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Defeat Lust & Pornography 6 minute read

All You Need for Quitting Porn (And for Everything Else)

Last Updated: February 13, 2024

What do you need to quit porn? 2 Peter 1:3 says “[God’s] divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness.” That’s a verse that makes me pause for a minute, especially at times when I feel overwhelmed, discouraged, or frustrated.

Everything I need.

Wow. Everything is a lot. And it certainly includes everything we need to overcome lust, quit pornography, and defeat other deep-rooted temptations.

Two Mistakes

I see Christians often make two mistakes when interpreting this verse.

The first mistake is, while believing that God has provided for their needs, they take too narrow a view of God’s provision. They assume that God will give them more willpower to overcome temptation. In the case of struggles with lust and pornography, this often transforms into “I just need to try harder.” The thinking goes like this:

If God has given me everything I need, and I’m still struggling, that means I’m just not taking this seriously enough. I just need to pray more, read my Bible more, commit to serving more in Church, and then these struggles will go away.

Now, there’s a good bit of truth mixed in with these thoughts—as Christians, we can always pray more, deepen our study of the Scriptures, and look for new ways to carry out God’s call in our lives. But do you realize what’s happened here? It subtly takes the power to overcome sin into our own hands. It is about what we do rather than what God does through us.

I’ve seen this countless times when it comes to Christians struggling with porn. And it often leads to the second mistake: doubting that the promise is really true:

I already tried praying and reading my Bible. It doesn’t work. This addiction is too strong—I need some other technique or insight beyond what God has revealed in Scripture.

I don’t mean to minimize the struggle here—I know many believers are absolutely heartbroken over their struggle with sin. They pray and read their Bibles with sincerity. But too often they’re missing the point. Prayer and scripture show us God’s revealed wisdom—his divine power—that gives us what we need for life and godliness.

How to Use Divine Power

If divine power has granted us everything we need for life and godliness, how can we take hold of it? The surrounding verses in 2 Peter chapter 1 give more insight into what this means, particularly for a Christian seeking divine power to overcome struggles with pornography.

Recognize we don’t have the power in ourselves.

This verse should, in itself, tell us that “just try harder” is futile. The power is divine. That means “of God.” When confronted with the power of our sin, we should realize that we are weak and helpless to overcome it on our own. We need God’s divine power. And if we’re going to make use of it, we must understand it’s not something we can conjure up in ourselves.

The promise of this verse should never motivate us to look within ourselves to find hidden strength—rather we should lift up our eyes to the God who promises to help us in our weakness.

We need Jesus. The power comes from him. But this doesn’t mean our struggles are just “Jesus and me.”

Trust God’s Word for answers.

Peter’s promise also means that the Bible contains the knowledge we need. Do you really believe that God’s Word has the answers to life’s biggest questions? In 2 Peter chapter 1 emphasizes the life-altering truth of the Gospel message. Peter and the other apostles experienced Jesus in person and were divinely appointed to tell us about it.

We can be confident, not only is the message true, but it’s also sufficient for life and godliness. God made sure that we would receive the message in full, and have everything we need. Throughout 2 Peter, the apostle encourages believers to grab hold of God’s Word and believe it, especially in the face of difficulty. If we do that, we’ll be less likely to fall for slick-sounding advice. In the next chapter, Peter warns about false teachers and would-be gurus who peddle lies for a living.

But we should remember: looking to God’s Word means we have to do what it says (James 1:22).

Look to other Christians for encouragement.

One key idea in 2 Peter is the need for encouragement from other believers. In chapter 3 verse 1 he says it’s the whole reason he’s writing, ” I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder.” In Chapter 1, Peter anticipates that he will die soon, but he wants to make sure that his reminders of the truth stick with them. The need for encouragement from other believers is fundamental to the Christian walk.

You cannot overlook this point in the battle against pornography: there are no solo followers of Jesus. We need one another. This is the fundamental idea of biblical accountability.

This may include seeking professional help as well, especially if you are addicted to pornography. Too many Christians who would benefit from qualified counseling reject it, insisting that they only need Jesus. This is a mistake! Jesus supplies every need, yes, but he often uses people with special gifts to do this. You can find a Christian counselor or sex addiction therapist who can help guide you to the root of your addiction.

Accepting divine help means accepting help from the people God uses as his instruments.

Let God’s Word reveal your heart.

Too often, when we ask questions like “How can I be free from sin?” what we really mean is, “How can I get free from the effects of this sin without drastically changing my life in any other way?” These are very different questions. And we need God’s Word to cut through our hearts to show our true motives and desires.

I’ll give an example. Remember the story of the Rich Young Ruler (Mark 10:17-27)? He asked Jesus what he needed to do to get to heaven. But there were things about his life that the Rich Young Ruler was not willing to change. Jesus showed the man’s heart by instructing him to “sell all you have and give the money to the poor.” This revealed the young man’s heart—he wanted to be wealthy more than he wanted to be a follower of Jesus. He didn’t want to stop being the Rich Young Ruler.  

When we ask Jesus, “What must I do to be free from pornography,” are we willing to let God’s Word enter our hearts and reveal our hidden motives? Many Christians desire to overcome porn but don’t want to lose face by admitting they have a problem. They may resist asking someone to hold them accountable or avoid getting counseling to help address their heart issues.

What if God’s answer is, “Stop pretending you have it all together and ask someone to help you?” What will you do?

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