How do I overcome my temptation to look at pornography?
So you want to take on the “Goliath” in your life, is that right?
Slavery to looking at pornography is just that – a seemingly unstoppable giant blocking your path. This lewd barrier of impurity causes you to stray far from the path of a Christian. But your calling in life isn’t to remain bogged down in this habitual cycle of temptation, defeat and guilt forever. It is absolutely possible to resist these impure temptations and live a clean, overcoming, Christian life.
God created marriage as a framework where man and woman can live together with His blessing, expressing their love for each other in a caring and harmonious relationship. The unfaithfulness of giving in to your sexual desires any other way, including pornography, is sin. It is a base sin that needs to be viewed the way God sees it: extremely seriously!
Pornography damages your soul
The consequences of giving in to this “hidden” adultery are far-reaching and do more than simply affect you. Don’t think that just because you’re doing it in secret, nobody else gets hurt. Not only do you scar your own soul through images that become engraved in your memory, you also severely damage your ability to be faithful to one marriage partner. There are many people who never physically cheat on their partner, but giving in to adultery in the hidden is just as destructive. The effects of unfaithfulness can be seen all around us in the world today: broken homes, pain, bitterness and psychological suffering.
The devil’s objective is to steal, to kill and to destroy. One of the most damaging ways he succeeds is by getting people to give in to their sexual desires outside the intimacy of marriage. Through filth such as pornography, Satan seizes complete control of a person. The results are disastrous.
However, Satan has the ability to hide the consequences and make this appeal to your senses in such a way that you momentarily lose sight of the big picture. Then, while you are standing there with the wool pulled over your eyes, he’ll cunningly paint a picture of something, or someone, whispering that you have no alternative but to go along with his filthy game. After you’ve fallen for the bait, you’re left feeling unclean, defeated and ashamed, every single time.
How badly do you want to be free?
The question is, how badly do you want to be free? Is living in slavery to your impure desires a mere inconvenience or have you really come to the point where enough is enough? The key is to get a furious, seething, indignant hatred against this sin. You can pray to have your eyes opened to the destructive nature of pornography and to get a perfect hatred for sin. How can you fight something that you don’t really hate? How can you utterly destroy something that is barely more than an “inconvenience”?
You’ll set 3 different alarms and leave home 45 minutes earlier than necessary to ensure you don’t miss an early morning job interview – but what steps are you prepared to take to avoid temptations to look at pornography? Perhaps you need to take a break from surfing the Internet. Hasn’t all that aimless browsing left you devoid of any will to resist the urge to sin?
You might ask: “Aren’t there other practical measures I can take to help me overcome?” Of course there are. However, you are the person best qualified to answer that question. You know better than anyone where and when you’ve fallen in the past. Being aware of your own specific weaknesses gives you an incredible advantage in your fight for purity! Once you acknowledge where and when you are weak, you have identified exactly where you need to fight and where you need power to overcome.
Prayer in the time of need
Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” In other words you need to pray. You’re sick of sin, you hate it, you’re trying to break your habit of looking at pornography but you feel powerless. Crying out to Jesus in your time of need – when you are being tempted – will result in an unbelievable power being unleashed inside you, the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit doesn’t make the temptations magically disappear. But next time you are tempted to look at pornography – suddenly there is opposition inside you. It’s the Spirit, and He is in conflict with what your flesh is attracted to – the filth which you now have an intense hatred for. As soon as the very thought of it pops into your head, shout, “I’m not giving in to this! Jesus, help me overcome!” If your longing is sincere then Jesus is more than willing to come to your aid.
The fight to keep your heart pure is not an easy one. It’s a daily battle. But the Bible contains incredible promises for those who overcome: “Therefore since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.” 1 Peter 4:1 Use this verse as a weapon in your own life.
The joy of victory!
Picture it: if you keep saying “no” every time sin raises its ugly head you are effectively starving your lusts of all nourishment. The day will come where your adulterous desires will cease to torture you. That which was once a giant of impurity will be dead. You will have ceased from sin.
Once you start overcoming those temptations to look at pornography, it’s like a whole new world opens up! You become really happy – you’re suddenly experiencing the joy of victory!
Fight for purity! Fight to become someone God can use to carry out His will on earth, and don’t ever give up! As an overcoming Christian, you will never miss the cheap and temporary pleasures you had to leave behind. I certainly don’t.
“Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to all those who love Him.” James 1:12.
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You might also be interested in our theme page about Overcoming sin.