Killing pornography addiction requires a 2 front attack: spiritual and practical.
First, is the spiritual. Until you are fully convinced of the reality that in Jesus Christ alone is fullness of joy and satisfaction, then you will seek joy and satisfaction somewhere else: food, sports, sex, power, popularity, clothing, pornography, fitness, alcohol, etc. And so to kill the craving for pornography (or any other addiction), you must find your fullness in Christ. Daily you need to read and study your Bible where Jesus Christ is revealed and magnified. You need to be listening to the Word of God faithfully preached each Lord's Day. You need the truth of God's word masterfully applied to your soul. You need to be on your face before God, seeking forgiveness, grace, contentment, strength, and humility.
Second, the practical. Days, weeks, months, years of looking at porn are not stopped with a sudden new found conviction to exercise self-control. Old habits die hard and this is more than just a bad habit. It is slavery. And so there will need to be practical boundaries and fences, cutting off hands and plucking out eyes.
The resources below address both fronts in the war.
Books (Understand that reading them is not enough; you must read with a commitment before God and man and reliance upon God to act on the truth that you find here.)
- OpenDNS - a free network level filter. For devices connected to the network, Open DNS blocks access to websites from up to 50 categories of potentially inappropriate material. This does not filter devices when they are accessing the internet with a data plan or on another network. So it will protect your child on his ipod at home on your network but not at his friend's house on their network.
- Covenant Eyes - accountability software that records and rates websites visited. An individual with this program on their computer (or tablet or cell phone) has a record of their internet activity sent to an accountability partner. Simply knowing that someone else will know about your online browsing is a powerful deterrent. Covenant Eyes also has filtering software that operates at the device level, not the network level (like OpenDNS). See David Murray's plug for this product (especially helpful are his 10 reasons porn is so bad).
- Setting Captives Free - a 60 day program that helps users to feast on God's Word and starve the desire for pornography; 60 lessons where you read and answer questions. Your answers are sent to a mentor assigned by SCF and to an accountability partner of your choice.
- Tim Challies has written often and well on the subject. Here's a sampling of his posts.
- Here's one for a wife suffering because of her husband's porn addiction.
Helping your children
- What Every Man Wishes His Father Had Told Him by Byron Yawn - A must read on parenting; the 2 chapters on sex and pornography are worth the price of the book.
- A detailed plan for protecting your family.
- Some of my thoughts after reading Yawn's book.
- Here's another post of mine on who's educating our children about sex.
- See the websites linked above as well for filtering, monitoring, etc.
A few thoughts on using these resources -
- Don't use them with anything less than serious, dedicated commitment to the fight. Otherwise it will end in defeat. If you're going to cut off hands, cut 'em off. If you're going to build a fence, it has to be an unscalable one. Don't install a filter, write your random password on a piece of paper and tuck it in your desk drawer. Too easy to just get it out of the drawer. Don't set up Covenant Eyes on your laptop, but not your tablet and fail to tell the accountability partner that you only have it on one of your internet accessible devices. Don't lie to the hard questions on Setting Captives Free - (have you been free from pornography since the last lesson?; have you been free from self-gratification?, etc.). That won't help you. Go all out. Jesus is worth it.
- Don't put up fences without doing the heart work of feeding on the wonderful truth of Jesus. Don't do the practical without the spiritual.
- Don't use any of these resources without prayer and complete dependence upon the God of all power.
- Don't use these resources alone. Some resources require an accountability partner; others don't. But if you're enslaved, you need someone to help you up and out of the mud and mire. Make sure your accountability has teeth and isn't just a mutual confession of sin club. (Heath Lambert's thoughts on real accountability are summed up here by Tim Challies - very helpful.)
- By God's grace and in his strength, go and sin no more! There is hope and freedom on the other side of despair and bondage. It can only be found through Jesus Christ.
Be killing sin or it will be killing you.