Identity Self-Management

4 Steps to Porn-Free Living

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Do you feel trapped by porn?

In two decades of ministry, I have found that pornography is the single greatest threat to young men who want to live godly and victorious lives.

The average boy is exposed to pornography by the time he is in 8th grade.

The average Christian boy will spend the next decade of his life learning patterns of shame and bondage that come from secretly struggling with addiction.

The explosive growth of easy access to internet pornography has created a massive challenge for men.

The world desperately needs warriors who have conquered the dragon of pornography and are ready to lead others to victory.

The good news is that God has given us everything we need for life and godliness. Through the Holy Spirit and the Word, we have the power and wisdom we need for freedom.

The challenge is knowing where to start. Here are 4 practical, Biblical steps that can provide a way forward into porn-free living.

If you would like to free your life from pornography or help someone else find freedom, these 4 steps give a simple starting point.

Step 1 Anonymity: Unveil the secret sins

 Secrecy and shame are ideal ingredients for an atmosphere of temptation. A heart that feels shameful will act shamefully.

The first step to overcoming porn is to free the heart of the poisonous air of unconfessed sin and guilt.

In his grace, God has provided a process for healing through confession.

If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no 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. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

1 John 1:6-10 (ESV)

·       Confess the sins of pornography and sexual impurity until I have no secrets

·       Name them for what they are, be specific

·       Repent and receive the forgiveness and restoration of the gospel

 Step 2 Accessibility: Block the points of access to sin

 One of the challenges of porn today is its prevalence – you don’t have to go looking for it. It pops up in our social media feeds, our Netflix suggestions and in our email inboxes.

 To quit porn, we have to be ruthless in blocking the access points for temptation.

 Do you watch images of nudity and sex on Netflix? Cancel the subscription.

 Are your Instagram searches filled with scantily clad bodies? Uninstall the app.

 I have known some who found victory only when they asked a family member to change their phone security codes.

 With software like Covenant Eyes, X3Watch and Canopy we can add filters to our devices that can prevent most pornographic material from appearing on our screens.

 We can always find a way to work around filters or discover new sources of porn, but the goal is to create as much distance or as many steps as possible between our eyes and temptation.

 A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.

-Proverbs 25:28 (ESV)

 Step 3 Accountability: Create an atmosphere of transparency

 Two are better than one. In the kingdom of God, no one has to struggle alone.

 A person struggling with a long habit of porn addiction has lost a measure of self-control that makes starting the process of recovery very difficult.

 Sometimes we need to lean on someone else’s character while we rebuild our own.

 The process of detoxing may require an initial period of 4-6 weeks of daily check-ins in order to rewire the brain with godly habits. Ask a brother to set an alarm for a fixed point each day when he will text or call to check in for accountability.

 After the detox period, a weekly check-in can be established.

 Accountability can be practiced by self-reporting, but can also be helped with reporting software like the above-mentioned Covenant Eyes or X3 Watch.

 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

-Hebrews 3:13 (ESV)

 Step 4 Analysis: Uncover and address the deeper issues of the heart

 The first three steps are highly practical ones that are necessary for detox and habit formation. For some, these are enough to break free from porn addiction. For many, however, a deeper work is needed.

 Jesus taught us that evil does not enter our lives from the outside, but comes from within. The use of pornography is often a symptom of deeper emotional and spiritual issues.

 Another way to put that is to say that the problem does not begin when a person clicks on a link to view porn, but the moment before that. What was going on in my life in the moments before I looked at porn?

 The work of assessing the state of the heart comes through reflection and asking deeper questions.

 What is the state of my heart when I am most tempted?

 Is it anxiety? Boredom? Guilt and shame?

 Often sin is the result of our misguided efforts to manage emotional pain.

 Rather than medicating with porn, we should seek to find Biblical ways to deal with our pain. That can include talking with a mentor or counselor.

 What problems am I trusting porn to solve in my life?

 Am I lonely? Are my finances a mess? Do I lack confidence?

 Rather than looking for a quick fix with porn, we should ask “What is the manly and godly solution to my problems?”

 What habits do I need to adopt to grow my affection for Christ?

 The ultimate solution to pornography is not to eliminate a desire. It is to replace that tempting thing with something far more desirable.

 “The heart must have something to cling to—and never, by its own voluntary consent, will it so denude itself of all its attachments that there shall not be one remaining object that can draw or solicit it. . . Such is the grasping tendency of the human heart, that it must have a something to lay hold of—and which, if wrested away without the substitution of another something in its place, would leave a void and a vacancy as painful to the mind as hunger is to the natural system. . . . The moralist who tries such process of dispossession as this upon the heart is thwarted at every step by the recoil of its own mechanism. You have all heard that nature abhors a vacuum. . . So to tear away an affection from the heart as to leave it bare and hopeless undertaking, and it would appear as if the alone powerful engine of dispossession were to bring the mastery of another affection to bear upon it.”

-Thomas Chalmers, The Expulsive Power of a New Affection

 “I still prefer to believe that sex is a substitute for religion and that the young man who rings the bell at the brothel is unconsciously looking for God.”

-Father Smith in The World, The Flesh and Father Smith, by Bruce Marshall

Warrior On!

Tom Brown

Tom Brown is the founding pastor of Vintage Faith Church in Wichita. He dedicated his life to following Jesus while studying Philosophy at Colorado State University. Tom and his wife, Mandy, have worked together for 18 years in the exhilarating work of creating new churches and new humans. Before moving to Wichita, he was a pastor at Vintage Faith Church in Manhattan, Kansas.

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