Imagine having access to one of the most addictive drugs in the world, for free, inside your home. Now imagine being isolated inside that home for extended periods of time due to a global pandemic, fueling the chances that you or someone you love will stumble upon it, and become addicted.
I became addicted at a young age. I’m a Pastor of a church of about 1,000 people and I’ve talked openly about this for a little while now. It’s shocking how many people both inside and outside the church-world are addicted, struggle with, or are affected by pornography.
I always get the same question–“How did you beat it for good?” The simple answer: I didn’t. Meaning, the influence of pornography on my life, and maybe yours, still looms large unless we put on some fast shoes and run the other direction.
This is the enemy we flee from. It’s not fast, but it is determined, and if we stop fleeing it will eventually catch up as it plods along behind us.
If you’re reading this article, you have either struggled with pornography in the past, currently do, know someone who does, or are concerned that someone you know and love will someday. If that describes you in any way, this article is for you. We’re going to tackle the realities of pornography, give you some hope, help prepare you to leave porn for good, and prevent you and the people you love from its destructive influence in the future.
The Place We All Need to Start
Before we start, I”d like to give you two scriptures that have been incredibly helpful to me personally, and to people I’ve talked with about this issue. They’re simple but powerful. If you’re struggling with pornography (or anything else), they are great reminders of how faithful, compassionate and kind God is.
1. You are incredibly valuable to God, and He has forgiven your sins.
Romans 5:6-8 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
If you’re a Christian, any form of sin probably makes you feel worthless. You may have said things like: “How could God love me after I did that?” Or “I can’t believe I did it again! What is wrong with me?!”
Well He does love you, and He proved it. This isn’t a hallmark card, or self-help bumper sticker, it’s the reality of God’s compassionate, undeserving, one-way love towards us. It’s our greatest reality as Christians.
2. You’ll sin again, and God is eager to continue forgiving you.
1 John 1:9 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
You’re going to sin again, so what will you do, when you do? Will you hide and beat yourself up? Don’t do that, take it to Him, after all, He’s already taken it from you. We might as well fess up, apologize to Him and accept His forgiveness while trying to become better.
It’s His continued forgiveness that helps drive us to become better for Him.
1. The Truth about Porn
It’s worse than you think. The reality is, porn is not just here to stay, it’s staying and growing at an alarming rate. Here are four reasons why.
ADDICTIVE This isn’t a shocker, but it’s important to start here because it sets the tone for how serious the rest of the realities are. Porn is highly addictive. Porn rewires our brains away from the attention of other things and people, releases chemicals that we want in ever-increasing amounts, and is similar to actual drugs.
ACCESSIBLE Worldwide, 62% of people have a mobile device, equating to more than 4.88 billion people, and 61% of pornography is accessed by phone. What do they all have access to? An endless supply of pornography:
In one year:
- 170 years worth of pornographic videos are uploaded
- There are 42,000,000,000 visits to pornographic websites.
- 203,000,000 people give upvotes to pornographic content.
- Almost 100,000 amateur models participate in porn.
If these numbers appalled you, I left something out in this description. The title of this should actually be: In One Year, On One Porn Site. This is just a fraction of what’s available to every human being on the planet.
AFFORDABLE — You could watch porn for the rest of your life and never spend any money. Think about how destructive this is: Imagine a heroine addict had an endless supply of heroine within easy reach in any place in the world, for free, for life. To say that is destructive would be an understatement.
ANONYMOUS This may be it’s most subversive and dangerous quality: You can consume it, hide it, come back to it, and store it in your brain for years before anyone knows.
2. The Truth about You
You can’t self-help your way into self-control.
This is quite possibly the biggest reason people don’t flee porn and recover — they think they can do it alone. Any addict who has successfully recovered and continues to flee from addiction, would undoubtedly thank people in their opening remarks about how they’ve done it. It’s a process, they had help–a lot of help.
Pornography will affect the people around you. Even if you consume it alone, it will consume you, and you will affect the people around you. Pornography makes us selfish, because it’s self-gratifying. Which means that all of our relationships suffer because it’s about us and not them.
You need to have a conversation, join a group of others, or talk with your boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse or best friend about this. If you or someone you love has any hope of recovery and freedom you or they have to share this burden. You have to be willing to listen and accept them, but not their behavior if it’s someone else; or you have to be willing to talk and be honest with someone else if you truly want help.
And here’s the good part, if you’re a Christian, you’re not alone from the start. Self-control is possible because you aren’t by yourself trying to deal with this:
Galatians 5:22-26 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
Living by the Spirit means that God is with us literally. It is by His power that we can have self-control to a degree; but others who have the Holy Spirit can also be incredibly helpful. When another who belongs to Christ walks with us, they help carry us and remind us that God is with us, and God is with them as they are with us too.
3. The Truth about God
There’s no getting around it, there is a uniqueness to sexual sin:
1 Corinthians 6:18-20 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
Notice that Paul doesn’t say to stand and fight, in fact quite the opposite we are to flee. Secondly, Paul lets us know that this is the only sin that happens in us against our own body. Paul helps us see that one of the most radical things about Christianity–a life following Jesus–is a paradigm shift of how our bodies are to be thought about.
Our bodies don’t belong to just us. If you’re single and have given your life to Christ – your body belongs to you, and to God. If you’re married or will be someday–your body is yours, and God’s and your future or current spouses. This is an incredible shift in thinking.
When we honor the bodies that God gave us, we do so by treating them like they don’t belong to us. This also means that your current or future spouse must honor their own body and yours in order to honor God–anything else dishonors God, them and you.
Now that we’ve talked about the truth about Porn, you and God, what are your next steps? Here are 3 ways you can take your next step to becoming free of pornography, and step into the freedom in Christ.
3 Ways to Kill Porn before it Kills Everything Good in Your Life
1. Realize you have to deal with it.
Wisdom says that we should make decisions before we need them. At some point you’ll have to deal with the reality of porn influencing you and your loved ones if you haven’t already.
Here’s an example: Will you talk about it, before someone finds out about it? When we talk when we’ve been caught, it’s helpful but not purposeful; but if you talk about it before you have to, it’s purposeful and healthy.
2. Reach out and get help.
The first time you tell someone about your problem with porn and they don’t recoil in horror and run the other direction is a good day. You’re carrying more guilt, shame and self-loathing than you probably realize.
Don’t do this alone, because you really can’t do this alone. There are great resources online such as www.Fightthenewdrug.org or churches like the one I help lead where we have support and recovery for this exact issue. Find a group to get into, and if you need help with that, email me and I’d be happy to help if I can: firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Remember you belong to someone else.
Scripture is a great tool when we feel tempted. Keeping a Bible around or setting a reminder to read scripture when you’re most likely to look at porn is actually quite helpful. Most people look at or engage with porn as a habit, at a specific place and time.
Disrupt that time by putting scripture such as 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 or Ephesians 6:10-20 as the background of your devices or computer, or set an alarm to read that in the morning and night. They will remind you of who you belong to and why.
There is absolutely hope in this spiritual warfare. Remember how gracious God is, and how desperately he wants to give you peace and freedom from this destructive addiction, and then start this journey out on your knees.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/shironosov
Kile Baker is a former Atheist who didn’t plan on becoming a Christian, let alone a Pastor, who now writes to try and make Christianity simple. Kile recently wrote a study guide to help people “look forward to and long for Heaven”. You can get one on Amazon here. He also writes at www.paperbacktheologian.com. Kile is the grateful husband to the incredibly talented Rachel, Dad to the energetic London and feisty Emma and Co-Lead Pastor at LifePoint Church in Northern Nevada. He single handedly keeps local coffee shops in business.