3 minute read

Keeping Porn Off the Priority List

Last Updated: April 11, 2015

Jessica Harris

Jessica Harris is the founder of Beggar’s Daughter, a ministry dedicated to walking with women who have an addiction to pornography. Telling her own story of porn addiction and struggle with lust, Jessica seeks to help other women find hope, healing, and grace. Jessica enjoys traveling and speaking on the topic of female lust addiction and how churches can minister to women who struggle. She resides just outside of Washington DC where she works as a teacher and serves on the Biblical counseling team in her church. She is the author of Love Done Right: Devos—A Journey From Lust into the Love of God.

When’s the last time you stepped back to evaluate your priorities?

I’m not referring to the projects you are completing at school or at work. I’m not referring to the New Year’s Resolutions that have survived the first five months. I’m not talking about what you are working on. I’m talking about what you value.

For most of us, family and God would be in our top 5 priorities. It is highly likely that porn would not be in that list. None of us get up and put “fall to porn” on our to-do list for today. We don’t pencil it in on our calendar, set an alert in our phone, or leave notes around the house reminding ourselves to make some time for porn today.

Still, we do.

The Idol of Porn

At the height of my struggle with pornography, I was watching hardcore videos while my college roommate slept in the bunk behind me. At any moment, she could have woken up, seen what I was doing and that would have been the end. While the thought of that scared me, my actions showed that I did not care. If you had asked me if porn was a priority in my life, I would have told you no. School was the “priority” of my life. Still, I would stay up at night spending hours searching for porn, only to sleep through my 8 a.m. Chemistry class. School might have been a priority, but it wasn’t the priority.

We always make time for what is most important to us. If you value family more than work, then you might pass on a business trip in order to stay with your family. If you value fellowship with believers over fellowship with unbelievers, you may pass on an invitation for happy hour in order to go to a church retreat. Whether consciously or not, we make decisions every day based on our priorities. We prioritize our lives, and divide our time accordingly.

If we look at things we prioritize, then many would have to admit that porn is, in fact, a priority—a huge priority. We like to use Christianese words like “idols” but that makes it sound as if you misused your time by worshiping idols instead of worshiping God. It makes it sound casual, and while it is an idol, it is more than an idol. It is an idol we make a point of worshiping. It is an idol, we risk life, limb, and reputation to worship. It is a priority that usurps all other priorities. It is its own to-do list that never ends.

The Idol of Self

Your lust is never happy. It is never satisfied. You can never put a check in that box. You can never cross it off.

We need to remove it from the list altogether.

That, of course, is easier said than done. Addiction to pornography is real, and there is a real rewiring that needs to take place. I could not just walk into a dark house put a light switch on a wall, flip it and expect lights to come on. Walls have to be torn up, fixtures have to be installed, wires have to be strung and the power has to be connected. You need brokenness, accountability, and confession. The reason we don’t like that is because our priority is our own desires. We desire ourselves more than anything else.

That is the root of pornography—a desire to please myself at whatever cost. It may cost me my family, my job, my marriage, my friends, my ministry, my health, or my sex drive, but that doesn’t matter because I want this, and I want it now. So, no, I will not confess this to people. No, I will not risk intimacy with a person. No, I will not make time to be inconvenienced by people.

The advances of technology make it more and more convenient to please ourselves. Everything is available instant, anonymous, and free. Our world is so catered to self that it takes a great degree of self-control and focus to kick self off the throne of our hearts, but that is what we are called to do as Christians.

Christ’s To-Do List

Christ gave us our priorities for life. First, we are to love God with all of our hearts, souls, and minds. Second, we are to love others as ourselves. The only time our self is mentioned is when it is set forth as a standard for how we are to love others. We should evaluate our priorities based on those two standards: is this loving God? Is this loving others?

Pornography is an isolating sin. It cuts you off from fellowship with community, church, and family. It creates a world that completely revolves around you because you are the only person in it. So, one of the most vital steps for you to take to find freedom is to de-prioritize yourself. Make it priority to de-prioritize yourself, and you’ll find the strength of your struggle weakening. Pornography exalts itself on the platform of self.