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Finding Freedom From Pornography

Finding Freedom From Pornography

By Melvin Adams Jr.

“Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.” Proverbs 23:23

I was born in March of 1984, about a year after the internet became a thing. Millennials like myself have interacted at an ever-increasing pace with technology and the good and bad it brings. I remember when my grandfather got a car phone. It seemed so incredible at the time. I remember the noise of dial-up internet and the sound of “You’ve got mail” when you received an email. I had a Nintendo, Super Nintendo, PlayStation 1, 2, and 3. The graphics seemed so amazing with each advancement in gaming technology. I got my first cell phone in 2003 to talk to my then-girlfriend, now my wife, while traveling that summer. It was an indestructible Nextel beeper phone that was part walkie-talkie and part phone. GPS would have been nice, but I relied on my trusty Rand-McNally map for directions instead.

Everything has transitioned so much since the early 2000s. Social media, apps, gaming systems, Virtual Reality, and Artificial Intelligence. Smartphones, smart cars, smartwatches, and even smart homes. It has become impossible to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of technology.

During this time of ever-expanding technology, we have also seen an exponential increase in the distribution of sexually explicit material. The ease of access all age groups have to sexually graphic content is truly staggering. It’s not even porn sites that I’m referencing. Sites like YouTube and Instagram are filled with explicit materials. Sexting, video apps, and VR have a much deeper level of interaction than anything I ever experienced in the 1990s and early 2000s. 

The ideology that is being propagated through technology is truly frightening. Just a few years ago, words like transgenderism, non-binary, and furry were not on anyone’s radar. Now these things and much more are routinely in front of our kids. As a parent, I am deeply concerned for my children and the things they are potentially exposed to. Despite my concerns and fears about the future, I have hope! That hope is based on God’s Word and my own testimony of God’s deliverance.

I was addicted to pornography until I was twenty-seven. I still remember when I saw my first pornographic image. I was nine, and a friend showed me a picture of a naked woman he had found. Curiosity and hormones brought me back to porn later in my preteen and teenage years. It was difficult to access porn in the age of stationary PCs and dial-up internet, but I still managed to find it. Once laptops, Wi-Fi, and smartphones came onto the scene, it seemed as if it was impossible to escape the ever-present temptations. I felt I was doomed to remain stuck in a cycle of short periods of victory followed by periods of ever-intensifying struggle. My addiction culminated in losing my ministry and almost losing my marriage. I seriously contemplated suicide during this time of my life. The shame and guilt of porn and the false reality I was living had brought me to my knees.

During the fifteen years I struggled with sexual addiction, my typical response was to cover up my failure and then put roadblocks in my path to make it harder to access porn. But as technology expanded, I found it increasingly difficult to escape temptation and bury my addiction. I kept finding new ways to indulge the flesh, fluctuating from periods of abstinence to more profound and destructive phases of indulgence. It wasn’t until I broke from my patterns of secrecy and deception that I began to find the freedom I so desperately desired.

Eventually, I realized I needed to stop relying on willpower, filters, and my buddies to keep me from crashing and burning. This isn’t to say that accountability partners, internet filters, or tools that restrict technology won’t help someone struggling with these problems. But if the primary role of these tools is to keep someone from falling into sin, they won’t be effective.

I’ve found these tools work best to foster transparency and honesty. I still have Covenant Eyes on my computer, phone, and other devices, as well as certain restrictions I have placed on myself with technology. I also have a mentor who regularly speaks truth into my life (unlike a buddy struggling to be free who sympathizes with you regularly). The problem was not technology but the condition of my heart and mind; this is always the bottom-line problem.

Technology is going to continue to expand. Scripture reminds us that our fleshly desires will continue to tempt us to a life of perversion and degradation (James 1:14). Our children will be tempted to lean into the dark side of technology and experience all that sin has to offer. Culture will continue to deliver an assortment of deadly lies, and things will continue to degrade. We can see society’s downward spiral around us (Rom. 1:18-32). Yet I submit to you that this is not a technological problem; it is a human problem, a problem that God has remedied!

I want to share with you the same thing New Testament Christians found to be true. They lived in a world that was obsessed with sexual sin, and yet they had everything they needed for their deliverance. I believe God’s truth is the thing that can set us free (John 8:32). The fleshly desires that tempt us to go our own way lead us to destruction, but to know Jesus is to know life. Experiencing the genuine reality of Jesus is what set me free! This is still the promise of the Gospel and the hope for every generation.

I reset my brain for about a year by eliminating Facebook, the internet, and even smartphone access. I went to marriage counseling, spent time with a mentor, and read many books. But the most important thing I did was to dig into the Scriptures and find the truth that would eventually set me free!

My recurring struggles came from lies I had believed (Jer. 8:5). I wanted people to like me, my Dad to affirm me, and my wife to respond to me. When my cup wasn’t full, I would go to my vice to find the acceptance, satisfaction, relational connection, control, and self-worth I longed for. Of course, indulging in my sin never helped fix the root problems, and I always left feeling more overwhelmed, needy, and unsatisfied than before.

Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” As I exchanged the lies I had held onto for the truth of God’s Word, my mind began to be renewed, and my life transformed.

Let me tell you, this was not a quick or easy process! I learned that my value was not in what I did but in the price God had paid for me. I learned that what others thought of me was less important than what God’s Word said about me. I stopped working so hard to prove myself and learned what it meant to rest in Jesus (Matt.11:28). I learned to forgive myself and not live in shame and guilt any longer (Rom. 8:1). As the truth began to shape my thinking, I began to experience the freedom I had always longed for. And I am learning that God’s freedom is ever-expanding. It continues to set me free as I continue to surrender to Him.

For over a decade, I have worked with men and boys struggling with sexual temptation (this is also a prevalent issue with females). I have found that every single one struggles with the same basic problem: They believe lies.

They believe keeping it hidden is better than confessing it. They think it is a victimless offense when, in reality, it affects and harms many people on multiple levels. They believe porn will satisfy them somehow or make them feel better, only to find that it leaves them hollowed out and dissatisfied. They believe lies about themselves or God that keeps them in porn, such as “I will never be free” or “God understands since He made me this way.”

If lies are what keep people in bondage, it is the truth that sets them free from the lies! And staying in step with God’s Spirit is how they can live lives of victory. Every person I’ve counseled who exchanges those lies for the truth of God’s Word has begun walking in His ever-expanding freedom. There is hope when we turn our hearts and minds to God’s truth and fully embrace it!

Whenever my wife and I watch old reruns of the Andy Griffith Show, I wish we could return to a simpler time without the Internet, smartphones, social media, and never-ending technology. I wish it for myself and my children. But the truth is that technology is here to stay. Despite the challenges this brings us as parents, we can be thankful we serve a God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever and that He’s made a way for each generation to be free and to live in victory.

Author Recommended Resources:

Melvin Adams Jr. is the lead pastor of Faith Family Community Church, a multicultural, multigenerational church in Winter Garden, Florida. He and his wife, Tamela, have five children, four of whom they adopted through the foster care system. He was raised as a missionary kid in Ukraine, is a church revitalizer and planter, and believes the Gospel of Jesus Christ is what can transform our world. He regularly disciples men who are battling sexual temptation.


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It's amazing how you've managed to transform your life despite the temptations and struggles brought on by technology geometry dash

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