If you only focus on Technique, then your life will collapse.
As a pastor, it is a privilege and honor for me to hear courageous stories from guys who admit they struggle with porn. It’s not easy to own up to this subtle, yet deadly, addiction. And when they get to the point of confessing their sins, the next question is always the same: how do I stop?
Some guys, of course, don’t want to stop. Actually, lurking deep down in our intentions, even most guys who go so far as to admit it’s a problem, really don’t want to stop. Others, however, truly are sick of the cycle and ready for relief. What do I say to them?
If you turn on Christian radio or consult religious books on the subject, inevitably and unfortunately, you’ll hear the same sort of message about how to become porn-free. The message that is hawked has to do with strategy. Namely, try such-and-such technique in your fight against porn; methodology abounds as the issue is attacked from a “how to” vantage point.
I’ve read or heard boatloads of such methods. “Bounce” your eyes away from an alluring image; don’t put your computer in your room; don’t have internet on your phone; don’t be alone with a source of temptation; don’t watch certain movies; don’t listen to certain music; get new friends; download accountability software; get an accountability partner; find a hobby; go for a jog, etc.
All of these techniques are very good and helpful, don’t hear me wrongly, but they will fail you if you rely only on them. I promise. For your heart, like mine, is black and wicked; and the source of our sin is not outside of us, but inside of us. And mere technique will not get anywhere near the source of the problem.
A few posts ago, I wrote about Aristotle’s triangle of knowledge. At the bottom of the triangle is truth; above truth is morality; and above morality is technique. This is an extremely helpful way forward, and can help the both of us in our struggle against sexual sin.
Here’s why. Truth is at the foundation; everything rests on Truth. Truth is “What.” Because of the “What” we know “Why” some things are right and some things are wrong; that’s Morality. Once we know “Why” we ought to do some things and not others, we can begin to explore “How” is best to live; that’s Technique.
Technique—How do I live out morality?
Morality—Why are some things right or wrong?
Truth—What is reality?
If you only focus on Technique (How do I live out morality?) then your life will collapse. There is no Truth beneath it. When we fail to put Truth into our lives, then we have stunted morals and failing technique. Technique alone will fail us. Any approach to help you with porn that only gives you a handful of techniques will fail you. You and I first need a foundation, which is the Truth.
Therefore, the best way to fight against a porn addiction is to put Truth into your life. We have to bolster the foundation; only then will our Morality be revived and our Technique be successful. Without Truth, every crumbles; you’ll never be convinced of good Morality and deep down you’ll care less if know how to do it.
Once we’re convinced of the Truth, Morality and Technique flow naturally. I believe that with all my heart.
The Truth that I am speaking of is God’s Holy Word, the Bible. The more Bible we ingest, the stronger our foundation becomes. It’s not just about reading, but about meditating, memorizing, and feasting. Scripture is your soul’s food and without it you’ll starve and collapse in a heap on the floor. And no methodology will be able to revive you.
Our world is filled with those who are selling the latest Technique. It’s sickening to me, because, in the end, when we sit in the ashes of our failure, shame is heaped upon guilt. Drunken with failure, we hobble over to the next Technique, only to be knocked to the ground again. The cycle continues until you finally give up.
You and I have to put God’s Word into our minds and hearts every day. We have to build-up the Truth in our lives through Bible reading, listening to sermons, attending Bible studies, praying about Scripture, etc. Do whatever it takes to build your foundation. Let the Truth adjust your Morality; and let your Morality inspire your Technique.
Sorry to say that this post was not about “Ten Ways To Be Porn Free.” I don’t want to be that cruel and deceptive to you. I want to point you to the only wellspring that will work, God’s Holy Word. Here’s the beautiful thing about God’s Word, which sets it apart from being just another Technique: it is more like acid than water. In other words, when acid touches something, it affects it. Intrinsically, acid has changing power. It’s the same for God’s Word; when it touches something, that something will never be the same. Even if you don’t see it, trust the process and know that God’s Word is always at work (Isaiah 55:11); for it is “living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12).
We are not only saved by grace, but also we are sanctified by grace. Grace, as Bonhoeffer wrote, will justify both the sin and the sinner. In other words, God’s grace through Jesus on the cross will not just make you pure “on paper” but also in reality. His grace will affect your life and change you for the good. God’s grace will give you a new heart with new desires, as we un-handle our old life and grab hold of the Truth, which is the only way to new life.
© Samuel Kee, 2011