Pornography. Some would ask the question, why is a missions professor, an evangelism professor, talking about how to escape pornography? There are a couple of reasons. The first one is because I deal with young students all the time and this is a major struggle of guys and girls on our campus. But really the second reason is a story I need to tell you.
THE MISSION FIELD OF AMAZON
Several years ago I wrote a book with B&H Academic and it was a simple, little book that talked about how the Southern Baptist Convention cooperates together for missions (Together on God’s Mission) which is what a missions professor ought to do. But in the midst of publishing that book we became aware that I actually share a name. My name, Scott Hildreth, is also the name of another guy who writes and publishes on Amazon. But he writes hard-core pornographic novels. Now, let me just warn you, DON’T GOOGLE HIS NAME, PLEASE. I PROMISE YOU, YOU DON’T WANT TO DO THAT.
But when we found that out it was kind of a moment of panic. I thought, What am I going to do? I don’t want to publish just one book in my whole life and I only have one name. Do I write under a pen name or create initials? What’s the response when you find out that is going on? The other issue was I actually had my students who would look for my book to buy it and my parents would look at it. So I was like, this is crazy. What am I going to do about this problem?
So I talked with the people at LifeWay and talked with some colleagues. Then I asked the question, what would a missionary do? After all, a missionary just finds a people group and finds a bridge to the gospel and asks the question, is there any way to get the gospel to this group of people?
ESCAPING THE TRAP OF PORNOGRAPHY
It dawned on me one day as I was thinking about this and talking with some people. If people find his books when they search my name, then would it be possible for people to find my books when they search his name?
So I sat down for several months and just began to develop a book called, Bondage and Freedom: Escaping the Trap of Pornography. The real goal of that was to write a book that helps people who are in the throws or in the grips of pornography, pornographic addiction or obsession, and give some tips and some keys of how to escape pornography and how the gospel actually helps a person freed from pornography.
The book’s been really well received by people. I actually had a guy who wrote a review that said, “This book is for anybody.” It said, “The author’s a Christian, but he doesn’t let his Christian faith get in the way of good advice.” I’m not sure exactly what that means, but I’m glad that he thought and realized that anybody, whether you’re a Christian or not a Christian, would find some helpfulness in this book.
THE GOAL OF PORNOGRAPHY
You see, the truth of the matter is this. Pornography is a multi-billion dollar industry that has one goal: to hook you, to hold you, and to take everything that you have to wreck your life and to ruin it. It’s worse than a casino that takes all the clocks and all the windows out and doesn’t let you know what time it is. The goal of pornography is to prey on the most basic human nature—your sexuality, your temptations, your lusts—the way that God created you.
I’m with guys all the time who say, “God, would you please just take away this desire?” And I say, “God will never answer that prayer.” If God answered that prayer, the human race would cease to exist. So God can’t answer the prayer, “God, take this desire from me.” What God does do is give us the Holy Spirit of whom one of the fruits is self-control. So God gives us the ability to control ourselves as we strive to escape pornography.
But in the midst of what the gospel does for us the question might be, what is it that we can do? What are some practical steps that we can take to stay free from pornography? I think there are a few things that I would advise for this.
4 STEPS TO ESCAPE PORNOGRAPHY
1. Realize the Destructiveness of Pornography.
Realize the power and the negative influence that pornography will have upon you. It’s not a simple, little step of sin. You see, porn does something on the inside of you, not just on the outside. Porn rewires your brain. It reshapes your body. We need to take the temptation of pornography and really put the face of destruction and disaster on it, rather than the cuteness or the attractiveness. Even the writer of Proverbs says that the wanton women, their bed is attractive, that their looks are attractive, but if we realize that beyond the attraction it was death and destruction, we’d step away from it.
2. Set Realistic Goals.
If you’re into pornography there are a couple steps of advice that I would give you. I would say, first of all, start setting some goals for yourself to break free from porn. Most guys I know say, “I’m going to never look at porn again.” And they set this goal for never, never, forever. We can’t really reach a forever goal.
Set a goal of one week or two weeks. I’m going to be porn-free for two weeks. At the end of those two weeks, reevaluate your goal. I’m going to do it for another two weeks. I’m going to do it for another two weeks. Then at the end of that, you may stretch it out to a month or two months or six months. Set realistic goals that you can break free from.
3. Surround Yourself With Help.
You’re going to need some help. You see the thing about pornography is pornography is a lot like a mixed martial arts match. You step into a cage, they lock the cage behind you, you’re in there, and you turn around and you realize, “Man, I’m against an opponent who’s much larger than I am, more well-trained than I am. He’s going to take me down.”
What you need to realize is, I need help. I need to tap somebody’s hand to get in here and help me out. You need some friends, some people who can come around you, who won’t take your excuses and who will say, “No, we’re going to fight together for freedom.”
You also may need a professional, and/or to get involved with a counseling group or with a support group, and you also need your church and some people who can come around you and can help you break free.
4. Take Practical Steps.
But you need to take some practical steps at home. Control what you do with your telephone. Find a filter that you would use. Put your computer in a place that is publicly accessed. Don’t turn your screen to the wall. Make sure that your back is to the public and people can walk in behind you.
Be ready to take some practical steps. Trust the Lord that he’s given you the spiritual resources for freedom. Realize the fear, the danger, the tragedy that comes with pornography and then take some practical steps that can really help you fight for freedom.
This article originally appeared on LifeWayVoices.com and is reposted here by permission.