Pornography is one of the largest issues that has emerged from the information age. One used to have to go to an adult store to purchase it; now one can view it on his/her smartphone at anyplace, anywhere, anytime. Churches need to be equipped to fight this new drug. While there are many sermons on pornography, the actions taken to extinguish it are futile or none at all. If you are struggling with pornography, you understand that it is extremely difficult to overcome it regardless of how hard you try. You may want help but you do not know how to go about it. Here are some steps that I have taken in my struggle with pornography that have helped me overcome this addiction.
Do not hide your fight.
Satan wants you to be isolated from God and from others. He masquerades porn as pleasure but afterward it leaves you ashamed, lonely, and empty. When you are addicted to porn, the last thing you feel like doing is telling someone else. But this is exactly what you must do. James writes, “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed” (5:16). It is lamentable that the church has deemphasized confessing sins. Perhaps church leaders want to make the church appear more holy, and that it is full of good people and no problems exist. They fear showing that the church is also full of recovering sinners. I exhort all to take off the mask and reveal their sins. The truth is what sets us free (John 8:32)—not just showing off our good side. Taking off the mask of hypocrisy includes the ministers and elders who struggle with sin. This takes courage but ultimately it is the first step toward recovering.
Do not fight alone.
Because of the shame that you have and the awkwardness of the situation, it is easy to not bring it up and talk about it with others, especially when you need it the most. However, it is imperative that you have someone to keep you accountable. This can even be another person who also struggles with porn addiction. It is important to have daily contact whether it be a phone call or a text message or a meeting. We need to swallow our pride and let others help bear our burdens (Galatians 6:1-2).
Take extreme measures when necessary.
Jesus said in his sermon on the mount, “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell” (Matthew 5:29). While this is a hyperbolic statement, the principal is, “Do whatever you have to do to stop sinning.” One of my friends who struggles with pornography addiction destroyed his phone and made his friends put a filter on his computer. You might need to do the same. Depending on how deep you are into your addiction, you may need to see a counselor or seek treatment. Do not be afraid to take radical action when purging sin from your life; it will be worth it.
Porn is just a cheap substitute. The reason I used to be addicted to porn was because I was lonely, tired, and stressed. I used porn as something to fill me up even though it left me feeling empty. I knew that I needed to stop watching porn, but I also had to realize that I needed to give my life fully to God. God is He Who “fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:23) and will leave us satisfied. The final key to overcoming this addiction is to strive toward God and seek Him above all else through prayer, Bible study, and the church.