HOW I OVERCAME PORNOGRAPHY
There are so many resources regarding this topic and I also understand this issue can be much deeper and more complicated than I address. However, I still have a deep conviction and desire to share some personal and practical ways the Lord walked me through this issue.
Before I became a Christian there were all sorts of addictions and sins that were dominating my life. By the grace of God, I was able to quit smoking cigarettes, marijuana, drinking, cursing and all sorts of habitual sins almost overnight.
However, the issue of lust and pornography followed me for quite a few years. There were times I would mourn, weep and even hate myself because of my constant failures in this area. I would cry out to God for forgiveness and at times find myself in severe self-condemnation.
So this is my take on how the grace of God through the power of the Holy Spirit helped me overcome my struggle with pornography.
1. FLIGHT DON'T FIGHT
The strongest man in the world (Samson with Delilah), the wisest man in the world (King Solomon with his many wives) and the godliest man in the world (King David with Bathsheba) all fell into the same issue, a form of lust.
No one can deny that at least Solomon and David were madly in love with the Lord when they fell into sin. So there is no denying that even people who are anointed and in love with the Lord can fall into sexual sin.
One of the ways I kept falling into pornography and lust was trying to fight it with my own strength. However, over the years I have learned such an enemy is too strong for me to fight. So as simple as this may sound I have learned pornography and lust is not something I fight against, it is something I run from.
I avoid it, I don’t fight it, I don’t even act like I have overcome it. This means not using my computer in my room alone where no one else knows what I am doing. This means having safety mode and programs that prevent my computer from going to certain websites.
In Genesis 39 Potiphar’s wife tries tempting Joseph to sleep with her. She first verbally tells Joseph to "Lie with me" then later physically forces herself upon him, "She caught him by his garment." This is a single man with a woman behind closed doors pleading for him to sleep with her. Let us not undermine the temptation that Joseph may have felt.
His response to this temptation is so relevant for us, "But one day, when he went into the house to do his work and none of the men of the house was there in the house, she caught him by his garment saying, ‘Lie with me.’ But he left his garment in her hand and fled and got out of the house" (Genesis 39:11-12).
We must respond in the same way with lust and pornography. It will force itself upon you when no one else is there, in those times we must run from lust and run to God.
Flee from sexual sexual immorality. -1 Corinthians 6:18
2. STOP ENTERTAINING YOUR MIND WITH LUST, FILL IT WITH GOD'S WORD
When even the smallest urge or mental picture arises in your mind stop it immediately. Do not deceive yourself in thinking you can entertain it for a short time and overcome it later.
Killing it at its infant stage is critical.
When a mental picture or a physical urge arises in me, I have trained myself to immediately start quoting verses. Imagine the letters and words of Scripture through the screen of your mind. In order to empty your mind with lust, you must fill your mind with the Word of God. Here are some verses that have been my shield and sword against pornography.
I have hidden your word in my heart so that I may not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman. -Job 31:1
Treat younger women as sisters, with absolute purity. -1 Timothy 5:
3. LET GRACE AND LOVE EMPOWER YOU
Let grace and love empower you and not the law. When you fall into pornography or sin and the first thing you say is, “I’m never going to do it again,” you have already failed. The goal is not perfection, the goal is love.
I have learned over the years that obedience overflows from love. Often times our sins and lifestyle is a reflection of our heart towards God.
Instead of using your energy in trying to keep the law, use your energy to love God more.
Also, the law does not empower people, grace empowers people. When you know you are fully forgiven, accepted and loved even in your sin, it empowers you to overcome.
You are fighting from forgiveness and not for forgiveness. Grace does not overlook sin, it empowers obedience.
Here is a great quote from Timothy Keller, “To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.”
Let God’s love and grace be the road of righteousness you walk on
Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more. -Romans 5:20
You must find someone or a group of people that you can share your struggles with. This is different from a typical accountability group. The deeper and longer you keep it to yourself the more hardened your heart will become.
It is crucial that you immediately repent to God and immediately confess to your spiritual community.
Often times people who struggle with pornography share with other people who are wrestling with the same struggle. This can be comforting because others are struggling with the same sin as you, but what you need is more than comfort.
You need conviction and motivation to actually stop. This is why you must confide in someone who has actually overcome pornography. Go look for someone who is willing to keep you accountable. You take the first step! Tell them you need them to be harsh, to be real, to rebuke in love.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. -James 5:16
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. -Galatians 6:1
How about you? What have you done to overcome your battle with lust and pornography?
Is there anything not mentioned above that you have done to help you overcome pornography?