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Don’t let porn become corona’s pandemic
Pastor Mike Novotny
by Pastor Mike Novotny
April 16, 2020

I wish the pastor’s text was wrong about porn.

A colleague of mine shared some recent data about the correlation between cases of the coronavirus and the amount of traffic on the internet’s biggest pornography site. According to the study, from late February to mid-March, traffic spiked nearly 12%, a swooping upward curve that resembled the side of Mt. Everest. Even worse, 16 days after that study was released, global corona cases had quintupled.

Which means, in my unscientific analysis, there’s a lot of porn out there.

I should be upfront and let you know that I believe porn is a serial killer of God’s good gifts. Pornography wrecks our bodies, our souls, our relationships, and our world.

Yet I get it. I get why so many of us, even those of us who follow Jesus, would be drawn to porn at a time like this.

In my studies on addiction, I have learned that five of the most tempting times to fall into destructive behaviors are when we feel . . .

Hungry
Angry
Lonely
Tired
Bored

Know anyone who feels like that these days?

The coronavirus has messed with our routines and structures, affecting our mealtimes and hunger levels. Our utter loss of control and feeble attempts to be productive with work while caring for kids makes us angry. Social distancing, despite technology’s blessings, has left us lonely. Staring at screens for double-digit hours makes us tired. And even after watching every episode of the Tiger King, we’re bored, our brains itching for some dopamine-releasing novelty to excite us again.

Those are just the physical factors that might lead to porn use. Add to that the spiritual forces at work: The sinister part of our hearts that lusts for short-term pleasure. The world that loves to make a dollar off of us, no matter what the cost to our integrity or our relationships. The devil who convinces us that no one has to know and no one has to get hurt.

So I get the graph. It makes sense to me why so many people, even Spirit-filled people, would click where we shouldn’t.

Which begs the big question—How do we fight back against the pandemic of porn?

Here are the 5 steps that have blessed many people pre-corona and are even more urgent today:

  1. Get Real About the Wreckage—Porn seems so innocent when it’s just you and a screen. Just a release. Just a way to pass the time. Just a way to explore your sexual desires. But porn is not innocent. We must, through Scriptures, stories, and studies, get real about the wreckage that every click causes. Spouses are crushed when they discover the images. Children are trafficked as supply to meet the demand. Eternities are lost for those who turn their backs on God. Take off the filter, and see porn as the hates-your-future enemy that it is.
  2. Get Back to God’s Grace—Porn may be worse than you thought, but Jesus is better than you believed. Run back to Jesus, cling to his cross, and know that he is the friend of sinners. Meditate on passages like Romans 8:1; 1 John 1:8,9; Romans 5:8; and Jeremiah 31:34 and be amazed at God’s grace for those who fall into sexual sin. Embrace your identity as a child of God through faith in this Savior. Let the message take root in your heart that you are not what you have done. You are who God says you are—his own, beloved, pure in his sight.
  3. Get Rid of Porn—As much as possible, cut off your access to porn. Delete apps, pictures, and videos that cause you to stumble. Be ruthlessly honest about the triggers that lead you down a road that has no U-turns. Ask a friend to password protect your devices from installing anything that wouldn’t be good for your soul. While there is no foolproof way to get away from porn in our digital age, there are wise ways to give the Holy Spirit more time to snap you out of your porn-pursuing fog. Make sure porn is way more than one click away for those moments when you feel hungry, angry, lonely, tired, or bored.
  4. Get Accountable to Others—Nothing helps our self-control as much as the good news of God’s love and good people who love us. Deal with the embarrassment, and tell someone about your struggles. Confess to a trusted friend or two; be honest about when/how/how often you sin; and ask for their prayers, encouragement, and love. Remind them to remind you of Jesus’ patient love for sinful people (you will need it). This is the biblical path to healing (James 5:16; Proverbs 28:13).
  5. Get Ready for Battle—Craft a battle plan to fight porn one day at a time. Memorize a Bible passage that has proven helpful in your struggle. Screen save a picture of Jesus that reminds you that he is better than the pleasures of porn. Install filtering software on your devices. Go to war so that this day ends in victory, not defeat.

If those 5 steps work for you today, repeat them tomorrow. And if they don’t “work,” repeat them anyway! They will keep you close to Jesus, his truth, and his grace. Nothing matters more than that.

Resisting sexual immorality has always been a challenge. That only got more challenging when corona changed our lives. But we have a God who is up to the challenge. Talk to your Father, look to his Son, and ask for his Spirit.

With his help, let’s make sure there’s only one pandemic among God’s people.