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How can I live beyond pornography?

Pornography has an addictive element much like alcohol, tobacco, narcotics or even video games. By addictive, I mean that my mind, will and emotions become so dependent on the sensations provided by these materials that to suggest ridding my life of them would be like suggesting to you that I cut out my heart . . . I can’t live without it. If when the idea of viewing pornographic material comes to mind you feel compelled to view it and are virtually unable to move your mind to another topic and stay there, then you can say without a doubt, “I am addicted.” Other evidence of addiction is finding yourself spending more and more time thinking about the material you’ve seen or read or finding yourself needing to locate harder core materials to get the same level of stimulation that you formerly received with the soft core materials.

An honest evaluation is paramount. How does this material affect your view of the opposite sex in general and your wife in particular? When dealing with your wife do you consider her spiritual, emotional, intellectual and physical needs as a unit, or…

Do you focus on physical needs only?
Do you focus on the needs of your wife first or do you focus primarily on your own needs?
Do you make love to your wife to satisfy your needs or hers?
Do you find yourself wishing your wife could/would live up to the image of “womanhood” portrayed in the magazines and movies?
Do you have a hard time discussing your needs with your wife (spiritual, emotional, intellectual, physical)?
Do you find romancing and seducing your wife to be not worth the effort when you can simply pick up a magazine and find stimulation?
Do you see that you are in bondage to this material and it owns you more than you own it?
Do you see that the use of this material degrades and dishonors women in general and your wife in particular?
Do you see that the woman to whom you promised before God and man to “love and cherish” is not being loved or cherished and that you have broken your vow?
Do you see your own sinfulness and selfishness in giving in to this lustful temptation and your helplessness to get out?
If you do…

There is hope and hope does not fail.

You are already on the way out. It begins with recognizing there is a problem, accepting responsibility for the problem and deciding that you don’t want to live this way. The Bible refers to this as repentance. Repentance means to change your mind, to take a new perspective. The perspective that we must adopt to experience transformation is God’s.

Let me suggest a godly perspective that you would do well to accept as your own. It is found in Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapter 5, verse 6: “While I was still helpless; at the right time Christ died for the ungodly [me].” (This is a paraphrase.) This must be my new attitude: “I am helpless to save myself from my own selfishness. I am helpless to stop these offensive behaviors. I am helpless to convince my wife that I love her more than the pictures that I see of other women. I am utterly helpless.” Do you feel pride welling up? Do you hear thoughts like: “This isn’t true. I can help myself. I got this far in life without God. I can make my life work. I’ll just apply myself to the task. I can do it.” Brother, these are lies from the pit of Hell. You are experiencing spiritual warfare of the most profound kind. Read the questions from two paragraphs up again and speak the truth . . . “God, I am utterly helpless.”

Take a look at John 15:5 where Jesus, talking to those who have confessed Him as Savior, Lord and Life, says, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from me you can do nothing.” Even a believer is helpless if he does not live in a tight, moment-by-moment fellowship with Jesus. Romans 5:10 says that we were born enemies of God and Colossians 1:21 that we were hostile in mind [toward God]. Do you confess this as true? Do you confess that your only hope is Christ [Messiah, Savior, King] Jesus? Do you confess that He is your Lord and do you believe that God, His Father, raised Him from the dead? If the answer is yes, yes and yes then you need to state these confessions to God and receive His forgiveness and receive the life of His Son.

Before you do that let me make one other point. The only reason Jesus left Heaven and put on an earthly body was because God loves you. Period. God doesn’t need you, but He does value you immensely. He values you so much that He died for you. I suspect you promised your wife in your wedding ceremony that you were willing to give your life for her. The time has come to follow through and die. You must die to your old self and your old ways and receive a new life full of hope and wonder and adventure and purpose. On the next page is a prayer which you should review and modify as needed to express your humble confession of your need for Christ and your desire to live a life that brings honor to Him.

The next step is moment by moment application of the reality that your old self died and that the past is past and that Christ is now your life. The best help to understanding how to life out this reality is found in Bill Gillham’s book, Lifetime Guarantee. Other books that you will find beneficial are identified in the book list which is enclosed.

A final thought. Paul in his letter to the Galatians said that, “It was for freedom that Christ set us free.” You are free now. Free from the need for pornography, free to love God, your wife and kids. Free to relax and enjoy life. Free to focus on Jesus and see Him do mighty works through you. There may be momentary failure from time to time, but your are free to get up accept the constant love of God in spite of set backs and move forward in confidence and peace. Bless you brother and enjoy the journey.