How to Stop Looking at Porn
There is a common denominator present in failing struggles against pornography. It is trying to fight against this sin with your will. This is a battle plan built on a faulty foundation – you. Your will is what got you here in the first place. It is not going to go against itself and somehow come out with a win. Battling you with more of you usually ends up in a painful draw. You damage yourself fighting yourself with no progress against the actual problem. It is like beating yourself up to cure yourself of the flu. It does nothing to cure the affliction and just makes you feel worse.
You don’t need willpower to fight pornography. You need Jesus’ power. This is expressed in forgiveness, mercy, and love, not condemnation. This is how the battle with pornography and sin, in general, is really won if you understand the freedom and power this conveys.
The Gospel is For Every Day
It is just so easy to lose track of the Gospel when dealing with pornography. It involves very sensitive topics in sex and sexuality. It is such a personal and embarrassing struggle. It is also an evil that is open and obvious. Most Christians understand it is something that defiles everyone it touches. Pornography is clearly bad, does terrible things to everyone involved, and involves sensitive issues. The result is isolated Christians fight a one man or woman battle against pornography. The main weapon used to fight off this enemy is willpower. The Old Testament showed the futility of man’s wil iagainst sin. Israel tries its best to live up to God’s call on the Nation. It fails every time in the end.
The rules and regulations of the Mosiac Law are not there to show how man can earn God’s approval. They are there to show how we all fail when we try to get to righteousness through our own effort. We can only be saved through grace. God’s work is important not ours.
We all desperately need the healing and power of God’s free gifts.
The Destructive Willpower Pattern
Those who repeatedly fail in the desire to break free of pornography often display a similar pattern. They trap themselves in a destructive cycle. It starts with sin followed by self-loathing at their own weakness. Satan comes in an whispers condemnations and hopelessness.
“How could you do such things? You will never escape, you pitiful wretch.” the enemy whispers.
After the initial pain and shame, then comes a dogged determination to stop usually with good intentions but bad methods. No help is sought from others as it is too shameful. No mercy and grave are embraced from God as the feeling is they are not deserved for these shameful actions. This is inevitably followed by more failure when willpower wears down. The self-reinforcing cycle of failure then repeats with each failure injuring the person more and more.
The fatal problem for the believer in this cycle is the power of the Gospel is left out entirely. They listen to the whispers of the enemy and believe God is not with them, they are unworthy, and need to redeem themselves to get back to Jesus. They subtly reject the heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and make themselves their own savior. This is the height of foolishness.
God’s mercy and grace are the only things that can break the vicious cycle of you. You may truly want to defeat sin in your life. Jesus has already defeated all sin once and for all.
How many men and women have doubted their salvation over shame related to pornography? “It is just not what Christians do!” they reason despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. It seems like it is a problem that is too shameful for Jesus to be involved in. Satan is happy whisper accusations in agreement.
Yet, this is exactly the sort of problem from which Jesus came to set you free. He did not come for those who are healthy. Jesus came for the sick. He openly embraced lepers, adulterers, thieves, and prostitutes. Jesus can handle whatever your sinful nature craves. He knows everything about you and still cherishes you. Jesus delights in you at your worst!
Read more here You are Valued by God
It is not that pornography is not a big deal. It is a sin that hurts you and everyone around you. It is just that God’s grace is so much bigger than the sin. Holding onto the guilt and shame of any sin after you are in Jesus is ignoring His power.
God covers us in His power, mercy, and grace. It is part of the deal of salvation You are incapable of forgiving yourself and taming your own weakness. It is easy for Jesus but you have to accept it. 41 Shame Busting Bible Verses on Forgiveness
It is only the mercy and grace that can really set you free from the weight that so easily ensnares you.
Jesus and the Adulteress Woman
Jesus demonstrated this principle with the unnamed woman from John 8. You know her as the Adulterous Woman but she had a name. It is concealed by the sin she found herself ensnared by. The Bible only identifies her by her sin for a simple reason. It is what defines her until meeting Jesus. The woman is caught in the very act of sexual sin. The passage is clear she is very guilty. She is thrown before God Himself with her only descriptor being she is a sexual sinner.
Have you ever felt this way? You resist the pull of the internet sites for as long as you can, you swear to God it will not be like the last time, and then you break down and do what you willed not to? Do you feel defined by your sexual sin just like the Adulteress Woman? Then read on as Jesus has good news for you.
What happens next is simple. She is set free.
When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”
11 She said, “No one, Lord.”
And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.
The woman was caught. She was guilty and punishment well earned. Yet, Jesus gives mercy instead. He deals with her past and her future in one short sentence. She calls Jesus Lord and everything changes. This is the power of Jesus.
You may be like the woman today. You may be guilty and exposed. Sexual sin may have you in its grips so tightly that it is all that defines you. “I am addicted and worthless”, you might be saying based on your past. Jesus doesn’t agree.
“Neither do I condemn you”, Jesus tells the woman.
Her past does not lead to destruction. She is not worthless. She is not damaged goods unworthy of redemption. All of her sins are dealt with in one moment through God’s mercy.
Jesus does not condemn you. You are free if you are in Jesus…no matter the weight of past sins. This is where the Gospel comes into the fight with pornography. You must be liberated from the past in order to deal with future challenges.
All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Jesus washes that away on the Cross through His blood. Yes, your sins are bad. They are grave offenses against God. Yet, Jesus on the Cross says “It is finished” meaning your debt to God is paid. Do you believe Him?
It cost Jesus His life to set you free from sin. Are you willing to embrace that freedom?
It is from this position of gratitude and freedom that the power of God flows. Paul says it is in his weakness God’s power is made perfect.
Jesus says “Go and sin no more”. This is true. He does not skip over the mercy and grace part. It is necessary to approach Jesus as Lord first. It is crucial to understand the truth that you are not condemned but set free.
Your burden of guilt and shame is only pulling you down. Jesus already paid for your sin. Cast off the burden and take on temptation in the joy and freedom of God’s grace. It is His love that can power your victory, not your own defective will.
The old Salvation Army chant sums it up well:
I know thy sins are all forgiven,
Glory to the Bleeding Lamb!
And I am on my way to Heaven,
Glory to the Bleeding Lamb!
Your will on its own will always lead you to destruction. You will always end up like Gollum from The Lord of the Rings overcome and destroyed in the end by what your will holds precious.
It takes the power of the Risen Lord expressed through mercy and grace to start the journey to freedom. It takes the certainty of forgiveness through the Lamb to obtain the power to change your life! Glory to the Bleeding Lamb!
Pornography is not a problem with your willpower. It is a problem with your application and embracing of the Gospel.
How do you stop looking at pornography?
Know you are forgiven of the Lord. Know you are beloved. Know you are not condemned and though your sins are like scarlett, you are white as snow. Rejoice in the amazing grace and mercy and truth of God!
Then walk in that freedom and power.
Go and sin no more.