how to overcome porn

3 Ways to Break Free From Porn

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I heard a story years ago that haunts me. It’s about an old man who, on his deathbed, with no access to porn, lays there playing repeatedly in his mind flashes of porn he viewed over his lifetime. It’s the saddest picture I’ve heard of the bondage that porn brings to the mind of a man and—ultimately—to his heart.

Many dads struggle with porn. I know because I talk to dads about this struggle often. You are not alone in this. But knowing you aren’t alone isn’t enough. You need to know how to overcome porn. And make no mistake—this is a fight. Here are 3 ways to break free from porn.

1. Train your thoughts.

Before we ever look at porn, we rationalize the small things that ultimately lead to looking at more. We say, “It won’t hurt anything. It’s just this once.” When you think these things, you’re opening the wrong door. In Ephesians 4:27, the apostle Paul writes, “Don’t give the devil an opportunity.” We give sin a fighting chance when we rationalize the shows we watch or the images we look at. Be on guard for times when you might be lowering your defenses. By the time you’re looking at porn, you’ve made a series of bad decisions. 

By the time you’re looking at porn, you’ve made a series of bad decisions.

Instead, learn to train your thoughts. What you fill your mind with will ultimately become things you act on. Consider Matthew 5:28, which says, “…everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Remember, it’s not enough to simply cut the bad thoughts. You must replace the wrong thoughts with the right thoughts. For example, learn to actively focus on your wife when you feel like you’re starting to stray. When tempted by lustful thoughts, have a scripture passage about self-control ready to repeat to yourself, like 2 Timothy 1:7.

2. Train your time.

Consider what you give your time to, morning, noon, and night. In talking with one guy about his struggle, he realized it usually happened on Friday nights. He worked a lot during the week. As he recalled his Friday routine with me in detail, it was like a broken record of habits and emotions. He would get downcast about how busy he was with work. Then, he’d further rationalize by telling himself it’s better to masturbate than sleep with other women.

We must train our time as dads. If this is your struggle, consider limiting your time alone if that’s what it takes. Find better ways to spend time, like taking a walk outside, working out, or playing a sport to keep you busy. In those times of struggle, keeping busy is better than allowing your mind the time to wander.

3. Train your technology.

Filters and boundaries aren’t just for your kids. After you’ve fought the battle of your thoughts, and you’ve found better things to do with your time, you must guard against making porn available. There will be times of weakness. Plan for that struggle. Go on defense and make sure you have the proper tools to monitor your activity online.

Remember, you can only view porn if you’ve made it available. Do the hard work of eliminating access totally by using internet filters like Covenant Eyes or setting restrictions on streaming services, just like we often do for our kids to protect them. We need to protect ourselves, too. Do whatever you can to train your tech so you control it rather than allowing it to control you.

Sound off: At which one of these three things are you weakest?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “Do you know what pornography is? Have you ever seen any?”