Pornography is an epidemic in our culture, and it’s affecting everyone.
And while it’s a subject that impacts so many people, it is rarely talked about in our culture.
Why is that?
I think it’s because there are so many people who feel hopeless about this issue. I’ve sat with countless men who have lived their entire lives convinced that they will always struggle with this, and that the best they can hope for is managing it to some degree.
The problem with any sin, especially this one, is that you can’t manage it. If we were capable of managing it, it wouldn’t be an issue.
Truthfully, that’s how I lived much of my life. I went from day-to-day, week-to-week, trying to manage something that was stronger, bigger, and more persistent than me.
No wonder so many people feel hopeless.
The problem with thinking that way, is that it fails to realize that Jesus died to save us FROM all sin, and FOR freedom from it.
Galatians 5:1 says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set your free.”
In other words Jesus is the only one stronger, bigger, and more persistent than sin. He destroyed sin’s power once and for all on the cross. And he did it, not so we could try and manage it again, but so that we could be free from it.
The first time that really sunk in, it changed my life. So my hope is not that I can beat porn. My hope is that Jesus beat pornography and every other sin in this world so I could be fully free.
But just knowing something is true, doesn’t transform us until we change our actions. Here’s 3 things I did to help me find freedom that lasts:
1) I Stopped Trying Harder
I prayed the prayer “God, this is the last time I’ll do this” more times than I can count. I got up so many mornings thinking that this day would be different, only to fall again. Sometimes, I could get on a streak of good days, but that also never really lasted.
Then one day, I did something radically different. I learned what it meant to really surrender, and I surrendered big time.
Technology has made porn more accessible to our culture than ever before. So, I gave up some control.
At one point, I actually gave up my iPhone completely (which is a big deal to me as an Apple enthusiast).
It seemed like a radical step, but radical freedom requires radical surrender.
Today, I have an iPhone again, but I don’t have open internet access. Why?
Because the freedom I have today, isn’t worth me trying harder to do something that never worked for me before.
I’m a lot happier with freedom and 50 trusted websites, than I am with 8 billion websites that can cause major problems for me.
It wasn’t till I learned what surrender meant, that I found Christ’s power starting to give me freedom.
2) I Took God Up On His Offer
I followed Jesus for my whole life. My Dad was a pastor during my elementary years. My dad would give me scripture memory papers when I was young so I could know as much scripture as possible.
Knowing Scripture, and living out the truth of Scripture are two very different things.
I knew the verse in 2 Corinthians 5:17 where Paul says “You are a new creation. The old is gone and the new has come.”
But I always felt like the same old person, and thought that verse must not really apply to me. Or, if it did, it didn’t quite work.
When I got into a Pure Desire group, and started processing why I struggled so much, I realized how much this issue had affected my mind.
So I gave it everything I had. I told God that I would learn what it meant to live out of who He said I was, and not listen to the voices of shame that told me there was something wrong with me.
I took God up on his offer - that I was a new creation, that I had the mind of Christ, that his grace is sufficient for me, and a hundred other promises - and God’s Word was good.
I stopped believing the shame lies. I started believing the gospel truth. And sure enough, Christ’s power continued to give me freedom.
3) I Found Some People Who Wouldn’t Judge Me
This might be one of the most important steps of all. Why?
Because this step is the evidence that I stopped trying harder, and I took God up on his offer!
The reason I resisted fully telling my story to others is because I thought they would judge me, or at least look down on me. The truth is, there are many people who understand what it’s like to struggle and are willing to walk with us to find freedom.
The biggest evidence of someone trying harder is when they try to beat it alone with just them and God.
Secondly, God says that if we confess our sins to him, we are forgiven (1 John 1). But he also says that if we confess our sins to someone else, we are healed (James 5).
I limited my ability to heal when I didn’t allow others to be part of the process.
So the first time I sat down in a Pure Desire group, I had never felt such grace and acceptance from people in my life.
Suddenly, I began to feel accepted by them, even at my worst. And that helped me feel accepted by God as well. That’s such a freeing feeling.
I still talk to some of those guys today - and we all agree on this one big thing: The freedom we have today, is worth it, and we’re not looking back.
So ask yourself this: What would I give, if it meant that I could have freedom from this struggle with pornography?
For me, I jumped "all in" to a pure desire group for a season, and today I’m living out of the freedom that comes from God’s power at work in me.
Have you been trying harder, resisting God’s power, or trying it all alone?
There’s a place for you. Come and find the same freedom I found.