gaining strength in the heart and our eventual ruin!
When we covet too highly and place such a high value on these sensual things and our minds are influenced, the mind will be eager to pursue them further making it nearly impossible to give them up when challenged by God because of the immoderate sorrow for the loss of them! As a traveler and pilgrim passing through we would make our most progress in our journey when we are least weighed down with things of this world.
In closing, I was at the house of a friend some time ago and noticed some “innocent” romance videos. When the parent left the room I asked the small child who was holding one why they chose that particular movie to watch and what they liked the most about it, knowing in my heart ahead of time what the child would say. I was right. The child responded with, “I like it when they kiss.” I, of course, felt very bad having been there myself at such a young age experiencing and liking the sensuality. Christian parents do not realize that they are subjecting their children and themselves to demonic control. Another example is one close to me. This person is very old (in her eighties) and has for many, many years watched romance movies. She was madly in love with her husband and had wonderful “feelings” for him romantically and even now can recall them. Nevertheless she has always had certain male Hollywood idols of the forties that she would watch and still watch and she calls it innocent. She has often spoken of them in a very sensual manner like what a hunk the actor was, etc. She claims she watches “clean” romance, but I know the affect it has and the hold it has on her. She always speaks about sensuality and romance. She calls herself a romantic. This is a delusion and if she were a Christian it would be an excuse to continue feeding the flesh. Because she is not serving the Lord, she does not have the blessing of conviction working in her heart and conscience. Her sister is also very caught up in romance novels (also in her eighties) and told me they are just the clean ones. It is feeding their spirits. What a deception this is.
For you, the Christian, there is deliverance with God’s mercy and forgiveness. If you believe this article has brought you some measure of conviction, please take heed. God wants to do a work in you. It will be difficult at first and will take time to be purged from this sin. It will take humility and obedience to the Lord and His Word once you understand the scriptures in your heart. Can you honestly admit that these insights from God’s Word and the symptoms which I have shared about this affection, are what you are now experiencing? If so, then you are a candidate for the “washing of the water by the Word”. (Eph 5:26) Because an affection like this in the heart is so strong and brings one into idolatry, your flesh will be in pain to relinquish its hold to God. God says in Col 3:2-3 to ”set your affections on things above not on things on the earth. For you are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God.” Remember, we are to mortify (Col 3:5) any evil concupiscence (strong desire) and covetous feelings which lead to idolatry.
Idolatry is serving a false god and giving worship to someone or something other than God. It dims the thoughts of God and shifts the affection from Him to a thing. We cannot serve two masters (Mt 5:24). We will love one and hate the other and our whole body will not be full of light. I experienced this torment because my heart was shown to be divided, and you will also once you see the truth presented and humbly submit to it. As I started obeying God, my affections started to be more dominated by Him. We can only have clarity of mind and experience wholeness in worship without divided affections. Even though I had a long way to go, there was a peace because I had been convicted and God was working with me on this. I felt a painful withdrawal which I would imagine must be like giving up any fleshly sin such as alcohol or smoking. I knew it was right no matter how hard it was to obey. “Sin shall not have dominion over you…whom you yield yourselves servant to obey his servants you are to whom you obey…You were the servants of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine…” (Ro 6:14-17)
Your love for God must be greater than your love for the sin to be set free! If you want to serve the Lord totally and be obedient you will then be able to allow the Word and God’s grace to do a work in you. It will take faith to take a step in the right direction toward obedience. God will give you the grace as He wants to produce obedience in you and as you are moved to obey from your heart. It may take time as it did with me. There was no fear there that I had to get through this quickly in my own strength. Out of love for God from my heart, I wanted to be free and obey Him and because of this my attitude was one of submission not of rebellion or out of fear so this was an act of obedience. Remember, even though I was going through this painfully at first, I was still in union with Him so I could rest abiding in Him and in His love as my loving Father. My standing with Him did not change. I was still accepted by Him not condemned by Him. “There is no condemnation to those who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.” (Ro 8:1) He only convicts us and we are to humbly obey. I was on the road to recovery. It took time to have my mind renewed with the Word and much stumbling and God dealt with me slowly and kindly. I did not have to be sin-conscious all the time. If I messed up I humbly asked for forgiveness and moved on as 1Jo 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” God is the one who will enable you to do this by His grace one step at a time. He is the one that (Php 2:13) “works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” I would encourage you to take the first step and ask God to “Create in me a clean heart…” (Ps 51:10) as David prayed.