Now I’ll address Christians and by ‘Christian’ I mean:

Galatians 2:20 – I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Luke 9:23 – If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

Galatians 5:24 – And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

As I’ve already said, my journey away from porn started when I first began to read the Bible at the age of 20. To hear about the whole experience please watch the video and you’ll see I’m not saying this process was easy. It took over a year and was incredibly emotionally and spiritually painful. However what I am saying is that Biblically it’s a very easy concept:

Matthew 5:28 – Anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

i.e. Looking* at anyone who is not your spouse with an ounce of sexual desire is a sin that Jesus had to pay for on the cross.

Most people nowadays have experienced directly or indirectly the devastating effect of a parent or a partner cheating with someone else and could tell you the pain it causes. But checking out a girl walking down the street or on the beach is just ‘human nature’ or a joke to most of us. But from our creator’s perspective it is not an expression of the correct ‘human nature’, it is plain and simple adultery. For a God whose main workshop, when it comes to human beings, is the heart, there is no getting around His piercing analysis. Paul writes to Timothy that any woman who is not a man’s wife must be treated like a mother or sister (1 Timothy 5:1). Anything beyond that kind of attention and you’re betraying a heart that happily wanders into another person’s bedroom.

‘The heart of the problem is the problem of the human heart’

Now there is a way out of this gutter you’ve crawled into, but the first point to acknowledge is that you are in a gutter. There’s nothing more tragic than a person continuing to deny that the smell of dog poo is coming from their own shoe. The only way out of sin for a Christian is through the cross and I don’t mean a half-hearted ‘sorry’. I mean take a seat at the foot of Jesus’ crucifixion and look up at the devastation you have caused, feel the moist ground soaked in blood and don’t look away. As Stephen said so boldly, ‘you crucified Him’. Every human being needs to face this fact at some point and for a Christian it should be a daily experience. That’s your starting point in this journey because it’s the only place your sin will actually get dealt with and it’s also the only place genuine hope will be found.

Total forgiveness is found at the foot of the cross, along with complete certainty of eternal life, a knowledge of God as your loving Father, a new life and a sense of meaning found nowhere else in this universe. Now the question is whether that is more precious to you than looking at women online. Jesus Christ is far more precious than anything this world can offer you. Do you believe that? If you do then there is incredible hope, because He has the power to totally displace whatever else might be taking His place in your life. It doesn’t matter what you say with your lips, if you’re heart is always more attracted to things of this world then God will not step into your life because He will not be put second best.

Jesus tells us throughout the gospels to leave everything in order to follow Him. This isn’t for His benefit and our detriment, it’s because He loves us and has something far better to offer us.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

If you are truly a born again Christian then there is so much hope for you, because “it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). What an incredible promise! And it’s this word ‘promise’ that must become your most precious friend. Because anyone in this situation will undoubtedly encounter a whole bunch of lies being thrown their way. Satan will start with the ‘it’s not that bad’ temptation until our resistance breaks and then will immediately heap on the ‘how could you do that’ condemnation. Many people, myself included, find themselves caught in this cycle, perplexed as to why things aren’t changing more quickly and even sometimes starting to doubt their own salvation. And my simple encouragement to the person caught in that cycle is that we are never, and never will be, saved by trusting in our successful repentance, but rather by trusting ‘in Christ’. It’s Jesus who provides the irreversible clean slate and the never-ending power to change. Once someone truly puts their faith ‘in Christ’ a spirit of repentance and a sense of reliance will naturally follow. The apostle John describes this person as having a desire for sinless living, but an awareness of not yet being perfect, trusting every day in their perfect saviour for forgiveness. It’s only Jesus Christ who promises us ‘no condemnation’ when we trust Him for the removal of all guilt and shame.

The best advice I heard while wrestling with this addiction was to take things one day at a time. It seems totally daunting and impossible when we think, ‘how on earth will I not sexually sin for a whole year’, but when we switch that period of time to just ‘today’ it suddenly becomes a lot more manageable. God promises to give us strength and resistance ‘today’ and wants us to trust that He’ll still be available tomorrow. So my first piece of advice is, take it day by day and my second is, seek some help. This will be hard as it is a tough topic to discuss, but have a read of the next article on accountability and try to pluck up the courage to pick up the phone. This should really be your small group leader or someone in the church with pastoral responsibility.

My prayer for anyone reading this would be that in this process you would become totally convinced that you need Jesus as your saviour, that your porn habit would be put to death and that you would be filled with the hope and joy that only Jesus Christ offers.

*When we talk about ‘looking lustfully’ we are not challenging the action of ‘looking’, but rather the heart’s response to what is being looked at. It would be a bizarrely legalistic situation if we were condemned every time our eyes fixed upon a member of the opposite sex. In fact there is a scriptural encouragement to admire God’s beautiful creation, which includes sunsets, dew drops, birds of paradise and human beings. But the problem comes when sheer amazement and subsequent worship turns into selfish ambition and sinful desire. Many people will attempt to justify their lingering eyes as simply ‘recognising God’s handiwork’, but sadly I suspect a majority of these cases wouldn’t hold up in God’s courtroom. The question to ask yourself is, ‘why am I looking?’ or maybe more importantly, ‘why am I looking again?’