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Defeat Lust & Pornography 5 minute read

Stop Looking At Porn You Sicko! (Part 1)

Last Updated: August 10, 2017

There are numerous strategies for battling pornography, and I tried many of them. My go-to strategy was the “Stop looking at porn you sicko!” approach mentioned in The Porn Circuit–which was to binge on porn, be furious with myself, look in the mirror, and just commit to “trying harder.”

stop looking at porn sicko

Too many men and women who struggle with sexual temptation love trying harder. If there’s still a bookstore in your town, you’ll probably find a wide assortment of “self-help” books for every human inclination. Our American, “pull myself up by my bootstraps” self-sufficiency compels us to want to fix it ourselves.

The problem is this: if “self” got me into the addiction, what are the chances “self” is the solution? More of me and my effort has never worked. All of my efforts are imperfect and tainted with an ugly undertone of pride if I’m honest.

There have been two revolutionary concepts that wholly changed my perspective on pornography. I’d like to share one of them in this post and a second one in a future post.

A “Complete and Effective Decision About Sin”

Although I’m far from an everyday devotional guy, the book I most often pick up other than my Bible, is My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. This Christian classic was interestingly compiled by Chambers’ wife, Gertrude Hobbs, after his death, using notes from his sermons to students and soldiers. It has been an invaluable spiritual resource for me. Even though I have cycled through it multiple times, I find it has a profound depth that continues to reveal new truths about the nature of God because of its tight connection to God’s Word.

On April 10th years ago, I read this:

Have you made the following decision about sin—that it must be completely killed in you? It takes a long time to come to the point of making this complete and effective decision about sin. It is, however, the greatest moment in your life once you decide that sin must die in you– not simply be restrained, suppressed, or counteracted, but crucified—just as Jesus Christ died for the sin of the world. No one can bring anyone else to this decision. We may be mentally and spiritually convinced, but what we need to do is actually make the decision that Paul urged us to do in this passage.

Pull yourself up, take some time alone with God, and make this important decision, saying, “Lord, identify me with Your death until I know that sin is dead in me.” Make the moral decision that sin in you must be put to death.

… Are you prepared to let the Spirit of God search you until you know what the level and nature of sin is in your life—to see the very things that struggle against God’s Spirit in you? If so, will you then agree with God’s verdict on the nature of sin— that it should be identified with the death of Jesus? You cannot “reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin” (Rom. 6:11) unless you have radically dealt with the issue of your will before God.

For days I thought about the phrase, “complete and effective decision about sin.” What does that type of decision look like? Here are three ideas:

Be Still and Know

The devotion pushes us to set aside the busyness of life and get alone with God.

Where are you most relaxed? Where are you most focused? Where is your favorite spot on earth? Yes, go there. Spend an extended amount of time there. If it takes you two to three days to calm down and start to relax, then take a five day break away from everything and look God in the face.

Our God is not distant–it’s our mind that has often runs far away from Him. “Be still and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10) is not a pithy suggestion to go take a nap. It is an exhortation to actively seek the face of God through a zoomed in, knuckled down, concentrated, honed in focus on Him.

A natural response to this idea is “I don’t have time.”

Is this really true? If you added up all the time you’ve spent in whatever you are battling, how much time would it be? Hours? Days? Weeks?

It’s not about having time. It’s about making time. Gandhi said, “Actions express priorities.” If your priority is to make a “complete and effective decision” about your sin, then you’ll have to make time for it.

Pray Like You’re At War

The well-known phrase “there are no atheists in foxholes” conveys a subjective truth that in moments of intense fear or threat, everyone turns to a higher power. If you have decided to turn away from consuming pornography, habitual masturbation, or sex addiction, then you must understand you are at war. Whatever you choose to fight will fight you back.

Have you ever watched any movie that depicts the storming of Normandy Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944? The scenes are intense and graphic. I’ve often wondered what was going through the minds of those young men who approached the beach in amphibious boats with the sounds of bullets and bombs everywhere. I imagine it was a tangled mix of abject fear and intense focus on a singular task. Kill or be killed. Is that similar to how you approach your addiction?

1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.”

Thanks to Simba, many of us have a Disney-like impression of lions. All of them are cute, talkative, and animated. Compare this to what lions truly are. In nature, nothing hunts lions. They are apex predators–at the top of the food chain. Have you ever watched a pack of hungry lions hunt and then eat? Stealthy. Quick. Violent. Bloody. Ripping away flesh from bone. They are a predator, finely tuned to hunt and kill.

This is our enemy. Know him and appreciate what you’re up against. And then, pray as if you’re standing with your comrades on the boat, ready to storm the beach. The sounds of war are all around you.

But, in this battle, we do not go off to war to lose. We go off to war to win. We stand in the authority of Jesus Christ.

Will you pray like a victor? Yes, fall on your face and cry out to God, but then lift your head up in confidence and pray as if your life depended on it.

Make Irrevocable Decisions

Often in the guilt-ridden moments immediately after we commit some habitual sin, we find ourselves willing to do almost anything to “not do that again.” There is a very slim window of time where it is absolutely necessary to make decisions that prevent us from backsliding again.

In another sermon, Oswald Chambers said, “If the Spirit of God has stirred you, make as many of your decisions as possible irrevocable, and let the consequences be what they will.”

In the moment you are at the bottom, make as many good decisions as possible that are difficult to undo.

Make a phone call. Set up an appointment. Text a trusted friend to tell him about your sin, no matter how embarrassed you are. Take the smartphone into the garage and pound it with a hammer no matter how much that will cost. Give your accountability partner control over the 4-digit restrictions for your iPhone no matter how inconvenient it is. Join a support group of some kind no matter how prideful you are. Do something.

Make a decision and move. Go. And then, tell as many people as possible about what you’ve decided to do.

Has there been one “revolutionary” idea that has convicted you personally about your sexual addiction? As an encouragement to others, I invite you to share it in the comments below.

  1. Beckner

    Covenant eyes- I’m disappointed to see an article with this title printed by you. Calling anyone- even a porn addict- What this title does is inappropriate. ‘Judgementalism’ like this is a relative to ‘toxic shame’ that helps perpetuate such behaviour. Someone like this author is unlikely to have truely overcome at the thought level. When someone is completely clean they have the heart of Jesus to both addicts and wives. They also understand that God-given shame leads to repentance and no condemnation. Please take this into consideration when publishing articles. Ty

  2. Donna

    Would you do me a favor and answer one other question? What about the girlfriend he had before we married? It wasn’t an honest relationship, but that doesn’t seem to matter. That sex was real, wasn’t it? It’s not the same as pornography is it?He said it was good. He said he was sorry. He stopped using magazines before we married, but then later confessed he was lusting due to prior porn use. He’s made it appear sex just isn’t as special since he’s had it before. Does it matter if he thought she was sexy? It seems to me that the comparison hasn’t been good for our marriage since it gave him experiences to compare to ours, and he’s communicated in ways that make it seem comparable. I’m asking you if sex outside of marriage can seem as good or better than in marriage. Does it matter if he’s being honest about what it meant to him? I have been reading covenant eyes articles for some of my counsel Some of the writers seem to understand the PTSD feelings I have had as a result of discovering my husband’s unfaithfulness. I am feeling better as a result of knowing that some people are not condemning me and do understand how I feel. I’m not a stranger to counseling since what happened really has me seeking God for answers and wise counsel. I’ll keep trying to find the right one. Some have helped my husband more than me. Would you address my second question?

    • Kay Bruner

      I think those are all questions that depend upon the individual person. I’m sure sex outside of marriage can seem better than married sex. I’m sure sex outside of marriage can seem worse than married sex.

      The real issue is NOT about the sex act itself. The real issue is that sex should and can be a reflection of the intimacy of the marriage. And if the marriage is emotionally nourishing to both partners, if the marriage is the place where both partners feel most loved and accepted, then the sexual relationship will most likely reflect that.

      The truth is, though, that building emotional intimacy is a task that many people don’t want to undertake. It’s easier to shove all the blame onto sex: who had it when, where, with whom. And it’s easier to hope that having good sex will fix all the problems. (Spoiler alert: it won’t.)

      If you want to have great sex, have a great relationship.

      Good news: Dr. John Gottman has done all the research, and there’s a great book called The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work which I highly, highly recommend.

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