Last updated on October 1, 2020
I have a question for you if you can answer. I have watched (and still do) dirty things on my computer and phone for about five years now. I truly do hate them, and I’m afraid of them. Last year I literally made myself physically ill from worrying about this addiction. So before my question, I just want to emphasize that I am sincere (or believe I am) about hating pornography.
My question is: What if I for some reason didn’t get away from porn before dying as a Christian? I believe I am born again and have been for years, but for literally five years I’ve been addicted. I have made progress and have filters on my phone and iPad but still when the desire comes on I end up finding a way to view something, even if it is isn’t “as filthy” as the other stuff was. I hate it all though and I can’t believe I still give in sometimes. I’m very very scared concerning my salvation and worrying about this all the time if I am forgiven, even if I still watch despite trying to quit.
Have I truly repented if I still watch? I don’t want an answer to just comfort me (though I desperately need it along with comfort) but rather the truth so I can go forward and get rid of this.
Please help! Thank you.
In this case, I think it would help to stick with biblical terminology. When we refer to something as an addiction, we are indirectly stating that there is an outside compulsion that is controlling our decisions. To put it in biblical terms, pornography is a sin based upon sexual lust.
James details the process of sin in this fashion: “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (James 1:14-15). The steps are:
- Desires: Each of us is born with a normal, natural set of desires. The physical desires are the consequence of the operation of our bodies. We also have spiritual desires, such as not wanting to be alone, wanting to be liked by others, or wanting something pretty.
- Temptation: Satan tries to place us in situations where it appears that the satisfaction of a desire will require the breaking of a law of God. Temptation is the forcing of a choice to be made: either to break a law of God and satisfy a desire or to forgo satisfaction in order to keep God’s law.
- Lust (desire conceived): When a person mentally consents that breaking a law of God is worth satisfying the desire, then the person has moved into the realm of lust. This is when the person justifies to himself that breaking God’s law can be excused, at least in some situations.
- Sin: This is when a person seizes an opportunity and actually breaks God’s law.
- Licentiousness (sin full-grown): Sin is rarely done just once. The excuses to sin come fast, such as “I’ve done it once, doing it again isn’t going to make much difference.” Eventually the person becomes calloused to sin and no longer feels guilty about what he is doing. He doesn’t care what other people think. He may even convince himself that he has the right to sin. (Licentiousness means thinking you have a license to sin.)
- Death: A person fully convinced that he ought to sin and doesn’t care what even God thinks about his actions won’t be persuaded out of his sin. Since he won’t leave his sin, he will die in his sin.
As an example, hunger is a desire — it is neither right nor wrong. Temptation is when you are in the convenience store and see a candy bar, but realize you don’t have enough money to pay for it. Lust is when you tell yourself that the store can afford to lose some items and that they are expecting some loss, or telling yourself that you could pocket it now and pay for it later and you accept that this is adequate justification to steal. Sin is when you walk out with the candy bar without paying for it. Licentiousness is when you think it is fun to take things off the shelf even though you have adequate money to pay for it. And from there it is a short step to spiritual death.
Since the time you matured enough to ejaculate, your body as a desire to do so. It comes from the fact that your seminal vesicles (the glands that produce semen) get full and need to be emptied to make room for fresher semen. You perceive that desire to empty your seminal vesicles as increased sensitivity to sexual ideas and situations. The desire is normal. But Satan tempts you to satisfy that need by using lust and pornography to accomplish an ejaculation. Likely you’ve done so so often that you now have a difficult time imagining being able to ejaculate without looking at trashy images. Like many guys, you decide to stop looking at porn, but you see that as also no longer ejaculating — but that is not possible. You can hold off ejaculating only so long before the need gets overwhelming.
The problem is what when you put off ejaculating, eventually, instinct takes over as the body gets desperate to relieve itself. You might find yourself doing crazy things without thinking. But what happens more times than not, you suddenly find yourself spiraling around and then honing in on inappropriate images without much thought as to what you are doing. The next thing you know your pants are down, you may even tell yourself that you shouldn’t be doing this, but you can’t seem to stop because instinct has taken over. Once you ejaculate, your thoughts clear up and you begin to berate yourself for giving in again.
The simple answer is to understand that you need to ejaculate once in a while, so when the urge gets strong, but before it gets so strong that instinct takes over, you need to find a way to relieve yourself that doesn’t involve lust or porn. At first, it will seem impossible and even when you manage to do it, it won’t be as thrilling. But if you stick with it, you will find that you can maintain control over your behavior and it is far easier to stay away from pornography.