There is no doubt that pornography has become a pervasive influence in our culture. This multi-billion dollar industry is aggressively making inroads into our society at an alarming rate.
You no longer have to look for porn; it is looking for you. Everywhere you turn, you are bombarded by sexually explicit content and images. From the internet, to social media, to movies, to TV commercials, to the grocery store; lust-filled propaganda is knocking at the door.
It’s scary to think about how pervasive and accessible pornography has become. It is warping minds, destroying homes, and fueling all manner of sexual perversion and abuse. And unfortunately, the church has been far from immune to this porn pandemic.
Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:32). A revelation of truth brings freedom, but the opposite is also true: believing a lie will keep you in bondage. One of the reasons Christians are enslaved to porn is because they have embraced one or more of the following three lies.
Some Christians try to minimize pornography, as if it is “no big deal.” After all, isn’t it just a private matter? It doesn’t involve other people, so is it really that bad? Actually, it does involve other people. How about the people in the images/videos? How about the terrible effect it has on your relationships, kids, spouse, etc. How about the effect it has on your walk with God?
Pornography is sin (see Matthew 5:28), and all sin is destructive. Porn feeds on both the natural human sex-drive, and the sinful nature of mankind. God is not anti-sex, but He has established clear boundaries for our own protection. Any sexual fulfillment outside of the marriage covenant between a man and a woman misses the mark of His design for sex, and is therefore sin.
Pornography offers “intimacy” without commitment. Porn is purely selfish in nature; it is all about taking and not about giving. It is about gaining pleasure at someone else’s expense. It perverts a person’s view of sex and defiles the heart and mind.
Don’t believe for one second that pornography is harmless; it does tremendous damage and is an open door to all kinds of darkness.
Some people hold the assumption that everyone views pornography. It is becoming more acceptable and normalized. Even Christians fall into this lie, and they use it to justify their porn habit. The church has sometimes perpetuated this lie by glorifying the struggle instead of declaring the power of the gospel to set free and restore.
When I repented and gave my life to the Lord over twelve years ago, I was set free from various bondages to sin, and I have not viewed pornography since. I can testify that it has not been a constant struggle to live in freedom and purity in this area. I am not saying that I am perfect or never face temptation to lust, but I am truly free by the power of the blood of Jesus and the Holy Spirit within me.
Even though porn stats are staggering, there are many who walk in purity and freedom. They choose to walk in repentance, and make no agreement with sin. Don’t buy the lie that “everyone does it.” It’s not true!
When we are in bondage to sin, breaking free always seems out of reach. But this is a lie of the enemy! Jesus paid the price for us to not only be free of the penalty of sin, but to be set free from the power of sin. Consider the following verses:
“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts…For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”
-Romans 6:12, 14
“And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.”
“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh…And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
-Galatians 5:16, 24
“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?” Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”
The grace of God is strong enough to set you free from sin; including pornography and other sexual sin. The blood of Jesus is strong enough to wash away the shame and guilt, and break you free from sin’s grip. There is forgiveness, cleansing, and freedom in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Don’t believe the lie that pornography is something you will always have to struggle with. You can be free in Christ!
There is no formula for breaking free from sin’s grip, including the grip of pornography. Everyone’s journey is unique, and there are often different keys for different people. Sometimes there is instantaneous deliverance and other times a process. One things is clear: you must be ruthless about getting free. Jesus said this:
“If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.”
Clearly, Jesus was not literally talking about dismembering ourselves. He was speaking of the fact that we must declare war against sin and take an active stand against it.
Here are some of the elements that are often involved in breaking free (in no particular order):
1. Come into the light: Sin thrives in darkness and loses its power in the light. Talk with a trusted friend, mentor, or pastor and confess your sin to them.
2. Genuinely repent: You must have a change of heart and mind about sexual sin and pornography. It is not enough to feel guilty or ashamed of the sin; you must see it for what it is and genuinely want to turn from it.
3. Replace lies with truth: If you have believed any of the above lies (or other lies) about pornography, renounce the lies and replace them with God’s truth.
4. Get to the root issues: Ask the Lord to show you if there are any root issues that make you susceptible to sexual sin and/or pornography.
5. Receive deliverance from unclean spirits: Many times unclean spirits are involved when a person is in bondage to sexual sin. Being delivered from evil spirits may be a key part of your freedom. (See this basic teaching on deliverance and this prayer for deliverance).
6. Renew your mind: Ask the Holy Spirit to renew your mind and bring cleansing of the impure images, fantasies, and videos you have seen. Ask God to give you His perspective on sex.
7. Embrace God’s design for sex: God designed sex to be a beautiful dynamic between a husband and wife in the context of marriage. His design is truly amazing and He has our best interests in mind.
It is time for the church to face the reality of the pervasive influence of pornography in our midst. We can no longer remain silent. Let’s cry out to God in repentance, receive the grace of God, and break the back of pornography in the church!