Thomas is the youth president of my fellowship. I once had a crush on him but somehow it disappeared and we became very close friends. When he proposed to a sister in the ushering department, I knew. When she agreed to his proposal, I was the first person he told. There was rarely any step he took without informing me. We were that close. But one day, something happened..
A youth vigil had been organized and Thomas had led the vigil that day. It was a powerful and refreshing time of prayer. We felt God’s presence so strongly. The meeting ended at 3a.m but it was too early for anyone to leave and so most of the attendees found spots in the church auditorium to sleep. Anyway, I wasn’t feeling sleepy. While chatting with some of my friends, I noticed my phone was not with me.
Did I give it to someone? I began to search for it.
It was one reason I liked carrying my handbag around but I hadn’t come with it to the church this time. Just as I was about waking my friend up so she could flash my phone with hers, I remembered I had given Thomas to put it in his pocket on our way to the vigil.
My search for Thomas began. I couldn’t find him anywhere around the church auditorium. The generator had been turned off and that made my search difficult. Even with a small torchlight, I almost stumbled on some of the exco members sleeping on the floor of the Pastor’s office.
Where for goodness sake could he be? I decided to forget about it until it was daybreak. As I returned to the auditorium, I changed my mind and headed for the children’s church to pray some more. I knew it would be quiet since the youth group was small and it was unlikely that anyone would be around that area.
As I got there, something prompted me to go to the back of the children’s church. Sitting on the floor was Thomas. He was holding my phone and watching a porn video, earpiece stuck to his ears. He was masturbating too. I moved away from the sound of the moans but I guess he sensed a foreign presence and stopped. He jumped to his feet and zipped up quickly.
‘Who is there?’
I didn’t answer. I was now leaning on the wall, watching him approach me. He put the phone light to my face.
‘Oh God!’ Shame covered his face. He pressed his forehead to the wall.
‘Thomas, let’s leave this place before someone bumps into us and think we are doing something ungodly.’
He held my hand. ‘Please don’t tell anyone. I’m begging you.’
‘Is that all you are thinking about? Your reputation? Is that all that matters to you?’ I snatched my phone from his hand and walked away.
The next day, we sat in an eatery and talked. Thomas has been battling porn since he was fifteen. He had entered his elder brother’s room while he was away and seen packs of porn CDS. Out of curiosity, he had slotted in one of the CDs and that was the beginning of a journey that seemed to have no end. He had prayed and confessed and cried but none of that worked. There was no week he didn’t visit a porn site.
‘Have you told your fiancée? I asked.
‘Eh! No o. I can’t. She’ll leave me. Please don’t tell her. Ife, I want to stop. I am helpless. I know you don’t understand. it’s so hard.’
One of the reasons I decided to write about this was because of the messages I received in my inbox from young people battling with pornography and masturbation. I want to be able to share this link with them especially when I’m too busy to respond adequately to their messages. There are so many things I’d love to talk about on this issue. I’ll try as much as possible to be detailed and practical.
A research was conducted by Proven Men Ministry based on some U.S Christian adults across the nation. It was discovered that 8 out of 10 men between the ages of 18 to 35 view pornography at least monthly. For the research conducted on married men, more than half of the men visit porn sites regularly. Women are not left out even though their percentage is lower than that of their male counterparts.
Now this is the gospel truth. In the Nigerian Christian circle, believers are ashamed to talk about their struggles. For many of them, there is no place out there for support or help on this issue because what they get to hear is how demonic and hell bound they are if they continue with their actions. They come out for altar calls again and again hoping that would attract God’s attention but nothing worked. So they stopped talking about it. In fact many believe it is a yoke they have to carry all their lives.
The circle for them goes in this manner. Watch porn. Feel Guilty. Confess your sins. Promise God not to do it again. Get geared up to say No. Urge comes. Return to porn sites.
The other day, I watched a video of a Christian brother whose family almost got destroyed because of porn addiction. For years, nobody knew about it until his wife discovered. It was really a trying time for them until he was able to understand some of the truths I’m going to share with you.
Another time, two adolescent church boys were playing on a field when they found a porn magazine lying on the ground. Curious, they picked it up and that was the beginning of porn addiction. It was years later when their youth pastor gave them a no condemnation and open arm of fellowship that they were able to speak up. They were shocked to discover that many of their friends also had similar struggle.
I am so grateful for my friends who have been able to let me into their struggles. One thing believers don’t know is that isolation feeds on addiction. Porn thrives on secrecy. Oh I’m running ahead of myself already.
Can a believer really stop watching pornography?
I’m not going to answer this off the top of my head. I had no intention of sharing my opinions on this matter. We’ll let scriptures answer this for us.
…Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our father. Galatians 1:4.
First of all, this present evil world represents the activities of the devil to which pornography belongs. Some times, when the word, ‘world’ is mentioned, it is not referring to a place but activities that take place on the earth.
Can you remember the temptation of Jesus when the devil took our Lord to that high mountain and showed him all the kingdom of the world?
Let’s recall the statement he made to Jesus.
‘Take a look at this, all this power will I give thee and the glory of them, for that is delivered unto me.’
What power was delivered to the devil?
When Adam ate that fruit in the garden of Eden, he took the dominion and power God gave him and handed it over to the devil and you know what happened to us, we became subjects to his whims and caprices. We became powerless and slaves to his dictates. The devil used whatever he had been given to propagate his greatest cause: sin. He succeeded. It worked. But Jesus came. Halleluyah! and guess what Jesus did, he took the sins and everything the devil would ever use against us into his own body. And He died.
‘It is finished!’
The greatest statement ever made in history.
Then on the third day, he got up without a spot of that sin and because we were in him when that happened, we also got up free and delivered from the activities of the devil, in this case pornography. So when you receive Christ, you become a beneficiary of the freedom Christ has wrought for you.
Let’s check out some other scriptures that explains this better.
…Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them, triumphing over them in it. Colossians 2:14,15
… Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear son. Colossians 1:13.
…For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one Jesus Christ. Romans 5:17
..Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away, behold all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17
Do you really understand what Christ did on that cross? Do you believe the redemptive work of Christ for you? You’ll never find true freedom from porn until this understanding sinks into your being. The most important step in seeing any victory in this area of your struggle is a five letter word: Faith.
Is it that you believe that someday, victory will come or that it has already come even though you are yet to see it?
Whosoever is born of God overcomes the world and the victory that overcomes this world is our faith in the finished works of Christ.
You’ll have to take up your shield of faith in the truth that Christ has already delivered you from pornography whether or not you are yet to see it come into reality.
A double minded man is unstable in his ways and that man cannot receive anything from God.
It is not your prayers or your diligent study of the word that comes first. It is your faith in what Christ has done. But how can you have faith in a person you barely know about.
How can you get your mind to always remember who you are in Christ if you do not spend time looking at what the word says about your position in Christ.
The fact is, we have been delivered from the activities of this evil world. It is a done deal. Porn addiction was nailed to the cross with Jesus and He resurrected without it. Why then are you living like the work on the cross has not been accomplished?
Don’t stop believing this truth even when you are yet to see the manifestation. What happens is that as you continually keep your eyes fixed on what Christ has done, grace is released and expressed through your life. Jesus didn’t mince words when he said to that woman who was accused of adultery:
‘Neither do I condemn you, Go and sin no more.’
When you receive the gift of no condemnation which Christ has offered you through his finished works, the cravings for sin will lose its hold.
Having established that foundation, the second important thing is to Walk in the Spirit.
The reason why you need to walk in the Spirit is this, you are a tripartite being. You have the spirit, soul and body. The faith life and all we have explained above is perfectly understood in your spirit by reason of your new birth. However, your soul needs to sync with the new nature you have received. Your mind does not understand all of these basic truths. It has to be taught because your body responds only to what your soul(mind, will, emotions) tells it to do. Your mind either receives from the evil world where porn lives or from your spirit where Christ dwells.
How can you consistently direct your mind to draw from your spirit?
1. Renew your mind consistently with the Word.
The Word is a reflection of what is contained in your Spirit. The Word tells you how God wants you to live. Study the Word. Find out scriptures on your identity in Christ and confess them over and over.
Yesterday, I was searching for the sermons of a preacher when I was led to a site that claimed to have the sermons. Immediately I opened the site, the first thing that popped up was a nude woman masturbating. For goodness sake I was looking for a sermon! In the generation we are in, if the word of God is not our constant companion, it will be impossible to live a godly life.
God’s Word is the water that washes our minds and serves as a filter for our subconscious mind. It takes great discipline to sit with the Word but we have no alternative.
Confess your identity in Christ. Be righteousness conscious. Think about what he has done. Fall crazily in love with the epistles of Paul. Now, I love every part of the Bible. It is the whole counsel of God but you see, the epistles of Paul is the perfect place to get a grip on your identity in Christ. Begin from Romans, move to Ephesians, then meditate on Galatians and the others. Chew it, enjoy it, confess it, declare it.
Don’t wait until the urges overwhelm you before you turn to the Word. Some will tell you, when the urges comes, just rebuke it in the name of Jesus and stand your ground. It will not work if you have not internalized the word already. God’s word is not a magic wand. Get the word into your soul everyday
2. Confidence in your flesh is a No No.
Don’t ever trust your flesh. Confidence in your flesh will keep you in a circle. It will keep you falling again and again. Look at this scripture.
…I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ lives in me, and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith in the Son of God…’ Galatians 2:20
Did you see that, the life we live now in our body, our flesh, we live by faith in the Son of God? Don’t trust this flesh, it will disappoint you.
3. Get rid of the triggers
As you give room for the Holy Spirit to work through your mind and body, He will show you those triggers that you need to put away.
While I was still struggling, I noticed that when I watched too much movies, it created a perfect mood for me to crawl to porn sites. This is one reason I rarely watch season movies and in fact there are weeks that go by without me seeing a single movie. I had to learn to listen to instructions from my Spirit. I believe it will help you too. The Holy Spirit is ever there to help.
4. Stop the comparison
I remember how I used to be very angry when my friends would watch movies from season 1- 10 and some with sexual content and yet not get affected while for me, by the end of the first or second series, I’ll be back in my old ways. Our ability to internalize pictures differ. It is one reason porn is common with men because they are aroused by sight. Stay on your lane and allow God help you deal with this.
Again, if someone you know has been able to gain speed in this area, and it seems yours is slow, don’t compare. Stay focused on strengthening your relationship with God. Trust me, when your thought is so soaked in the finished works of Christ, porn addiction will not have nothing to hold on to. Remember God is working in and through you. The transformation you hope to see may not happen immediately but God is at work in you.
5. Isolation feeds on addiction.
One of the proven ways that has helped lots of believers get out of porn is the support group where porn addicts share their struggles and fellowship together. It’s not common here in Nigeria but then if you can get someone you can be accountable to, please do.
6. Pray in the Spirit.
Pray in the Spirit regularly. It is one way of keeping the flesh in check and drawing out of the well of the Spirit.
Should you tell your fiancé or fiancée about your struggle with pornography?
I don’t have a straight forward answer to this. You know who you are courting and what your partner can take. If your partner is not mature enough to handle this information, I think you shouldn’t immediately let them in. But if you feel led to do that, then go ahead.
You already know that your partner is struggling with pornography, should you leave him?
I do not think that is enough reason to back out especially when you know he is sincere in trying to gain freedom. Be his accountability partner. Remind him constantly of his position in Christ. Pray with him and study the word together. You have the grace to help him walk through this. If God has truly brought you together, then trust God to help him through this.
Is it okay to use porn videos to spice up your sex life?
My answer is No. There are lots of sites where you can find healthy articles and videos on sex. Using porn will lead you into a trap that may ruin your marriage and bring untold hurt to your family. At first it may look like it is producing results, it’s only a matter of time before you become an addict.
Don’t think marriage will cure pornography. It doesn’t. For the first few weeks, you might not think about it but when the realities of marriage begin to show up, it could become an outlet for a temporary release. Deal with this now.
If you are married already and you are struggling with this, go over the things I have outlined and allow the Holy Spirit work through you. Don’t take this issue lightly. Apart from the fact that you will be living a life less than God’s expectation, you’ll be ruining that romantic relationship with your wife.
I end with this scripture:
Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy. Jude 24.
Can a believer stop watching pornography? Yes. Because the Word says so. We walk by what the Word says and never by our experiences.
What’s next on our study from the Book of Galatians
‘I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel;
which is not another, but there be some that trouble you and would pervert the gospel of Christ…’ Galatians 1:6,7