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Exploring the Role of Faith in Overcoming Porn Addiction

“For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”  Romans 8:13

We are unashamed followers of Christ. Though our site is filled with practical advice on overcoming porn addiction, we find nothing more fundamental to this than our faith in Jesus.  

But how does a Christian face this battle?  

How should a Christian’s response to this powerful addiction be informed by his faith in Christ?

Acknowledge Your Sin

There’s no need to soft pedal this by adjusting down our terminology: Porn use is a sin. It is not fundamentally a “habit” or an “addiction.”  It is first and foremost a sin. And like all sin, it is chiefly an act of rebellion against the true and living God. In Psalm 51, the Psalmist King David cries out to God in the depths of his guilt over his sin.

David had taken another man’s wife and slept with her, and then in order to cover up her resulting pregnancy, attempted to lure her husband back from the battlefield to sleep with her.

When this didn’t happen, David ordered him to the front lines, assuring his quick death in battle.  

But in acknowledging his sin, David makes a curious statement:  

“Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.”

This famous passage in Psalm 51:4 teaches us that first and foremost our sin is one that is against God.  We have rebelled in the face of the God who made us.  This is enough to deserve his judgment.

Porn use needs to first be understood as such. We have sinned against the God we love. We have sinned against the Christ who has saved us. This, my friends, is the place the Christian starts.

Confession and Repentance

For the Christian, there is possibly no more reassuring verse than this one from 1 John 1:9.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Absolutely beautiful.  Absolutely freeing.

Consolation of Confession

Brothers and sisters, have you confessed your sins to the Lord? Have you taken your porn usage to our Good Shepherd and asked for his forgiveness? Because there is great consolation here that the Scriptures are offering to us.

Acknowledging the sinfulness of our sins and then confessing our them to Jesus is the pattern that we as Christians are called to live by.

Repenting toward God 

Confession of sin to God is the first step in what the Bible calls repentance. Repentance is a turning away from sin and looking to Christ as our sufficient Savior. It is often said that true repentance from sin and faith in Christ are two sides of the same coin: One always comes with the other.

In fact the Apostle Paul sums up his entire ministry this way in Acts 20:21 that he testified “both to Jews and to Greeks (non-Jews) of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.” Christians are to be repenters and believers. 

“When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent’, he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.”  Martin Luther

Community and Accountability

Unfortunately, in our American church context, the Christian life is often viewed as “me, my Bible, and Jesus.”  This is unbiblical. And it is potentially devastating to a brother in Christ seeking freedom from pornography.

Saved from something and to something

When we hear the message of the Gospel, the person and work of Jesus Christ to save sinners, and we are converted, the Lord doesn’t just save us from eternal Hell, but he saves us into a community of believers.

This is the church, what the scriptures call “the pillar and ground of truth.”  

The church is described as the body of Christ, his people on the earth called out of darkness and into his saving light. Christ calls us his ambassadors, saved unto holiness and to faithfully carry his message of grace to a dying and hurting world.

Covenant Community

This covenant community is not only a light to the nations, but it is also Christ’s way of caring for his people and bringing them home to glory. We have a wonderful promise from Jesus in the Gospel of John, that “this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.” (John 6:39)  

Jesus keeps his people.  

And his ordinary way of doing this is through the body of Christ.  

Ordinary Means

So we need each other. And in order to be free of your porn addiction, dear Christian, you need your church. You need to first be accountable to duly elected and qualified Elders who will care for your soul. Go and meet with your pastors and elders, and make sure that they know what you are struggling with.

We also recommend you be involved in a small group where you can know others and be known by them.  

These are ordinary means by which the Lord keeps his people. 

The Bible points us to our covenant community in James 5:16:

“Therefore confess your sins to one another and pray for one another.”  

This open and honest church life is a grace to the believer.  

Don’t settle for the Lone Ranger version of Christianity. You can’t do this on your own, and it’s healthy to admit that.

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17

Cut Off Access

“And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.” Matthew 5:30

Our Lord Jesus is using a masterful bit of hyperbole here to teach his people about the seriousness of killing our indwelling sin. Make no mistake, when Christ saves us we are forgiven. We are given a new heart with new affections, and we can bask in the light of this new life we have in Christ. By his finished work on the cross, he has caused us to be justified in the sight of our God. We are truly new creatures in Christ.

An Ongoing Struggle

But there will be an ongoing battle with our indwelling sin, the remaining sin nature that the bible refers to as our flesh.  Take for instance Romans 7.  In fact, if you haven’t read Romans 7 in a long time, go read it now. You’ll see Paul’s constant struggle, as a Christian, with his remaining sin nature. And then make sure you read Romans 8. There’s your reassurance, brothers and sisters. “There is therefore no condemnation…”  Beautiful.

Our struggle with sin is an outworking of our sanctification, the process by which Christ conforms us to his own image.  He has saved us from the penalty of sin, he is saving us from the power of sin, and he will save us from the very presence of sin.

So what do I do now?

Stay vigilant to crucify your flesh and fight your indwelling sin.  The famous Puritan theologian John Owen once wrote “Be killing sin, or it will be killing you.”  This is called the mortification of sin, the Christian’s daily battle to subject his sinful nature to his new reality as a born again believer in Christ.  This looks like daily prayer, simple prayers asking God for his help.  Honest confession of your need for him and your dependence on his grace to kill this sin in your life.  And then let’s take another step to keep this filth away from your eyes.

Software that can help

We highly recommend accountability software such as Covenant Eyes.  Covenant Eyes will help you by providing your accountability partner with a report on your browsing habits and history.  Accountability is the name of the game, and it is an essential tool in your war chest to win this battle.  

So here’s your gameplan, dear Christian brothers and sisters:

  • Acknowledge your sin
  • Confess your sin to the Lord and turn away from it to faith in Christ as your Savior and help
  • Immerse yourself in your church community–seek the help of your pastors and elders and join a small group for relational accountability
  • Pray and ask God for his grace and help on a daily basis, maybe even on an hourly basis as needed
  • Sign up for accountability software such as Covenant Eyes

Need help stopping? Here are the best porn blocking services for 2023.

Covenant Eyes Software and NordLayer DNS Filtering: Covenant Eyes provides accountability software that covers URLs and images, as well as blocking options, and lots of resources for helping you quit porn.

NordLayer allows you to implement network-wide filtering, and is a much more comprehensive blocking option, with added security measures and more extensive configuration options. It's effective for both homes and businesses.

Pursue Righteousness

Brothers and sisters, our time on this earth is short. 

We’ve been given a certain number of days to glorify God and to seek to do his will in this life.  Then we go to be with him forever. We have so much to look forward to, so let’s not waste our time here.  C.S. Lewis once wrote:

“We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered to us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

“So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” 2 Timothy 2:22

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Author

  • Matthew Hall

    Matthew is a youth football coach, copywriter, and dad of four. He has also lead worship in the PCA for over a decade.

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