Porn and the Christian Guy: Part 17, My Battle Plan

chessIn my recovery group, a recent topic was what our plan is for temptation: our battle plan.

When facing temptation to lust, there are so may opportunities to fail. The consensus was that if you don’t have a plan, you are much more likely to give into temptation when it comes.

Honestly, I sorta kinda might have a semblance of a modicum of a procedure that, when looked at a certain way, could be considered a plan. Now my sorta plan has worked OK, but that makes me think that if I had a real plan, it might work better.

Today, I will make a plan.

I have decided to divide my plan up into the three components of a person: Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual.

The Physical

Sexuality is a physical drive. Like sleep and thirst, it serve a necessary biological function and has a prominent physical dimension. So my plan includes:

  • Get enough sleep. I am much more prone to all temptations when I don’t get enough sleep.
  • Have frequent sex with my wife. God has given a proper and good place for sex to be enjoyed. I should drink deeply from it, then I won’t be as hungry for things I shouldn’t have.
  • Avoid going to places of previous temptation. I should not park in front of a strip club (even though I have never gone into a strip club, I have been tempted). I should also avoid adult stores.
  • It is important what I look at. My eyes should linger on my wife and should look away from other women. I have come to believe that I delight in what I look at. So I need to be careful to look at what is good for my soul.

The Emotional

Pornography does not simply fulfill physical drives, it also tries to satisfy emotional drives (though in the end, it leaves you unsatisfied). It feels empowering to have a woman looking longingly at you, even if it is just a video. So it is important to address the emotional needs.

  • Spend time with my wife. It is important to enjoy the right place for real community. It helps me see how counterfeit the buzz from porn really is.
  • Spend time with God. He is my Father and he loves me. If I believe he loves me, it is much easier to trust him with he says, “Watch Out! This is dangerous.”
  • Write my blog. Helping guys who struggle with porn is very helpful in my own struggles.
  • Have Covenant Eyes on every internet access. Knowing that my accountability partners will call with any questionable site visits is often enough to help me resist temptation in the moment.

The Spiritual

In the end, no sin is a physical act. It starts in my heart and comes out in my actions. So caring for my spiritual needs is essential.

  • I need to regularly pray. Talking with God has an uncanny power to reduce temptation. I think it is because I am enjoying a better pleasure in prayer.
  • I need to regularly read the Bible. God created a book that ” is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” I should pay attention.
  • It is very helpful to me to listen sermons online. there are great preachers out there and it is so good to have the technology that I can listen to them .
  • Regularly attending a recovery group. One of the best ways for me to keep focused on resisting the temptations of pornography is to help other men in their struggle. It is really good for my soul and constantly reminds me what I have left behind.

Now that plan is what I will do before I am tempted, but it really doesn’t address what I will do when I am tempted. Really, when temptation strikes, I will do all of the same things I did to prevent temptation. Leaving a tempting environment, praying, talking with my wife, listening to a sermon; all of these are effective in the moment as well.

So gentleman, I would encourage you to write out your plan. It can help you.

God Bless.

-Chip

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Porn and the Christian Guy: Part 8, Prepared for Battle

A soldier walks into the office of the General. He stands erect and salutes the General.

General: Sit down soldier.

Soldier: Yes, sir.

General: So I understand that your platoon lost a skirmish yesterday. Several men died and many of your barely escaped. How are you feeling?

Soldier: Well, a little shaken up sir. But glad to be alive. 

General: Tell me what happened. 

Soldier: Well sir. we came down into the ravine to take out the surface to air missile sites. It was going well when we were ambushed. We fought as well as we could, but we were overwhelmed and outgunned. 

General: What sort of weapons did the enemy have?

Soldier: Pistols sir. 

General: They beat you with pistols?

Soldier: Yes sir. There were a lot of them. 

General: Weren’t your rifles more than a match for pistols?

Soldier: Oh, I didn’t mention that. We didn’t bring our rifles. You see, it is a long walk and if we didn’t bring the rifles then we didn’t need to bring ammo and the whole walk would be more enjoyable.

General: You went to a battle without guns?

Soldier: Yes sir. Very innovative of us, don’t you think. 

General: Innovative, sounds more like stupid. Even without the guns, what about those tanks I sent. 

Soldier: We decided against taking them. You see, we all prefer the tanks in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. The tanks you sent just weren’t the kind we like. 

General (with some irritation): With no tanks, how did the retreat go?

Soldier: Not well sir. We could only run slowly without boots. 

General: You didn’t have boots?!

Soldier: Blisters sir. And most of us prefer flip-flops. Less sweaty feet that way. 

General: How did you survive?

Soldier: Well, Calderazzo did bring a tank and he was able to scare them off. Though I have to say that when that thing fires, it could really cause a headache. 

General: Now you’re complaining about the tank!

Soldier: The one in Call of Duty really is better. 

General: Do you feel like there were any important lessons learned from this battle. 

Soldier: Yes sir. Me and the guys want to ask you for more air support. We really feel like that would help a lot. 

General: Get out of my office!

I think the conversation above is something like how God hears our complaints about giving in to temptation.

“God, how could you make such a tempting world?”

The answer might be to ask: Did you pray? Did you read scripture? Did you find support in other believers? Did you confess you sins? Did you fast?

When the answer to all of the above is No, then you should feel like the soldier who walked into battle without boots, without a gun, and without a clue. God has provided us everything we need to fight this battle. It is because of our foolishness that we turn what should be certain victory into certain defeat. Today, we put down the slingshot and put on our AK-47 and climb into our tank. Victory is not only possible, it can be assured.

Prayer

The strongest weapon you have is always the radio back to base. They’ve got planes with bombs for quick action. Prayer is your radio back to God. Start your day with a check-in. Be real. Tell the General how it is going and what your concerns are. He cares about you. The air support is great because it is there at any moment. Are you in the thick of a battle? God wants to hear about it before, during, and after the fight. He loves you. Give prayer a chance.

Bible Reading

This is a not a Sunday School answer. Do you think that the tank was a pat answer to the General above? Sure it’s the right answer to so many questions, but this is a right answer with a barrel and an armor-piercing shell in it. The Bible is what really fuels and gives your prayer it’s power. Promises like, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” and “but God is faithful and he will provide a way to escape (temptation) so that you are able to bear it.” If you are not reading your Bible, don’t be surprised when you lose.

Confession

And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. James 5:15-16

Confess your sins to God and confess the to other believers. This is key to victory. I think many an addict will ask God why he didn’t help more and God will look down at them and ask why they didn’t confess to other believers. Don’t be so spiritual that you think the church is unnecessary. The church is crucial. Go and confess to God and another believer.

Pro Tip: In my article How do I Stop Looking at Porn, I clarify that you MUST confess to your wife but that she should NOT be your ongoing accountability. Please don’t think that telling her alone is enough. It isn’t and you risk crushing her with the responsibility of helping you keep clean. Find someone else. 

Fasting

Hypocrisy Alert: I have never fasted, not even once, in my life. So take what I am about to say as wisdom I have heard from others. Not what I have experienced myself.

Fasting is a good tool for assisting someone to break away from an addiction. I have known men who went on fasts from sex to help them overcome a pornography addiction and they felt it was helpful. I can say that some of the most spiritual people I have known, they fast. If you are struggling in a rut, a fast very well may be the weapon you need to bring to this battle.

Gentlemen, there is grace for us. We have an armory full of joy that is stronger than our temptation. The question is whether we will put it on or walk into battle in flip-flops.

-Chip

Hypocrisy Alert: This article could lead you to believe that I read my bible every morning and pray 16 times daily with a constant deep and indwelling sense of the Holy Spirit’s presence. This is simply not the case. I struggle to read my Bible and I struggle to pray. In this article, I am showing you where the armory is and, many times, I then walk into battle with my flip-flops.