THE POWER OF SAYING NO

Freedom from sin, captivity and guilt. Finding your Freedom in Christ.

Freedom from sin, captivity and guilt. Finding your Freedom in Christ.

So you’ve started your journey on breaking free from your addiction? Now what though? The desires are still there right? Well I know exactly what you are feeling like, and it sucks! We cannot deny that our desires are screaming louder than our best intentions in our minds. That is the thing though, it all has to do with the chemical balances (and imbalances) of the brain, what is happening in our minds.

One of the greatest helps in my breakthrough from porn was knowing how God created me to operate. Off the bat let me clear the air and say I am all for sex, but only as God intends it, in marriage, with a single partner of the opposite sex. He created us to desire sex and there is nothing wrong with this, but everything has boundaries and a time for use, as well as an intended use. Just like there is nothing wrong with using a knife in a kitchen, it has its boundaries. There is definitely something wrong if we are using a knife to cut ourselves or go kill someone, this is not what a knife was designed for, and not what God intended it for. It is the same with sex, God intends it for marriage, as a means of building intimacy with one’s partner. Now you may or may not, depending on your lifestyle, say that I am not having sex, so this doesn’t entirely apply to me. The scary thing is, it applies to everyone.

Neurologists have recently found what have been called mirror neurons. Let me explain. A monkey’s brain was observed as it reached for food to see which part of the brain was being used in getting pleasure. This was the same part every time, nothing extraordinary, until a neurologist decided to clean his lab. In reaching for the food which was for the monkey, the monkey’s brain reacted in the same way as if it, the monkey, was reaching for the food. A lot of experiments later, and it is said that we have mirror neurons in our brains. What these basically are, are motor neurons, yet they are different. Motor neurons are the things in our brains that make our bodies do things, make us do what we think, they connect our thoughts. Now mirror neurons are different in the sense that, what we see our brain does. I will put it bluntly, if you watch porn, watch someone have sex, your brain basically acts as if it is the person having sex. Your brain mirrors the experience you see. This brings a whole new light to Matthew 5:28 which say:

But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

So when we lust whilst looking at porn, neurologist and physiologists are now saying we are in essence committing adultery in our brains, even though we may not be having sex with that person physically, our brain is.

Now I hope you are still with me after that, but it is key to understanding why masturbation is a sin, and why viewing porn is a sin! (As I mentioned in my earlier post)

So what else can we learn about our bodies that will help us say no to porn. Let me just reiterate at this point, that I believe that only Christ can truly set us free, yet we must not be ignorant, we must take action in find that freedom. One such way we can take action is by having a plan. When temptation comes knocking on your brain, when the chemicals that were running high (or low), that your body was used to are no longer there what will you do?

Well here is my plan. Adopt it, adapt it, create your own, you are going to need a plan.

1) Know your triggers
– Know what tempts you and when you are normally tempted.

2) Run from your triggers
– Flee from the possibility of being tempted (1 Cor. 6:18), for me, this meant not being alone late at night by a computer. It also meant never watching another movie rated 16 or above for nudity or sex. Be practical here.

3) If you come across a trigger by accident (such as, maybe you get a pop-up on your computer)
– Immediately close your eyes! Immediately! If you can get rid of it without opening your eyes, do so. If not and someone is around, go and ask for their help, it is better for you to seek help and remain free than to try be strong and possibly fail. With regards to this, I pray for God’s protection from getting into such tempting situations, and so far  God has protected me. Remember, 1 Cor. 10:13.

4) Don’t beat yourself up
– It has been shown by physiologists that we are most likely to relapse if we feel guilty, this is why the percentage of those addicted to porn is higher among christians than non-christians. So if you do stubble upon an image that triggers some thought. Firstly stop the thought, but then don’t beat yourself up, say to yourself “I saw that by mistake, and I quickly looked away. I’ve been clean for (enter number of days) and I’m going to stay that way.” (From link below) The devil will try make you feel guilty so that you run back to what pleases your brain, more porn, but then you feel guilty again, it is a vicious cycle that must be stopped and can be stopped by knowing that Christ has forgiven us and that with his death, he took all our guilt off us, so that we no longer have to feel guilty.

5) Learn from your past experiences
– Adapt your plan and learn from your mistakes. Don’t fall into the same trap twice.

So that’s my plan, I am sure it will help you or confirm aspects of your plan that you may already have. I probably should have started with this, but why do we need a plan is a good question, and even better question is when will we most likely need it?

Well from my experience, I can tell you that the hardest days for me of coming clean were the 3rd, 7th, 10th and 14th day. In doing some research I found that there is actually a scientific reason for this. Research shows that if you can get through the first 14 day period, where your brain is adjusting the chemical levels to what it no longer has, things will get easier, think of it as a detox period. The next big change comes after 30 days, where we begin to become confident and focused in new-found habits. The power of knowing this, is that on those days, we can get around friends who will help us, and make sure that we strengthen our relationship with Christ and are extra aware.

So I know that was a lot to take in, but it helped me immensely to know this stuff and I hope it helps you to. If you want to read up more about this kind of stuff and know where I got some of my information you can click on the links below:

http://www.ccef.org/breaking-pornography-addiction-part-1
http://www.covenanteyes.com/science-of-porn-addiction-ebook/
http://www.covenanteyes.com/2010/06/24/this-is-your-brain-on-porn-video-interview-of-the-author-of-wired-for-intimacy/

 

Part 1 – THE POWER OF MY BREAKTHROUGH FROM PORN
Part 2 – THE POWER OF GLORIFYING GOD
Part 3 – THE POWER OF INTIMACY
This is part 4
Part 5 – THE POWER OF TELLING MY SECRET
Part 6 – THE POWER OF HOLDING A TRIGGER
Part 7 – THE POWER OF TURNING A BACK ON PORN
Part 8 – THE POWERLESSNESS OF MY STRUGGLE WITH PORN
Part 9 – A REMINDER THAT GOD LOVES YOU
Part 10 – ACCEPTING JESUS AS YOUR SAVIOUR (This should actually be step one!)

17 responses to “THE POWER OF SAYING NO

  1. First of all I think it’s wonderful that the Lord has set you free from pornography!! second, I have a question for you. Do you have any specific Scriptures that say that masturbation is a sin? I am truly curious 🙂

    • Thank you for asking. You made me realise I should probably clarify what I mean. 🙂 Curiosity is a good thing 🙂 In terms of what the scriptures say, you will not find a scripture that directly says masturbation is a sin. Many often use Genesis 38:9 trying to prove it is, saying that Onan died because he spilled his semen, I do not think of it like this though, I believe it was for his disobedience that he died.

      So then you are probably wondering why I still think it is a sin to masturbate. Here is my reasoning: Masturbation requires us to lust. By this I mean, I have yet to come across a person who can arouse them self without thinking of an image, and lusting after either the scene or person they are thinking of. Now we know from Matthew 5:28 when we lust we commit adultery in our hearts and adultery is a sin (There are many direct scriptures for this). If one can masturbate without lusting then it is not a sin. There is a case where if married and one is separated from their partner for a period of time, I think masturbating to “release the tension” is ok, because it is your partner, i.e you are not committing adultery.

      There are many viewpoints on this subject, the important thing I think though, is that we must not use whether masturbation is a sin or not as an excuse for a lack of self-control. You may think masturbation is a sin or not, but one thing is sure, we must be self-controlled (Self-control is a fruit of the spirit). Self-control being able to stop at any point (Or start), knowing what you are doing. I did not have this self-control over masturbation, so God had to teach me it. My first lesson was realising where I stood in terms of my view on masturbation as a sin. Hence a I commend your curiosity, as curiosity is always the first step in getting answers. I hope this helps you, explains why I think masturbation is a sin and answers your question?

      • Thank you for your response. I don’t think Genesis 38:9 would really apply to masturbation though. Since, it was referring to his not “spilling his seed” within Tamar in order to be obedient to Judah’s instruction to give her offspring.

        I understand what you are saying about masturbation being a sin if you are using a person (if not married) for your object of lust. And I think for men, since they are visual creatures, there is truth that most cannot masturbate without visualizing a woman.

        However, for some women (especially those who use to toys) it really isn’t about visualizing a person as it is a bodily response to the toy’s stimulation.

        I agree that there are many different viewpoints, even within the Church, on whether masturbation is a sin or not. I agree with you that masturbation can become a serious lack of self-control which can be outside the obedience asked of us by the Lord.

        One thing that you didn’t mention that I think plays a role in this is that the by masturbating we run the risk of getting “too good” at it. And we were inherently created to “be one” with our husband/wife. 1 Corinthians 6:17-19 (MSG) really lays this out for us.

        Thank you for being willing to answer my question. Not many people will discuss this topic. And you did answer my question very well 🙂

        • Yea agree with you on that.

          I have never thought about that to be honest! I see what you mean, but I question whether there is no visualisation or some sexually immoral thought involved, I am not a woman, so I think it would be wrong for me to say there is or isn’t in general as I don’t know. I think the crux of the whole issue over masturbation is about lust, for both males and females, and I think you and me both have the same understanding and view on this. I hope that those also reading these comments will come to the same viewpoint!

          Do you care to explain what you meant when you said “by masturbating we run the risk of getting “too good” at it”?

          • My understanding of Scripture is that sex is to be used as a “tool” (which can be enjoyable between a husband & wife) to increase the intimacy in marriage. The whole purpose of marriage is to have two people “become one” (or cleave to one another – depending on the translation).

            If a person participates in masturbation on a regular basis they are cutting their spouse out of the “becoming one” equation. In essence, they are becoming too skilled at self-gratification which might preclude them from truly “becoming one” when they are intimate with their spouse. Does that make sense?

            If you don’t mind I would like to ask you one more question. I had a Pastor once tell me that if a woman/man was able to masturbate without visually lusting after another person in their mind and the masturbation kept them from having sex outside of marriage then it wouldn’t be a problem. What is your stance on this?

            (Please let me know if you would prefer me not to ask anymore questions. :-)) I’m currently in recovery for sex addiction and I have all these thoughts & questions running through my head. You are one of the few people who is open enough to discuss it 🙂

          • Yes I agree with your understanding of the scriptures. I see your point now, makes sense in the marital context you have described.

            I don’t see it as a problem either. For me what is a problem though, is that many people then try use this as an excuse to continue, saying things such as, “it was an image of my girlfriend or boyfriend, not a random”, implying that it is almost as if they are already married. I would use the excuse that an image would come to mind and then I would ‘put it away instantly’ and claim that no, I had not lusted, but the truth is, if we don’t masturbate, then we would not see such images in the long run. I want to emphasise here in the long run, only now after being free for a while can I say that images are no longer creeping up hourly like they used to, now, if there is one a day that is a lot! Also, now I am able to make captive my thoughts to those in line with what God requires, pure, good thoughts. Before, when I was using excuses I could not do this effectively.

            So I don’t see the case your pastor described as a problem, but for me those cases where one can masturbate without an image creeping in is very rare, and I think as society we are often just looking for an excuse to not have to make the effort to stop sinning, not to have to make the effort to find God as our pleasure.

            I love the questions!!! 🙂 They cement truths in me and I am sure they are helping others out there, not only you, which I think is awesome! So if you want to continue, go ahead! If you would prefer we chat in a more private environment let me know and I will give you my email address. 🙂

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