Fighting porn

So I’ve been wrestling with sharing this post a little bit, because – well let’s face it, outside of an accountability group (accountabilibuddies?) and close friends it’s awkward. But, somewhat inspired by the ‘Ask A Pastor’ series we’re doing on One Cross Radio, this is an issue I’ve seen come up time and time again. Heck, on several Christian forums I’m a member of this topic has come up numerous times in the last week, and I’ve talked about it there – so I’ve been feeling a bit convicted, if I can talk about it there, why not here? Jesus and the apostles didn’t blush when friends and loved ones of theirs would be around for awkward, needed conversations.

Porn is something I think is truly awful. I know some people think it’s ‘harmless’, but I really disagree, and here’s why. It warps peoples views of sex/the marriage bed, it rewires users brain (disagree with the articles conclusion on it being healthy in moderation), it has links to the sex trade, can be a gateway to other issues, unquestionably objectifies and reduces people (mostly women, but also men)/identities/body parts and body types to objects, it’s addicting, and it’s unquestionably sin (1 Corinthians 6:18) and a form of adultery (Matthew 5:27-28). It is not something that any Christian (single or married, male or female, etc) should ever indulge in or look at. Unfortunately, it’s been an issue I’ve struggled with most of my life and something many other Christians have/do struggle with.

Now the key thing here (before we get to the tips that help with fleeing/safeguarding) is that you need to honestly be seeking God, His word, His love, and His strength in killing this (and any) sin. If you’re not seeking God in this, then all the tips are is a temp fix. You need to attack the root of this issue; the sin (be it of lust, coveting, being mastered, or any combination of the above), and you need to be turning to the Lord here. As our friend Pastor Steve puts it (particularly with the issue of porn): “Your goal has to be loving God more than it has to be fleeing this particular sin.  You can’t kill sin in your life unless you really love God.  That gives you something solid to run towards instead of just something to run away from and it deals with sin at its root rather than just the symptoms of internet use”. CS Lewis in Mere Christianity also speaks on turning to/loving God where he said:

Now the other thing with these tips is that they can hopefully help you grow with God. As I (and Steve and Clive Staples Lewis) mentioned above, the goal here is killing the sin and the key to that is growing in/with God. That can be challenging when your time is being choked by porn. For myself, I found my victories (all credit to God) came when I was relying on God in doing the fleeing steps. The fleeing steps were a good safety net that opened up a lot of time, and during that time through prayer and deliberate action my heart was able to be filled with God, and I could then grow for Him.

Alright, onto the what I’m calling the fleeing/safeguarding tips. Scripture tells us numerous times to flee from sin. And of course, you could (and perhaps should) practically do that – if you’re tempted to look at porn, leave – go for a jog/bike ride/bus trip, call a brother or sister in Christ, and pray. Turn to God (always, but especially) in that moment. But straight up leaving is sometimes itself just a safeguard and not always easy to do when dialed in to sin/addiction. Praise God, there are numerous programs that have been created for filtering stuff we can see, as well as great programs for accountability. To me, those have been very beneficial, and these involve them.

First thing – download the free software K9, set it to block ANY porn site you can think of (you can also enter certain words/keywords – so even if it’s not in the website url, it’ll block the individual video/picture/story that contains the word in its url). Once that’s set up, get a trusted friend/loved one to enter a password that you won’t know AND their email as the one for the account (so you can’t get a ‘forgot/change password’ email to yourself), and that’ll help. This takes away a good chunk of the option to look, which helps.

Second – add Covenant Eyes to your computer/device. Now this service costs, but is worth every penny. It monitors (and you can activate a filter if you so choose) what websites you access on your device, and sends a weekly report to your accountability partner. This should be someone (or some people) who you can be open about your struggles with, and who can hold you accountable – ask what certain sites were – speak wisdom into you (‘avoid this site, even if you didn’t see anything yourself – now you know stuff is on it, and now you know you shouldn’t go there’) – and call you out if need be (when you’ve not given them a heads up/not confessed OR when it’s become a pattern of unrepentant sin). It’s a great software.

Third – and this involves the key thing – surround yourself with Godly friends who you can share this struggle with. Who when temptation hits, you can call/text and ask for prayer. Who will check up on you and ask how is the battle against this sin is going, who will actively hold you accountable, encourage you, and help and encourage you to repent. Struggles with lust and porn are not ones you should face alone, you need brothers and sisters in Christ who will lift you up in prayer and hold you accountable and encourage your walk.

For your phone – I have an iPhone, so what I’ve done is gone in and blocked specific websites (especially websites where I found people sharing porn and it was hidden enough to trick filters/covenant eyes), set restrictions where I can’t download apps – especially ones that have their own built-in web browser which can get sometimes get around filter software. My wonderful wife has the password to these restrictions, so the only time I can download apps is when she’s home and then – even if tempted – I can’t/won’t give in. Like the above software tips, this is a safeguard, but one the Lord has used to help me a lot.

Our friend Pastor Steve was kind enough to include some tips that he’s found helpful:

I prefer a software called accountable 2 you over covenant eyes.  It’s also a paid service but well worth your money.  I prefer it for two reasons:  First, you can set it up so that it sends instant text alerts (or close to instant) to your accountability partners, which is super helpful.  Second, if you have an android phone it doesn’t just monitor your web browsing but everything you do on the phone.  The same is true for if you use it on most computers.  This prevents you from finding sneaky ways to look at porn that circumvent the accountability software.  Unfortunately, if you use an iPhone or iPad, accountability software doesn’t work particularly well on iOS, no matter what you have.  You basically need to lock down your app store and safari and use a restricted browser.  You’ll also have to delete apps that have their own built-in web browser.  It’s a pain, but if you’re serious about purity, the sacrifice is worth it (I switched from an iPhone to an android because of this). 

One warning, if you own a Chromebook with access to the google play store (as I do), accountability software doesn’t work well.  Chromebooks are set up in such a way that accountability software is only able to monitor chrome.  That means any other app (including web browsers) you download from the play store won’t be monitored at all.  Here’s what I did for myself.  I downloaded an app called app lock from the play store.  I locked the play store and my settings (so I can’t uninstall the app).  App lock also has a setting that makes the app itself invisible, so you can’t find it unless you visit a certain web url and click a button.  I did this (also so I can’t uninstall the app) and flagged that url as ‘highly questionable’ on accountable 2 you so that my accountability partners will get a text if I go there.  I then had my wife put in the pin number on the app so that she can unlock something if I need her to.  

On top of all that, I had my wife put restrictions on our Netflix and amazon prime accounts to block mature content.  This is a bit of a pain when I want to watch something like Daredevil on Netflix, but it helps a lot, so it’s worth it.  I also installed app lock on my phone and locked down chrome, youtube, and all social media just so I can’t waste time on them, since that tends to lead to problems for me.  I no longer have a web browser on my phone (except stuff like the Wikipedia and Amazon apps).  

One thing you should know about applock is that it has ads.  Every few days an ad will pop up on my phone and I’ll have to x out of it.  You can pay something like $6 a year to get rid of the ads, but so far they haven’t been annoying enough that I’ve been willing to spend the money.

I cannot emphasize this enough, while these tips are helpful (that’s why we’re recommending them), you need to be turning to God in all of this (there’s that key thing again). These are tips that personally helped us a lot – but without coming to God to kill this sin, they would have just been a safety net. A safety net is good, but in and of itself won’t kill the sin in your heart. These are best used in concert with the key thing – loving and turning to God. When in concert, God can use these safeguards so you can grow in love and understanding of/for Him, and He can kill this sin and better use you for His glory.

I want to give special thanks to both awesome friends Steve Lambert and Dave Lombardo for their help and prayers in preparing this post.

I hope and pray this is helpful and useful for you my friends! Have a wonderful week, and God bless my friends.

Post Tagged with ,

Comments are closed.