Saying “No” to Porn

DNA-don't be afraidWe started off The Porn Posts, asking, “What does the porn say?” We wrap up this series with what we need to say to porn.

It’s real simple.

In fact it’s just one word: “No.”

Are you ready to say, “No,” to porn?

Last week we suggested a couple key life changes which had to do with the spiritual and emotional pieces of this struggle. This week we’re addressing the brain and body.

Retrain Your Brain

The power of suggestion is potent. It’s one of the things that makes porn so pernicious. You’re standing at the checkout counter, staring at the magazine rack and your mind goes a-wandering down a well worn path.

Neuroscience explains how porn warps our brains, but it also explains how our brains can be retrained, to form new pathways. And, as this passage from Romans makes clear, there’s a direct connection between our thought life and subsequent actions.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. – (Romans 12:1-2)

The temptation is to attempt to simply suppress sinful thoughts, but suppression often leads to obsession. Not a great solution. In fact, you may have already tried it.

Instead, the Bible tells us to do a couple of things that are at once far more difficult, yet far more effectual. It tells us to take every thought captive (2 Cor 10:3-6) and then, knowing nature (and our brain) abhors a vacuum, it tells us to fill our mind with other thoughts (Phil 4:4-8).

In addition to meditating on the above passages, I encourage you and your fellow freedom fighters to check out this post in The Art of Manliness: hacking the habit loop. I also highly recommend the first 8-lesson book in our Beyond Sex & Salvation study guide series, as the three lessons on learning to discern will aid you in your quest for victory.

Plus here’s some questions to tackle:

  1. What is one habit I can develop to renew my mind on a regular basis?
  2. What is a new alternative action I can take whenever I’m tempted to look at porn?
  3. What would it look like to take sexually immoral thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ?
  4. What’s driving my sex drive? Why do I find porn so captivating? What other thoughts could take my mind captive in place of porn?

Make your eye-gouging decisions

“Everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Right after this severe judgment, Jesus makes an even more astounding declaration: “If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.”
– Matthew 5:27-30 (ESV)

Of course, Jesus is not recommending self mutilation, but He uses hyperbole to make this point: DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO AVOID SEXUAL SIN!

So what would it take, beyond actually gouging out your eyes, to keep away from porn? For some, the right internet filter or accountability software does the trick. Others have to downgrade to a flip phone and disconnect the cable and internet.

Still others tell me they could never make a sacrifice like that. They need their smart phone to run their life. (Perhaps that’s part of their problem.) They need the internet for their work. (Maybe they need to change jobs.)

I’m not trying to belittle these sacrifices that’s why they’re called eye-gouging decisions but remember, we’re talking death here! Some who thought they couldn’t live without their smart phone or leave their dream job wind up losing both and MORE! Some lose their home (whether it’s repossessed by the bank or they’re kicked out by their family). Some wind up moving into a recovery facility just like the kind for drug rehab. And you won’t have a smart phone or internet there.

Better to make the necessary eye-gouging decisions now, with the counsel of a couple trusted friends, than wait for the point where tough decisions start being made for you. And keep in mind, eye-gouging decisions don’t have to be permanent. You might be able to handle a smart phone and the internet and cable again in the future after you’ve successfully disrupted deeply ingrained habits. The question remains: can you handle them now?

So at the next gathering of your purity posse, pose and ponder these questions:

  1. What would it take to make it impossible for me to wind up in a place of temptation?
  2. Would sacrifices today would be worth a future of freedom ten years from now? Twenty years from now? Forty?
  3. What do I have to lose if I don’t make the hard choices now necessary to keep from continuing to fall into sin?
  4. How badly do I really want freedom?

 

The danger of porn is real, but so is the reality of Christ’s power over sin.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.2 Peter 1:3-4 (ESV)

DNA: It’s What’s For Dating

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The LoveEd study guide series, Beyond Sex & Salvation, will empower you to prepare for relational success when it counts: BEFORE YOU FALL IN LOVE! It’s NOT for couples, but for any wise individual who thinks they might want to get married sometime before they die. Check out the first two 8-lesson study guides in our store. You can walk through it on your own, but it’s more fun with friends, so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study. Even better?  And ask a married couple you respect to lead it!

Categories: PORN, The Porn Posts