3 Gospel Principles for Battling Porn Addiction

This is a really great article/video from three incredible men of God: John Piper, D.A. Carson, and Tim Keller talking about how we can effectively use the Gospel to help us fight pornography addiction in a successful way. Enjoy!

The pursuit of purity is not about the suppression of lust, but about the reorientation of one’s life to a larger goal. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I can vividly remember the fear that gripped my life a decade ago when I was battling porn addiction. I remember the long nights binging on porn on my computer, tucking myself away in remote corners of a public library to download hardcore videos, driving to porn shops to buy DVDs, calling phone-sex hotlines—my life felt out of control.

I did all of this while professing to be a believer in Christ and while working as a minister of the gospel. The double life was as hypocritical as it was frightening.

Since those days, I’ve spoken to hundreds of individual Christians who have told me similar stories. And the question I’ve asked myself over and over again is this: How is it that so many believers in Christ can be gripped by a sin so powerfully?

Going Deeper into the Gospel

It is fair question to ask these people, “Do you believe you are authentically born again? If you are so strongly gripped by sin, perhaps this is evidence that you are still a slave to sin. Perhaps the Holy Spirit has yet to really transform you.”

I say this is a fair question because all Christians—gripped by porn or not—are called to test the authenticity of their faith. “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith,” Paul writes (2 Corinthians 13:5). Peter also writes, “Be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election” (2 Peter 1:10).

Regardless of whether you are a pretend-Christian or an authentically saved person battling porn addiction, the way out is the same. For both, the way to overcome the power of sin is through faith in the gospel.

The gospel of Christ is not merely a message we initially believe to be saved from the guilt of sin; it is a message we embrace in order to be saved from the grip of sin.

The Gospel of Costly Grace

Below is a video conversation of three noteworthy church leaders today: D.A. Carson, Tim Keller, and John Piper. Here they talk candidly about how the gospel sets someone free from the grip of pornography.

John Piper’s question is the core of the conversation: How does the biblical gospel help someone ensnared in lust?

They talk about the message of “costly grace”: costly because it cost the Son of God His life, and gracebecause God’s favor is so freely given to unworthy sinners. They talk about three ways this gospel of costly grace brings about lasting change.

1. The gospel reveals the wrath of God against lust.

John Piper points out Jesus’ words from Matthew 5:27-30. “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell” (Matthew 5:29). God detests lust so much, we deserve hellfire for engaging in it.

Tim Keller points out the enormous price Christ paid for our lust changes the way we see our sin: it exposes pornography as something repugnant.

The point is this: the more deeply we internalize the gospel, the more we will see the ugliness of our sin for what it is. The more we meditate on what Jesus endured on the cross—the curse of God—the more we will loathe our sin. The more we think about the mysterious rift between God the Father and God the Son experienced at the cross—”My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”—the more we will sink under the thought of our sin.

It is then that we we can echo what John Calvin wrote, “When we behold the disfigurement of the Son of God, when we find ourselves appalled by His marred appearance, we need to reckon afresh that it is upon ourselves we gaze, for He stood in our place.”

2. The gospel reveals the love of God for sexually broken people.

Tim Keller rightly says many people rush to the false intimacy of pornography because they hate themselves; they are consoling themselves on a parody of real love. In the fantasy world of porn, men and women are looking for refuge, relationship, reward, and redemption.

The more the porn-enslaved person embraces the gospel, the more they realize that the very things they are sinfully seeking in pornography are actually found in God. Porn makes false promises that offer to satisfy the soul, but only God makes promises that deliver true satisfaction.

This is experienced, again, in the gospel of costly grace. The more we meditate on the face of Christ and see in Him God’s ruthless pursuit of reckless sinners, the more we can be satisfied in that love.

3. The gospel places us into a new community.

D.A. Carson mentions how essential brother-to-brother accountability can be when it comes to pornography.

It is important to note that accountability is not a second-best or a crutch for those who are “really screwed up.” Accountability is not a last resort; is is a lifestyle. Biblical accountability is one of God’s ordinary means to help us remember the gospel of costly grace and apply that gospel to our persistent sins.

What is accountability? It includes, of course, a regular willingness to confess your sins to another believer (James 5:16), but it is more than this. It is also a willingness to receive gospel-centered encouragement. It is the regular practice of stirring up one another to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24-25), encouraging each other so sin doesn’t deceive us (Hebrews 3:13), edifying each other (Romans 14:19), and bearing each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:2).

How Addiction Starts

918QB0c9aoLThis is a great excerpt from David Zailer’s book called WHEN LOST MEN COME HOME, not for men only.  Love his thoughts on how easily addiction can manifest in a person’s life if he or she isn’t nurturing their soul in a healthy way.  You can purchase his book here.

“Addictions begin in subtle and seemingly benign patterns of behavior. And at first, no one is likely to notice. The compulsive behaviors related to sexual addiction are facilitated by internalized personal dynamics such as shame, embarrassment, loneliness, emotional isolation, mental exhaustion and a seemingly endless number of painful feelings anyone of us may experience. Virtually any pattern of emotional mismanagement and unhealthy behavior can initiate the growth of addiction, and by the time that most people suspect that they or a loved one is addicted in their sexuality, the addiction may be deeply rooted.

In my case, I tried very hard to make “good” use of my addictive inclinations. They entertained me when I was bored, comforted me when I was hurting, and they distracted me away from painful childhood memories as well as my chronic failures as a young adult. I rationalized them sincerely as harmless little pleasures, and at first I didn’t suffer any destructive consequences. But deep within me I hated what I was doing. I worked desperately to stop my destructive behaviors, often slowing down or even stopping for a period of time. But all the while, addiction continued to grow inside of me quietly, silently gaining control.

Sexual addictions come from the deepest place within us, a place we can’t reach on our own. In a very real way, our beliefs, our thinking, our feelings, our very selves are at the center of our addictions. With ineffective care and life management, anyone can become frustrated, resentful, fearful, dissocialized, and angry. We all at times feel abandoned, isolated, taken advantage of, having no sense of our true worth and value. It is within these dark and isolated places that sexual addiction finds ripe and fertile ground to take hold of us.”

Until We Are Broken, Our Lives Will Be Self-Centered

Thanks to Ransomed Heart for sending this my way! Love this…


True strength does not come out of bravado. Until we are broken, our life will be self-centered, self-reliant; our strength will be our own. So long as you think you are really something in and of yourself, what will you need God for? I don’t trust a man who hasn’t suffered; I don’t let a man get close to me who hasn’t faced his wound. Think of the posers you know—are they the kind of man you would call at 2:00 A.M., when life is collapsing around you? Not me. I don’t want clichés; I want deep, soulful truth, and that only comes when a man has walked the road I’ve been talking about. As Frederick Buechner says,

To do for yourself the best that you have it in you to do—to grit your teeth and clench your fists in order to survive the world at its harshest and worst—is, by that very act, to be unable to let something be done for you and in you that is more wonderful still. The trouble with steeling yourself against the harshness of reality is that the same steel that secures your life against being destroyed secures your life also against being opened up and transformed. (The Sacred Journey)

Only when we enter our wound will we discover our true glory. As Robert Bly says, “Where a man’s wound is, that is where his genius will be.” There are two reasons for this. First, the wound was given in the place of your true strength, as an effort to take you out. Until you go there you are still posing, offering something more shallow and insubstantial. And therefore, second, it is out of your brokenness that you discover what you have to offer the community. The false self is never wholly false. Those gifts we’ve been using are often quite true about us, but we’ve used them to hide behind. We thought that the power of our life was in the golden bat, but the power is in us. When we begin to offer not merely our gifts but our true selves, that is when we become powerful.

Dealing With Our Emotions

emotionsRecently, I read a really devotion from Every Man Ministries about our emotions.  How do we as men “typically” deal with the hard stuff in life? The following are some ways in which we respond that can be very destructive both to our lives and those around us. I think it gives us a great idea of what to avoid as we pursue sexual purity AND emotional wholeness…

When it comes to dealing with our emotions, men run for the hills – alone.  We are not good at facing our feelings, let alone talking about them.  Most of us have been trained to treat our emotions like smelly socks that need to be washed, dried, and put back in the drawer.  Here’s what we do:

  • We hide and mask anger.
  • We internalize pressure.
  • We bury losses.
  • We deny being wounded.
  • We withdraw in the face of hard truth.
  • We push people away.
  • We change the scenery.
  • We keep secrets.

5 Ways to Protect Children from Pornography

child-on-computerA few weeks ago, a colleague in the Christian publishing and speaking world suddenly needed an audience with me and my team … and fast. You see, over the weekend his eight-year-old daughter had a sleepover with a nine-year-old friend. When his fourteen-year-old got on the Internet after they’d used it, she found herself seeing images no girl (or woman, for that matter) should ever see. His heart was broken by the fact that both of his little girls had been forced to look at images that rip the innocence right out of girlhood.

It shouldn’t surprise you that this happened. It happens in most houses every day. The fourth most-searched word on the Internet for kids ages seven and under in 2009 was “porn.” For all kids up to age 18, sex was number four and porn was number five (according to data collected by OnlineFamily.Norton.com). This supports some research I saw a few years ago out of Britain, stating that the average age of the first inception of pornography has dropped from around 12 or 13 to age seven or eight. Are you sure your kids haven’t seen any?

Proverbs 22:6 says you and I are to “train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” I believe that command includes training them the way they should not go. That means providing roadblocks to one of today’s most insidious vices: pornography.


  1. Place computers in public rooms. Avoid bedrooms or dens where doors can be closed.
  2. Install Internet filters or accountability software. In our home, we use both SafeEyes and Covenant Eyes.
  3. Join any social networks — such as Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter — where your children belong and know their passwords. They should know that you are able to help monitor their friends and incoming images.
  4. Ask your children outright if they have sent or received “sext” messages. About 15 percent or more of teens have received one and are just waiting for you to help them talk about it.
  5. Collect cell phones at night to recharge them … and to let your kids recharge without them!

Of course, these measures are just one part of an open dialogue about sexual purity. You can’t just hide your kids from the world, but you can train them to safeguard themselves from harmful material within it.


Source: MomLife Today