People can wind up trapped in porn through many different ways. Some people intentionally seek it out for various reasons, some are exposed to it by no fault of their own but then find themselves returning to it again and again, and others go slowly and subtly. They walk down a long, dark, gradually declining path, not realizing where they are going until one day they look up and wonder how they got so lost.
If you read my testimony, you know that I have been there, and that last description, that slow fade, is how I fell. I want to bring that to light today. I don’t do this because it is fun to talk about – it isn’t – but because I pray that by exposing how I drifted, God will save others from that same path before they wander as far as I did.
You see, I never wanted to look at pornography. I didn’t even know what it was really. What I wanted was to be wanted. I wanted to be chosen and loved by a guy. I dreamed about what that would be like constantly, but my view of it was tainted by the romance thrown in our face by Hollywood and our romance-crazy culture.
I never expressed any of these thoughts or feelings to my parents. For some reason it seemed too weird to talk about. I had never really cared about boys before, and I didn’t want to lose that “all cool and doesn’t care” status. Yet while I maintained that face, my heart was totally swept away.
Fed by media and the internet for my original ideas of what a relationship looks like, I turned there again. I figured it would be harmless.
“How do you know if someone likes you?”
“5 ways to get a guy to notice you”
Then I started thinking, what about after I was in a relationship? I wasn’t allowed to date, but one day I would be able to. And I knew I would save my kiss until my wedding (although at that point I don’t know if that was as much my personal conviction as it was just obeying my parents), but one day I would be married and what then?? I continued seeking out the vast store of information the world offered me through the internet, but it escalated quickly.
“How to kiss”
“How to make him want to kiss you”
and so on and so on…
While originally I was interested in information and mostly read articles, I soon found that images were more enticing than words. So I started searching for pictures. Then pictures became boring and so I went on to videos. I never in all of that stopped to think about what I was really doing. I never saw it coming, even as I was walking right into it. In fact, I remember a moment where I thought “Oh… so this is pornography…” By that point, I was in too deep and had no idea how to escape.
So how did I get there? What happened? It started all the way at the beginning, deep deep down, as a heart problem. I spent more time fantasizing about my desires and soaking in the world’s views than I did seeking God. I craved love, but looked for it in shallow places, like boys, while in reality God’s love is the only love capable of satisfying that thirst in my heart.
If porn – or any sin – looked as evil and disgusting as it really was, we would probably never give in to any of it. Instead, they present themselves as small and harmless or as pretty and desirable. These are six lies that pornography presents us with, things it tells us it will give us but never can, and the truth behind those pretty bows and packages.
Porn promises us pleasure, but that pleasure won’t last. God offers us a deeper, lasting pleasure when our hearts and minds are solely fixed on Him.
“There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” – Proverbs 14:12
“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” – Psalm 37:4
We desire a deep connection. Pornography tells us it will be enough to quiet that ache, but God is the one who sees us and hears us. He reaches down into our soul and can comfort our loneliness with His divine presence.
“Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” – Psalm 73:23-26
“You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.” – Psalm 139:1-5
Like connection, we crave acceptance. We believe that sex will touch us deeply enough to quiet our fears that we are too flawed or not good enough, and so pornography lures us in. However, the truth is that we are already chosen and accepted by God exactly as we are!
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” – 1 Peter 2:9
“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will” – Ephesians 1:4-5
God has given us a desire to be loved, but the “love” that pornography offers us is fake. Jesus is love – true, enduring, never-failing love.
“The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” – Jeremiah 31:3
“Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life.” – Isaiah 43:4
“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” – 1 John 4:9-10
5. Fulfillment and Satisfaction
There is an emptiness we all feel inside of us. Pornography tells us it has what we need to satisfy that hole in our heart, but nothing in this world can satisfy us. That emptiness is a place that only God can fill.
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” – John 4:13-14
“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.” – Psalm 1:1-3
6. Escape and Peace
Pornography says it can give us a break from the craziness, stress, and pain of life. It promises us a relief. We do need relief, but using sex like a drug to ease our minds won’t give us what we need. God is our refuge and our peace when we can’t take what life is throwing at us.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:27
“How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you. In the shelter of your presence you hide them from all human intrigues; you keep them safe in your dwelling from accusing tongues.” – Psalm 31:19-20
Whatever it is you might be dealing with, whatever you may be facing, Jesus is everything you need to get through it. Don’t look anywhere else but to Him. Intentionally spend time learning from Him and growing closer to Him. When we absentmindedly go through life, we will eventually wake up and wonder where we are and how we got there. Actively stay in His Light, and the darkness cannot overtake you. The lies cannot defeat the Truth. He is all you need and everything you need. Seek Him first, and seek Him alone.