Overcoming Pornography Addiction

I am continually shocked to discover that many people who read and study the bible, believe in the existence of the devil and claim to be long-time Christians; fail to strategize and develop plans for standing firm against the enemy.

We are in a spiritual war, and a battle strategy is essential for obtaining victory. This is also supported by Paul’s writings to the churches particularly to the Church in the City of Ephesus, as indicated in Ephesians 6:10-20 with regard to The Armor of God.

I have, by the grace of God, been delivered from an addiction to pornography (porn) that spanned more than 30 years. I didn’t have a strategy, not to mention the desire, to overcome my addiction for the majority of this time. Sadly, most of the years that I was in my addiction I did not want to be free from it. The reasons for this were many, but I believe that it was primarily because I was not yet a Christian. I was “in the world” and “of the world.” I did not want to hear or understand the truth. I wanted to live in darkness.

John 3:20-21 says, “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

It wasn’t until I was saved, that the Holy Spirit convicted me that my behavior was sinful and needed to be stopped. This, however, also took some time as I have indicated in some of my previous columns. Once I came into the light I realized that along with putting on the armor of God, I needed to develop both short and long-term strategies in order to stand firm against the enemy.

My short-term strategy to overcome porn was crucial, somewhat embarrassing and essential for being able to sand firm against the devil’s schemes. It was embarrassing because it prohibited me from doing things that a normal healthy Christian middle-aged married man should be able to do. My short-term strategy included the following major components:

1. Daily reading of God’s word.

2. Daily prayer and communion with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

3. Fellowship with other believers.

4. Establishing prayer warriors.

5. Establishing accountability partners.

6. Ceasing to place myself in situations that would allow me to be led into temptation (this is the embarrassing part).

7. Seeking to help other people.

Items No. 1 thru No. 4 are somewhat self-explanatory. Item No. 5 probably requires some explanation. Accountability partners, as I used them, are people that I had an agreement with to assist me in overcoming my pornography addiction. These people agreed to be available to me any time of day or night. They provided encouragement and support during times of weakness or temptation. In short, their primary function and role was to assist me in resisting temptation and to help prevent the sin from happening.

The emphasis of their role was on prevention. I also gave them permission to ask me probing questions about my behavior and about my abstinence from porn, which helped to keep me focused on pleasing Christ. Since they were drafted to serve in a preventive capacity, they needed this authority to perform their role. They were vital in providing the first line of defense in the heat of battle. I agreed to confess subsequent acts of sin to them, so that they would have an understanding of how I was progressing. I used men of God, whom I trusted and respected, for the majority of my accountability partners. An elder where I attend church was at the top of the list. My wife also served as one of my key accountability partners. It worked for us and helped to strengthen our relationship in the long run. This, however, may not be a wise choice for others (I will address this in a future column).

Now, here’s the embarrassing part (Item No. 6). I decided that I was not allowed to be alone in my own house. Yep, that’s embarrassing. Here I was in my forties and I wouldn’t, no I couldn’t, let myself be home alone (I’ll spare you the movie analogies). Until I was absolutely sure that I could resist the temptations of the evil one, with my computer calling out to me, I would not permit myself to be home alone. As I gained strength, through the Holy Spirit, and became sure that I was able to resist my own evil desires and the devil’s temptations; I then allowed myself to be at home alone. In my view, this had to be a carefully planned and a well executed step-by-step battle plan.

The next step was that I would not allow myself to use the computer unless my wife was at home. I had to maintain this strategy for some time, making sure I was strong enough to handle the situation. Some times when I was home alone knowing that porn was just a few mouse clicks away, I had to leave the house. Anytime I wasn’t sure if I could handle the situation, or if I felt unstable in my ability to handle the temptation; I FLED!

Now, I am able to be home alone and use my computer most of the time without a problem. I have over time learned to use the power of the Holy Spirit, to put on the full armor of God and to stand firm against the enemy – Praise God! However, part of my long-term strategy is to remember the basics. Therefore, if I ever have times when Satan tempts me with porn to the point that I have to get up and leave my house in order to resist the temptation, I will. That’s OK! It’s better for me to leave my house and not sin, than to stay in my house and sin. Remember; eliminating such a powerful sin requires a radical change (Jesus said, “If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to loose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell” Matthew 5:29.).

In each case that I have pleased God by resisting the temptations put before me, I have been blessed beyond my expectations. Our God is an awesome God!