“What’s the one piece of advice you would give
to someone struggling with porn addiction?”
David Martin is the co-founder and writer for My Chains are Gone.
Connect with David
Article: The Chain
Sermon: The Incarnation, Scene One
Article: A Dangerous Male Myth
Steve: Hey, guys! Steve here with Belt of Truth Ministries. I’ve got David Martin on the line. David is the co-founder and writer for Mychainsaregone.org. David, thanks for joining us today!
David: It’s good to be with you, Steve. Thanks.
Steve: So what’s the one piece of advice that you would give to somebody struggling with porn?
David: Wow, trying to keep me down to one piece. I’m not sure I can keep it there. I’ve got a concept but it’s got multiple facets to it so you might think that when I get done, I’m giving you more than one thing. But, oh well, hopefully, that’ll be hopeful. The one thing, the overarching thing that people need to know is that their struggle against porn is not a strategy problem, it’s a truth problem. When God set me free from my struggle with porn, I wasn’t even fighting it very hard at that time. Even though I was in pastoral ministry, I decided that the best I could really hope for was not too much, not too often. But then I began studying the bible to discern God’s view of the human form, the human body. And I came to some very different beliefs than I’ve had before. When I began to live in harmony with those biblically accurate beliefs, even the desire for porn melted out of my life and I was pretty surprised. And I had to find out what had happened to me and why because that sort of instantaneous freedom, delivery from porn is something that no strategy for porn you hear about today offers really any hope for. My search led me to John 8:32 where Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” Now these were Jesus’ words and we see from the context that the freedom He’s talking about is freedom from sin, the slavery to sin. But notice what Jesus does not say. He doesn’t say the truth will point you towards freedom or the truth will give you the desire to be free or the truth will motivate you to be free, or the truth will give you the willpower to be free, or what often happens on porn support boards and what-not is you’ll see that He didn’t say the truth will redefine freedom to match your experience. He said it would make you free. The inescapable conclusion is that we are not free. We don’t yet know the truth. So that’s why I say that the bondage to porn is not a strategy problem but rather a truth problem. So therefore, the correct, the only correct strategy against porn addiction is one thing and one thing only. You identify the lies that you believe, replace the lies with the truth, and then most importantly, you live as if the truth is true instead of living as if the lie is true. Jesus said in Matthew 7:24, He said, “Everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them may be compared to a wise man who built his house on a rock.” Jesus’ words are truth but to benefit from them, we must act on them. We must live as if His words really are true. We must allow the truth to impact how we live, the decisions we make moment by moment, day by day, how we think moment by moment, day by day. Then when we put His truth into action, then we’ll be set free as John 8:32 promises. And this is why I really appreciate the approach of your book which I just dropped. Here it is so you can see it, 10 Lies Men Believe About Porn, because that’s really what it’s all about. We have to recognize the lies, we have to replace them with the truth, and then live as if the truth is true. Think as if the truth is true, make decisions in our life as if the truth is true. Determine our strategies for life, our patterns for life based upon the truth, not on the lie. And that’s when we’ll experience the freedom Jesus promises. But let me share with your viewers what I believe is the biggest lie that both men and women believe not about porn but about men. There’s a huge lie that men believe about themselves that I believe unless they reject it and live actively contrary to it, they won’t ever really realize the kind of freedom that God really desires for them and it is this. This might be a shocker for some of you. The lie is that God made men to be automatically sexually aroused at the simple sight of an unclothed female body or male body. Let me say that again. It’s a lie that God made men to automatically be sexually aroused at the simple sight of the unclothed human form. The truth is that God made men and women to be aroused sexually by relationship. He made us all relational. That is His intent. The visual arousal notion is a lie. It’s not God’s will for men and it’s not how God made us. It’s not normal, it’s not good. God is relational and He is motivated to love and unite with us because He has a relationship with us. Not because of how we look, we’re called to love as God loves. And the truth behind that is that God made both men and women’s bodies to be self portraits of Himself. We’re made in God’s image therefore the appropriate and most important response to seeing the human form is praise and awe for the One who so artistically stamped His own likeness there. Instead, our culture and sadly, the church consider the sight of the human form to be a sexual experience. Rather than acknowledging the glory of God, we assess the sight by its impact on the human libido. And to be sure, generations of men have been conditioned into visual arousal response. Well quite frankly, the pornography industry right now is trying desperately so that women will be aroused by visual response as well. But make no mistakes. It’s only conditioning. And that which can be conditioned can be unconditioned. This is why the bible never tells a man what he may and may not see of a woman’s body. Ain’t that a strange omission if that’s what God intended for us? You see what we see is not the problem, it’s how we see it. I like to put it this way. We sinfully view the human form because we have a sinful view of the human form. And the tragic reality is that most if not all of the strategies that are promoted in the church to combat porn addiction are based upon the assumption that the visual lie is actually true. And no strategy that affirms that lie will ever deliver anyone from the bondage empowered by that lie. And that, I believe, is why the success rates of all those strategies are so abysmally low. I know I’ve said some very strong and perhaps surprising things in this interview but given the epidemic of porn addiction even within the church, isn’t it time we reexamine some of the things we’ve been believing so unquestionably for so long? Let me summarize my one thing with a two-part declaration. First of all, bondage to sin, any sin quite frankly is not a strategy problem. It’s a truth problem. And God intend for men, all of us, men and women, to find sexual arousal relationally, not visually. If what I’ve declared in that second part sounds so unrealistic as to be laughable, let me remind you of a quote by Dresden James that I think is worth pondering. He said this, “When a well-packaged web of lies have been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker and raving lunatic.” Well guess what? I am not lunatic but what I proclaim is truth and it’s the truth that set me free. And I really hope and pray that all your viewers will experience that same freedom.
Steve: When you were sharing that, your lie there, the first thing that I thought of was, I remember back to when I was in college. I was an art major and I had to take figure drawing. And I remember at that point I was very much addicted to pornography but I remember that even when we had attractive nude models in class, I was surprised that I was not aroused by them. And that was the first time that I remember questioning whether or not that is an automatic response. Over the years, I found with myself that a lot of, for me, my addiction to pornography, a lot of that wasn’t driven from a, I mean it wasn’t ultimately driven from a desire to see naked women. It was driven by a desire to see the women photographed in a way where it implied that they desired me. So my lust of them was not strictly over their body. A lot of it was over their desire, if that makes sense.
David: If you read Proverbs 7, you’ll see there it talks about the woman who’s the adulteress. She goes out into the street and everything about how she tries to seduce young men is all about relationship. And the pornography industry knows this too because they don’t just show you pictures. They show you pictures of women with this come-hither look. And they also list, a lot of them, they list this is what this gal likes. And the guy, he’s going to be reading that, what she likes and what she doesn’t like, and he’s going to think to himself, “She would like me.” And there’s that pornography is trying to capitalize on that relationship component even while it’s selling the lie that it’s all visual.
Steve: Right. And if you believe that lie that it’s all visual, the chances of you finding healing are so much less because you’re not actually dealing with the root cause of what you’re after there.
David: That’s right. You’re fighting the wrong battle. You’re trying to say, “Hey, I should not find this to be attractive.” Yes, you should. God made it attractive. It’s His image. And we start fighting the wrong battle because we say, “Oh, I shouldn’t want to look. I shouldn’t want to see that.” But then we give in and we look and we believe that looking will automatically result in lust, and therefore, we don’t even fight the lust response. We’re literally fighting the wrong battle. In fact, that’s one of the titles of my article, The Right Battle, on our website. And so that’s great to hear what you said about that because what you experienced in that art class was you experienced the truth. And it wasn’t trumped up and built up in the way our culture has conditioned so many people, so many men for many generations to think this is what your response is supposed to be. Imagine if a man does not have that response. What will he do if it’s only through relationship that he finds his arousal? What will he do when he starts sensing the need and the desire in his body to express himself sexually? Well, if the sight of some other woman doesn’t do it, where is he going to go? He’s going to go right back to his wife because she’s the only one with whom he has that sort of relationship. And doesn’t that sound like that would be in keeping with God’s design? I think so.
Steve: Thanks for sharing all that. Tell people where they can find out more about your ministry and all that.
David: Well, several other pastors and I, a number of years ago, who we were set free similarly. And we’re like “What happened?” and God brought us together and we knew that we had similar understanding, similar experience, and similar perspective. And we said, “We got to get this message out” and so we developed a site called Mychainsaregone.org. And you might want to, the readers might want to, read this story called The Chain. It was the story I wrote, it’s an allegory, about how God set me free. And it was written out of gratitude for God that kind of became the metaphor for saying my chains are gone as a website. And there’s a whole series of articles. We encourage people to read them in order. We find a lot of times, they’re so radically different in a way people are thinking that they need to read them multiple times. But we find when people really get it and they really understand it, they are set free. And it’s not a strategy site. It’s not an accountability site. It’s a site about the truth and that’s enough, so I encourage people to read that. I’m going to give you a link to a message I gave called The Incarnation Scene 1 which I think gives a lot of theological background for the kind of things that I’ve talked about today. And then there is a pamphlet that one of the other authors, David Hatton, wrote called The Dangerous Meal Myth. And this is about that whole visual myth. He’s put it in a form, a downloadable PDF that’s printable. And you can distribute it to people and you can look it over and talk about it. So I’m going to give you that link as well. So I hope people come to the site and read through the articles and really prayerfully seek to say, “God, what are the truths that I’ve not been seeing and understanding? What are the lies that I have been believing? And help me make that switch.”
Steve: Awesome! Yeah, we will definitely add all those links in the show notes. Sounds like you got a lot of great resources for people to check out. Thank you for your generosity. And then just for your time for doing this.
David: Hey, it’s a real privilege and I’m just really thankful for the opportunity to do this. This is the calling of my life and to be able to share it like this, to reach more people, it’s God’s doing and I’m just so thankful.
Steve: Okay, well, all five of the people that read my blog will love it. Okay.
David: Well thanks so much, Steve!
Steve: Yeah. Thanks again, David!