I’m in the middle of a sermon series called The Bare Facts on Sex. Last week I took an entire message and dealt with pornography. You can view the message here. During the first part I approached the issue from a biblical, relational, and neuroscience perspective. During the second part I suggested a simple acronym, PURITY, that captures 6 ways we can pull out of sexual sin (porn or other sexual sins) and/or stay sexually pure. I’ve summarized it here.
THE PURITY PROCESS TO STAY SEXUALLY PURE
Purpose to change/stay pure before God.
You must start here. If you are sexually out of God’s boundaries, you must admit it (confess and repent) and purpose to change. Don’t deny it is what it is, sin. Don’t minimize its damages nor rationalize its use. Scripture tells us to flee from all sexual sin (1 Cor. 6.18). We are to view our body as God’s temple and live in such a way that reflects that truth. We are to glorify Him with our body.
And if you are within God’s boundaries, purpose to stay pure.
Understand how porn changes your brain.
You can read here my blog on what porn does to your brain. Because the brain is plastic (malleable based on what we put into our minds) porn actually changes its neural structure. Yet, it is also malleable in the other direction. If we make changes in our lives, renew our thinking, and yield to God’s transformative power, we can create new God honoring patterns on how we relate to sexual temptation. The Apostle Paul called it renewing of our minds (Romans 12.2).
Reshape your environment.
Discover what triggers your draw to porn. By doing so you can make changes to avoid those cues and lessen the opportunity for a stimulus. Therapists use the acronym, HALT, to help clients discover when they are most susceptible to temptation. It can help you discover when you are most vulnerable to porn.
We are most tempted when we are…
- Angry or anxious
When we discover our cues, we can then make simple changes to avoid them, such as…
- Asking your wife to not leave women’s magazines out in the open around the house (the ones with the shapely females on the front).
- Move your computer monitor to a different place in your home or office. Better yet, put it where others will see you when you are on it.
- Keep the lights on.
- Don’t keep your iPad or Kindle next to your bed.
- Turn off chats in Facebook.
- Block some email.
This means accountability. Find an accountability partner who will lovingly hold you accountable to your thought life and what you view on the web. Put web blocking software on your computer. This is a great web site that offers such software.
Turn when tempted
Turn your eyes when tempted. The first three seconds are key when we see an image on the screen or see an attractive woman walk in front of us. Job provides a good model with his commitment, I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl. (Job 31.1)
The three A’s is a simple tool to help us turn when tempted. (from The Porn Circuit: Understand Your Brain and Break Porn Habits in 90 Days)
- Alert: Pay attention when you see something inappropriate. It may only take a split-second to recognize a tempting situation.
- Avert: Close your eyes or look away. These first two steps should be instantaneous.
- Affirm: Give yourself a mental high-five to congratulate your effort. Say to yourself, “I saw that by mistake, and I quickly looked away. I’ve been clean for (enter number of days) and I’m going to stay that way.”
Yield to Christ through prayer and repentance
God promises us that He will give us a way out, but we have to walk through it.
2Pet. 1.3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
Porn is terribly damaging to our souls and our relationships, but by God’s grace we can be men (and women) who keep our thought lives and behavior pure before Him.