How to Reach the Point where Porn is No Longer a Temptation

I used to love snowshoeing. Nothing made me feel more alive than getting out into the snowy backcountry to explore the frozen beauty of God’s creation in the winter.

Once I bought backcountry skis though, I suddenly realized how lame snowshoeing really was.

Instead of trudging awkwardly down powder-loaded bowls, I now could float down them effortlessly. Instead of loading my heavy alpine boots into my pack while trudging up the mountain, I could climb with my skis on my feet, shaving 15 pounds off my pack load.

Skin TrackIf someone had told me I would need to give up snowshoeing before I had discovered backcountry skiing, it would have broken my heart. I would have fought it passionately. My desire for the winter wilderness was too strong to ignore or overcome. But by discovering something infinitely better though, giving it up wasn’t even an issue. In fact, I forgot about my snowshoes altogether until recently when I dug them out to sell on Craigslist.

The same thing happens when you discover the true desire you are attempting to meet through pornography. Instead of fighting the temptation to look at porn, you will simply forget about it. I know this sounds too good to be true, but again, isn’t that why the Gospel is called the good news?

In order to do this though, you will need to do some digging around in your desires, and no one knows the true desires of your heart better than the One who redeemed it in the first place. The next time you feel drawn to look at porn, stop for a minute and ask Jesus what your real desire is. What are the deepest desires of my redeemed heart? What does my new nature truly desire? Ask Jesus, He knows.

Often times, especially at first, you will only find a fleshly desire driving you to pornography, and that’s okay. Recognizing this lack of a deeper desire can still help you see the temptation for what it truly is. Perhaps your desire to look at porn is the sexual equivalent of eating an entire box of Oreos. You’re not doing it because you are hungry, you’re doing it because you’re bored. You don’t actually desire food, you just want something to do.

Sometimes, you will discover a legitimate desire driving you towards pornography. Perhaps it’s the need for validation, the need for adventure, or the need for intimacy—all of which are legitimate needs that God has placed in your heart. You may discover your desire to look at pornography is an attempt at meeting one of these needs immediately rather than trusting God to fulfill that need eternally. Recognizing what your heart is truly desiring will hopefully encourage you to shift your mind back to the truth of Scripture, bringing your trust back to the faithfulness of God to meet your needs.

In reality, this process will be similar to peeling layers off of an onion. Each time you go through the exercise of discovering your true desire, you are likely to expose another layer of depth, bringing you to an even deeper understanding of your heart. Over time though, you will become quite skilled at recognizing your deepest desires. For that reason, I would encourage you to practice this process with all of your desires, not just pornography. For example, if I want a new jacket, I ask myself if it’s because I truly need it, or because I desire to look outdoorsy? When I post something on Facebook, is it because I truly believe it’s worth sharing, or because I desire to be seen as witty or interesting?

The more you come to recognize the true desires of your redeemed heart—the more you will desire the things of God and the less you will desire porn. Your view of pornography will start to line up with God’s view, allowing you to see porn for what it really is. You will begin to see the women in those movies as your sisters in Christ. Sisters who are deeply hurt and broken by their own sin and shame. Instead of lust, you will start to feel sadness and empathy for them as you more fully understand the situation they are in. Your desires will shift from objectifying them to praying for them. The idea of pornography as a sexual exercise will eventually become repulsive, saddening, and heart-breaking.

One day, you will suddenly realize that you are no longer fighting pornography because your new heart has stopped desiring it. Porn will become nothing more than a dusty pair of snowshoes sitting in your garage. Yeah, you thought it was fun at one time, but you’ve found something so much better now.

Unlike the band U2, you have finally found what you’re looking for.

So what is your heart truly looking for?

10 Lies Men Believe about Porn Preview


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  • JayMo

    So, if I may ask, what was it you were looking for? How did God meet that desire?

    • For me, it was multiple desires.

      I realized I had a desire for intimacy (to be fully known and fully loved), and was trying to meet that through porn. Once I realized (and eventually trusted) how God loved me unconditionally, even in the midst of my sin, that set me free from trying to meet the desire through porn.

      I also had a strong desire for adventure (which was God’s way of initiating me to become a man of courage). I tried to meet it through climbing and skiing, but also, as I eventually came to realize, through living a secret double life. There was a sense of adventure that came with sneaking around behind my wife’s back, from covering up my tracks online, and from all the lies and deceit that come with an addiction. Once I learned how much courage it took to truly follow what God was asking me to do, the need to seek adventure through porn was no longer there.

      Ultimately, my heart’s deepest desire was to be loved unconditionally. And it was only once I understood the truth about God (not the religious rules, rituals, and patterns I thought were the truth), that my desires shifted off of fulfilling the lust of my flesh and onto walking in the spirit. It became the natural response of my heart.

      After all, any heart that discovers the true God will be drawn towards Him. If your heart isn’t drawn towards your image of God in a way that changes your life, it’s worth considering wether your image of God might be based on ideas about Him that are not true.

      • JayMo

        Thanks for the reply and very well said. I think I am in the same boat. I’ve been a Christian a long time but feel like, as of late, that I’m just now starting to comprehend God’s grace and what the gospel really is.

        I don’t hear many speakers out there that talk about about how, if we are believers, that we are already new creations, that our hearts are already redeemed and our work now is more about getting “in touch” with who we truly are other than just trying not to sin. A great book called “The Naked Gospel” by Andrew Farley I read a couple years ago really opened my eyes to this, to how great the gospel really is, and like you said, a clearer image of who God really is.

        • The Naked Gospel is a great book. If you enjoyed that, I’d recommend The Cure by John Lynch, and anything by Steve McVey.

  • Harris

    This article is beautifully written and so true. When in the deep dark hole of addiction it’s hard to see that you can be completely free from it and your desires for it. I especially like how you changed the way you looked at the women and saw them as your sisters in Christ who are deeply hurting! I found God calling me to pray over these women when the images would come to my mind. They ARE my sisters in Christ and they are sister who are truly lost and heartbroken. I hope these prayers helped to heal them as much as they helped to heal me.