Pornography can feel like a python squeezing the life out of you. I know first hand, I was caught in the trap for years. The struggle can feel like a vicious cycle that pulls you deeper into hurt and isolation. We need lifelines, rescue ropes, and voices of strength that push us to endure and fight for our freedom. Advice while struggling with sin can be well intentioned but poorly executed. We can leave with condemnation, more rules, and less hope. This isn’t one of those times, this is a lifeline, a piece of advice that will help you. Let’s dive in!
Don’t believe the lie that you will struggle with this forever
The intensity of a struggle should never determine your hope. You could be struggling with sin for 2 years or 10, it doesn’t matter, our hope rests in Jesus came to set us free. Freedom is God’s standard and we should line up our perspective with His. God has paved a way for freedom and the first thing we do is believe it’s possible despite our experiences. As a man walking in freedom for over 7 years, I want you to know it’s very possible to live free.
Don’t hide it, talk to someone who isn’t struggling
Sunlight is the best disinfectant. It can be a terrifying to talk about your struggle but it’s a necessary step on the road to living completely free. Jesus breaks all our shame so that telling our struggle can be liberating. God has designed our lives to be healthiest when we’re in community. When we open ourselves up to healthy community we begin to receive their strength. Isolation is never the pathway to healing rather, community is essential to freedom.
Don’t live by rules but by your identity
Rules and plans can appear wise but they fail because they’re built around the assumption that our behavior is the problem. This is a revolutionary idea for many but your struggle with pornography isn’t the problem. It’s the fruit of the problem and the real issue is how you see yourself. Do you see yourself as loved by God? Do you see yourself as forgiven by God? Do you view your past as your past? When we give our life to Jesus, the Bible says we become a new creation. Our identity is no longer defined by what we do but what Jesus has done. We are not pure because we stick to a purity plan. We’re pure because Jesus has made us pure. This is the origin of healthy behavior. Proverbs says that “as a man thinks in his heart so he is.” How we view ourselves is crucial and Jesus gives us a new identity that will change our behavior. We’re not recovering, horrible sinners anymore. Jesus has transformed us into new people and we need to start living like it’s true.
Don’t be foolish, get some boundaries
Boundaries are tools that when used well promote health. Boundaries are not just a list of things you can do. Boundaries protect what you have said yes to in life. You can make boundaries that say “no computer after 10pm because I don’t want to look a porn” or you can make boundaries that say “I don’t look at my computer after 10pm because I value the purity God gave me.” Boundaries work best when they protect what you value not what your afraid of doing.
Get your needs met in healthy ways
We all have needs in life, for example we all need to feel loved. Now, if we don’t know how to meet that need in a healthy way we can fall into sin. Most men who fall into pornography have had a hard time finding love. Not love like a girlfriend but unconditional love that gives them worth and value outside of what they do. The need to feel loved is the need to know our worth. If you can find healthy ways to find your worth you will start beating pornography to the ground. An example would be to get worth from God and know how much He loves you.
God is good and he is for you
How we view God determines so much about our life. Once I discovered that God is good and wasn’t out to punish me then I leaned into Him. I stopped being afraid of Him and started to trust Him. This led me into living in His strength. I now could approach Him because I knew He loved me and was for me. He not only had the power to help me but he wanted to help me. This was crucial in my journey to living free from pornography. I no longer felt God was angry but that He loved me and was there for me.
Temptation doesn’t mean you’re broken inside
Temptation is real, Jesus dealt with it. Most of us however deal with it very different than Jesus. The moment we’re tempted we think it’s because we have a problem inside of us. The bible says Jesus was tempted in all ways but without sin. This is huge; temptation isn’t a sin. Temptation can lead to sin but it doesn’t start as sin. We have to remember that the enemy tempts us and we always have a way out of it. Does that mean all temptation doesn’t come from within? No, some temptation comes because we perpetuate it through sin and poor thinking. But not all temptation comes from within us as Jesus revealed with being tempted by satan.
Don’t believe the lie that because you’ve looked at pornography now you wont have good sex when your married
I have had so many questions and sometimes statements about sex in marriage after being addicted to pornography. The concern is that now you won’t be able to get the images out of your head or you’ll be triggered by it. I am here to tell you that it’s possible to have a great sex life in marriage and not let any of your past affect you. Does it mean the enemy doesn’t try? No, he does try but his success is determined by me and I don’t let him win. God loves sex and He designed it for marriage, so you have more support than you think.
Chris Cruz is currently a full time Pastor at Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM) in Redding, CA. It’s a school of over 1800 students that’s dedicated to equipping revivalists to pursue worldwide transformation in their God given sphere of influence. Along with BSSM, He speaks at Bethel Redding on Friday nights and helps lead Tribe Young Adults.