recovery in Christ when life is broken

I Can't Stop Looking at Porn

“Ugh. I can’t believe I just watched that. Okay, that was the last time…for real this time, I’ll stop looking at porn tomorrow. What would my family and friends think if they knew I always do this? I’m a fraud Christian.”

These were just some of the thoughts that would run through my head nearly every time I looked at pornography. I viewed porn for the first time when I was nine years old and was not able to stop looking at it for the next sixteen years. The adrenaline rush of doing something wrong intoxicated me. Every perversion in the world was at my fingertips. Proverbs 26:11 says “Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool that returns to his folly.” No matter how hard I tried, I could not stop looking at porn and masturbating.

This Brought Death

My addiction to porn harmed my well-being. I stopped enjoying things that used to bring me joy because all I could think about was watching porn. No matter what I was doing, if I saw a pretty girl, all I wanted to do was find her look-alike on a porn website and fantasize about having sex with her. I wasn't in control of porn, porn controlled me. Finally, a few years into my adult life I realized my problem with porn wasn’t something that I was going to outgrow. My addiction had followed me into adulthood, and it wasn’t planning on going away. I had to search for freedom.

How I Found Freedom In Christ

  • I admitted my problem. For years I was in denial that I was addicted to porn. I thought that addiction was something that only happened to alcoholics or drug addicts. Surely I could never be classified as an “addict.” Many people who use porn on a continual basis refuse to admit that they are addicted. If you are unable to stop, you are addicted. Admitting addiction is necessary. (Romans 7:18)
  • I believed that God could heal me. For sixteen years I tried by my own strength to be free from porn. While depending on my own strength, an occasional few porn-free months was the best that I could do. I needed to believe the truth that God has the ability and desire to free me, and trust His power to change me. (Psalm 103:2-5)
  • I confessed my addiction to a friend and asked him to hold me accountable. It is a daily battle not to look at porn, and because of that, I needed to commit to 24-hour sobriety. Until I was able to find freedom, my friend texted me every night to ask if I had looked at porn that day. (James 5:16)
  • I repented by removing access to porn and relying on God daily. Though I knew what I was doing was wrong, the only action I was taking was to feel bad for myself (which led me to look at more porn). I needed to repent by turning from sin to God, not just feel bad every time I did it again (2 Timothy 2:22, Romans 2:15). In Matthew 5:29-30, Jesus says that no measure is too extreme to prevent yourself from sinning. I realized I needed to cut off access to porn. I installed monitoring software on my computer, sold my smart TV, activated parental controls on games, deleted apps from my iPhone, and removed non-monitored web browsers from my phone. I didn't leave easy loopholes for myself (Romans 13:14). Then, every morning I would turn to God by reading my Bible and praying. This practice helped redirect my thoughts to God, reminding myself daily that true life is found in a relationship with Jesus Christ, not my sexual desires. I would ask God daily for strength to not look at porn and memorize scripture to help me fight temptation (John 10:10, 1 Corinthians 10:13, 2 Corinthians 10:5).

Today, I can joyfully say that I am free from an addiction to pornography. I was not free from my addiction overnight, just like I did not become addicted overnight. The process took time and was not easy. Sometimes, I am tempted to go back to my old ways, but now that my addiction is gone, I see the danger more clearly. I used to be a slave to pornography. I now walk in the freedom offered by Jesus Christ. Will you join me?  

-Calvin S.

 

For more information, check out the Pornography topic in the Struggles section of our website.

Is it OK to Masturbate if I'm Not Lusting?

If you (or “this friend you know”) want to know the answer to this question, let me first encourage you (and your friend)…

The fact that you’re even asking this question shows a personal concern for the holiness of God and a desire to live rightly—which is awesome. This is an anything-goes, follow-your-feelings day and age. There are millions of people, Christians and non-Christians, males and females, who are unashamedly looking at porn and masturbating without considering whether or not it’s sin.

Here is the lie…“I’m not hurting anyone; it’s just me alone with my computer.” But many people get hurt by porn and masturbation: sex-trafficked slaves who are not there by choice, your spouse (present or future) who you will be physically having sex with while mentally having sex with a partner from your fantasies, and you. Yes, you are hurting yourself. Porn hobbies easily turn into big problems. Combining the chemical high of an orgasm with the lie of a fantasy can drastically hinder your ability manage real human interactions in a healthy way (it can even leave men impotent, unable to be aroused by real human interaction). That’s not to even mention the greatest hurt – the sin that hinders your fellowship with God.

But you say, “Yeah, I don’t look at porn anymore. Frankly, I don’t even lust when I masturbate. I just think of baseball or something” (someone actually told me this). Right…so here is a public service announcement…if you think about baseball while masturbating, that’s how fetishes form. Whatever you’re thinking about during the orgasm, as the dopamine/endorphins floods your brain, will reinforce and tell you, “That was amazing!?!…Go get some more baseball!”

“But I don’t think about baseball,” you say, ”it’s just me in the shower, or in my bed because I can’t sleep, and my mind is just in neutral.” “And besides…God and the Bible doesn’t say anything about masturbating. There was that Onan deal, but that’s not the same (Genesis 38:8-10).”

Before you take matters into your own hands (oh yes I did), let’s look at God’s Word:

God says in Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

Let’s replace the “do everything” of this verse with some specifics for personal application:

Eat cupcakes in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God.” Check, I can do that. How about four cupcakes in one sitting? Probably not—that is gluttony.

Have sex in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God.” Double-check, say the married. How about sex outside of marriage? Nope. Want God’s gift; follow God’s instruction (Hebrews 13:4).

Married and masturbating in the name of the Lord Jesus? When you got married you became one with your spouse. 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 says that your body is not your own; do not deprive each other except by mutual consent. So, based on that, you’ll need to ask your spouse if he/she doesn’t mind you masturbating, because doing so would deprive him/her of the oneness God intended sex to be (How do you think that conversation will go?).

I hear that grumbling, single man. But did you know that God wired you to have an orgasm without sex or masturbation (Deuteronomy 23:10)? If you stop masturbating, you’ll have wet dreams (orgasm while sleeping) like you did when you hit puberty. A wet dream is not a one-time event. If it was a one-time event for you, it is likely because you haven’t gone a month without masturbating since puberty. “Have a wet dream in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God.” You bet.

Watch porn in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks….” Nope. Never (Matthew 5:27-30, Proverbs 5:15-21).

Do more than kiss my girlfriend in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving…” Getting personal now (1 Timothy 5:2).

Let’s go back your original question, “Is it ok to masturbate if I’m not lusting?” Well, plug it into Colossians 3:17: “Masturbate in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” That’s awkward even typing, let alone imagining praying to and praising Jesus during the act.

So, now answer the question…can you masturbate, even while not lusting, in the name of Jesus giving thanks to the Father?

You may argue, “Colossians 3:17 is no proof text for masturbating!” No, it’s a proof text for every aspect of our lives. Anything we do, say or enjoy should honor God, others and your body, God’s Temple (1 Corinthians 6:18-20, and 1 Corinthians 10:31, and 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 and Ephesians 5:3 and more…).

Remember, sexual desires are not needs. I know of no one who has died because they haven’t had a recent orgasm. Now, erase your browser history and go do something in the name of Jesus while giving thanks to the Father. God is good. He will provide everything you need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).

-John E.

 

For more information check out Masturbation in the Struggles section of the re:generation website.

 

recovery in Christ when life is broken.