Into the void of euphemisms and behavior modification techniques shines David Powlison’s recent article, “Breaking Pornography Addiction.” Like everything that he writes it is gracious, realistic, balanced, and thoughtful.
It makes an excellent addition to the list of resources for fighting porn and sexual lust that I recently posted. Here’s an excerpt of Powlison’s article that I found particularly encouraging:
What does progress in your struggle with pornography look like? In all typical human struggles (like anger, anxiety, escapism), winning doesn’t mean achieving perfection. It means having a new goal and a new direction. Your direction in life determines your final destination. Where are you headed? Are you going in the right direction? Going in the right direction in your struggle with pornography means learning to fight your temptation to sin, to handle your guilt when you fail, and to understand and avoid the circumstances in which you are tempted.
Making progress in these three areas does not mean you will suddenly get teleported from the mire in which you now live to the mountaintop of freedom from all temptation. Change in these areas means taking many small, incremental steps in the right direction. For example:
- A decrease in the frequency of a sin is progress. It’s not good that you are still indulging in pornography, but if you are doing it less, you are going in the right direction.
- A change in the actual nature of the sin is progress. If you are no longer having an affair or premarital sex, and now you are battling pornographic fantasy, it’s good that your struggle has changed from your actions to your imagination.
- A change in the battleground is progress. When your battle has moved from purchasing materials or going onto explicit internet sites to battling the old fantasy tapes that are still in your mind, that’s movement in the right direction.
- An increase in honesty and accountability is progress. You are moving forward when you are willing to be truly candid and accountable to a trusted friend, spouse, or pastor and say, “Here’s where I’m struggling.” An appropriate openness to others is a very significant step towards change.
- Not always responding to difficult circumstances by indulging in sin is progress. When your life gets hard, if instead of going straight to your fantasy life, you pray for help and ask others to pray for you, then God is at work.
- Repenting more quickly is progress. Learning to go more quickly to the Lord of life, instead of wallowing for days, weeks, and months in the gloom of “I failed again,” is a sign that God is at work in your life.
- Learning to love and consider the interest of real people is progress. Your immoral fantasies use other people in an imaginary world. Caring for others, even in small ways, means that Jesus is changing you.