You don’t want to do it. You just want it to be done. You’re kinda like me. I’d really like to play an instrument, but I just never actually learned. Why? Because I want to know how to play. I don’t want to learn how to play. I want to be good at it RIGHT NOW. But I don’t want to actually do what it would take to become a musician.
We’re like that with pornography sometimes. We want to “be quit”. But we don’t want to do what it takes to quit. It’s hard! And just like learning to play an instrument, you mess up sometimes. But, when learning to play music, you don’t just say “Oh, no! I can’t play like Tchaikovsky on my first day! I guess I’ll quit.” You figure out where you went wrong, and you correct your mistakes.
Sometimes I imagine how cool it would be to just sit down and play like a concert pianist. You know how much good that thought does me? Nada. I can’t even play Chopsticks. For that matter, I don’t even know what Chopsticks sounds like….
I think we could probably all agree, with my history of piano playing and piano dreaming, I will never be a concert pianist. Why do we think we’re going to be any different with pornography if we’re not actually going to DO anything about it?
You say you don’t want to look. You say you don’t want to go back to it. But you never DO anything about it. It’s like those James talked about – those who said they had faith but didn’t do anything with it. But James said, “Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works” (James 2:18). Don’t just tell me you want to quit pornography. Show me you’re going to do what it takes to never go back.
When there is something we want to accomplish, we make some type of plan to accomplish it. If we want to quit pornography, we need to make a plan. If I continue my path of only dreaming about playing an instrument, tomorrow I will still only be the guy who can’t play Chopsticks. If you continue “wanting to not look at pornography” but don’t do anything different than what you’ve been doing, then tomorrow you will still be the guy who “doesn’t want to look at pornography”… but still does. You will still be the active addict.
What’s the definition of insanity? “Doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result.” If you keep falling into pornography but refuse to change anything about your daily habits, then nothing is going to change! Can you imagine Thomas Edison sitting in his workshop making the exact same failed lightbulb 3,980 times and expecting a different outcome on his 3,981st time without changing a single thing? Insanity, right?
Maybe you had a plan. You tried. You failed. Now what? Figure out where your plan broke down. Where was the weak point? What happened just before you gave in? You have to become a self-analyst. Don’t just look at the 20 minutes beforehand, look at what got you headed in that direction to begin with. Look at your history. What’s the commonality that leads up to your fall again and again? It might not even be something sinful. But it’s something that is part of your habit cycle. Study yourself. Figure out where you are stumbling and either remove it or figure out how to change your response.
Be willing to do the hard stuff. Don’t just be extreme. Be ridiculous. Do the stuff that is going to make people look at you and straight up laugh at your desperate measures. Let them laugh. You ARE desperate.
Obviously, you must remove your sources of pornography. But don’t just remove the source where you access porn. You also have to remove the sources that feed your desire, whether they are inherently sinful or not. What’s your trigger? Be honest with yourself (something we’re not particularly good at when we’re stuck in an addiction).
It’s common in warfare to surround the enemy and cut off supplies. You can force a city to surrender without ever firing a shot if you remove its access to food and water. What feeds your addiction? If there is something in your life that is not necessarily pornographic but is triggering a desire to look at porn, get rid of it! Whether it is movies, a relationship, the mall… whatever it is that triggers your desire to look at porn, stay far from it.
If you’re not willing to change what is currently keeping you stuck in the cycle of pornography addiction, then you don’t want to quit. You just want to want to quit. Look, I’m admitting I’ll never be a pianist because I’m not willing to do what it takes to become one. I just think it would be cool. I’m not actually willing to give up the time, energy, and money it would take to learn how to play. But not being a pianist is not going to keep me out of Heaven. Loving my computer more than I love God, on the other hand, will.
Now that you realize it’s going to cost more than you originally thought, do you still want to quit? Or do you just think it would be cool? It’s time to actively want to quit pornography. Buy that flip phone. Cancel the internet service. Keep your computer at a friend’s house. Change jobs. Whatever it takes.
Finally, if you want to quit, you have to be broken. We need to fall on the Rock and allow Him to break us that He may remake us into a pure and holy vessel for His glory (Matthew 21:44). Too often we will not do what it takes because we are afraid of the outcome. “What will happen if I . . .” We need to trust Christ and allow Him to break us and piece us back together in His image. Because bigger than our desire to be free from addiction is HIS desire to free us from sin. What He asks you to do, He will make it possible for you to do.
And HE wants you to quit.
Stay on the beaten road, friends.