Resisting the temptation of internet porn

April 4, 2014

From what I’ve read, pastor David Platt is an intense and uncompromising fellow. When it comes to addressing the crisis of addiction to internet pornography among Christian men (and some Christian women), as he does in the following video, I find his intensity exactly fitting for the occasion.

In the scripture I’ll be preaching on this Sunday, James gives us a sure promise: “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”

Do we believe this? Do we believe that we have the spiritual resources necessary to resist the devil? Remember what N.T. Wright said (from yesterday’s post): “The devil is a coward; when he is resisted, with the prayer that claims the victory of Jesus on the cross, he knows he is beaten.”

What if, when tempted to view internet porn, we prayed something like this: “Lord Jesus Christ, on the cross you defeated Satan and destroyed the power of sin that had held me captive. At this moment, however, Satan is once again trying to lure me into the deadly sin of lust by viewing internet pornography. He wants me to believe that I’m powerless to resist him, but he’s lying—he is, after all, the father of lies. So I claim the victory you won over him, which you’ve shared with me through your Holy Spirit. Enable me to withstand his attack until he runs away in fear. Thank you, Lord. Amen.”

In his book Conformed to His Image, Kenneth Boa shares a set of affirmations we can use to help us resist temptation in different areas of our lives, including sexual temptation. He writes:

[This set of affirmations] can be particularly helpful in that split second between temptation and response that mysteriously illuminates the whole dynamic of choosing to walk in the power of the Spirit or in the power of the flesh. It can be helpful to use spiritual exercises and tools that draw us to a biblical pattern of thought in times when the warfare becomes more intense. Just as judo leverages the force of an opponent to one’s advantage, so these affirmations can confer the force of temptation into a positive spiritual reminder.[1]

The following are affirmations related to sexual temptation, which I recommend to you. I’ve hyperlinked the scripture references:

1. There is no future in this. It would damage my relationship with God and could destroy my relationship with my spouse and children, as well as damage my reputation and discredit my ministry (1 Corinthians 6:18).

2. I will not degrade this person but will treat her or him with dignity and honor. I will treat her or him as a subject, not an object; she or he has been created in the image of God.

3. I will let the attractiveness direct me to praise for the greatness of her or his Creator. (This is a kind of “spiritual judo” in which you use quick movement and leverage to throw your opponent; in this case, you redirect the incoming force from temptation to praise.)

Please note: #3 is tricky: by the time you’re viewing porn, it’s obviously too late for this affirmation. But even an innocuous website like Facebook inundates us men with non-pornographic, though sexually suggestive, images of attractive women—whether in advertisements or other posts. These non-pornographic images can lure us into porn. We can recite this affirmation before we fall victim.

4. I am no longer under the power of sin, but I am alive to God in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:11). I am not a skin-wrapped package of glands but a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

5. I will walk by the Spirit and not carry out the desire of the flesh (Galatians 5:16; 2 Timothy 2:22).

6. I will fix my eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of faith (Hebrews 12:2).[2]

1. Kenneth Boa, Conformed to His Image (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001), 332-3.

2. Ibid., 334-5.

4 Responses to “Resisting the temptation of internet porn”

  1. Joe Says:

    Very helpful. Thanks.

  2. Chad Says:

    Kudos for talking about this. We need to do so more. I saw Platts video and have read Boa. Both are helpful. I would add, as a man who as you know has been deep in that and delivered, that without first admitting we love our sin (porn) more than God there can be no real repentance. A true brokenness and humbling has to happen for the heart to be made new. Without that, all the sayings in the world won’t work. At least that is my experience. Will be praying for you Sunday!

    • brentwhite Says:

      I’m preaching James 4:4-10 this Sunday, and what you say here ties directly into it. James calls the people in his church (literally) “adulteresses,” and tells them to turn their laughter into mourning, etc. If that image fits, then whom do we “love” more than God? Whatever it is, that’s the “lover” with whom we’re cheating on God.


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