Mind Mapping How to Break Free from Porn Addiction – 2.0

RMlogo How to break free from porn addiction 2

There are specific and practical steps necessary to break free from porn addiction. This process is called progressive sanctification, which is born out of a right understanding of the addiction.

Listen to the podcast

Our podcasts are on iTunes, Google Play, SoundCloud, TuneIn, or Stitcher. If you want to comment on this content, go here.

In This Series:

(This is the second of a three-part series on how to break free from porn addiction. In the first piece, I stressed the importance of understanding the ontological origin of this sin, how Christ provides a new potential, and the need for gospel character change to overcome a pornography addiction.)

Now I’m going to address the practical steps you must take to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in order to undergo this change, which is called progressive sanctification. I will begin by picking up with the stories of Ben and Beth, our fictional characters from the first piece.

Scene #1 – Ben was struggling with discontentment at work. His once exciting career was now a dead end job with an unreasonable boss, and he found himself lustfully looking at his female coworkers.

He knew it was wrong and dishonoring to them and God, but the pull seemed overwhelming. It had the power to lift his spirits, which made it difficult to look away. He was feeding his flesh and he wanted more. His thoughts turned to his physical relationship with his wife. It was a mixture of desire, entitlement, and hopeful deliverance from lust.

After a busy night with the family, his anticipation for intimacy was dashed when his wife crashed with the kids. He was alone staring at the computer screen, thinking about the women of porn.

Scene #2 – Beth was struggling with singleness. On her way home from work, she saw a couple walking hand-in-hand down the street, embracing as they exchanged whispers and gentle kisses.

Shortly before bed, she logged on her computer to catch up with her Facebook friends only to see an engagement announcement from a former classmate. She thought, “If I have to buy one more bridesmaid dress…” As she sat in her quiet apartment the lure of pornography grew to appease her unfulfilled longings for intimacy.

Pornography is a worship disorder. Being born in Adam separates us from God and from our vertical relationship with Him. At the same time the corrupting nature of sin elevates the horizontal union with the opposite sex, creating a false god. Our hearts are at war: Men tend to focus on the physical, while women tend to focus on the emotional/romantic.

Images of naked women and men create a counterfeit environment that falsely satisfies our longing for relationship. In the end it leaves us convicted, plagued with guilt, and our relationship with God is damaged.

Both Ben and Beth stumbled and gave in to sexual temptation (James 1:14-15). What were they missing in their walk that hindered their ability to overcome this sin?

They didn’t know how to engage the process of sanctification, which occurs in three primary ways: (1) by remembering the battle context of life, (2) renewing our minds, and (3) restoring our worship. The mind map below lays out these three themes.

2 How to overcome pornography addiction

Remembering the Battle Context

The context of the Christian life is one of warfare (Galatians 5:17; 2 Corinthians 10:4-6); it is not one of righteousness as many believe. We must remember our flesh is not redeemed. It is still cursed and its character does not change. If anything its nature grows more evil (Proverbs 6:18).

As believers, we are no longer dominated by sin, nor are we dominated by righteousness. We are dominated by conflict…a very intense one. – John MacArthur

The stakes of spiritual warfare are high. Our enemy (1) seeks to destroy those outside of Christ and (2) render those in Christ useless to hinder the work of the kingdom. Christ’s victory is secure, but as children of God and heirs with Christ, we are called to actively participate (Ephesians 6:11).

As a Christian soldier, our duty is to train ourselves for personal sanctification. God’s life-long work in us is to conform us to the likeness of His Son (Romans 8:29). Growth comes as we learn how to live out our new identity.

Since God created us for worship, there is no neutral ground: We are either being conformed to God (Romans 12:1-2) or to the devil (1 John 3:10). We must actively maintain an awareness of this battle.

The comforts and blessing of this world can lull us into a peacetime mentality, which can lead us to make a truce with sin. In the forefront of our minds, we must remember sin destroys.

Resources

Renewing Our Thinking

As noted in the previous article, the battlefield of sanctification is in our minds. The renewing of our minds is hindered by the propensity of our thinking to drift back to old self-reliant thought patterns. We must not allow old thinking patterns to go unchecked. We must not let our fleshly-driven autopilot remain in control.

Regeneration gives us an opportunity to think spiritually. We tend to think naturally and not spiritually. While it is true that we can enjoy the gift of repentance (2 Timothy 2:23-25), there is another angle that speaks to how our minds are illuminated by the Spirit of God. What we need to know, feel, desire, experience, and apply comes by the Spirit’s illumination. – Rick Thomas

We must recognize our natural strength of human reasoning is actually a detriment to spiritual growth. We must grow in our ability to engage the Holy Spirit by asking for guidance and wisdom (James 1:5).

We must be continually turning our thinking upside down by hitting the pause button on life and reorienting our minds to the gospel, which brings us to another stumbling block that affects our thoughts, and that is our feelings.

Emotions are part of our image bearing capacity, and like Christ, we will experience a full spectrum of emotions from joy to grief to anger. Emotions serve as a good barometer as to what is going on in our hearts, which can stem from either godly to fleshly thinking.

Too often we can attach meaning to our feelings without recognizing how they are by-products of our thinking–especially our poor thinking. When our emotions are driving us toward sin, we need to examine our thinking. We must base our understanding on God’s truth rather than our feelings.

In summary, we must always monitor our thinking and reorient it back to the gospel.

Resources

Restoring Our Worship

Sanctification is not about changing our lives to achieve our earthly desires, but to restore our worship to God. Our perfect loving Father will continue to grow us in this area, which we can cooperate in a couple of ways.

First, we must always be suspicious of our heart’s motives and tendencies.

Free from the dominion of sin, we are now able to worship God in truth and spirit, but our indwelling fleshly nature leaves our hearts with the tendency to drift back towards earthly pleasures (Jeremiah 2:13).

As a result, we must continually examine what we are worshiping (Psalm 139:23-24) and address our pockets of unbelief that turn our affections away from God. This is why the gospel is as important during sanctification as it is in our salvation.

Secondly, we often overlooked aspects of our restoration of worship by not understanding the role that suffering plays.

In a mysterious way (Deuteronomy 29:29) God will use evil for our good (Genesis 50:20; Romans 8:28). It is unpleasant, but a vital aspect of God’s perfect love for His children (Hebrews 5:8, Philippians 3:10). Suffering is one means in which God leads us away from our fleshly lovers.

God is a jealous lover and He wants our undivided hearts. We must embrace the truth that He is the best thing for us, which means we must explore how He is working in us during painful circumstances.

Suffering can work in us to make us depend on Him more fully while surrendering to His sovereign care in our lives as we undergo the necessary transformation that produces a deeper more satisfying worship in our lives. If we fail to do this, we will misinterpret God’s care in our lives, thereby creating pockets of unbelief.

When we allow ourselves to desire the things of this world more than Christ, our worship becomes marred. Suffering tends to refocus our attention on what is truly important in God’s economy, which is His Glory and our sanctification expressed through worship.

Warnings

For a variety of reasons, we can become complacent in our walk. We can experience a season of blessing and believe the war is over, or after a prolonged battle, our souls will look for quick relief.

The enemy is crafty and works to distort our thinking about God. We can find ourselves elevating God’s grace over His holiness in order to justify a certain amount of sin in our lives. I would like to highlight two points worth our consideration.

First, God’s will for us cannot be thwarted (Job 42:2) and He will complete His good work in us (Philippians 1:6). If we take a weak posture against sin in our lives God will work to return us from our waywardness by bringing us back into a right relationship with Him. Frequently this is accomplished through discipline (Jeremiah 31:18).

Secondly, when sin is present in our lives, our prayer life is ineffective. God is sovereign, but there is a mysterious element whereby prayer is used to fulfill His will. With ongoing unrepentant sin in our lives, we forfeit the opportunity to help our loved ones through prayer.

I confess one of the greatest motivating factors to strive for purity in my life is so that I can boldly pray for those I love. It is a tremendous joy to participate in the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4) as part of God’s extension of His love to His creation.

Call to Action

If you are trapped by the sin of pornography, you must explore and examine how it is in play in your life. It is wise to seek a mature Christian brother or sister in Christ to help you examine your thinking and work to tear down this counterfeit worship structure and replace it with a greater, more perfect lover: Christ is our greatest treasure (Matthew 13:45).

We all have pockets of unbelief in our thinking: gospel gaps in our understanding about God and ourselves. We must continue to relentlessly seek Him who is faithful (1 Chronicles 28:9).

In Christ, we all have a new potential, but most of us are not prepared for the battle. We must learn how to fight.

In the third article, I will address daily battle tactics to answer the question, “What does the practical outworking of our sanctification look like on a daily basis and how is this accomplished?”

In the meantime, I recommend that you reread this content while making plans to work through all the linked resources that I have provided for you. This content will be one of your better allies as you fight against sexual temptations.

More Resources for You:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
«                   »
Did this article help you? We have hundreds more here. Also, will you support us if you're able? We're a 100% donor-supporter organization. Because of the generous giving of others, we're able to provide the resources free to the world.