Last night I had the honor and privilege of speaking to 35 or so students of the youth ministry at Faith Assembly in Lacey. The subject? Lust and pornography. I was expecting lots of nervous laughter and not a few rude comments. After getting them to quiet down to a dull roar so that I could begin, it only took about 15 seconds to get them dead silent. How is such a thing possible, you ask? Simple. I said this: “In one week I will be celebrating 1 year of sobriety from pornography.” Silence, and staring.
For the next 30 minutes I had their complete and undivided attention. I didn’t use corny gimmicks, tricks, or jokes to hold their attention; I was just open and honest. At one point a student noted that the girls (who were getting their own talk in another room) were laughing. He said, “Not a lot of laughter in here.” But they didn’t mind. Know why? Because they were desperate. Several students have already contacted me pleading for help. It’s just about enough to break your heart.
I don’t hear a lot of people in the church talking about pornography, other than denouncing it. Church is probably one of the hardest places to be honest about using pornography because everyone pretends to be perfect, fine, good, whatever. So a pastor might spend one sentence during his sermon on the topic of pornography before moving on to the “important” things he needs to discuss. But to those students last night what I had to tell them was important; their attentiveness and silence was testimony to that.
For each of the next eight days I’m going to discuss one of 8 Steps that have helped to keep me free from pornography for the last 359 days (and counting). If you’re using pornography I hope you take these Steps to heart. If you have a teenager living with you, encourage them to read the Steps. Pornography is tearing us apart, both in and out of the church, and most people don’t realize it until it’s too late: until the affair, the divorce, etc. I want to be clear that if you have an addiction to pornography these steps will only be a beginning for you. Ultimately you will need to find a 12-step support group to facilitate your recovery.
Without further ado, here is Step 1: “Pray at the beginning of the day for at least 15 minutes.”
I can already hear people saying, “Yeah, I already do that, and I ‘m still struggling with lust and pornography.” Ok, fair enough. But let me ask you this: When you’re praying in the morning, how are you praying? Do you ask God to cure you? Do you ask for miraculous healing from your lust and pornography problem? When I say “pray” I mean being completely honest with God. Ask Him for help, but confess that some part of you wants to keep using pornography (otherwise why would you still use it, knowing it’s wrong?) Ask Him to speak to you, to guide you. Don’t just ask for a cure. Ask Him what you can do to get well. Freely confess all of the sin in your life, all of your darkest thoughts, put it all in the light. Don’t worry, it’s not like you’re going to surprise Him.
While you may not tell God anything He doesn’t already know, by being in honest discourse with Him you will inevitably admit things to yourself that you would never otherwise do. Try it and you’ll see what I’m talking about. We humans are great at fooling other people about who we are, but we absolutely excel at fooling ourselves. When we talk openly and honestly with God about the secret desires of our heart, especially the ones we really wish weren’t there, we can begin to see the truth about ourselves. And that’s how healing starts.
So my first challenge to you is this: Get up 15 minutes early tomorrow, find a quiet corner of your house or apartment where no-one will hear you, and tell God everything that’s in your heart as it relates to lust and pornography. Then ask Him what you need to do, shut up, and listen.