Overcoming Pornography: Choosing Obedience
Explicit images are far more readily available than ever before. It used to be that in order to acquire pornographic magazines or videos, you actually had to purchase or rent them. But now, with just a few key strokes or moving a fingertip on a computer, laptop, or cell phone, anyone has instant access to thousands of pornographic images and videos.
Numerous studies have shown that a majority of men who profess to be Christians view pornographic images in any given week. Countless believers are in bondage to this sinful behavior and many feel hopeless about being able to overcome it. We’re in a battle—big time—and we need a strategy to have victory in this area of sexual temptation. This is a spiritual battle (Eph. 6:12), but as children of God, we are equipped to win it (1 Cor. 10:13).
In today’s blog, part one of a three part series, we’ll look at the first step of choosing obedience.
Scripture says that Satan goes around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. He wants us in bondage; Christ wants us free to live in obedience. Disobedience is contagious, but so is obedience. The more we do it, the more it becomes the pattern of our lives.
We must call upon the resources of Christ granted to us, and depend upon Him, while decisively making the choices to remove temptation. If internet access, even on a cell phone, is a source of temptation, then we need to cut it off. Internet access is not a biblical mandate. To a person who goes to pornographic sites, having them just a double click away is utterly foolish. It’s like keeping explicit magazines on our bookshelves, waiting for us to come to them in a weak moment. If purity is optional, we will never experience it.
Right now, in moments of strength, we must make choices that will serve us well in moments of weakness. If we don’t radically cut off the sources of the temptations that pursue us, then we are just playing games, and have no intention of obeying Christ. (Yes, some of these temptations we can’t cut off without being hermits, but many of them we can.) We can take decisive actions by getting rid of anything in our homes and workplace that draw us to sin—including books, magazines, newspaper ads, pictures, posters, movies, TV, and internet access. We can’t expect God to call the cable company and cut off our service, if that’s necessary to avoid temptation. That’s our job.
Scripture says to “Flee from sexual immorality” (1 Cor. 6:18). This is not a suggestion, it’s a command. We disobey it to our own destruction. We must not just walk away from temptation; we must turn and run from it. It’s a good idea to write out this verse and put it where you will see it: “Turn my eyes from worthless things; renew my life according to your Word” (Ps. 119:37).
I highly recommend that those struggling with pornography get involved with a recovery group for accountability. In my experience with others, no one who tries to dig out of this by himself ultimately succeeds. We need the Lord, but we need His people to help and confront and ask and stand with us.
In addition, there are many quality books and resources about battling sexual immorality, and specifically pornography.
God is ready and willing to do a work of grace and cut through the blindness and the old habits and patterns that enslave us. He wants what’s best for us; the evil one wants what’s worst. Let’s choose what’s best: life, not death (Deut. 30:19). Through the power of His Spirit, we can do this.
In part two of this series, we’ll look at changing our behavior in the fight against pornography.
Sexual Purity Books for Men
Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave by Ed Welch
False Intimacy: Understanding the Struggle of Sexual Addiction by Harry Schaumburg
Sexual Detox by Tim Challies
Wired for Intimacy: How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brain by William M. Struthers
Sexual Purity Books for Women
No Stones: Women Redeemed from Sexual Addiction by Marnie C. Ferree
Dirty Girls Come Clean by Crystal Renaud
Online Help with Pornography Addictions