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Defeat Lust & Pornography 3 minute read

How I Fight Porn Images in My Mind

Last Updated: April 18, 2019

I was suddenly filled with panic.

I clicked to see the profile of someone who started following me on a social media site, only to see a naked picture of her blasted right in front of my eyes. I scrolled down to get away, but saw even more. It quickly became clear to me that her entire feed was filled with porn.

I used to look at lesbian porn, so I panicked. I was caught off guard.

It had been a long time since I saw such a graphic picture. My heart started racing, and I was afraid of where my mind would go. As I put my phone down, my normal response would have been, “God, please help me.” This time I did something different. I started praying for her.

  • I prayed (out loud) that God would make Himself known to her.
  • I prayed that she would give her life to Him.
  • I prayed that the Lord would heal every wound in her heart.
  • I prayed that she would know how much God loves her.
  • I prayed that she would surrender her life to Him completely.
  • I prayed that she would one day share her testimony to help set others free.
  • I prayed that the destiny God has planned for her life would be fulfilled.
  • I prayed that God would help me see her the same way He does.

Porn is not just a physical battle, but a spiritual battle as well.

“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” (Eph. 6:12, NASB).Porn is not just a physical battle. There is a very real spiritual side that presents itself behind the scenes, and this needs to be part of our battle plan as we fight against it. As I continued to pray for her, my fear and the racing of my heart and mind eventually subsided.

I was determined to see her as God does.

She is a real person with real feelings, not just a fantasy.

For a few days, her picture continued to flash through my mind. When this happened, I prayed for her again. Instead of being consumed by shame and guilt, I prayed for her until my focus changed again.

Several years after I stopped watching porn, I met someone who was in the porn industry. After meeting her, my heart started to break for the women many of us have seen in porn. The industry destroyed this young woman emotionally, and when I was watching porn, I never once considered the well-being of the women involved.

I began to realize many of the people in porn are trapped in the industry just as much as I was trapped by watching it. This young woman helped to humanize women I once thought of as only a fantasy. My conversations with her radically changed my heart.

If you have mental images of porn in your mind that you have been unable to erase, I know exactly what that’s like. They can exist for many years after viewing them. Ignoring them works for a time, but they always come back just as strong. The images can haunt you. They can entice you back into porn, and they can also cause agonizing guilt long after you stop watching it.

This is a heart issue, and Jesus heals hearts.

I encourage you to pray for these men and women when an image surfaces in your mind. Maybe you don’t feel like praying for them. This is exactly why you need to. This is a heart issue. When we see people as God does, we will not lust after them. (This is a process.)

Praying for these men and women not only helps to shift your focus away from what’s going on in your mind and body, but it helps to refocus the way you look at them. Even if the pictures in your mind are not of specific people you know or remember, praying for them invites God directly into the situation. He is a supernatural God who works supernaturally through our prayers.

As I have persisted in doing this, the clarity of the pictures in my mind and the allure they once had over me has diminished greatly. Prayer is powerful! Jesus not only works in the lives of those being prayed for, but He can change and soften the hearts of those who pray.

I encourage you to follow this process so Jesus can restore your mind. He can also restore the way you see others, so you start to see them as He does. Keep persevering! Do not give up. He can heal your heart and mind and set you free.

  1. Joe

    Thank you. I needed this encouragement tonight. I think this is the right approach, as it it ACTIVE, moving us in the right direction, as we seek to obey Christ’s command to love others. I quit three weeks ago, but have been tempted to relapse. And for me, the temptation to relapse is not in the form of memories of hardcore porn, but rather in the memory of a beautiful woman in softcore porn that I know is potentially just seconds away. But this is not the beauty that God calls us to long after. It is a false little drug that only gives a brief high, but that separates us from God as we turn inward. I’ve failed before in quitting, some times after months of not acting out. It seems to me that two things are critical to understand, 1) that God truly is worth it. In the porn addicted mind we can’t view good things properly, because we are in an unbalanced state of being, our perception of what is good and valuable is warped. And 2) we will still have problems in life. When I had done some self-work in the past and quit porn for months, I might feel on top of the world and close to God for awhile, but then desolation would eventually come upon me when things turned south in my life Why didn’t I “feel” happy anymore? Porn gives us the instant reaction of “feeling” good. But we are not supposed to live that way. God is not a porn substitute in the sense that we can call on him to instantly “feel” good whenever we want. That’s not how God and prayer work. Porn is so dangerous because it allows us to think we always have this right to instantly gratify ourselves. We will still encounter hurt and evil – even from those we love at times. We can’t use sadness and desolation that comes from hurt or lack of feeling connected to God, as excuse to return to our little porn drug. Porn might feel like our little safe place… but that’s a lie. It’s a little self-isolating hell.

    Those are things I’ve learned from past attempts that I pray will help me to endure for the long haul this time – rather than returning to my numb place of isolation. Anyone reading this please pray for me, as I will also pray for souls like me struggling to overcome this and all other sexual sins that can entrap us.

    • Keith Rose

      God bless you, Joe! I commend your desire to pursue things of lasting worth and satisfaction, rather than the immediate but unsatisfying pleasures of porn. You’re in for a battle, but it’s absolutely worth it as you say. You’ve got some really solid insights here! Hold fast and keep up the good work, we believe in you and we’re here to help anyway we can.

      Praying!

      Keith

    • Joe

      Thank you so much Keith! I appreciate the encouragement and prayers more than you know.

  2. Victor Andrews

    The sin of masturbation should be curbed. It is the first step leading down the path to porn addiction and worse.

  3. David

    Improving your prayers. 1) find someplace private and quiet. 2) make sure you are not seen. 3) kneel with your face to the floor. 4) Close your eyes and speak with Heavenly Father. 5) Close your prayer, sealing your intent in the name of Jesus Christ.

    God is to be praised and worshipped even as we suffer temptation. As we pray to the Father in our hours of temptation He will see that you are seeking His will and His Spirit will drive the temptation from you. Not praying you are subjecting yourself to more temptation unnecessarily. And remember, if you entertain temptation long enough, pretty soon it will begin to entertain you. James 4:7 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

    • David

      Also, recalling memorized scripture pertaining to lust has helped me fight off temptation. this is one of many ways to wield the sword of truth which is the Word of God. These 2 help me 1) Psalms 101:3 “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.”

      2) 2 Timothy 2: 22 “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

      Recite those until you have them memorized and you’ll find as I have that they can help you overcome the temptation of sexual sin.

  4. Judi

    My ex-husband had me convinced that his lust for people around him was ok and not his fault. Now he has a smartphone and his exgirlfriend told me it was full of porn. What are your thoughts on lust….it killed my marriage.

    • Kay Bruner

      I think it’s so important that we all recognize that we are responsible for the way that we think and how we choose to behave. That includes learning how to employ our sexuality in healthy ways, rather than using “lust” as an excuse to objectify others. We can choose to see other people as God’s fellow image-bearers in the world, rather than as body parts to be consumed. When we’re objectifying others, that will always destroy relationships, instead of bringing about the emotional intimacy that our expression of sexuality in relationship is designed for. It’s just a sad loss of what could be. Blessings, Kay

  5. Bethany

    Thank you Kay and Amy. I do actually have two accountability partners/friends. They are such an encouragement to me. I think the idea of admitting my wrongs to those who are so close to me, even though they know everything, is really hard and painful in that I know that when I choose sin I am hurting them too. But thank you, I know I can do this even though it is emotionally, mentally and physically so draining. Christ has lifted me up, and He also showed me so clearly a day or so ago just how much He loves me. He brought to my remembrance all the times that He has seen me fall so badly, and the ways that He has first warned, then pleaded and then finally grabbed me and not let me go. To see His love poured out again and again when I do not deserve it, that is a truth that really helps me to make the right choices and to walk in victory. When I wrote the other comment, I was desperate for help, when as I just said all I had to do was turn my eyes toward Jesus and be in His presence and grace. I do have a couple of questions. I know some practical ways to overcome porn, and that seems easier enough. Though I really struggle with acting out, and am in need of some ways to physically overcome. Stress and physical pains (headaches, body aches, and uncontrollable shaking) are big triggers for me, and I just want to be able to find ways to cope with all these things and other triggering situations in a positive and pure way. Any ideas? Along with the aches and shaking, I experience sleeplessness and nightmares, and it is such a hard fight at those times because the cravings are SO intense. I guess I’m asking, what are some ways to get through these tough times victorious? God bless you for your encouragement already.

    • Kay Bruner

      So this sounds to me like you’re experiencing general anxiety/stress that then leads to self-soothing with porn? In that case, I’d say work on lowering anxiety overall. Make sure you’re getting enough exercise (and it should be serious cardio if you want it to impact anxiety levels), get outdoors into an unbuilt green space for 30 minutes each day, laugh every single day (funny youTube videos, whatever it takes), make sure you are doing at least ONE thing that you enjoy every single day. Yoga is often enormously helpful for anxiety issues. If you can’t impact the anxiety in those DIY ways, and it continues to impact your functioning, then it might be time to see your doctor to make sure everything’s okay physically.

      Between now and then, if you continue to experience the physical symptoms of anxiety, I’d suggest some simple behavioral interventions that can interrupt the normal cycle that you experience. Make a plan for when you’re stressed or in pain. Even having a plan as simple as, “I’ll get up and drink some water. I’ll take a walk around the block. I’ll watch that video of the cat with the light saber. I’ll listen to these three songs.” There are lots of templates for self-care plans online to help you think about simple, simple things you can do to make new healthier habits. The porn is distracting you from the pain and stress–replace it with something else.

      Also, I’ve lately been getting a lot of good feedback about a little app called Flowy. It only takes a second to download, and it’s specifically designed to help soothe anxiety by guiding you to breathe deeply while playing a simple little game on your phone. I’ve had clients with anxiety/OCD diagnoses tell me that it’s very helpful when they’re starting to feel distressed, and they’re in situations where they can’t necessarily get up and leave. There are other apps out there to help with stress if Flowy isn’t your thing.

      Let me know if those ideas help at all. Blessings, Kay

    • Hi Bethany – I am glad you have a couple people you can be accountable to. I understand the difficulty of telling someone what you’re going through but not wanting to hurt them at the same time.

      As far as your nightmares go, I used to have very vivid nightmares/dreams that would resemble the porn I used to look at. It still happens occasionally, but not nearly as often at all. It made the temptations so much worse. Maybe this is something you already do, but I am pretty diligent to pray something like this before I go to sleep. “I plead the blood of Jesus over myself and my dreams. Please protect my mind when I am asleep tonight. Surround me with Your warring angels as I sleep….” This has helped me so much.

      One thing that helps me the most when I’m facing temptation is to verbally express it to God. That was embarrassing and difficult for me to do at first, but it has gotten easier! Telling Him (out loud) what I was being tempted to do helped me tremendously, and it started to chip away at the deep shame I felt as well.

      Keep persevering. You are keeping your eyes on Jesus, which is the most important thing you can do. ?

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