I thought indulging in certain sexual practices was harmless and just a “normal thing that kids do.” I started masturbating and looking at pornography when I was in my teens. Although I grew up in a home that believed in God and went to a school that taught about God, I thought that these sexual practices would give me the satisfaction that I was looking for.

Under control or being controlled?

After a while, looking at pornography became higher and higher on my priority list. The more I used porn to satisfy my desires, the more I needed to look at it. My “harmless habit” soon became an everyday addiction. I decided I should try to stop looking at pornography, but the more I tried, the worse my addiction became. I grew frustrated with myself for not having more self-control and that frustration grew into depression. I read someone’s description once of the bondage that takes place: “It takes you farther than you want to go, and keeps you longer than you want to stay….” There was a battle raging between pornography and I, but I was not winning. I was becoming a slave to my addictions.

Crying out for help

I tried ending the habit for several years — on my own — but found no success. After giving in to my addiction yet again and looking at porn on the Internet one day, I was feeling so frustrated and helpless that I fell on my knees and cried out to God for help. I had tried so long to end my addictions on my own so that I could feel better about myself, but I’d gotten no where.

Are you battling a porn addiction? You're not alone. Read Jeff's story.

God answered my cries, but things did not change in an instant. Two days later, a friend of mine in college said he was struggling with the same things and we found a website that offered a 60-day course called “Pure Freedom.” I went through the course, which provided accountability, practical Bible lessons, Scripture verses, and other resources. I went all 60 days free from porn and masturbation. God was changing my heart: my addictions controlled me less and less, while my love for Jesus led me more and more. I needed to learn to rely on the strength of God to help me with my addiction, not my own strength. As I did this, over time, God changed my motives from wanting to “feel good” to wanting to please Him.

Strength from a new source

When I depended on God to help me conquer my addictions, I was able to get rid of things in my life that were enabling my behavior. Things that I thought I needed before — such as watching specific television shows, surfing certain websites, reading particular magazines and listening to some types of music — were not helping me defeat my addiction. Rather, they were tempting me to indulge even more. A verse in John 15:1-3 describes this as God “pruning” our lives so that we can bear good fruit:

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” John 15:1-3

This verse talks about how our lives are like a plant. If we desire to open our lives to God, He will show us how to prune our lives so that we can live abundantly. I’d like to say that pruning ended after my 60-day course, but it didn’t. God continues to prune me every day.