How and Why I Stopped Watching Porn

Testimony
Revelation 12:11

Hi guys, I’d like to share a story with you. I hope that’s OK. It’s deeply personal for me but I pray that the Holy Spirit will give you grace to read and hear His voice speaking to your heart. Are you ready? Still with me? Great, let’s jump in.

I first saw a pornographic magazine at the age of 10 which is statistically only 2 years earlier than the average boy. This opened a new door in my life to a world of darkness and perversion. Although I’d grown up in church with Christian parents I had been exposed to softer sexual images before through TV and movies but this was more intense and I’d never had this level of access to it before.

Two years later while away at a Christian youth camp I encountered the grace of God and committed my life to loving and serving the Jesus who died to remove me from my sins and give me His new life. It was a beautiful experience, walking in this new connection with Him, knowing His heart and His delight towards me. However, the following 6 years for me were a serious battle against lust and pornography.

After we got a computer in the house, I’d find myself alone often and I’d just get lost in this thing for hours. Still only a teenager I became very clever at altering the browser history to cover up my tracks. If I was on the computer and alone it seemed like it was inevitable*. I felt so powerless against it. I could be doing my homework or harmlessly surfing the internet when the thought would creep up on me like the breath of a beast on the back of my neck and I’d know it was already too late to run.

“Lust removes the love and honour from sexual desire and
focusses solely on the satisfaction of self.”

In my spirit it definitely wasn’t what I wanted to be doing or giving my mind to but I think there’s a reason Paul told Timothy to “Flee YOUTHFUL passions…” and not just general passions. When we’re young our desires are empowered by hormones and we lack the wisdom and foresight needed to restrain them. Youthful passions aren’t idle but they pursue our minds to wrestle away our full attention. Let me stop and say here that natural sexual desire is not wrong or evil but it is very different to lust. Lust removes the love and honour from sexual desire and focusses solely on the satisfaction of self.

Sometimes I’d put up a good fight or manage to quit for maybe a couple of weeks at a time but it would always get a hold of me again. Guilt and shame would descend upon me every time I gave in, making me feel too dirty and too unworthy to go to God. This is one of the enemy’s favourite tactics against us! The devil knows that if he can get us to believe we’re unwelcome in the presence of God, we’ll be separated from the One who heals us and forgives us and strengthens us to resist temptation.

It’s actually in God’s presence that we find ourselves as we experience His love that transforms us and shapes our desires. When we don’t understand this we try fighting the devil on our own and get outsmarted! We forget the first part of James 4:7 and simply try to resist the devil without submitting ourselves to God first. It’s hard to submit yourself to God when you feel like He doesn’t even want to look at you! It’s a clever tactic but knowing it definitely helps us. On with the story.

“The devil knows that if he can get us to believe we’re
unwelcome in the presence of God, we’ll be separated from the One who heals us and forgives us and strengthens us to resist temptation.”

At the age of 15 I was asked to start helping out with the Bible studies with teenagers in my church. I was really excited about this but I was still twisted up with this inner struggle. Sometimes I’d go weeks or months without giving in but then would fall back into it. Of course the devil had an absolute field day with my heart. John tells us that it’s in walking in the light that we allow God to cleanse us from sin but the devil lives in the darkness of secret sin and he will happily kick our teeth in all day and trample on our hope if we stay there with him, continually whispering, “You call yourself a Christian? No one else has this problem. You don’t love God! How can God love you when you do this? How can God use you when this is what you are? You’re a hypocrite.”

Walking in the light is a lot easier said than done. Coming out to tell someone your struggles tends to become more and more difficult with increased porn use. Studies have shown that the porn actually rewires the brain and so the more pornography you watch, the more you want to watch and the more intense it needs to be in order to satisfy you. Shame builds as you venture into darker and darker places and the thought of being exposed becomes more and

So there’s me leading a group of young people, trying to be an example and a role model while being utterly torn apart on the inside! Riddled with guilt and shame! Maybe you’ve been there or somewhere similar. I can’t tell you how humbling it is to know the love and grace of God in the middle of sinning! Through all of this stuff I found that God would still speak to me! I found that He would still use me to speak to others! He remains faithful in all circumstances (2Timothy 2:13) because His faithfulness was never dependent on me! He was faithful before I was born and He’ll be faithful after I’m dead, it’s who He is!!

The devil wanted to condemn me but the Holy Spirit wanted to convict me.So the story continues…

I didn’t realise it was Him at the time but God started to open His heart to me and share first_sight_by_fullofeyes-d68dbgtHis thoughts about the world of pornography. Thoughts of how lost the people on the screen were flooded my heart. The burning heart of our Father for His lost sons and daughters on the screen who’d wandered so far from Him and His love pressed heavily on me. This was not OK.

Kris Vallotton gives the best description of the difference between the feelings of condemnation and conviction that I’ve heard in his book Moral Revolution: The Naked Truth about Sexual Purity so let me share it with you. He says to believers that condemnation is from the devil and will always equate you with your sin e.g. you sinned, you’re a sinner. You lied, you’re a liar etc. The goal of condemnation is to make you forget the transformational power of the cross and convince you that you are what you do. If it’s successful, the devil can leave you alone because you’ll only ever act out who you believe you are and you’ll continue in these cycles of sin, driving you further from your relationship with the Lord.

Conviction however is from the Holy Spirit and conviction basically says “That’s not who you are any more. Why settle for that? You’ve born again for something greater.” Initially they both might feel the same as our consciences respond but don’t be fooled! Conviction comes with the power to change, condemnation robs you of that power!

If you’re struggling with pornography addiction or masturbation or some other sexual sin, there is hope in Jesus. Let me just say if you’re a man or a woman, a boy or a girl or if you currently identify another way and you’re reading this, understand that Jesus didn’t come to condemn you but to save you. Don’t shy away from feeling of conviction thinking that it’s God condemning you. Don’t hold back from Him because you want to continue in sin. Let His light shine on the darkest parts of your life and let His love lead you out of them. When we resist His conviction because it feels like condemnation we miss out on the power we need to change. That famous verse in John 3:16 we often quote has a really important follow up:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.” – John 3:16-21

I kept feeling more of the conviction of the Holy Spirit and I knew I didn’t want to live my life like this. After occasions of giving in, I started to find the strength to go before God and speak to Him and cry out for forgiveness and deliverance. I should have shared my struggles with trusted, mature believers but I was too afraid to lose face. My pride drew this journey out longer than it needed to be and it continued to tear me up inside. Leading a double life is not healthy for anyone.

I began to set targets for myself with agreements between me and God. I don’t recommend this but I’d say “For 2 weeks I’m not going to look at anything dodgy on the internet or on TV” and the fear of the Lord combined with His conviction and grace carried me through those weeks. This wasn’t a permanent solution and more was needed but something was changing.

“Conviction comes with the power to change,
condemnation robs you of that power! When we resist His conviction
because it feels like condemnation we miss out on the power we need to change.”

When I was 18, Lent came around. To be honest I didn’t even really know what Lent was up until then but I heard it was 40 day period when people give stuff up so I made my decision. 40 days, no porn, just prayer. There was also a girl in my life, a previous girlfriend who really wasn’t doing my heart any good either so I decided I wouldn’t contact her either during this time because I wanted to get free of things that were hindering me in my relationship with Him. So for 40 days I steered clear of any lustful images that might compromise my promise and I just prayed and spent time with God while of course going to school and doing usual day to day stuff.

I believe this is what the Bible calls repentance which means turning around and changing the way you think. It would also pass for consecration which is to be set apart to offer yourself to God to draw near to Him and to be used for His purposes. Jesus said that the pure in heart are blessed because they get to see God so there’s something about living in purity that gives us Brand New Eyes.

Towards the end of this season, before the 40 days were even over, this thought passed through my mind: “The time is almost up and then you can look at that stuff again.” It caught Free from sinme by surprise. The thought of trading this amazing new and fresh intimacy with God for anything else, especially porn was actually hilarious! I think I actually laughed out loud! Hahaha!! VICTORY!!!

At the end I can’t describe to you the level of freedom I felt but most of all I was walking in this new unbroken communion with God because my conscience was clear before Him. John tells us in 1John 3 that there is something incredible about being able to stand in His presence with a pure conscience, a heart set at rest with confidence because we know that we’re doing His will, trusting in Jesus for our salvation. I can’t describe this feeling to you but it was euphoric!! Haha!! The desire to even look at anything like that had completely left me and been replaced with a desire to walk closer with God.

My journey didn’t stop there however, God had more He wanted to teach me. Sadly in this post I don’t have time to go into the long term effects of porn on the brain and how it affects us in our relationships. Do check out the resources below for more information on that and further reading.

“The thought of trading this amazing new and fresh intimacy
with God for anything else, especially porn was actually hilarious!”

Thanks for reading! I hope you’ve been encouraged! Whether it’s sexual sin you’ve struggled with or something else that has left you feeling far from God, or whether you’re not a Christian at all and have felt like you can’t possibly live the Christian life, it’s really not about us and our ability, it’s about Jesus and His power to save, deliver and heal us. We’re made in His image and He’s the one who can make us more like Himself. It’s about us answering the call to walk closely with God and leave our dirt and shame behind. It’s about allowing the strength of His love for us to break the chains of our sin. Let the dark power of porn dissolve in the light of His love. Come as you are and let Him do the rest!

Do share this post with others if you’ve found it helpful or challenging and leave your comments below.

The original version of this post can be found here.

Resource Section

XXX Church

Moral Revolution

Fight the New Drug – Facts on the Effects of Porn

10 Shocking Stats about Teens and Pornography

Pornography Facts and Statistics – 2015

Most Successful Male Porn Star of All Time Speaks Out About Porn

Ex – Porn Star Jenna Presley talking about her new life – From Pornography to a New found hope.

 

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