Have you ever had thoughts such as, I’m the only one struggling with porn like this, God must be so ashamed of me, or I just have got to get stronger to overcome my addiction or anything like that?
These thoughts are present in almost every case of pornography addiction I’ve seen.
But do you see the problem? These thoughts are all lies! Worse yet, they keep you from discovering the truth that will set you free. This is why my mission over the past few years has been to help men not only recognize the top ten of these lies, but more importantly, to understand the Truth that counteracts them. (To go deeper on this topic, check out my book, Ten Lies Men Believe About Porn).
Lie #1: My pornography addiction defines who I am.
TRUTH: Only God can define who you are.
The only One who can give you your true identity is God, because He is the One who made you. Furthermore, the moment you trust Christ to redeem you from your sins, all of them—past, present, and future—are removed from you. Which means God no longer defines you by your sin, He defines you as His beloved child.
Lie #2: I am alone in my struggle with pornography addiction.
TRUTH: You are not the only one who deals with this.
Many men who use porn feel a strong desire to hide it, fearing they are alone in their struggle. The truth is, everyone struggles with something. We’ve all got junk. Once you bring your struggle into the light and trust others to come alongside you in it, the temptation begins to lose its power over you.
Lie #3: My pornography addiction is about fulfilling my sexual desires.
TRUTH: Pornography addiction results from the attempt to receive intimacy without risking rejection.
Many men fear they will be rejected if people discover the truth about them, so they hide their flaws and pretend to be who they think others want them to be. Deep down though, they know they’re bluffing. This is where pornography becomes so tempting. It offers men a way to satisfy their desire for intimacy without the risk of being exposed as the fraud they fear themselves to be. In reality though, the shame that comes from using porn fuels their isolation and drives them farther away from the true intimacy they are searching for.
Lie #4: I can compensate for my pornography addiction by doing enough good in other areas of my life.
TRUTH: None of us will ever be good enough to earn our own way into Heaven.
Many men view the Bible as a checklist outlining how to earn your ticket to Heaven. But God didn’t give you these rules to show you how to earn your own way. He gave them to you to show you that you can’t earn your own way. Once you recognize how you could never do enough good to compensate for the bad things you’ve done, that’s when you’re ready to discover how good the news of the Gospel truly is.
Lie #5: My pornography addiction separates me from God’s love.
TRUTH: Your sin can never separate you from God’s unconditional love.
God will never, ever pull away from you regardless of what you’ve done in your life. His love for you is unconditional—which means your behavior has nothing to do with it. Furthermore, trusting His love frees you to trust Him as a compassionate Father rather than fearing Him as an angry judge. This is the beautiful gift of His Grace—and it’s the only thing strong enough to set you free from the shame that fuels addiction.
Lie #6: I’m strong enough to control my pornography addiction on my own.
TRUTH: In order to find true freedom, you must give up on your own ability to control your sin.
God wants to set you free from your addiction, but He leaves it up to you to decide when you’re ready to release it to Him. Doing so isn’t easy though, as it requires facing the full depths of your sin, including the pain you have caused others. It’s for this reason that many men will only consider asking for His help after they’ve tried every other option to fix things on their own. The longer you wait though, the harder it can become.
Lie #7: Jesus can set others free from pornography addiction, but not me.
TRUTH: If you believe Jesus is Lord, you can trust that everything He promises is true, even for you and your situation.
If you’re trying to overcome your struggle with porn in ways that contradict the truth of Scripture (fighting in isolation, hiding your sin, striving to fix yourself), you won’t find freedom. This isn’t because the Gospel isn’t true, it’s because you aren’t following the path God provided. You are trying to do it your own way. Please understand though, this isn’t a behavior issue; it’s a trust issue. Trusting Jesus with your entire life (faith) is the only way to experience the freedom promised in the Gospel.
Lie #8: Holding on to unforgiveness has no effect on my pornography addiction.
TRUTH: Unforgiveness is one of the most common ways to allow spiritual bondage back into your life.
Nothing will keep you trapped in bondage more than unforgiveness—even if the offense against you has nothing to do with your pornography struggle. Unforgiveness pulls your mind away from God and keeps your focus on the injustices committed against you. If you don’t release them, your bitterness will allow bondage to creep back into your heart, robbing you of the freedom you have been seeking through recovery.
Lie #9: I must shut down my desires if I want to be free from pornography.
TRUTH: God doesn’t want you to shut down your desires. He wants to redeem them for His good and purpose.
Men often attempt to ignore or overcome their desires in an attempt to control their struggle with porn, but that leaves them jaded, frustrated, and disillusioned at best. God never meant for you to disengage your desires though! Once you begin to understand the truth about who God is, how much He loves you, and how desirable a life with Him truly is, your desires will automatically shift further away from porn and move closer towards what is Holy.
Lie #10: God can no longer use me because of my pornography addiction.
TRUTH: God uses broken people to do amazing things for His kingdom, regardless of their past.
God still has a plan for your life, no matter what you’ve done. In fact, God can even redeem the bad things in your life to equip you for whatever calling He has for you. Look at how God has used my 20-year struggle with pornography to help countless men find freedom from their own struggles with addiction. In the same way, if you whole-heartedly seek after God, He will use you in amazing ways.
Once you learn the truth and believe what the Bible says about each of these lies, they lose their power over you. My own life has been completely changed through these truths, and I believe the same can happen for you as well.
“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – JOHN 8:32