I will set no unclean thing before my eyes. – Psalm 101:3
Popular culture promotes viewing pornography as fun, normal and healthy for individuals and even couples. Do not be fooled. It is extremely damaging. This may seem obvious for most Christians, but there are many hidden detriments to this all-too-common vice.
For example, frequent viewing of pornography contributes to sexual dysfunction in men, such as premature ejaculation and diminished satisfaction with routine or “normal” sex. Since it is an almost entirely visual medium, porn creates unrealistic views of female body types, desires and sexual practices.
Research also indicates that porn can lead to violent behaviors. In her book Dangerous Relationships: Pornography, Misogyny, and Rape, Diana Russell offers convincing research on how viewing pornography contributes to misogynous views and even rape of women. Serial killer Ted Bundy confessed that viewing pornography was a trigger for the rapes and murders he committed, proving how truly dangerous porn can be.
Porn addiction afflicts 50 percent of Christian men and 17 percent of women. About half of the pastors in America admit that viewing pornography on the internet is their biggest temptation. If you are struggling with this problem, or even the temptation of the problem, there are steps you can take to free yourself from it. The following understandings have proven successful for most men in overcoming pornography.
It’s a REAL PROBLEM | Proverbs 4:23
Don’t deny its seriousness
Viewing pornographic pictures, even “soft” porn, has a powerful effect on the imagination. Our mental images of sex and sexual practices guide our behavior. The moment you allow some image of a woman, other than your wife, to enter your imagination, you create a desire for that image and discontentment with the woman God gives you. Viewing pornography will cause you sexual dissatisfaction for the rest of your life and usually leads to the other undesired behaviors previously listed in this article.
It can become a STRONGHOLD | 1 Peter 5:8
Consider it to be a major plague to your mind and emotions
A stronghold, by definition, is a powerful fortress of sinful bondage. A potent hormone is released every time a man becomes aroused or ejaculates. When the resultant feelings become paired with pornographic images, they create a powerful inner desire to view more pornographic material and act out sexually on what was viewed. Overcoming repeated incidents of porn viewing (the number is in the hundreds for most men) requires substantial time, prayer and effort.
Get HONEST | James 4:6, 5:16
Bring your viewing of pornography “out of the closet” and “into the light”
As with most sinful behavior, the longer it is kept secret the more shame and power it develops. Confession of your problem to a trusted friend or counselor is a necessary first step that breaks porn’s power over your life. Confession requires your humility, invites God’s grace, releases shame and summons healing prayer on your behalf. Shame, foolish pride and denial are the main obstacles to healing.
Go back to the first IMPRINT
Recall and revisit in prayer the first time you viewed pornography
Where were you? What did you do? It was at that moment the images left their initial imprint and invited the enemy’s power over you. Have you asked forgiveness for these times and asked God to cleanse you of your sin and break the power of the images that remain? As one pastor friend testified, “God brought to my memory the first time I looked at porn. It was with an older neighborhood boy. As I mourned my loss of innocence and prayed, I felt God cleanse me and release me. I have not struggled since.”
Wage SPIRITUAL WARFARE | 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
Prayers of deliverance may be required to break pornography’s power over your life
Viewing pornography is powerfully addictive to most men. When something controls you, and you feel powerless to do right, a demonic influence may be present. A trusted friend, counselor or group of friends can multiply your power by joining you in prayer
Be ACCOUNTABLE | Proverbs 15:31-33
Ask someone to get on your case
To be accountable requires asking someone to hold you to your word on an issue and help you achieve your goal of freedom in Christ. Choose someone with whom you know you can be open, honest and humble. Ask him to check on you, pray for you and be rigorously honest with you). Your spouse should not act in the role of accountability partner. If you are a ministry leader don’t make a congregant your accountability partner. Get another leader. Most members will not possess the maturity to conduct an equivalent, healthy, accountability relationship with a spiritual leader who is struggling with a problem.
CLEANSE your home and change your patterns
Tackling a difficult problem like pornography without getting rid of cable TV and uncensored internet connections is asking for continued failure. A MSNBC survey in 2000 found that 60 percent of website hits are sexual in nature.
If you do not have an internet filter, you are a sitting duck. Leaders That Last recommends a program called SafeEyes, the #1 internet filtering software on the market. This amazing program not only allows you to block pornographic websites, but requires you to choose an accountability partner who receives alerts if access to those sites is even attempted. What’s more, SafeEyes cannot be uninstalled from a computer unless that accountability partner (the only one with an access code) allows it. Friends of Leaders That Last can get a discount on the cost of the program if they order through our online store. Visit www.leadersthatlast.org/resources.html and click on Internet Safety for more information.
You should also alter life patterns that potentially bring you into contact with porn or stimulate your desire for it. For example, avoid R-rated movies since most contain nudity. Don’t watch shows like Baywatch, and don’t shop at convenience stores that sell pornographic material. If need be, change your travel routes to and from work. These activities seem trivial, but even the smallest trigger can set off destructive behaviors.
On occasion, a pornographic bondage may be tied to other problems, including chemical imbalances that must be rectified before healing comes. If these steps fail to bring freedom seek assistance from a professional or gifted counselor. Always seek one who embraces your values and understands how God heals this kind of problem.
Leaders That Last offers professional, confidential counseling services. If you would like more information on receiving help with overcoming pornography, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. All information will be kept strictly confidential.