For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power.
-1 Corinthians 4:20
He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
God's economy of personal growth and transformation is not like the world's. The world's system is about speed and efficiency and minimal discomfort. God's way is often quite slow, terribly inefficient, and almost certainly involves pain of some kind. No wonder so few in the church today are experiencing any real transformation.
But there is good news! God will not abandon you -- if you are in Christ, He is committed to you forever, and will complete what He began in you. Hallelujah!
If you want to experience the fullness of the life of Jesus in you as a Christian, what will that process look like? And how can you surrender more completely to it? And what will be the worldly obstacles that will try to prevent you from such transformation?
I want to share with you 4 key differences between God's "slow growth" model and the world's "quick fix" model when it comes to life change. And why God's model is exponentially more powerful (and beautiful) than the world's.
1. God's Way is Organic -- the world's way is man-made
The language Jesus often used to describe the transformative process in the believer's life is organic; seeds, yeast, fruit, etc. But each of these organic elements need to be mixed with something for their "power" to be unleashed. A seed needs soil. Yeast needs (no pun intended) dough. For growth to happen a combination of sorts is necessary.
When one places their faith in Jesus Christ as their only hope of forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God, the Spirit of God is joined with their spirit and new life is created.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. -2 Cor. 5:17
It is important to note that the transformative power in the believer's life is external to them. In other words, we do not possess the power within ourselves to change our sinful patterns. We need a different "seed" planted in us for that kind of transformation. That seed is Christ and His Spirit.
The world, however, says that you have everything you need within yourself to change your life. But the more one tries to change their life by relying on their own power, the more futile and fruitless their life becomes. A man-made solution cannot solve a God-sized problem (i.e. sin).
2. God's Way Takes Time -- the world's way says NOW!
The new life in Christ is implanted in seed form, so when the Bible speaks of sanctification (i.e. spiritual growth) it is communicating that the transforming effect of Christ's new life in the believer is not instantaneous; seeds don't instantly become trees or bushes or flowers. Organic, gospel-powered growth and change, takes time.
Sometimes it is easy to get discouraged when the changes we hope for and want don't come quickly. We might doubt God's power or goodness or even His presence. We are so accustomed to the world's way of instant this and instant that, so when God's way is taking awhile, we grow impatient.
But imagine the foolishness of expecting a tree or piece of fruit to grow at the same rate of expectation we have for personal character or emotional and spiritual maturity. We would never expect to plant an acorn today and have a mature, mighty oak tomorrow. We know such growth takes time! Yet, so often we expect godly, Christlike maturity to sprout in milliseconds.
I believe we expect this unrealistic speed of change because we are daily conditioned in our world to expect everything NOW. Instant coffee, instant news, instant entertainment, instant pain relief, instant everything!
The world's way of change is "3 easy steps" to your "best life now." And, sadly, millions of us buy this lie wholeheartedly. And when the latest fad or "diet" to transform our lives ends up not working, we immediately take the bait of the next instant solution. Then 10 years goes by and you wake up (maybe) to the realization that you are fundamentally stuck at the same point you were ten years ago.
The world's method of "now" never produces a better "later."
3. God's Way is Dependent -- the world's way says "You can do it!"
Remember, it is Christ's life in us that produces the change we need. We are not the source of our own transformation. Jesus said it plainly: "Apart from me, you can do nothing." (John 15:5b) Just before this statement, He gave us a vivid picture of the relationship between vines and branches when it comes to producing fruit:
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. -John 15:4-5
Did you catch that? "The branch cannot bear fruit by itself." This isn't optional. It's not like the branch can "choose" to bear fruit without the vine. It is impossible for the branch to bear fruit by itself!
God's way of total life change is total dependence on Him. There is no other option. It isn't some kind of formula, such as "give me a pinch of Jesus, a dash of Oprah, and a scoop of me." No, that's the world's way. God's way is 100% dependence on Jesus, otherwise there is no fruit.
This idea of total dependence is repulsive to the world. Humility and dependence are not celebrated. Instead, the world lifts up self-reliance and self-importance. The drumbeat of the world's way of change is "You can do it!" But the cry of the Christian is, "Lord, you must do it, for I cannot."
We abide, Christ produces the fruit.
4. God's Way Reproduces -- the world's way is selfish
The beauty of God's way of life change is that it always leads the believer to reproduce the fruit of God's Spirit in others. For what God produces is nothing short of spectacular -- how could a person experiencing the transforming power of God not pass along such life-giving fruit to others?
The stark contrast between God's way of change leading to reproduction and the world's way leading to selfishness is seen in Galatians 5:19-23,
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
The world's way says live for yourself, indulge every urge, pursue every whim and craving. But God's way produces His fruit in His time for His glory. And there is no limitation to the reproductive effect of such fruit.
The Power of the Seed
Let me close with an illustration to highlight the power of God's way of transformation versus the world's way, and how it is counterintuitive to man's wisdom.
I selected the picture for this blog post very carefully. It's a "delicate" flower sprouting through cold, hard concrete. This picture is an image of what I've been trying to convey in this article.
A flower seed versus concrete seems like no contest in favor of the concrete, right? But if that seed is planted in fertile soil below the concrete, then given enough time the power of the seed will break through the seemingly impenetrable concrete and blossom in an unexpected, yet vibrant display of stunning beauty.
God's "slow growth" model of transformation works similarly in our lives. He has planted the life of Christ within us. Over time, as we abide in the Vine, there is power flowing through us and breaking beyond the seemingly impenetrable forces of selfishness and pride and envy and greed and lust. As the life of Christ grows in us, a sprout forms and eventually we blossom in unexpected and beautiful ways that previously might have seemed impossible. (Eph. 3:20)
And when your life blossoms with the beauty of Jesus Christ, you will be compelled by love to freely share the fruit He produces through you with others. The world cannot offer such hope and joy. This kind of life and power is only found in Jesus.
Will you press in to this "slow growth" process of total transformation? The results are worth it...
Founder & President
No parent wants to think about the possibility of their child experiencing sexual abuse. This is a very real concern, however, as 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused in our world today. Instead of just being afraid, however, there are very practical things you can do to reduce the risk of abuse to your child.
An Obstacle for Some Parents
There is an obstacle that prevents some parents from better protecting their children from sexual abuse. Ironically, that obstacle is the fear of ruining a child’s innocence by teaching them about sex. But when we refrain from talking to our kids about sex we are not protecting them, we are putting them in danger.
I am speaking from personal experience. I am one of the 1 out of 6 men who were sexually abused as boys. My abuse started at five years old and continued until I was fourteen. The following are the things that could have prevented the abuse I lived through.
Teach Names of Body Parts
A counselor friend shared with me a story of a little girl who told her mother, “Mom, the babysitter keeps poking me with his stick.” That sounded odd to the mother but not alarming, so the mother replied, “Well, tell him to stop.” It was weeks later, after several other babysitting times, when the mother finally realized the babysitter was sexually abusing her little girl.
The mother had never taught her little girl the names of male and female sex organs, so the girl had no words to explain what had happened to her. This girl suffered sexual abuse much longer than if she knew how to tell her mom what had happened.
Ask What Your Children Do and With Whom
Most of us know that when sexual abuse happens it is often between people who know each other well. A 2017 study found that for every adult who abuses a child there are seven children who sexually abuse another child. More specifically, the demographic who abuses children the most is boys ages 11 to 15.
This aligns with my story. My abuser was twelve when he started abusing me at age five. His family was close with ours and they attended our church. We moved when I was eight and another boy who was fourteen began abusing me. His family was also close with ours and attended our church. But abuse can also happen between children of the same age, when one coerces another into doing sexual things.
My parents never asked what I did at either older friend’s house or questioned why we were so often alone and out of sight. That put me in great danger.
Teach What God Made Sex For
My parents never told me anything about sex or sexuality. Not once. I knew what to call body parts by age five but we lived on a farm where I had seen animals mating and I had a lot of questions.
Had I known what God created sex for and how it worked I would not have brought those questions to a boy twice my age. Had I known God’s plan for sex I would have told a parent when someone tried to get me to do something outside of God’s plan. My lack of sex education did not create innocence but vulnerability.
Teach About Sexual Temptation and Desire
Teaching about sex must include talking about sexual temptation and what to do when we feel tempted. The Bible teaches us to tell each other when we are tempted and kids need to learn to tell their parents when they are tempted, even sexually tempted.
Kids need to know before they reach puberty that they will experience sexual desire, and that is good. However, we must coach them to manage their sexual desire. Kids need to understand what to avoid doing with their sexuality that would be harmful to others or themselves.
My own sexual abuse awakened my sexuality too early. Counselors call this “hot-wiring.” By the time I was ten or eleven I was experiencing sexual temptation and desire. I needed someone to teach me what to do with temptation and desire. When my parents opted out of my sex education they handed that over to the world. The world gave me two teenage boys and pornography as educators.
Discuss the Reality of Pornography
Our kids need to know what pornography is and what to do when they see it long before they do. The average age of exposure to pornography today is eight. That means half of all kids in our country see pornography before age eight. That means children today need to know how to react to pornography at age seven. This is protection, not corruption.
I was introduced to pornography at age nine by the teenager abusing me. Pornography is very often used by abusers to make children feel that the sex acts they are asked to do are normal. If people take lots of pictures of it, how wrong can it be? Pornography was used on me to get me to comply.
Afterward, I remember wondering if my dad had ever seen pornography as a boy. I wanted to ask him but I was afraid to. This would have been another helpful conversation that could have cut short my abuse by several years.
Make Sex a Calm Conversation
Kids don’t want to talk to a parent who is anxious or agitated. It is imperative that any time we talk about sex or porn we remain calm and pleasant. Our kids need to experience positive conversations about sex and sexuality so they aren’t afraid to talk to us about sex or potentially abusive situations.
When I was nine I actually tried to tell my mother what the older boy was doing with me. I was afraid, so I hinted by asking if it was normal for boys to do certain things. My mother got visibly agitated and upset so I changed the subject and assured her everything was fine. I never said another word about what was happening to me, and the abuse continued, getting progressively worse, for five more years.
Teaching Healthy Sexuality Prevents Abuse
You may have noticed that everything in this blog is part of teaching God’s design for healthy sexuality:
Teaching God’s Design for sex in this way also protects our children agains sexual abuse. Ignorance is not innocence, it is dangerous in today’s culture.
Dr. Juli Slattery, author of Rethinking Sexuality, puts it this way:
“In what world is knowing God’s design for sexuality ruining anyone’s innocence?”
Knowing God’s design for sex protects our children from abuse.
Director of Training
It’s fair to say all of us have heard a husband or wife say they are married to their best friend. If not, well...now you have.
In greater frequency I'm going to the dictionary to find definitions of words that are key to what I’m speaking or writing about. Seems like a reasonable thing to do. The Merriam-Webster dictionary has changed over the years. Single word definitions are no longer the only words defined in those dictionaries.
So I looked up “best friend” in Merriam-Webster's Dictionary to find this: “a person's closest or dearest friend." The word ‘dearest’ is what jumped out at me.
I asked myself, is my wife (Julie) my dearest friend? Which prompted another question; Shouldn’t she be? My immediate answer was, Yes. Duh!
A Track Change on my Train of Thought
I used to mentally bristle at the idea of being married to your best friend. Seemed like an insulting idea to my relationship with Jesus Christ. He above all others should be my one and only best friend. Period.
Oh how legalistic of me. Bear with me, if you’re wondering if I’m not off the rails.
I now believe differently. But this was a shift in belief based on prayer, thought and biblical review -- and a discussion with my bride.
I asked Julie what a best friend is to her. She named the following items:
Sounds a bit like our right relationship with Jesus doesn’t it? That convinced me that husband and wife cannot just be 'best friends', but in reality should be each other's best friends.
Marriage as Jesus sees it
Here’s the truth about marriage as we view it the reflection of Jesus Christ’s relationship with the church. Marriage is the only relationship between human beings that is designed to fully reflect the relationship Jesus has with His bride, the Church.
In Ephesians 5:25, 31-32 the Apostle Paul writes: Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her... “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
As I think about and process these verses I see a relationship between two “closest and dearest” friends. Two ideas that are key to draw out in the previous sentence are relationship and closest. Jesus went to the cross to heal a broken relationship between mankind and God the Father.
Let's unpack verse 31 of Ephesians 5 by looking at a few key words:
With these words further defined from the original greek language verse 31 could read this way:
Eph 5:31 “Therefore a man will abandon his father and mother and adhere with she my lady and the two exist as one human nature.” (Dan W. version)
There is also no one closer to the Christian than God the Holy Spirit who lives within us. Men, I’m speaking to you for a few sentences. Your wife is the only other person called a suitable “helper’ in Scripture other than the Holy Spirit.
Men, we have the responsibility and honor to carry the image of Christ in our marriage relationship. We are the bridegroom in our marriage as Jesus is to the church.
Did that realization just about knock you over? If not, it maybe should at least grab your undivided attention.
Attention wives (for a minute)
In Ephesians 5:22-24 the Apostle Paul writes to wives: Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
The Apostle Paul is not saying women are inferior, less valuable than men, less intelligent, capable or any such value based idea. He is also not giving us men permission to boss our wives around, or they are a doormat of any kind.
God has assigned men and women equal value, access to the kingdom of God but also has given men and women different roles and responsibilities. Wives and (women) you are co-heirs of the grace, the same grace of Christ. Your value exceeds any precious jewel on earth!
As Jesus Christ has demonstrated He is worthy of being fully trusted, so men we as husbands following His example need to be of such integrity that when a tough decision needs to be made our wives can trust us to lead well. Are we perfect as Jesus is? Nope, yet we are called to lead in that same submissive relationship with God as Jesus did.
That puts duty on us as men to lead wisely and wives to trust fully in the mirrored image of Christ following the lead of God the Father.
This takes two of the closest and dearest friends who have a profound trust of one another. Husband and wife of one human nature, glued together in Christ Jesus.
Yes, we can and should be married to our best friends.
A few closing musings
A covenant is a big deal. God made covenants with Moses, Israel and Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of a new and eternal covenant with His brothers, sisters and between God and His children. That covenant was signed, sealed and delivered through the blood of Jesus the Christ.
Marriage is also a covenant. A covenant shaped and mirrored in Christ’s relationship with the church.
Let’s stop here and define what a “covenant” between God and mankind is: “A covenant is an unchangeable , divinely imposed legal agreement between God and man that stipulates the conditions of their relationship.” (from Grudem's Systematic Theology)
In Malachi 2 marriage is referred to directly as a covenant. Therefore we see marriage in light of the above covenant definition. This means we as husbands and wives do not get to set the terms of this covenant. God does and has.
This is not oppressive, but freeing! As in Christian living, there is great freedom in life in Christ so it is with marriage. Come on now...this is great news!
God gives to husband and wife each other's best friend. This makes the relationship not merely a 'her and me' arrangement, but an us or we adventure.
Just writing this article has changed the way I view our 36 year marriage union and covenant. My lady of one human nature and I have the joyous privilege to mirror His love for the church, the bridegroom.
So has Christ given to you in your marriage!
Wow! How cool is that!
Written by Dan Wobschall
Director of Gateway to Freedom
Yes, it is possible to quit porn and masturbation.
But I'm assuming you would prefer I write a little bit more in answer to this question. So I will.
I won't spend time writing about how big the porn problem is (you can read some statistics here). Nor will I focus on how porn affects the brain or the addictive nature of porn or is masturbation a sin. All good topics, but that's not why you're reading this article, is it?
You are reading this article because you want to know how to quit porn and masturbation.
Here are 5 tips to help you quit porn and masturbation. These are not a "magic formula" that guarantees freedom, but they will greatly increase your probability of success.
1. Learn your triggers
It is highly unlikely that your engagement of porn and masturbation is random or arbitrary. There is always some kind of pattern to such acting out. This pattern includes what we call triggers.
A trigger is anything that prompts you to pursue a particular unhealthy behavior (in this case, porn and masturbation). Triggers could be physical, like something you experience with your five senses (seeing, touching, tasting, hearing, smelling). Triggers could also be emotional or mental (i.e. sad, bored, scared, lonely, stressed, etc.).
To learn your specific triggers ask yourself the following questions related to your engagement with porn and masturbation:
Spend time examining your triggers and write them down. And commit to a lifelong journey of learning yourself so you can become better equipped for dealing with any kind of temptation you face.
Once you learn your core triggers, it's time to make a plan for responding to temptation in healthy, life-giving ways.
2. Plan your ways of escape ahead of time
I'm going to assume that you are not engaging porn and masturbation 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. (If you are, hospitalize yourself immediately!) The time to create a plan for dealing with your triggers is not 60 seconds before you act out -- make your plan(s) before you are wrestling with temptation.
Think of your unhealthy habit of porn and masturbation as a big hole in the roof of your house. When do you notice the hole as a problem? On sunny days? No! You curse the hole when it's raining, right? But you can't fix the hole when it's raining.
The time to work on fixing the hole is when the sun is out, even though that's also the time you aren't really thinking about the hole as being a problem. But rest assured it will rain again!
The key to responding well to your triggers and temptation is to plan your ways of escape before the "rain" starts falling. Here is a template to help you create your plan for resisting temptation when your triggers are tripped:
Responding well to triggers and temptation does not happen "organically." You must have a plan and you must work that plan. Quitting porn and masturbation requires more than hope and good intentions. But if you've learned your triggers and created a plan for escaping temptation, you are well on your way to living free from porn and masturbation.
Now it's time to exponentially increase your probability of freedom by sharing your triggers and your plan with someone else. No long-term freedom from porn and masturbation is possible without the help of others.
3. Share your triggers and your plan with a trusted friend
We all need help in life, and not just with overcoming the destructive habit of porn and masturbation. God designed us to thrive as human beings when we live in community. "It is not good for man to be alone."
I admit that what I am about to propose isn't easy. It's scary to be vulnerable with other people, especially sharing such a personal struggle like porn and masturbation. But it is necessary.
Now that you have written down your specific triggers and created a plan of escape when temptation hits, it's time to share this with at least one trusted friend. I found it most helpful in my own recovery journey to have at least 3 other people who knew this information.
A trusted friend is someone who cares about you enough to hold in confidence this personal information. And they have your best in mind; they want to see you succeed in your pursuit of freedom.
When you share your triggers and escape plan, this is what you are asking your trusted friend to do:
Quitting porn and masturbation is about more than just stopping unhealthy behaviors and thoughts. It's also about building strong friendships and growing in integrity as part of a community. And possibly the primary reason you need community is because you won't travel this road of growth and maturity perfectly.
You will stumble along the way, and you will need a loving community to help you get back up and keep going.
4. Confess and repent when you stumble
I wish freedom from porn and masturbation was easy. I really do. But it is not. It is messy and imperfect, just like you and me.
As you fight the battle against the temptations to engage porn and masturbation, you will not always win. You will sometimes stumble and fall. But falling on this journey doesn't mean you have utterly failed.
It is important to reframe stumbles as opportunities to learn and grow, rather than false indications that you are fatally flawed and beyond hope of ever being free. Fatalistic thinking is NOT from God!
God forgives your sin, not so that you can keep returning to it, but instead so you can look at it objectively, free from its shame, to learn how to respond better the next time you're faced with a similar temptation.
When (notice I said when, not if) you stumble and fall, be quick to confess it and repent. To confess is to "agree with truth." So, don't lie or try to hide the fact that you acted out. Agree with the truth that you did x, y, or z.
To repent means to "change your mind." The reason you stumbled was because somewhere along the way your mind was convinced that it was a good idea to sin. Repentance is refocusing your mind back on what is true and right and good. (Phil. 4:8)
I find it most helpful to confess and repent in the following contexts:
Confession and repentance is not usually easy or comfortable, but it is crucial if you are going to break free from porn and masturbation and become the person of integrity God created you to be.
Finally, it's important that all this work on quitting porn and masturbation doesn't overshadow what the real goal of such work should be: to build an intimate, growing relationship with God.
5. Keep the real goal in view: intimacy with God
Your struggle with porn and masturbation is not disconnected from your relationship to God. Yes, you read that sentence correctly, even if it is not something you have ever thought before.
Sin is not an entity unto itself. Sin is a distortion of something good. Think of sin like a parasite; it requires a host. Your sinful desires for porn and masturbation are merely distortions of the good desires God created within you for connection, intimacy, and pleasure.
Therefore, your pursuit to break free from porn and masturbation must ultimately be a pursuit of knowing God and His good design of sex, love, and intimacy. Don't lose sight of this larger (and better) goal. If you only eliminate an unhealthy habit, you will miss the greatest joy of all: walking with God as He designed you to walk.
Take a some time to go back over the previous 4 tips and reframe them with this goal of intimacy with God. Maybe ask yourself the following questions:
As you keep the bigger picture of intimacy with God in view you will discover that "quitting" porn and masturbation is not so much a journey of negation, but instead a journey of pursuit. By running toward God you are automatically running away from sexual sin in all its forms.
Yes, it is possible to quit porn and masturbation.
By pursuing intimacy with God and others...
Founder & President
You have an enemy. His name is Satan (also known as Adversary, Accuser, Deceiver) and his goal is simple: destroy your life.
Satan has been around for a long time, way longer than us. He started out well, as an angel of light. He was essentially the "worship leader" of the angels in heaven. But his worship of God became overshadowed by worship of himself, and such pride got him kicked out of heaven (along with the rest of his worship band; about one third of the angels).
Ever since Satan's "fall" he has been intent on one thing: destroying the God he once worshiped. This is where his focus on you and me comes in.
God created mankind in His own image. We read the following in the first chapter of the Bible:
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness"... So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Gen. 1:26a, 27)
We (humans) are the only part of creation that bear this special mark of God; we are created unique, distinct from everything else in the universe. And this is why Satan hates us: we look something like our heavenly Father.
When God created Adam and Eve, the first humans, He placed them in a beautiful garden and said, "“You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Gen. 2:16b, 17)
They had freedom with only one restriction. (Can you imagine?) God gave humans a choice: trust God and live or trust anything else and die. This is the leverage point Satan seized upon in order to try and destroy humans, and thus try and mar the image of God.
In this story of mankind's fall into sin, Satan employs three tactics that he still uses today to seek to destroy God's image bearers. Learn to recognize these tactics and you will do well in fighting against Satan's destructive force in your life.
Tactic 1: Distraction/Doubt
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” (Gen. 3:1)
Satan's first tactic to destroy God's image bearers was distraction, or doubt. He asked Eve a question to plant a seed, not to gain information. He wanted to distract Eve just enough from God's Word so that she would begin to spin additional questions about God's trustworthiness.
This tactic is still used all the time today. God's Word says one thing, yet Satan brings a question to plant the tiniest seed of doubt as to whether God's Word is trustworthy or even good.
Some examples might be:
Tactic 2: Distortion
Notice how Satan completely flips the script of what God actually said.
"Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?" (3:1, emphasis mine)
The simple answer is: No, God did not actually say that!
God said: "You may surely eat of every tree... except one."
Satan distorted God to say: "You shall not eat of any tree."
It's stark, but subtle. God actually invites Adam and Eve to focus on all the freedom He has given them, and also pay attention to the one danger. Satan, conversely, entices Eve to focus on the one restriction and ignore completely the vast freedom God has granted.
Let's continue the story to see even more of Satan's tactic of distortion.
And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” (Gen. 3:2-3)
Eve gives a decent answer, but it's incomplete. Satan's first tactic seems to be working. She has already forgotten bits of God's Word. The seed of distraction and doubt is steering her ever so slightly away from the truth.
God said they could "surely" (or "freely") eat from the trees in the garden. She omitted this small, but significant qualifier. She also added something God never explicitly said about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil: "neither shall you touch it."
Anytime we add to or subtract from God's Word, the meaning will eventually become distorted. And Satan smiles.
His distortion continued.
But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Gen. 3:4-5)
Satan flat out contradicts God's Word when he says "you will not surely die," for God said plainly, "for in the day that you eat of it [the tree of the knowledge of good and evil] you shall surely die."
This is the moment of truth for Eve (and us). Trust God and His Word or trust Satan and his word. This is how every decision of life ultimately boils down.
For many of us, much of the time, the tactics of Satan have the same effect on us as they did on Eve (and Adam) below.
Tactic 3: Division
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. (Gen. 3:6-7)
Satan's seeds of distraction and doubt drew Eve's attention away from God's Word just enough for him to plant a few more seeds of doubt through distorting and flat out contradicting God's Word. With each question and contradiction Eve's focus was diverting from God (and freedom) to sin (and death).
And as soon as Eve and Adam ate the forbidden fruit a separation of cosmic proportions was established. Immediately there was division between husband and wife; they became self-conscious of their nakedness and sought to hide their bodies from each other.
But more than just a marital division occurred. Heaven and earth were separated. God's image bearers chose the way of the Deceiver instead of their Creator. Life would never be the same again. And life would also have an expiration. Every human being born from Adam will surely die. God's Word was true after all.
Satan, the great Deceiver, is intent on destroying your life and mine. He literally hates us! He uses the same tactics today that he used in the beginning: distraction/doubt, distortion, and division.
Where in your own life do you see the enemy's tactics? Has he planted seeds of doubt about God's goodness and trustworthiness? Has he distorted God's Word, causing you to omit or add things that fundamentally alter its meaning and effectiveness? Where has Satan created division between you and God, or you and others, or even you and yourself?
Do battle today to reclaim ground the enemy has stolen. Because of God's grace and the power of the resurrected Christ your life does not have to be destroyed.
Trust fully in God's Word.
Repent of sin.
Pursue unity with God and others.
It's true you have an enemy. But it's also true you have Savior in Jesus Christ, the One who conquered sin and death -- and Satan! In Christ, you have hope and joy -- and the freedom your soul was made for from the beginning.
Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures! We easily understand this with physical injuries. If someone gets badly hurt in an accident, she is likely to receive compassion and support. No one would frown on her need to have time off from her normal responsibilities, go to physical therapy, or rest. She is likely to be loved on with meals, cards, and more. Life’s pace would need to change to make room for recovery.
It is a different story when this same woman suffers a devastating, emotional blow such as being betrayed by the person that her life is most intertwined with: her husband.
The kind of heartbreak that infidelity produces is severe. The grief has been equaled to that of losing a child. Emotions are all over the place. Anger is a normal emotional response to betrayal. Tears can be incessant. For some, shock and numbness can set in. Insecurities shout, “you’re not enough.”
Emotional triggers become a way of life. The body responds with appetite changes, panic attacks, sleep disturbances, stomach issues, and even aggravated pre-existing health conditions.
Initially, to even speak to someone else about what you are going through can bring more pain and shame. Accepting that this is part of your life takes time. Who could be trusted with this sensitive information?
The truth is, many carry on in this life-altering reality without tending to their invisible wounds. The lack of self-care will take its toll on the individual. Self-neglect when facing something that impacts one so deeply is likely to incur negative consequences such as clinical depression, physical illness, becoming bitter, developing an addiction, getting stuck, and much more.
It is important to practice self-care when healing from betrayal trauma as a basic form of stewardship. Borrowing from the parable of the talents in Matthew 25, our bodies, thoughts, heart, and behaviors are our most obvious “talents.” Using these “talents” well to heal will move you forward to the good works God created for you to do as you get stronger.
Consider giving emotional trauma the equal respect that you would give to a physical injury. God does. When He looks at us He sees our heart (1 Samuel 16:7). Jesus calls the weary to come to Him to receive rest (Matthew 11:28). He is near the broken-hearted and saves those whose spirit is crushed (Psalm 34:18). God provides for basic needs in a time of distress (1 Kings 19:3-8). He collects our tears in His bottle (Psalm 56:8). Your heartache hardly escapes His notice. Don’t let it escape yours.
Josh Spurlock says in his article on the theology of self-care: “Self-care isn’t selfish or self-indulgent, it’s good stewardship of the resource of our body that enables us to make the best use of it and the time God has given us.”
Here are a few obstacles that can hold you back from practicing needed self-care at this time:
What do you enjoy doing? What deposits energy back to your heart and soul? What did you enjoy doing as a child?
Would you make a list of 20 items? Your list can contain things you already know you love and things you would like to try. This is a great place to start practicing self-care.
To inspire you, I’m sharing a list of 20 self-care ideas compiled by a wife while still in the shock stage of betrayal trauma. After allowing herself to ride the wave of hard-to-feel emotions, she would choose something from this list to help restore calm and recharge.
Yes, healing from sexual betrayal is an extraordinary time in your life, and it does require extraordinary measures of stewardship, whether the people around you realize it or not. The important thing is you realize it and start moving in that direction one step at a time.
Written by Gigi Hopkins
Wives Care Coordinator
Is it possible to have fun again in your marriage after an affair? This is a heavy question, but I believe it is absolutely possible.
The marriage covenant is serious because it is the promise between a man and a woman to "love, honor, and cherish" each other "til death do us part." And when there is a sexual betrayal of that covenant, a type of death is felt.
God's Word tells us that sexual betrayal in marriage is so serious that if it is committed, the offended spouse is allowed to divorce. (Although it is best to first seek reconciliation, especially if the betraying spouse is repentant and submits to appropriate help.)
With sexual betrayal being so serious a violation of the marriage covenant, how is it possible for a couple who has faced this to reconcile, let alone have fun again?
I'm not going to cover in this article all that is involved in reconciling a broken marriage. You can learn a little more about what that journey looks like here.
So this article is for the couple who has decided to reconcile and work on their marriage, and wants to know what does "having fun" again look like.
Here are 4 key guidelines to help you have fun again after an affair:
1. Let the betrayed partner set the pace for pursuing fun
When sexual betrayal is committed, the spouse who was betrayed carries the heaviest burden. They are the one that feels used, deceived, and "less than." It will likely take them longer to feel "safe" enough to be vulnerable with their spouse.
If you are the spouse who committed the sexual betrayal, you need to be extremely patient and gentle with your wounded partner. They will need a great amount of gentleness and compassion from you as they navigate a whole new universe of emotions.
Therefore, the "pace" of pursuing fun again needs to be primarily directed by the betrayed spouse. They need this "power" because it is directly connected to how safe they feel.
When they feel safe, they become more open to fun activities.
When they feel unsafe, they are less inclined to want to pursue fun.
My wife and I were separated for 9 months when all my lies of betrayal came out into the open. I got in recovery and my wife got some great counseling. When we reconciled and moved back in together it was difficult navigating our "new" marriage.
I wanted my wife to feel safe so that she could be herself around me. Probably the biggest way I helped this to happen was to take my recovery and sobriety seriously -- to truly be a man of integrity.
As I proved myself to her in my recovery, she felt much safer and therefore more open to doing fun things together.
And during this "rebirth" it wasn't as if I had no voice or opinion to offer about things to do, but it was important that my voice be softer and gentler, and that my pace be in step with my wife's healing journey.
Relearning how to have fun together will likely be a roller coaster for awhile, but that's okay. Healing and restoring a marriage wounded by sexual betrayal is not a quick, seamless process. It takes time, but it's worth the time taken.
2. Explore both old and new interests
If you have been married for more than 5 minutes you have history together. You have shared activities and memories. You certainly had things at the beginning of your relationship that you mutually enjoyed -- it's why you fell in love.
Sometimes when couples are recovering from the devastation of sexual betrayal it can seem like everything in the past was a lie, or at the very least is now completely and utterly tainted or irreparably damaged. This is not true, even if it feels true.
Because it can feel like the past is totally destroyed, the rebuilding process can seem like everything moving forward has to be NEW. New routines. New job, new phone, new house, new gym, new Internet filter, etc. New clothes, new communication skills, new church, new car. New movies, new TV shows, new social media (nah, none of that!), new restaurants, and even new shoes.
Whew! Are you exhausted yet?
When rebuilding after an affair there are certainly going to be some new ways of living established, but not everything you enjoy doing together has to be new. In fact, some of the best stuff for rekindling your intimacy will be found in reforming some old activities from your history together.
My wife and I have always loved to travel together. We love to drive around old towns looking at the old buildings and learning the history. We love to ask the locals where to eat and what they do for fun. These activities didn't have to be eliminated from our lives after our reconciliation. They were simply reformed and enjoyed in new ways because of the healing we experienced.
But it is also good to explore new ways of having fun together. After all, in a very real sense you are building a "new" marriage. It is only fitting that you explore new things together that bring joy and delight into your relationship.
Work together on exploring both old and new interests that are fun and interesting. Never stop learning and growing together.
3. Make sure fun obeys the Golden Rule
Jesus said, "So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets." (Matt. 7:12) This is commonly referred to as the "Golden Rule." And it's important to remember when learning to have fun again after an affair.
In many ways the restoration process for a marriage that is healing from an affair is a journey of "learning" each other in new ways. You are learning how to talk openly and honestly, how to make decisions together, and exploring what intimacy really looks like.
As you pursue fun activities together make the Golden Rule the "litmus test" for your decision. Is the activity something your spouse will enjoy, or simply endure? Are you being considerate and thoughtful toward them? Have you been listening to what they have been saying about what they find fun or enjoyable?
Now, I know what some of your are thinking. If you are the betrayed spouse, you are probably shouting at me: "I've done this before and got burned by my spouse's deception before. Why would I want to do this again and risk getting hurt in the same way?"
I get it. It is definitely a risk to explore having fun again and to place your spouse's interests ahead of your own. And I'm not suggesting that you take a blind risk if your spouse is not showing signs of repentance and true pursuit of a changed life. But even if all those things are present, it's still a risk; there is no guarantee that you will never be hurt again.
But when you are both seeking to apply the Golden Rule to your decision-making about fun activities together, I think you will find that you will land on some mutually agreeable activities that really will be fun together. Yes, it's a risk, but it's a risk worth taking.
(Also, if you were the betraying spouse, be extra sensitive and caring when making decisions about fun activities. You still have a voice, but be extremely empathetic to your spouse's emotional sensitivity in this season of rebuilding.)
4. Keep fun in its proper place
Finally, remember that fun is simply fun. And fun is good, but it isn't the ultimate goal for restoring your marriage. Other issues like glorifying God and rebuilding oneness should take precedence over simply having fun together.
But at the same time you must acknowledge that having fun together is not unimportant. If you focus all your energy only on super spiritual matters and intensive counseling, but never spend any time together just having fun, I will argue that you are not fully rebuilding your marriage.
I believe God absolutely wants us to be out-of-this-world happy! Happy in Him and happy in each other. I also believe that such happiness comes by way of being whole and holy. So, happiness is not disconnected from righteous living, but it also isn't devoid of real fun, true enjoyment in the creation God has made.
Explore fun in the context of pursuing God together. I believe God will show you how to have fun in ways that you never thought of before. And I also believe that God will be delighted in seeing you smile together again, not merely for the sake of smiling, but instead because something worth smiling about is truly happening in your restored marriage.
Is it possible to have fun again after an affair? I believe it is. Do you?
(This is not a comprehensive or exhaustive list of ideas or insights for having fun again after an affair. It is simply meant to be a starting point. We'd love to hear your ideas and insights in the comments section below.)
Written by Jonathan Daugherty
Founder of Be Broken Ministries
What makes accountability with our children have lasting results? It’s one thing for a father and son to have a few conversations that result in a temporary change in the son’s integrity. It is quite another to create a dynamic that causes the son to be open to ongoing conversations about sexuality and integrity. That’s really what we are talking about.
Lasting accountability requires a relationship between father and son that welcomes difficult conversations.
What is in the Way
In 2019 Be Broken surveyed a large group of teen boys who came from Christian homes. When we asked why kids today are afraid to talk with their parents about sex all of their answers could be summarized in these two points:
These two statements illustrate what is standing in the way of lasting father-son accountability.
Do You Understand Me?
First of all, boys are afraid that their fathers do not know what it feels like to be sexually tempted. When fathers talk to their sons we tend to talk from the head instead of the heart. Sons are left uncertain if their dad really understands how they feel.
Saying “I remember wanting to look at porn at your age” does not necessarily send the message that we really know what that feels like. That is talking from the head. Talking from the heart sounds more like this:
“When I was eleven my friends showed me porn at a sleepover. I knew I shouldn’t want to but I could not make myself look away. It made me feel something I’d never felt before and I wanted to see more.”
This kind of confession on the part of a father resonates much more with his son. This is speaking from the heart to our sons. Lasting accountability with our sons requires that we be open and honest about our own past.
Will I Get in Trouble?
Boys also worry that they will get in trouble if they admit they have already seen porn or engaged in some kind of sexual behavior. Boys can also be afraid to ask questions about sexual words they have heard and do not understand. Instead of going to Dad, they ask Google or an older friend, which rarely ends well.
The only way our sons will be honest with us is if they know it is safe to tell Dad. That means we, as fathers, have to restrain ourselves when our sons confess or ask a question we are shocked that they even thought of.
For accountability to last, our sons need to have positive experiences during accountability conversations. They need to feel supported, not judged. Here are some tips on how to make that happen.
What our sons need most is a strong relationship with their dad, or with another adult if the dad is not around. Having clear boundaries is important. Doing our best to protect our sons from sexualized content is important. But none of that will work if our sons don’t care what we say or think. Building a close relationship with our sons makes them much more likely to embrace our ideals.
My Son’s Story
This was certainly true with my son. I had been talking with him about sex and accountability since he was eleven. When he was thirteen, unbeknown to me, he had found a way to view porn. He kept this secret for a month or two before finally coming clean and confessing to me what he had been doing.
I remember how tense he looked when he told me. He was unable to look me in the face. God must have been with me that moment because the first words out of my mouth were, “I’m so glad you told me.” His body visibly relaxed and I knew I had done something right for once.
A few years later we were talking about that incident. He told me that the reason he confessed is because we had been talking about sex and porn and I had told him about my troubles with those things when I was his age.
But, he also said that if I would have gotten mad—"tore him up" were his words I believe—he would have never been honest with me about porn again. He also said if I would have acted like I didn’t care or that it was no big deal he would probably not talked to me again either. He didn’t want me to not care, but he wanted me to care about him more than the mistake he had made.
What Lasting Looks Like
Having good accountability with your son does not mean he will stop making sexual mistakes once you build a good relationship with him. He will make plenty of mistakes. There will months or even years when he isn’t very invested in accountability with you. But if you continue to reach out to him with honesty, he will never forget that and likely return to accountability in the future.
When faced with a difficult situation with our son, we can ask ourself, “What can I say or do that will build our relationship long term?” rather than, “What can I do to stop his behavior right now?” This isn’t always easy but I have found it to pay off over time. That’s what lasting father-son accountability is all about.
Written by John Fort
Director of Training
Author of Honest Talk & Father-Son Accountability
by Jonathan Daugherty
What is the best remedy for complete burnout, total fatigue? More work, of course! You just need to tap into the right formula. Obviously, you're doing something wrong. If you weren't, well, you wouldn't be so tired now, would you?
This, unfortunately, is the answer many well-meaning people are shoving down the throats of already burned out, and broken, sex and porn addicts.
Therapists, good-natured friends, and even pastors heap up massive servings of rules, along with some side orders of shame and fear, to sexually broken people searching for help. It's no wonder that very few sex and porn addicts ever taste the sweet morsels of freedom and peace.
Jesus once said, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matt 11:28)
You should see the looks on some guys faces when I tell them their mission in recovery isn't "doing more." It's like I've knocked over their apple cart with all their carefully positioned, platitudinal answers to all life's questions. What? Getting free from sexual bondage doesn't mean I have to take on more rules and tasks and burdens? How can that be?
I'm always amazed and encouraged by how Jesus cuts to the heart of what we need without blinking at all our excuses. He knows that our hearts need rest. So, he invites us to rest...in Him.
"But, Lord, I know that I need to get cleaned up and stop acting out first."
"Come to me," Jesus says.
"Well, I know that I need to get in a group, pray every day, read my Bible, and go to church."
"Come to me," He beckons.
"C'mon, Jesus, I need to know that everything I'm going to give up is really worth it, and that everything I'm going to work so hard for will impress you."
"Come to me."
Keeping the rules has never transformed one sinful heart.
Jesus alone transforms hearts. He alone can heal your sexual brokenness, the abuses from your past, the anger and fear in your heart.
Rules and programs and books, these things become a noose around your already broken neck if you don't understand that you must first come to Jesus. He gives rest, no one else does. No one else can.
Sometimes it's hard to recognize rest (i.e. peace) as your essential need. It feels more like the primary need is figuring how to just not act out anymore. But I have come to see that when a soul has found its rest in Jesus, the motivations it once had to act out are gone.
Finding rest, and continuing to rest, in Jesus gives the soul all it needs to live life in fullness and joy, no longer seeking the facade of true intimacy promised by lust.
Now, don't think that prayer, Bible study, community and counseling are rubbish. They are not. But when one seeks in those activities what can only be found in the person of Jesus Christ, there will be no rest, only anxiety.
Be careful to keep the central thing first: Jesus gives rest to all who come to him. Everything else is secondary.
3 Tips for Finding Rest in Jesus
While it is true that Jesus offers us the generous, open invitation to come to Him to find rest, there are some insights to be gained from those who have traveled this road before us.
Here are a few tips I've learned from others over the years that might help you find the rest your heart longs for in Jesus:
1. Tear Up Your Agenda
Even when your soul is weary, it's easy to have an agenda for what you think rest should look like (and feel like). But this won't help you find true rest.
To bring an agenda to Jesus when your soul is frazzled and worn is like bringing your bankruptcy paperwork to Bill Gates as a strategy for creating wealth. Jesus knows what your soul needs to find rest. If you knew, Jesus wouldn't have made the invitation.
So, lay down your ideas of what you think it will take to find rest, and instead place yourself in the competent and caring arms of Jesus.
Sometimes just laying down your agenda brings a wave of rest your soul hasn't felt in, well, maybe forever.
2. Listen More than You Talk
Jesus says that He will give you rest. This means that He knows what it takes for your soul to be at rest. Therefore, it's to your advantage to listen to whatever He tells you.
I have been leading a weekly support group for sexually addicted men since 2000. Sometimes a guy shows up and on his first time there talks more than everyone. He has answers, but no solutions. He doesn't even realize it.
Maybe you have had a lot of "answers" for the restlessness of your soul, but have yet to find any solutions. You talk and talk and talk. But your answers only add more anxiety and turmoil to your life.
Sit still. Focus on Jesus and His Word. Listen. Stay silent. Just listen. You may not hear anything for awhile. That's okay. This is Jesus calming your mind and heart so that you can receive the rest He wants to give you.
The kind of rest Jesus offers cannot be received by a proud heart. Not until you admit you don't have all the "answers" will you be truly ready to receive the rest Jesus has for you.
Listen more than you talk...
3. Wear Jesus' Yoke
There is a kind of rest that Jesus offers that is totally free. It doesn't cost you anything. Just come to Him and receive it. It's wonderful. But it's not all that Jesus has to offer.
There is a deeper rest that Jesus offers to those who are willing to be "yoked" to Him. This He calls "rest for your soul."
The first kind of rest is a release from the burdens of all your toil and labor in trying to generate the peace that only Jesus can bring. And we all need to be released from the prison of self-righteousness and pride.
But the deeper rest is found in a new kind of toil and labor, the work that Jesus wants us to do alongside Him.
He says, "Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (Matt. 11:29, emphasis mine)
To be "yoked" to Jesus means that He is going to put you to work in learning from Him what it means to live life the way He intended it. This is not easy and it doesn't come naturally. But by His grace, and through His power, you can do the work God made for you to do. (Eph. 2:10)
And this work that Jesus invites you to do alongside Him will lead you to discover a rest for your soul that you could never find on your own.
Are you laboring? Heavy laden? Even in recovery? Come to Jesus. He promises to give rest to all who come. So, what excuse is holding you back from receiving what your soul truly needs? Just come...
In this post we will help you define porn addiction, understand the biology, psychology, and theology of porn addiction, and then share the best resources available to help you break free from porn -- for good!
What Is Porn Addiction?
Let's break down the terms:
Porn -- sexually explicit media, whose purpose is to elicit sexual arousal.
Addiction -- the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.
So, porn addiction is an enslavement to viewing sexually explicit media that causes arousal.
In years past, one might have argued that viewing porn was simply a personal choice that didn't have any empirical effect on one's body, mind or behavior. But research is showing that is simply not true.
In order to understand porn addiction and its effects, it is important to address the whole person: body, mind, spirit.
Therefore, we need to explore the biology, psychology, and theology of porn addiction.
The Biology of Porn Addiction
What happens to the body of the porn addict? Or more specifically, what happens to the brain of the porn addict?
Everything you do with your body is processed through the brain. It is like the "CPU" (Central Processing Unit) of the human body. To wiggle your finger or smell a rose, the brain is vitally necessary.
Your brain is full of neural pathways. These pathways are what "carry" bits of information from one place to another in the nervous system. They are formed whenever you learn something new, and they grow stronger the more you repeat that thought or action.
So, if you view porn over and over again, you are forming very strong neural pathways that eventually become "unconscious" because of the repetitive behavior.
Your brain, in a sense, becomes "hard-wired" for porn. This is why porn addiction can be so difficult to overcome -- biology is powerful!
Before you feel hopeless at this news, let me encourage you. New neural pathways can be created that can "override" the old pathways. This is called neuroplasticity. Your brain doesn't have to stay perpetually "stuck" in old patterns of porn-addicted thinking.
As you focus your mind on what is true and good and beautiful, you can create new neural pathways that grow stronger than your old "porn pathways." Over time, you can "rewire" your brain away from porn to healthier thoughts and behaviors.
One other notable biological aspect of porn addiction is the "feel good" chemical that is released in the brain when viewing porn: dopamine.
Dopamine acts like a chemical reward for pursuing thoughts and behaviors deemed pleasurable. In some ways, dopamine could be described as the "want to" drug of the brain that develops an appetite of "craving" the more it is released.
Therefore, when you look at porn (or even think about looking at porn) your brain releases dopamine. Simultaneously, neural pathways are carrying bits of information along a "track" reinforcing the behavior. Repetition of this activity strengthens both the dopamine release and neural pathway development.
Over time, the "craving" for porn biologically intensifies.
The Psychology of Porn Addiction
While the biology of porn addiction looks at the brain and neural pathways and pleasure chemicals, the psychology of porn addiction focuses on the mind and emotions. What emotional and mental factors play into porn addiction?
In years past there seemed to be a pretty consistent psychological model applied to porn and sex addiction: early trauma in childhood followed by introduction to sexual stimuli, topped off with weak or dysfunctional family relationships.
While this model still applies today to many who develop a porn addiction, a new model is emerging: high media consumption reinforced by cultural normalization of porn, topped off with little to no experience with emotionally bonding to another person.
Research is showing that the ubiquity of consuming digital media is actually reducing our ability to read emotional cues from others (i.e. facial expressions). And when you add porn into this mix, it only magnifies desensitization toward human connection. The mind and heart eventually grow cold and numb.
One of the most common refrains we hear from men who attend our Gateway to Freedom 3-day workshop is that porn "numbed out" their ability to feel empathy or compassion or even desire toward anyone.
Another psychological factor in porn addiction is shame. Shame is the core belief that your value is equal to your performance. In other words, you are only as good as your behavior.
Shame can create a mental "spiral" of thoughts that are highly self-condemning. It's as if there is a perpetual microscope analyzing every minute detail of thought and action.
Shame creates a standard you can never live up to. You are never enough, never wanted, never known. Always less than, always left out, always hidden.
The use of porn only increases the unhealthy shame thoughts because porn never truly satisfies and therefore reinforces the shame lies. Addiction is a vicious cycle of self-destruction.
Porn addiction doesn't just take a toll on your biology, it diminishes your heart and soul, too. Relationships inevitably take a huge blow because of porn addiction.
Over half of all divorce cases "involve one party having an 'obsessive interest' in pornographic websites." The psychological, social and familial cost of porn use can be very high.
But porn addiction isn't only about biology and psychology. There is also a theology to porn addiction. God cares about how you use the body He gave you.
The Theology of Porn Addiction
Does God's Word really have anything to say about porn addiction? Yes!
Regarding pornography, Jesus said, "Everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has committed adultery in his heart." (Matt. 5:28)
To look with "lustful intent" fits the definition of porn: "whose purpose is to elicit sexual arousal". Jesus said this is a sin of the heart, not merely behavior.
Pornography is not only about behavior ("biology"). It is an invitation to draw your heart away from what is true and good and beautiful, and instead incite you to lustfully devour with your eyes the flesh of fellow image bearers of God.
Elsewhere the Apostle Peter said:
"...For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved." 2 Peter 2:19b
This clearly fits the definition of addiction: "the state of being enslaved to a habit."
God did not create us to be enslaved to our sexual urges and desires. His design was that we be free to love and be loved in the expansive boundaries of His created order. Sexual expression is reserved for the context God designed: covenant marriage.
Freedom from porn addiction is not merely about tweaking brain chemistry (biology) or seeing a therapist (psychology); your sexuality is a deeply spiritual thing because God created it.
Your sexuality is a beautiful and wonderful gift from God. You were made male or female on purpose -- with a purpose.
God's purpose for your life is not to be addicted to porn. And the good news is you don't have to be! (see below for resources)
Where to Get Help for Porn Addiction
We have looked at the definition of porn addiction, the biology of porn addiction, the psychology of porn addiction, and even the theology of porn addiction.
But now it's time to turn our attention to getting you the help you need to be FREE of porn addiction.
As we have noted in this article, you are made up of body, mind, and spirit. Therefore, in order to get the best help possible for overcoming your porn addiction, you need help physically, mentally/emotionally, and spiritually.
Here are some of the best resources available in each of these categories:
Physical Help for Overcoming Porn Addiction
We recommend you get a check up with your personal doctor to assess your overall health in light of your addictive patterns. Oftentimes other issues like depression, anxiety, or dual addictions can present alongside a porn addiction.
Here are other resources that might also help you better understand and address the physical side of porn addiction:
Mental & Emotional Help for Overcoming Porn Addiction
For help finding counselors and other professionals skilled in treating porn addiction, consider these resources:
Spiritual Help for Overcoming Porn Addiction
There is a growing number of resources available for addressing the spiritual needs of overcoming porn addiction. The following links can help you pursue freedom from a biblical framework:
Help for MEN with Porn Addiction
Help for WOMEN with Porn Addiction
For help finding support groups for porn addiction recovery, visit Groups.Bebroken.com or download the Live Free app at LiveFreeCommunity.org.
For additional resources to overcome porn addiction, visit PureCommunity.org.
Written by Jonathan Daugherty
Founder of Be Broken Ministries
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