Nothing is so damaging to our soul, relationships, and intimacy as pornography. Recent research shows that many more are ravaged by pornography than those who are talking about it. The typical approach for dealing with the addictive nature and devastating effects of pornography have had little positive impact. Trying to manage it all alone proves futile. Begging God to take it away can lead to more condemnation and despair with each failure. And asking for accountability can become a check-in for repeat offenders.
What are we to do? We do know that prayer is powerful. Friends provide critical support. And there are elements of our life that need to be managed daily. What follows are three biblical things to get in your life that will keep pornography out of your life – bringing more confidence, intimacy, and joy inside.
#1 GET HONEST – Confession breaks the back of Satan. He hates relationships. Evil will do everything possible to keep us isolated, trying to manage sin in our strength. But it's impossible to manage our sin. Hidden sin always finds a way to control us. Pornography thrives in secret. The only way to eradicate it is with an honest confession. You must talk with God and speak honestly. Porn is raw, so be raw with God. He knows what's owning you, so tell him the whole truth and put it all on the table. The cleansing power of confession to God is real and complete (I John 1:9). Do it now!
But God knew how much we needed each other as well. Confession of sin needs to encompass trusted friends (James 5:16). The circle of friends who hear your confession of pornography use should be tiny and very trustworthy. Find people to confess your sin to who are equally as honest with their own sin.
The goal is to take our sins to God and find healing. We ask God to cleanse us and break the power of sin. Confession to God and trusted friends creates a place where grace can flourish.
#2 GET SERIOUS – You can't trifle with sin. And pornography requires that you get serious – dead serious. We have to kill things that are killing us. This may sound a bit radical but not compared to the words of Jesus. Jesus said clearly, that if your hand, foot or eye are causing you to sin – cut em off or gouge them out (Matthew 18:8-9). Is Jesus literal? No. Is he saying get serious about sin? Yes!
The way I see it is this. Take extreme measures to remove from your life anything that is feeding, cueing, or by its mere presence, provoking you to sin. Get distance between yourself and the source of pornographic material. Make it challenging to get at it. When you're clear-headed, take radically serious steps to make access difficult. You'll be weak again one day, and you don't want to slide into a pornographic episode to easily. Make it tough to find!
In the spirit of getting serious, let me give you some practical advice. Install blocking software on your computers – I do. But there is a bigger problem. Smartphones are like sin pads – you're a touch away from a spiritual face plant. Get these under control or get rid of them. Go to your settings and limit access to apps on times when you're not likely to compromise. If that doesn't do it get a dumb phone. Get serious and tell your trusted friends what you're doing.
#3 GET BUSY – The biggest challenge in a twenty-four-hour day is common to all – how to use our time. You may be busy, but are you busy doing the right things? If we're honest, much of what we do is exhausting but not very redeeming. We find ourselves with soft spots in our schedules where we can more easily get caught up in compromise and sin. Pornography looks for those soft spots in your schedule. Unredeemed time is the breeding ground of pornography.
One of the first followers of Jesus, Paul, lays down a gauntlet challenge – become a redeemer of your time (Ephesians 5:16). And the primary reason to redeem time? So you won't have a "hint of sexual immorality" (Ephesians 5:3).
Unredeemed time becomes a soft spot for sin, but this can be turned around with a little discipline. Take an assessment of times you have used pornography. When does it usually happen? At what place and time? When you identify the soft spots in your schedule, you'll be able to redeem those hours and minutes. Get busy with good things.