Pornography is a real problem for many people today. Consider Sam. Sam struggles with pornography on a weekly basis. Every time he looks at pornography he feels guilt and shame. Sam has read the books and articles on how to defeat addiction but still wonders, “Help, I’m addicted to pornography and don’t know what to do!”
There are many people like Sam out there. In this article, my purpose is to help the many Sam’s out there to understand five critical truths that will help them to grow in the grace of God.
My own story
Over the course of two Sundays in 2005, the Lord convicted me of my addiction to pornography. I remember praying, “Lord, help me to be the man you want me to be.” About six months after praying this prayer, I met my wife of nine years.
Recovering from a porn addiction is hard for many people. One’s mind must be renewed by the Word of God, the help of godly accountability, and often the help of a professional Christian counselor. While you should utilize all these powerful tools, I want to highlight a few other ways you can take ownership of your own growth in Christ that will in turn help you defeat your addiction.
Get into the Bible
If you’ve never read through the Bible, I encourage you to start with the Gospel of John. Read slowly and digest it. Find others to go through the Bible with you. Share what you’re learning as you read. If you like to write articles, consider writing your way through a book of the Bible, sharing any insights or thoughts you might have as you go through it.
Some people find it easier to listen to the Bible on their smartphones through apps like YouVersion. I like to do this in addition to reading a physical Bible. The point here is to get regularly in the Bible. The Bible is authoritative for faith and practice. This means not only reading the Word daily, but being fed by it and submitting to what it says.
Get in a Bible believing local church
The Christian life is not to be lived in isolation but in community with other Christians. Over 50 times in the New Testament, Christians are taught how to treat one another other, and this is best done in the context of the local church.
Find godly friends
If you are a guy, find an older seasoned man at your local church who is willing to come alongside you and help you grow. If you are a woman, find an older seasoned woman. Seasoned men, please receive younger men. Seasoned women, please receive the younger women. We come to you for your wisdom and guidance. The challenges we face are very real, and we need your help to walk with God.
In addition to finding friends who are older than you, make friends with those in your church who are your age and have more knowledge and understanding of the Christian faith than you. This will provide you with a spiritually mature support group to help you when you stumble and fall.
Confess your sin
When you struggle with any habitual sin, especially with a sexual sin, you must confess your sin to God, repent, and seek to walk by His grace once again. Rather than continuing in your sin, bring it out into the light. Your local church and godly friends are vital to recovery.
If after a short time you struggle and relapse, then confess, repent, and seek to walk by His grace once again. Each time you relapse, I encourage you to tell your accountability team. This will be hard, but it will also help you to learn the place and importance of community.
Celebrate any victory
You’ve made some progress by God’s grace. If you struggle one day and then have a day of victory the next, celebrate! If you haven’t struggled for a week, then praise the Lord for that as well.
Few issues are as hard to overcome as an addiction to pornography. This is why you need to be in community with other Christians and be honest with them about your struggles and victories.
If you struggle with a porn addiction, please stop hiding and come out into the light. I cannot tell you how many e-mails and conversations I have had with people over the years about this issue. Someone who struggles often displays excessive feelings of guilt and shame. The Gospel calls us out of a world filled with guilt and shame by understanding Jesus took our guilt, shame and sin upon Himself at the cross. He offers both forgiveness of sins through His shed blood and new life through the resurrection of Christ. I encourage you to look to Christ. He is all you need. He is sufficient and able to set you free.
All around you are people like Sam who need the hope of the Gospel. They are living in a world of perpetual guilt and shame. If you are like Sam today, I encourage you to come to Jesus to be filled and satisfied by the bread of life in Jesus Christ. Won’t you come taste and see that the Lord is good and drink from the well of everlasting life in Jesus? Come and be satisfied you who hunger and you who thirst, come drink from the living well of water in Jesus Christ.