Breaking the Cycle of Porn (the first step)

Nearly every man trying to break free from the chains of pornography has tried more times than they can count to start fresh and vow never to go back to pornography. But sooner or later, they find themselves back in the throes of their struggle and wonder what went wrong. There is a vicious cycle that must be broken before any real change takes place.

So what is the first step? We find the answer in how God saves one prostitute out of her vicious cycle in the Bible’s book of Hosea.

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How God Saved Gomer

I love the story of Hosea. God tells the prophet Hosea to go and take Gomer, a prostitute, as his wife to create a picture of how God chooses us while we are yet sinners. That alone would be an encouraging tale.

But the story doesn’t end there. Gomer, like every sinner God saves, eventually discovers that she isn’t perfect and she foolishly returns to prostitution and a wilderness of her own making.

But something amazing then happens in the story. God tells Hosea to go find her and bring her back. Yes and amen! God wants us back—but that still isn’t the best part! He doesn’t tell Hosea to scold her or demand her return. He doesn’t condemn her or make her feel like trash and remind her that she is in the gutter. Rather, Hosea seeks her, finds her and pays her wage!

Did you get that? He’s her husband—not some John who has to pay to get a trick—pays her wage. If anyone had a right to demand her for free it is Hosea. But he pays what she’s asking to bring her home. Why? Can you wrap your head around it?

Worth Much Because She’s Loved By God

The answer is because she has value. She has worth. This is so critical to understand.

Lust and pornography are rooted in low self-worth. It is impossible to treat someone like a sex object if you place a value on their worth as an individual. Furthermore, it is impossible to look at people this way if one truly has a revelation from God of their own worth and value. It is impossible to devalue yourself and trade the glory and grace of God in you for something worthless if you really knew your own worth.

The cycle only makes this problem worse. Men with this lacking love fold like a two dollar suitcase when temptation arises because they have no reserve in themselves from the cycle of defeat that has raped their souls; and in turn, each defeat diminishes more self-confidence and hope that they can be free. So after a fall, we beat ourselves up and hope that next time it will be different.

The Foundation of Change

However, as we see with Hosea and Gomer, God’s path is to first reinforce your value. Everything that God does builds us up. He will never bless something you do that reinforces a more damaging self-perception. You won’t find freedom—real freedom—from this while you have a low self-worth. That’s backward thinking.

Mighty man, you matter to God. The reason men try and fail over and over is because the proper foundation based on a revelation of God’s love for you is never laid. Tips and tactics and ten step programs by default cause us to look at ourselves and try to find what’s wrong so that we can fix it. But none of it works without the right foundation.

So how does the Bible tell us freedom and change come? In 2 Corinthians 3:18, we read that as we behold the Glory of the Lord, we become transformed into His same image. God transforms us as we look at Him, the pattern of perfection, not at ourselves. He washes us as we behold Him in His word (Eph. 5:26).

God loves you. You have great worth. Like Hosea’s wife, He knows the price your heart requires and will restore you in love. He loves you today—not “some day” when you are perfect and no longer need Him to help you get free. Men often come to our ministry jaded from the failures of the past. But then something amazing happens: they find a new revelation of God’s love for them. Then, when the foundation of love is laid, they have what is needed to take the next steps in Christ.