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7 Practices for Quitting Porn

Porn is a scourge not just around us culturally, but among us in the church. And although not always visible on a typical Sunday morning, the damage porn does is nonetheless very real and very severe. It erodes and replaces our view of man, woman, sex, marriage, and love.

But porn isn’t inevitable. We can live free from it. For the sake of us all, we must.

Here are seven practices I’ve found to be incredibly helpful in my life and in the lives of other men and women who have decided to leave porn behind.

  1. Choose light. If you’re serious about getting it out of your life, you have to get serious about living in the light. Find a few trustworthy and supportive brothers or sisters who you can share your actions, thoughts, feelings, and temptations with on at least a weekly basis.
  2. Recognize your main problem is lust, not porn. Believing you can defeat porn but hold onto lust is like believing you can parallel park going sixty. For the person struggling to quit porn, a little lust is like a little sip of booze for an alcoholic.
  3. Learn your patterns. If you’ve developed a porn habit, you’ve developed patterns leading to it. Some are obvious (e.g. temptation hits when you surf the Internet by yourself late at night). Others are subtle but equally important (e.g. temptation hits Thursday afternoons, after work, or when you’re feeling nervous, lonely, or unattractive). Learning your patterns gives you a heads up that temptation’s likely so you can take evasive action before it hits.
  4. Take care of yourself. Porn is most often an attempt to meet a legitimate need in an illegitimate way. It serves either as a drug to numb pain (e.g. you’re exhausted after a hard week and porn offers some relief) or as an artificial filler that temporarily gives an illusion of meeting a need (e.g. you’re lonely and longing for comfort and porn makes you feel embraced and comforted.) Those who break free from the porn habit have learned to regularly and consistently take good care of themselves – heart, mind, body, and soul.
  5. Cultivate authentic closeness with others. This is easier said than done. Relationship is some of the most challenging soil to tend on the planet. Healthy relationships take time, vulnerability, risk, sacrifice, energy, and so much more. And after all that, even the best relationships are vulnerable to changes in schedules, career, family, and health issues. Porn beckons with a “risk-free” alternative that’s always available. Those who break free and continue to walk free of porn know it’s essential to keep working at authentic, deep relationships no matter what.
  6. Return to the Cross readily and regularly. The Cross of Christ was never meant to be a one-time destination. It’s not just the doorway into life, it’s the source of intimate union with God Himself. The Cross is where God in the flesh gave His body fully to us that our bodies would be rescued from sin. And if you’ve ever felt in your body the powerful enticement of porn, you know how much your body needs to be rescued. The Cross of Christ can become for you not just the source of forgiveness when you fall (which it absolutely is), but also the source of your union with Christ. And that union can transform your body so it pulsates with a new life and love stronger than lust.
  7. Don’t give up. You’re up against an enemy who’d like you to believe that defeat is inevitable. He uses your repeated failures as evidence that resistance is futile. But it’s all war-time propaganda devised to dishearten you. Where he taunts you with your failures (even if the failures are recent or embarrassing or many), turn again to the cross. Your hope rests not in your righteousness but in the righteousness of Christ. His body broken for you, His blood shed for you. As He Himself said, “Take, eat, all of you.” The difference between those who overcome and those who don’t often boils down simply to whether or not a person is willing to keep coming back.

So much is at stake. Keep fighting. You were made for Christ, not for porn. You can do this.

Question: What am I missing? What else helps you in your battle against lust and pornography? Leave a comment below.

With you and for you,
Josh

1 thought on “7 Practices for Quitting Porn”

  1. Lust is not something we conquered but something we flee. We flee lust by pursuing love. The people we are tempted to lust after have real needs and having sex with us is not one of them. Love is a choice to see the real needs of people and care about them.

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