How to Battle Porn
Feel like you’re losing the battle against porn? Talk to an email mentor, confidentially.
Pornography is progressive; what starts as a glimpse becomes a gawk. It follows the law of diminishing returns – whet the appetite and we want more.
No seven-year-old chooses an XXX-rated movie at the video store. It starts smaller, wearing down convictions a little at a time. Therefore, any form of compromises is serious.
Here are some practical tips to fight the battle against pornography:
- Build a shield
When Fred Stoeker found a Playboy magazine on top of a hotel ice machine, he considered the risks of one little compromise. He began to weigh the pros and cons in his mind – he was on a business trip; his wife would never know. Should he look at it or not? Then Fred recalled a Scripture memory verse, or as he calls it a shield verse: “Flee from sexual immorality…. You are not your own; you were bought with a price. Therefore, honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:18-20 NIV).
Fred realized, “I have no right to even consider looking at it. I haven’t the authority.” Memorizing Scripture to help combat the temptation to lust has aided him many times.
- Bounce your eyes
Stephen Arterburn, Fred Stoeker and Mike Yorkey wrote Every Man’s Battle to help Christian men fight against lust and pornography. “If we define lusting as staring open-mouthed until drool pools at your feet, then a glance isn’t the same as lusting,” they write. “But if we define lusting as any look that creates a chemical high, that little pop, then we have something a bit more difficult to measure.”So train yourself to “bounce your eyes.” In other words, discipline your eyes to immediately look away from anything that might cause lust. The authors of Every Man’s Battle compare bouncing the eyes to yanking a hand away from a hot stove. “Not only did I train my eyes to bounce away from (sensual) ads, I also trained myself not to pick them up in the first place,” Fred explains.That’s key. If we seriously desire to prevent or stop a pornography problem, we must not allow ourselves to even look at it. Don’t buy the romance novels. Throw away the movies with scenes that might cause your mind to go where it shouldn’t. And don’t linger on the lingerie ads. Recognize the sources of “that little pop” and avoid it whatever causes it.
- Be accountable
If you are serious enough about fighting temptation, you need to admit that you can’t trust yourself. So ask someone else to call you into account, to make sure you’re living according to God’s ways. “We must establish at least one to three supportive relationships for the purpose of accountability,” writes Russell Willingham in his book Breaking Free. “Without accountability we will be…unable to control our behavior.”The Bible puts it this way: “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (Proverbs 28:13, NIV).Rob Andrescik, editor of New Man magazine, subscribes to Covenant Eyes, an Internet accountability program. The program sends Ron’s accountability partner a regular e-mailed report listing every single web site he visits. “When you know your accountability partner is going to see where you’ve been surfing,” says Rob, “it has a way of sucking the life out of temptation.”
- Be authentic
While Gene served as an associate pastor, his tinkering with pornography escalated into a full-scale sexual addiction. Eventually his secret did get out and he was appropriately fired from his church. Yet not everybody close to Gene knew. He recoiled at the thought of being completely open with his friends. “My life continued to deteriorate until the day I visited a pastor friend,” Gene says. “Without having planned it, I confessed my deepest secrets to him, pouring out my failure and guilt. I was certain that he would loathe and reject me.”The other pastor came around his desk toward Gene. “I almost expected him to strike me in outrage,” he says. Instead, he pulled Gene into his arms, hugged him and wept over him. He didn’t validate the sin that Gene was entrenched in, but he catapulted the healing process. “There in that office, for the first time in my life, I understood that God loved me, because this friend showed me.”Being real and vulnerable with others – along with accountability, bouncing the eyes and memorizing Scripture – helps equip us in the spiritual battle. And this is a spiritual battle. “Christians who use pornography are attempting to satisfy legitimate needs for love, both human and divine – and satisfying legitimate needs for love, both human and divine – and satisfying neither kind,” writes Russell Willingham. “But the deception that perfect fulfillment is just one magazine or video away keeps us coming back,”
So as we fight the battle, we need to begin by seeking God for our satisfaction. We need to find our pleasure in Him.
Pornography may be a lifelong temptation. But if we’re equipped to battle it properly, we don’t have to lose the war. God will give us the strength we need to fight. And win.