Why Praying For The Strength To Quit Pornography Won’t Help You.
Written By Dale Partridge (https://relearnchurch.org)
Let’s imagine you and some friends were playing basketball, and I walked up to the person who had the ball, and I asked him, “Hey can I have the ball?” He says, “Sure!” And he tosses me the ball. Then, while I have the ball in my hands I ask him again, “Hey can I have the ball?” With a strange face and a still body he replies, “You already have it… It’s right there in your hands.” But again, I respond with the same question, but this time, I get on my knees passionately and say, “Please… can I have the ball?” He looks around at everyone watching our interaction, wonders if I’m mentally stable and then blurts out, “YOU ALREADY HAVE IT!”
Sadly, this is the same type of prayer dialogue Christian porn addicts have with God. A conversation where men kneel down and beg for the freedom, victory, and strength that God has already given to them.
Despite receiving the Gospel, becoming a new creation ([2 Corinthians 5:17], receiving the Holy Spirit ([Ephesians 1:13]), having the ability to walk in the liberty by which Christ has made us free ([Galatians 5:1], these men still believe they are in an impenetrable dungeon with walls too thick for the healing power of Jesus.
It all stems from a lie. In the words of my mentor, “If you believe wrong, you’ll never live strong.”
That is to say, if the Gospel you believe can only save you from some sin while leaving you in a dungeon with the rest of it, is Christianity really “Good News?” When you tell others about Christ do you say, “Accept Christ as your Savior! His death and resurrection can make you free, but He isn’t capable of freeing you from pornography.”
Sadly, this is the Gospel of which many men have subscribed— a false and fraudulent imitation that leaves husbands, fathers, and sons begging for the prison door keys that are hanging around their neck.
Christian, there are over 100 Scriptures which speak to the freedom and victory we have over sin through Christ Jesus. Either the Bible isn’t true, or you believe a lie—I’m siding with the latter and here’s why…
Years ago, I believed a false Gospel. I believed that I could have my pornography habit and Heaven too. I believed that this sin would be an inevitable struggle where I would just have to put the “ask forgiveness” button on repeat.
That was until I heard the Truth. That was until someone was willing to show me what God had already said on the matters of sexual immorality, repentance, healing, and power. Below, I have summarized those lessons for you.
1. Your Pornography Habit Will Send You To Hell
1 Corinthians 6:9-10says, “ Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. ”
Masturbation at the viewing of another individual(s) participating in sexual behavior (who is not your spouse) is fornication. If you have a pornography habit, you are a fornicator.
Moreover, we mustn’t forget that 1 Corinthians is a letter written to Christians, not non-Christians. The Apostle Paul is reminding believers, “Do not be deceived.” That is, do not be misinformed, if you (even as a professing Christian) walk in habitual and unrepentant sin you will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
I can hear it now, “But I do repent after I watch pornography!”
Men, there is an eternal difference between the person who is apologetic about his sin and the person who is repentant about his sin. One will send you to hell while the other won’t. The word repent means: To turn away from.
So, I have a question for you. If you’re continuing to look at pornography week after week and month after month have you truly turned away from your sin? The answer is no. Your repentance is in fact, a mere apology. You are sorry, shameful and even guilty of your sin but you are not repentant.
Let me illustrate it another way. There’s a difference between the man who walks a hundred miles, slips into a mud puddle, gets up, wipes the mud off his clothes and continues moving forward; and the man who walks a hundred miles, slips into a mud puddle, pulls out his beach towel, stays at the muddle puddle, and willingly jumps back into the mud over and over again.
Christian, how many unrepentant sinners are in Heaven? According to Paul, there’s zero. Now you might add, “But doesn’t Paul also tell us, ‘There is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus?’” Yes, as a matter of fact he does. But let’s look at the second part of that verse—the part everyone seems to leave out.
Romans 8:1 “ There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. ”
Uh oh. That means there is condemnation for those who choose to walk according to the flesh and not in the Spirit, right?
Galatians 6:7-8 brings additional support to this bold claim, “ Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. ”
Put simply, no amount of church attendance, or emotional-high worship singing, or statements about how much we love Jesus will negate the declaration of the Scriptures. If we choose to walk in known, unrepentant, habitual sin, we will not reap eternal life but instead, reap what we have sown, corruption and an afterlife away from God.
This should strike righteous fear into the heart of every Christian with a porn habit.
Men, the Bible says, “ The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. ” Jesus continues in Matthew 10:28 by saying, “ And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. ”
God does not call us to a malicious or vindictive fear of Him but to a reverential fear. Psalm 19:9 even says, “ The fear of the Lord is clean. ” However, much of the church today has lost this very healthy, fundamental fear of the Lord.
Having said that, let me reaffirm my theological position. If we as Christians fall, there is grace. If we sin, there is repentance. If we stray, there is restoration. But we cannot fall and stay down. We cannot sin and not repentant. We cannot leave and expect citizenship. While God offers all people, unconditional love, He does not offer unconditional salvation. The Bible declares that we must believe in His Son, we must make Jesus our Lord, and we must repent of our sin.
2. Pornography Doesn’t Happen To You, You Choose It
Too many Christians and too many churches have catered to pornography viewing brothers (and sisters) by acknowledging it as something that’s uncontrollable. Some Christians have even tried to elevate its power by labeling it an “addiction”—a state of brokenness which I guess is too far for the Gospel to reach. Their version of the Bible must read, “ You are free! (unless you are addicted). ”
The truth is, addiction is merely a biological response to sinful behavior. It is not a territory too remote for the healing power of Jesus Christ. There is no biblical support that addiction can separate you from the truth and power of God’s Word. There is no biblical evidence that addiction can keep you from choosing to walk in righteousness.
So while Christian porn viewers believe their “addiction” forces them to sin, it’s simply not true. Sin doesn’t happen to us, we choose it. It’s not your phone’s fault, it’s not your computer’s fault, it’s not your faulty pornography accountability software’s fault, and it’s not even the pornography’s fault. It’s your fault. Your sin is your choice.
In other words, the Bible tells us you aren’t a victim of your sin but you are a victor over it.
Colossians 3:5 in the ESV tells us, “ Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. ” That is to say, you have the power to kill off your flesh’s desire for evil.
1 Corinthians 15:34brings further support by bluntly stating, “ Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; ” Another direct call to the power we have to choose what is right. But most importantly, Romans 6:12-14 declares, “ Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members (your body parts) as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you. ”
Christian men, you are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus. You are a victor over the sin in your life. Now, are you perfect? No. Can you live a sinless life? No. But do you have the power to win and win often? Yes. Do you have the power to choose not to sin? Yes. Do you have the ability to put to death the desire to look at pornography? Yes.
3. God Has Already Given You A Way Of Escape
Everyone faces temptation in their life, both believers, and unbelievers. Hebrews 4:15 even tells us that Jesus was tempted, “ For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. ”
The problem is when action follows temptation—then you have sin. Over the years, I’ve worked with several men who claimed the name of Christ yet genuinely believed they could not escape the temptation to indulge in pornography. They believed once the thought of it had entered their mind it was impossible to remove. Though I empathize with their utter brokenness, these men held a profoundly unbiblical perspective.
1 Corinthians 10:13states the exact opposite, “ No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. ”
If I could paraphrase, I believe the Apostle is saying, “ Your temptation to look at pornography isn’t special. It’s not some extra-dominant form of temptation. It’s actually quite common. Millions of people have dealt with it, and millions have conquered it. But God who remains loyal to you, through repentance, even after you sin, won’t allow the temptation of sin to overpower your ability to reject it. But more than that, God will also provide you a way out—meaning you can escape your temptation to sin every single time.”
Read that last sentence again. You, through the power of Christ, have the ability to win Every. Single. Time. Go ahead, stand up and scream, “Glory, hallelujah, amen! The truth has set me free!”
Ultimately, pornography is idolatry. It creates a habit of lust that leads a man to surrender his mind, body, money, time, and purity in service to it. It becomes his god and his master.
Additionally, repeated pornography use isn’t some slight spiritual infraction that merely requires proper sin management. It’s the highway to hell that needs an immediate detour. It is a sin that needs confession. It is a threat to your eternal security.
Lastly, while this article might hurt, it is not harsh. Harsh is God’s consequences for those who choose to reject and disobey Him. This, however, is healing. This is redemption.
So yes, pray for the strength to remain in the Spirit. Pray for the strength to remember what God has already said. But do not pray for the strength to quit pornography. After all, that would be like asking for a basketball that’s already in your hands.
WRITTEN BY DALE PARTRIDGE
Dale Partridge is the Founder and Editor in Chief at Relearn Church. He is also a Wall Street Journal bestselling author, Christian apologist, house church planter, and is currently earning his Masters of Divinity at Western Seminary. He and his wife have three children.