New Year’s is only days away and I am willing to bet you are making plans to try and stop looking at porn in the new year. I used to do this and failed every time. After January 1st, I would recommit on Valentine’s Day, my birthday in April, and my anniversary in June. I’d then resign myself to starting again the next year.
So many broken promises and unrealistic goals. My intentions are good but for some reason I could not seem to stop acting out sexually. Then our conclusions become that we are horrible people. God has rejected us. We must not be a Christian. We are doomed to defeat and discouragement for the rest of our life.
It seems to be the case and our histories want to rub our noses in it, but it does not need to be that way. I work with hundreds of men who are on that treadmill dying to get off, but don’t know how to do it.
Here are five truths you need to remind yourself daily to help overcome your addiction.
I am a new creation in Christ Jesus.
When you received Christ, you were born again. God took the old you who was dead in sin and made you alive in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
Old things have passed away and new things have come. The problem is our old sin nature remains. God has given us a new heart, but our flesh or sin nature is still in us and it is from there that our sinful desires dwell. However, we do not have to submit to it because everyone who is in Christ now has a choice. You can choose to be filled with the Spirit and allow Christ to be your Lord, or you can choose to continue acting out in sexual brokenness.
He who started this work in me will never quit and will perfect it.
This is right out of Philippians 1:6. Notice what Paul writes, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Paul is not guessing that this might happen. No, he says that he is confident that He (God) who started this new life in you will perfect it. Someday, when we die or Christ takes us home, we will become perfect. At that time, the old flesh or sin nature will be gone and we will be completely holy.
Until that time, we have work to do. Growing in Christ and becoming more like Him is our daily work. Which is why we need spiritual disciplines and time with God.
I am in a daily battle.
Why do we not see real change in us and still struggle with sexual activity? It is because we have two enemies. One is is external, demonic forces, and the other is internal, our flesh.
Notice how Paul puts it in Ephesians 6, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Paul mentions four levels of demonic powers. Just like an army has foot soldiers up to generals, Satan has various levels of demons. They want to destroy you and we must put on the full armor of God.
We have an external enemy–demonic powers. We have an internal enemy–our flesh. Plus, we live in the world , behind enemy lines. Therefore, we need to pray on the full armor of God daily.
The Holy Spirit dwells inside of me.
When we became Christians, God the Spirit, entered our bodies and now dwells there. He is the One who has the power to change us into more Christ-like followers. He is the only one who can enable us to walk in the Spirit and not fulfill the desires of the flesh. In Ephesians 5:18,we are commanded to be filled with the Spirit and allow Him to be in control. This command means we are to do it continuously. So, it could be translated “be filled and keep on being filled” with the Spirit.
At times, it is a good thing to check and see if there are things in our life that keep us from being filled more fully by the Spirit. I used to play a lot of video games and could have been using that time to deepen my relationship with God. So, I gave that up. To continue to be being filled with the Spirit means a greater devotion to deepening our relationship with Him. Time in the Bible daily and periods of prayer with Jesus will help to accomplish this. However, there is one more thing.
I need to be in a community for accountability and support.
In 180 Ministries, we have a saying often quoted: A lone sheep is a dead sheep.
No matter what you do and how much you know, if you remain in isolation without strong support from some other believers, you will not find freedom from porn and sexual addiction. I was a pastor for 26 years but had a secret life of sexual addiction for eight years until the truth came out. I am in my 13th year of recovery, and it has happened because I am strongly connected with other men who help keep me accountable.
Knowledge alone is not going to heal you. It can help, and even Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.” However, that is not a universal rule. I know the truth about gravity and how it works, but I still cannot fly on my own. His promise has a condition to it; here is the whole verse,
So, Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?”
Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So, if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”
Jesus attached a stippulation when he said truth would give you freedom–continuing or remaining in His Word, which means obeying His Word. Then, He says that everyone who continues giving in to sin becomes a slave to sin. But if the Son makes you free you are free indeed.