What follows are words of advice which I gave today to a young father and husband who is struggling with pornography.
Good morning, little brother
Pornography is the plague of this generation. Because of the way it stimulates our bodies and brains it is literally a drug-inducing addiction, an addiction which is destroying the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world, both old and young, both men and women. I personally believe this is truly demonic, and as such is a case for true spiritual warfare. We need to implement the orientations of James 4.
First, subject yourself to God. We do this by confessing our sin–agreeing with God that looking at porn violates both love and holiness, confessing that we are unable in ourselves to control our passions, and calling to Him to help us.
Second, resist the devil. Even though the Holy Spirit is permanently abiding in our spirit, but our bodies and souls (mind, emotion and will) can be oppressed and controlled by our spiritual enemies. Our battle is not with flesh and blood–the evil men who abuse women to reap billions per year–but our spiritual enemies in heaven and on earth (Ephesians 6.10ff).
When Jesus and Paul dealt with the demons, they didn’t just pray. They spoke directly to them. Declare to them with your voice, “Spirit of pornography and fornication, the Lord rebuke you! In the name of Jesus Christ and through the power of His blood, go wherever He would send you, but you are not welcome in my life! Go away and never come back! (Smeagol wasn’t that far off!)
Third, sanctify your house. When we have taken steps one and two, we are now the “empty and clean” houses of Jesus’ parable in Matthew 12.43 and Luke 11.24. Now we need to fill the house. “Lord, right now I consecrate my sexuality, in body and soul, to you. I offer myself to you as a living sacrifice. Fill me with your Holy Spirit, and take control of my life.
Fourth, be ready. Sin always breeds patterns. The man who only looks at porn when his wife is away. When he is at work. When he is alone on the weekends. You know when your normal moment of temptation will hit, so be ready! Prepare yourself mentally for those moments, BEFORE the temptation comes! Consider what our Apostle wrote in Romans 6.12-14:
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace.
As hard as it may seem, according to these verses, sin only dominates a man’s life because he lets it! We are like abused women who let men beat them bloody, and then refuse to dial 911! My personal vice isn’t porn, but anger and the evil, hateful, even murderous thoughts which accompany it. I take Romans 6.12-14 very literally. At the beginning of each day, I literally pray, “God, take control of my thoughts, my mouth, my tongue, my heart, my hands and my feet. Take control of my emotions. I give them to you!” And God is faithful!
The Bible says if we ask anything according to God’s will, He hears us! And this prayer captures the heart of God’s will for us–that He be the Lord of our minds and bodies. He will hear this prayer!
Finally, find an older, more godly man who would be willing to walk with you through the recovery. This is one of the keys to any twelve step program–we all need a mentor (sponsor). We all need a more mature friend with whom we can share are ugliest moments, without fear and with total confidentiality. Paul had this in mind in Galatians 6.1-2:
Brothers, even if a man is caught *in any trespass*, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ.
AA calls such a person a sponsor, Jesus called this making disciples. We need a man who will call us once a week to ask us first, how did our week go, and then, “Did you just lie to me about anything you said?” A person who will never give up on us even when we fall or fail.
Porn is like alcohol, and all it takes is one drink to set us back on our heels. But by activating the power of God’s grace and His Holy Spirit, we can be more than conquerors!
*The young man in the picture, Briggs Madsen was thrown during bull riding during the Utah State High School Rodeo Finals in Heber on Wednesday, May 31, 2017. He was was severely hurt, and told he would never ride again. But through determination and faith, he refuses to quit. As such, he captures the courage and endurance needed to overcome the addictions in our lives. Photograph by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News