Sam struggles with pornography on a weekly basis. Every time he looks at pornography he feels guilt and shame. Sam has read the books and articles on how to fight pornography but still thinks, “Help, I’m addicted to pornography and don’t know what to do!” There are many people like Sam out there. In this article, my purpose is to help the many “Sams” out there to understand five critical truths that will help them (and you) to grow in the grace of God.
Over the course of two Sundays in 2005, the Lord convicted me of my addiction to pornography. In the middle of the second Sunday gathering in 2005, I remember praying, “Lord help me to be the man you want me to be.” About six months after praying this prayer, I met my wife of nine years.
Recovering from a porn addiction is hard for many people. It requires that one’s mind be renewed by the Word of God, the help of godly accountability, and often the help of a professional Christian counselor. While these are all powerful tools that you should seek out, what I want to highlight is a few other ways you personally can take ownership of your own growth in Christ.
Get into the Bible
If you’ve never read through the Bible, I encourage you to start with the Gospel of John. Read slowly and digest it. Find others to go through the Bible with you. Share what you’re learning as you read. If you like to write articles, consider writing your way through a book of the Bible, sharing any insights or thoughts you might have as you go through it. Some people find it easier to listen to the Bible on their smartphones through apps like YouVersion. I like to do this in addition to reading a physical Bible. The point here is to get into the habit of regularly reading (or listening to) the Bible. The Bible is authoritative for faith and practice. This means not only reading the Word daily, but being fed by it and submitting to what it says.
Get in a Bible Believing Local Church
The Christian life is not to be lived in isolation, but in community with other Christians. Christians are taught over fifty times in the New Testament to “one another” (love one another, pray for one another, etc.) each other in the context of the local church. These fifty-one another statements help church members to know how to treat one another.
Find Godly Friends
If you are a guy, find an older seasoned man at your local church who is willing to come alongside you and help you grow. If you are a woman, find an older seasoned woman. Seasoned men and women, we come to you for your wisdom and guidance. The challenges we face are very real, and we need your help to walk with God.
Confess Your Sin
When you struggle with any habitual sin, especially with a sexual sin, you must confess your sin to God, repent, and seek to walk by His grace once again. Rather than continuing in your sin, bring it out into the light. Your local church and godly friends are vital to recovery.
If after a short time you struggle and relapse, then confess, repent, and seek to walk by His grace once again. Each time you relapse, I encourage you to tell your accountability team. This will be hard, but it will also help you to learn the place and importance of community.
Celebrate Any Victory
You’ve made some progress by God’s grace. If you struggle one day and then have a day of victory the next, celebrate! If you haven’t struggled for a week, then praise the Lord for that as well. Few issues are as hard to overcome as an addiction to pornography. This is why you need to be in community with other Christians and be honest with them about your struggles and victories.
If you struggle with a porn addiction, please stop hiding and come out into the light. I cannot tell you how many e-mails and conversations I have had with people over the years about this issue. Someone who struggles often displays excessive feelings of guilt and shame. The Gospel calls us out of a world filled with guilt and shame by understanding Jesus took our guilt, shame, and sin upon Himself at the cross. He offers both forgiveness of sins through His shed blood and new life through the resurrection of Christ. I encourage you to look to Christ. He is all you need. He is sufficient and able to set you free.
All around you are people like Sam who need the hope of the Gospel. They are living in a world of perpetual guilt and shame. If you are like Sam today, I encourage you to come to Jesus to be filled and satisfied by the bread of life in Jesus Christ. Won’t you come taste and see that the Lord is good and drink from the well of everlasting life in Jesus? Come and be satisfied you who hunger and you who thirst, come drink from the living well of water in Jesus Christ.
Won’t you come to Him whose love you really need? Won’t you come and be filled and satisfied by the bread of life in Jesus Christ? Won’t you come taste and see that the Lord is good and drink from the well of everlasting life in Jesus? Come and be satisfied you who hunger and you who thirst, come drink from the living well of water in Jesus Christ.
This article first appeared in the July 2016 issue of Theology for Life. To download this issue please click here.