Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” What does it mean to be transformed and to renew your mind when you are recovering from an addiction to pornography? In my case that meant first getting rid of the pornographic material I was consuming.
Easier said than done.
When God opened my eyes to my addiction to pornography I was in the middle of nowhere, by myself, in a cabin with an e-reader filled with graphic, explicit material. I was so disgusted by the material I had been reading that I needed it deleted and I needed it deleted NOW.
Getting wifi in that area is tricky at the best of times. Getting wifi that day to delete the material meant walking around the cabin and the woods for hours to catch a signal and delete a book one at a time. I did not just want them deleted from my e-reader. I also wanted them deleted from the website where they were archived.
When that was finally done I thought that was the end of my electronic temptations. Wrong again. Because the main stream web sites I used to order books – both hard copy and electronic – had been tracking my preferences and my purchases. For months afterwards when I went on line to buy books they would “suggest” pornographic titles to me because of my buying history. And if I didn’t visit their web sites they would send me emails recommending titles from this genre.
In the early months I personalized part of 1 Corinthians 10:13 which states in part, “God is faithful; he will not let me be tempted beyond what I can bear. When I am tempted, he will provide a way out so I can endure it.”
During this difficult transition I found God‘s promises and scripture resonating with me in a new and powerful way. But I also had to do my part by removing myself from temptation. The e-books were gone but I had shelves of books at home. Certainly not as hard core but still a slippery slope for me. These books were by best-selling authors that I had collected for years. However as the years passed, the sex scenes in these main stream books had become more and more explicit.
Getting rid of my hard copy books was more difficult that I had anticipated. As an avid reader all of my life I was very invested in some of these books and the characters described within their pages. I had favorites that I had read so many times they were falling apart. Old standbys that went on vacation after vacation and were re-read annually. Books that had been part of my life for more than 20 years and through numerous moves. Removing myself from temptation meant removing these books from my home.
In what areas of your life do you struggle with temptation? And what part do you need to play to stay away from your slippery slope? Please join me today in praying Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Amen.