Sunday, May 6, 2018

You can break free from a porn addiction


You might be surprised to learn that 75% of all men and 25% of woman polled watch pornography on a regular basis. 30% of men have committed adultery and 28% of teens are sexually active. The Christian community is sadly not doing much better. According to polls, 50% of Christian men are addicted to pornography and I was among them for most of my adult Christian life.

Why watching pornography is wrong

In my heart, I've always known that watching pornography was wrong but I wasn't sure exactly why. I tried to convince myself that as long as I don't break the seventh commandment I'd be okay.
“You shall not commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14)
I thought I’d make it into heaven, even If I had the smell of smoke on me, like someone narrowly escaping the fires of hell. Then one day I read Matthew 5:28:
"But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart".
It convicted me like a dagger to the heart.

Being a Double-minded Christian

Like a rogue employee who asks his boss for forgiveness after breaking the rules, I tried to convince myself that I could continue in my sin as long as I asked God to forgive me each time. You know, abuse the grace of God as if it were a loophole in his law. Unfortunately, like most addictions, my porn addiction only got worse over the years. I craved harder porn and I craved it more frequently.

As I began to be strongly compelled to do something meaningful for the kingdom of God, I felt increasingly convicted about the amount of time I was wasting  But as a double-minded Christian, I wasn't yet ready to let go of my sin. For those of you who aren't familiar with that term, it refers to someone who loves the Lord but who is not fully obedient because he doesn’t want to let go of a reoccurring sin.

I began to worry that I could get to the point where God would harden my heart towards my sin and it would end up costing me my salvation. As James 1:15 says, “Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death”.

Not surprisingly, living my life on my own terms instead of on God's made me feel like I was drifting further from God, not closer to Him. I also was afraid that God wouldn't use me in a powerful way to further his kingdom if I didn't get my life right with him.

How I broke free from pornography

I began trying to break free from my porn addiction by using my willpower. I was able to make incremental progress by deleting and throwing away my least-favorite porn. I could have made some money selling my DVD collection but I didn’t want to be responsible for someone else’s addiction. I didn’t want to answer to Jesus for doing that.

I also prayed about it but I think my prayers lacked effectiveness because I was still double-minded about my sin, and therefore disobedient. I needed help.

During October of 2013, I happened to switch to a Christian television show that was interviewing Dr. Douglas Weiss about his book Clean: A Proven Plan for Men Committed to Sexual Integrity. Dr. Weiss, who’s a licensed psychologist, talked about how he’s helped many Christian patients over the years break free of their porn addiction. He described why it’s important to change your attitude about how you look at a woman that you’re not married to and how vitally important it is to get an accountability partner.

After the show, I immediately downloaded the book and couldn’t put it down. It took me a few months of failures and successes, but with a lot of prayers, prompting by the Holy Spirit, and, thanks to the book, a new mindset towards pornography, I was finally able to break free. The first successes I had was to get rid of the remains of my porn collection. Then to stop watching online porn. After that was under control, I still had to battle the images in my mind, which took much prayer, asking God to take the sinful thoughts and images away from me. Fortunately, the images you accumulate from years or decades of watching porn will fade with time.

I’m happy to report that I’ve been living a clean life since 2014.

In his book, Dr. Weiss recommends finding an accountability partner who’ll encourage you to stay on track during the process of getting clean. He also recommends the software program, Covenant Eyes, which sends your accountability partner a report of your ongoing porn activities. I didn’t use the software myself, but I can see how it can help. Especially for those who are too ashamed or shy to report their failures to their accountability partner.

Benefits of a clean life

There are so many benefits of leading a clean, porn-free life.
If you will be honest with yourself, seek help, and get clean, God’s blessing will return in a great way to your life.  ~  Dr. Douglas Weiss, from his book: Clean: A Proven Plan for Men Committed to Sexual Integrity.
To he who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations.
Revelation 2:26 (ESV)
I’ve personally experienced several benefits of living a clean life. Among them are having a closer walk with God, being more inspired and driven to do God’s work, and being flooded with ideas for this ministry. I’ve also experienced a more loving and intimate relationship with my wife. That in itself is worth the price of obedience and it proves that God’s laws are meant for our own good.

Since getting clean, I’ve also been an accountability partner for a Christian friend who’s struggled with this addiction. Although he’s not totally clean yet, he has made significant progress and, with great joy, has reported a much more intimate and loving relationship with his wife.

My prayer is that if you’ve been struggling with a porn addiction that my testimony will give you hope and move you in the direction towards a clean life. If you’re living a clean life, it’s my prayer that you stay clean and help others learn how to break free of their addiction, so that they too can live a clean life.

So, I'll leave you with these 4 helpful tips from Pastor Chuck Swindoll's book "Insights on Romans". Pastor Swindoll has learned that simply not doing something wrong when tempted isn't enough. You need something else to submit your body to when faced with temptation. I think that's great advice.

Here's what you can do when you're tempted to sin:
  1. Flee temptation; that is to change your circumstances. Physically move from where you are and quickly go somewhere else, even if it's just for a few minutes.
  2. Do something that brings honor to God as an alternative. Prayer is good, but I suggest adding something more tangible. Systematically answer the urge to sin with a godly activity.
  3. Thank God for providing the freedom to choose Him over wrongdoing, and ask Him for encouragement. Spiritual warfare is exhausting!
  4. Try to discern what triggered the temptation, and take practical steps to steer clear of the same situation.
May God Bless you as you pursue a life of righteousness,
Daniel

I have no financial interest in any of the resources or products mentioned in this article.

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