3 Things You Must Do To Quit Porn In 2018

 

 

quit porn

 

The most urgent threat to the institution of marriage in our world today is pornography. In epidemic-like proportions it’s destroying marriages, relationships, and joy. There is no shortage of statics on the vast amount of Christians that struggle with pornography; I suggest reading here and here if you would like more information. Yet, despite the stats, for many the uphill climb to overcome the addiction seems insurmountable. After years of trying and failing, the weary Christian may wonder if the chains of sexual addiction will ever be broken.

The start of new year has a way of helping almost everyone clear their mind and reset. 2018 doesn’t have to be another year of failure; for those in Christ there is always hope! In this post, I aim to offer a basic platform for which anyone addicted to pornography can begin killing their porn habit for good. Ongoing work will be required beyond reading this blog. The war for sexual purity is not for the faint of heart. I am reminded of John Owen’s famous quote from The Mortification of Sin, “Be killing sin or it will be killing you.”

Are you ready to quit porn for good?

 

1) Have Wide Open Doors of Confession

It might not surprise you that the largest doors in the world are those located inside the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA. These are the doors that open when NASA wants to move their space shuttle outside. At 456 feet high and taking 45 minutes to completely open, they are enormous. That’s three times the height of Niagara Falls! Once open, someone standing outside could look inside from almost any vantage point; the entirety of the room is exposed and visible with nothing to hide.

Anyone wishing to overcome pornography addictions must first be willing to open their bay doors to their secret lives and internet habits. Sexual addictions almost always develop in private. Shame, a natural response to sin, drives many away from bringing their sexual sin into the light of biblical community.  Once hidden, the addiction grows and festers under the surface like weed. If you are ever going to have any hope of quitting porn you must find at least one person (preferably 3-5) you are completely (NASA door size) wide open with. I recommend starting with an elder or spiritual leader at your church. Let them know about your history, exposure, and habits. Appeal to them to pray for you and make them aware of your desire for change and repentance. The sin in darkness hates the light, so make sure you don’t leave your sin anywhere to hide; expose it all. If you confess 99% but continue to hide something, the 1% will eventually pull back into the darkness.

For the married, you must confess your sexual sins to your spouse; this is not an option. At the heart of pornography is the sin of adultery. Make no mistake about it, this is serious. Not only have you sinned against the Lord, but you have sinned against your spouse. You owe them a confession and repentance.While your spouse may not be the first person you tell, you must tell them soon. If you don’t, there is an extremely high chance you will fall into old habits and find new ways to hide your addiction from them.  I also advise getting your elders and church leaders involved early.  While not without hope, there is likely going to be some need for spiritual guidance and counseling – both are gifts from the Lord. There is always hope within Jesus.

Confession is the first step to quitting porn for good.

 

2) Find Satisfaction in Something Better

Once exposed, it’s necessary for you to begin to replace that habitual void with something else. Or, I should say, someone else – Jesus.  Every fiber of your being is designed to worship and glorify God. Only in Him will you ever find complete satisfaction. In moments of temptation and lustful desire, cling to Jesus and His gospel. While facing times of intense temptation, its common for us to listen to our hearts and minds for guidance – don’t do it.  Our wicked sin-soaked hearts are unreliable in such a battle. You need to stop listening to yourself and start preaching the gospel.

In His book Spiritual Depression, The famous English pastor Martin Lloyd Jones encouraged believers who suffer with depression to not listen to themselves, but preach to themselves. The same tactic works well in moments of intense temptation. I recommend audibly preaching the gospel to yourself – out loud even. Preach to yourself (as you would a friend in need) of who you are in Jesus, what He has done for you, and what the inheritance of all the saints is. Reciting scripture works well too! Replacing temptation with audible meditations on the satisfying love of Jesus is a powerful way to say “No” to the lusts of the body.

I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes from pastor John Piper on the topic. He writes, “if the stakes are high enough, you will have all the self-control you need to conquer any sexual temptation.” Soaking yourself in the word and preaching the gospel daily is a poignant reminder of the eternal nature of your struggle. There is not even one idle click, image, or video that you will not have to give an account for one day. Remind yourself of this and the wages of sin.

Outside of moments of temptation, involve yourself heavily in study and prayer. Build more productive habits and begin removing sources of temptation and distraction. This may be difficult for many to hear, but Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are not worth cost of your soul. For many (I think most) taking time away from all social media platforms is needed. These offer endless distractions and quick taps to external temptations. If TV is a distraction, eliminate it for a time to focus your energy on finding satisfaction in the glory of Jesus.

Lastly, you might consider fasting as another way to spiritually reconnect with Jesus. This is a powerful technique and tool God gives to remind us of our dependency on Him. Christians have used it for centuries to deepen their spirituality. Richard Foster has a very practical and usable chapter on fasting in his book Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth. If you are new to it, this is a quick read that will assist you in understanding the practice and its benefits.

 

3) Establish Long-Term Accountability

If you have made it this far in the blog post, then I will assume you are serious about quitting porn for good this year. I will also assume that you want to quit porn indefinitely. For this to happen, you will need to be very careful and pointed in your war on lust; it is a lifelong battle. It’s time to bring in an army to aid you. Look at every conceivable way you can that porn can get to you and put in a stop gap. Internet filters, weekly accountability meetings, deleting Netflix, etc. Carefully and prayerfully look for any weak spot where porn can sneak in. The enemy will seek to exploit any weakness in the armor – so cover them up if possible. If not possible, have people ask you about these areas regularly (if not daily for the first several months).

An objection I often hear to internet filters and like services is complaint of costs. First, most are affordable ($5-$15 a month). If you are unwilling to spend a little money each month to help protect your soul, you either need to drop internet/TV/etc. altogether and/or reevaluate your priorities. It’s also a good idea to consider foregoing movies and TV shows that depict women/men in revealing outfits (not to mention, films/TV with sex and nudity). This will be hard to do – because it is literally everywhere. But, the more effort you put into building fences around you, the more likely you will be to not slip up.

Don’t make allowances or let you talk yourself out of it. Your heart will try and convince you something is OK, when its not. If you are truly unsure about something, I recommend removing it and praying about bringing it back. Try and determine if you really need it. If not, cast it aside. You might be surprised at how many things you can live without and still find joy in life. Christian, know that continued victory over pornography will require ongoing, long-term accountability. Possibly for years and years. That’s OK! It doesn’t mean you’re weak. We were all made to fight sin in the context of community. Use what the Lord has given you to declare war on pornography in your life.

In closing, I know these three steps are not necessarily easy, but, they are doable when you die to yourself. You will never “white-knuckle” your way out pornographic addiction. It takes confession, counseling, repentance, faith, and life-long accountability to defeat the war on lust. But, rooted in Jesus, it can be done. I pray that 2018 is the year you finally quit porn for good.

Below are a few links to resources that I recommend (a few I personally use) to help fight the war on lust and pornography. Do you have some additional resources and links to help those who wish to quit porn for good? Please share them below!

Covenant Eyes (Internet Filter)

 X3Watch (Internet Filter)

 VidAngel (Movie and TV Filter)

 Sexual Detox by Tim Challies (Book)

Finally Free by Heath Lambert (Book)

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  • BKB

    Here’s another excellent resource for those who want to stop their porn habit: The book Power Over Pornography. Its premise is that the temptations and triggers for porn use are unavoidable but can be addressed and dealt with in a healthy way. Its formula for success works. This book will change your life.

    • Jack Lee

      Thank you for sharing this resource!

  • Denes House

    Dr. Ted Roberts put together a two-stage course to combat pornography. The first stage is a group video-based series called “The Conquer Series,” and the follow-up material is a 30+ week group experience called “The Seven Pillars of Sexual Freedom.” Both rely on the premises that we will only heal in community, that porn alters the brain and so has to be at least partly addressed at the neurophysical level, and that we use porn as a way to self-medicate away feelings that we don’t know how to handle otherwise. Learning to deal with those feelings in a healthy way is important to long-term freedom. These courses are highly recommended.

    • Jack Lee

      Thank you for sharing!

  • Steven

    You have been instructed that righteousness is not in the letter of the law. Why? The letter is war and violates the law of LIBERTY and FAITH, the LAW of TRUTH. TRUTH is to honor in ALL beings individual freewill sovereignty imposing neither debt or obligation one to another. War violates TRUTH and reduces it to an oath of honesty wherein there is no TRUTH. Be rooted in the law of LIBERTY and FAITH, TRUTH. TRUTH sets the environment of safety for all to be Free to evolve and grow in DIGNITY as self-governing beings, MERCY (Isaiah 16:5). The power of self-government is the might of COMMUNICATION and strength of SELF-EXAMINATION, mutual consent.❤