5 Spiritual Tools Christians Can Use To Overcome Porn Addiction

by Ted Shimer | April 13, 2021

Breaking free from porn addiction requires commitment — to yourself and to the process. But in the heat of temptation, we need more than just resolve. We need spiritual tools and practices that will work to not only choose well in the moment, but to retrain our brains. We don’t want to simply repress feelings or temptations. We want to replace these habitual responses with something new, something better. The Bible tells us that transformation happens by “renewing the mind” (Romans 12:2). We want to help you build new neurological pathways in the brain. When you’re tempted to watch porn, these are some spiritual tools that — when consistently practiced over time — will retrain your brain and help you break free and stay free from porn.

Spiritual Tools

Tool #1: Meditate on Scripture

Scripture is a powerful spiritual tool that points us back to the truth and refocuses our minds in times of temptation. Memorizing scripture helps us remember who we are and who He is. Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” It’s more than just opening your Bible and starting to read (though that’s not a bad place to start!). It’s about hiding God’s word in our hearts, knowing what He says about us, and letting these truths renew our thinking.

Choose a few passages (we recommend Matthew 5:8, Romans 6:10-11, and Galatians 4:7) and take some time to memorize them, so that no matter where you find yourself in the heat of temptation, you have a powerful spiritual tool to wield against it. When you feel tempted, take a moment to repeat one of these verses to yourself, reminding yourself over and over again that you are dead to sin, but alive in Christ. That you are no longer a slave, but a son. Allow these verses to draw you back to your true identity — a child of God, made in God’s image, free, worthy, and valuable.

Tool #2: Preach Truth to Yourself

Knowing what God says about you in the Bible is an incredible way to start walking in your true identity. As we start to believe what God says about us, it becomes more and more difficult to make choices that contradict that identity. It takes time to believe these truths, especially when we’ve struggled with pornography and the resulting secrecy and shame.

In Matthew 4, Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (v. 1). As the devil tried to persuade Jesus to sin, Jesus spoke scripture out loud to fight back. And he won! The devil fled! And this same power is available to us through God’s word.

As we feel tempted to watch porn, as we feel tempted to sink into hopelessness or despair (“I can’t do this,” “This will never get easier,” “I’m a failure”), we can speak scripture truths over ourselves (either in our minds or out loud). “I am a son of God.” “I am not a slave to sin.” “I am more than a conqueror in Christ.” Speaking against the lies that threaten to overwhelm us is a great spiritual tool that breaks the power those lies hold over us. As you notice temptation or a lie rising up, speak the opposite. Declare the truth.

Tool #3: Pray proactively

Retraining our minds requires tools that we can use in the heat of a moment and tools that we can use to prevent temptation. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus tells his disciples (not once, but twice!) to pray against temptation (Luke 22:40, 46). If we consistently pray that we wouldn’t be led into temptation, that our hearts would align with God’s desires, that we would believe the truth about ourselves — a crazy thing happens. We start avoiding temptation, our desires start to align with God’s, we start to believe the truth, and we aren’t tempted to sin as often.

Prayer is simply conversation with God — recognizing that He is always with us, always available to help us. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says that God won’t let us be tempted beyond what we can bear. That he will provide a way out. There is always a way out! Ask God to show you the way out. Ask Him to help you believe that there is a way out. Ask Him to give you the strength to choose that way.

Tool #4: Flee Temptation

It’s human nature to flirt with temptation, to see how close to the edge we can get. How far is too far? But the Bible tells us the exact opposite — to “flee from sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18). To run away, to escape, to avoid it at all costs.

With pornography, the key to fleeing temptation is often as simple as leaving isolation. We can’t watch porn in a public place or in a living room filled with friends. And escaping to healthy outlets like being with people, exercising, or reading helps diffuse the pull towards watching porn.

Part of getting good at fleeing temptation is understanding our triggers, or the things that lead us to look at porn. Ask yourself some questions — What time of day am I usually tempted? What circumstances or situations trigger me? What am I feeling emotionally prior to temptation? Is it a certain movie, program, or social media outlet that triggers me?

Jesus says that if our right eye causes us to stumble, we should gouge it out and throw it away. While we don’t suggest plucking out your eyeball, we do suggest taking this mentality of getting radical seriously if you want to break free from porn. Fleeing temptation means recognizing patterns and removing triggers. This may mean deleting social media, not watching certain movies or shows, getting rid of your TV altogether, setting up firewalls, or leaving your house or room.

Tool #5: Fellowship

No one gets free from porn addiction on their own. The first step towards freedom is confession. 1 Timothy 2:22 says, “Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” The command is to flee, and to flee alongside those who call on the Lord. This isn’t meant to be a solo venture — if we want to follow through on fleeing temptation, we need to involve others as accountability. We need to confess our sins, to ask for help, and to reach out when we’re tempted.

An accountability partner can help tremendously in moments of temptation. Choose a person you trust, someone that knows you and can encourage you to live in the fullness of who God sees you as. Ask them if they’d be willing to be someone you can call in moments of temptation, in order to flee isolation, and if they would pray for you. Calling or texting someone when you’re tempted to watch porn is a great spiritual tool can make a huge difference in whether you flee temptation or not.

Repetition and Porn Addiction

Repetition is what got you into this, and is how your brain was rewired for porn addiction. As we choose to watch porn in response to our emotions, our loneliness, our stress (whatever it is), we create pathways in our brains. I’m stressed … I watch porn … I feel relief. We do this over and over again, and we deepen those pathways. They become familiar, worn trails — ruts.

Repetition got you into the addiction. And repetition of a new pathway will help get you out.

The BRACE Method

Built on Biblical principles and brain science, the BRACE method is an acronym that employs the spiritual tools we discussed to help you break free from porn addiction.

B = Breathe deeply

The prefrontal cortex (the front part of the brain) is where our impulse control lives, where our moral “brakes” exist. When we watch porn habitually, our prefrontal cortex doesn’t operate at full capacity. It becomes more difficult to stop in the moment, to talk ourselves out of it, to say no. Breathing deeply is the first step to re-engage these brakes. Taking a few deep breaths (hold for four counts and exhale for four counts) when you feel tempted to watch porn sends more oxygen to the prefrontal cortex and helps it operate more effectively. While you are breathing deeply, you can remember the truth. Then pray that you will believe it and practice it. Call (or text) an accountability partner while you are escaping the situation. In 60 seconds you can practice BRACE and help renew your mind.

R = Remember the truth (meditate on scripture)
A = Ask God for help (pray)
C = Call an accountability partner (fellowship)
E = Escape the situation (flee temptation)

 

Renewing Our Minds

The BRACE method puts temptation to work for you to build a new pathway. As we repeat these actions over time, when faced with temptation, we build a new neurological pathway in our brains. Instead of choosing isolation and sin, we are choosing to focus on truth, to flee the tempting situation and to reach out to God and community. We renew our minds (Romans 12:2) and find spiritual health by training ourselves to respond differently to triggers. Eventually, we start to see temptation differently — these moments are opportunities to get another repetition of the new pathway, to deepen the trail.

The Freedom Fight program equips you with the spiritual tools necessary to beat porn addiction forever.

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Published: April 13, 2021  |   Spiritual Health
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