From the Blog

The (Porn) Battleground – The Mind

By: Dan Wobschall

Quite literally every decision, conflict, battle and resolution to life's situations, begin and end in the mind.

Therefore, if you and I are to walk in purity with Christ and honor our wives, children and above all else, God, don't you think we should be on a vigilant watch over what we introduce our minds and thought life to? (might be a run-on sentence, but oh well) 

Here's just a couple of verses of New Testament scripture on the subject.

Mark 12:30  "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength."

2 Corinthians 10:5  "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

Romans 12:2  "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."

I could stop here and let us ruminate on these verses. In fact, do that. Read them over a couple of times. Digest them a bit before moving on.

Mind Power

The brain performs an incredible number of tasks including the following:

  • It controls body temperature, blood pressure, heart rate and breathing.
  • It accepts a flood of information about the world around you from your various senses (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching).
  • It handles your physical movement when walking, talking, standing or sitting.
  • It lets you think, dream, reason and experience emotions.

All of these tasks are coordinated, controlled and regulated by an organ that is about the size of a small head of cauliflower. And it does this 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and never shuts off to rest!

Understanding a small bit of the science behind the mind gives us a pretty good insight on the power of the mind. It also tells us that we need to care for this body organ quite well. So, 'take captive every thought' to protect yourself from letting creeping crud enter your mind. 

Be mindful (pun intended) of what you watch, read, listen to, and think about. Everything you take in via your senses affects how you view the world around you. The avenues from which we receive information are nearly endless. From newspapers to the highest of tech methods to intake news, entertainment, music and you name it. 

Old but true

As the old saying goes, accurately so, garbage in - garbage out. Out of our mouths come that which dwells in the heart and mind. What dwells in the heart in mind is what the mind receives and we feed it. 

What kind of mind food are you feeding on today?

The Mind on Porn

The neural pathways of the brain are much like roads that take us to and from places, with the option of a few to choose from to make the journey. And the shortest path or most familiar roads are often what we choose. We're familiar with that road. We know it well. 

So it goes, as we create pathways of thought and behavior in the mind. 

Neuroscience Speaks: How Using Porn Destroys Your Willpower

Neuroscience now knows that willpower is a function of the prefrontal lobes of the brain. Scientific studies have also confirmed that using porn over and over actually reshapes these areas of the brain, literally eroding our willpower and our moral compass.

Neuroscientists call it hypofrontality. Hypofrontality is a state in which there is decreased blood flow to the prefrontal lobes of the brain. Hypofrontality is observed in schizophrenia patients, and is also observed in all manner of addictions.

What is Hypofrontality? In his book, The Porn Circuit, Sam Black explains what hypofrontality is for the porn viewer.

“Compulsiveness is a good descriptor of hypofrontality. Many porn users feel focused on getting to porn and masturbating even when a big part of them is saying, ‘Don’t do this.’ Even when negative consequences seem imminent, impulse control is too weak to battle the cravings.”

The porn-addicted brain has trouble thinking logically. When impulses and desires come from the midbrain, instead of being moderated, the brain feels these desires as compelling needs. The prefrontal region is supposed to be able to weigh consequences and situations and judiciously shut down cravings, but hypofrontality means the addict’s ability to do this is impaired.

To the addict, when the craving for porn surfaces, their whole body gears up for action. As unhindered hormones are released and neurotransmitters fire, the craving consumes them. The heart begins to race, blood pressure rises, and the addict is consumed by a single thought: “Just one more time.”

Speaking from experience

Changing my thought processes was the single hardest part of recovery from my porn addictiveness. My ability to think logically about sexual needs, desires and behaviors went out the window when the impulses were running with a head of steam. 

The addictive pornography behavior cost me valuable, unretrievable time lost away from my wife and children. 

What I found myself capable of thinking, watching, saying and doing on the internet is today scary and honestly sickening. Yet I did them over and over and over again, seeking relief from the very pain the behavior was bringing me. 

How to break the cycle

Just how do we abandon the old pathway of thinking and build new ones? That's a huge question with multiple correct answers. See the three verses at the beginning of this post, and start there. Here are a few others: 

  • Install filtering & accountability software on all computers & smart devices 
  • Daily time spent reading & meditating in the bible
  • Listen to Christian music and talk radio
  • Choose to watch safe & clean television, if any
  • Join an accountability group and get an accountability partner
  • Learn how to be held accountable effectively

We are and will become a product of our own self imposed mental environment. That is truth and fact. Choose wisely.  

Finally, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)

 

Sources for this article:

EveryMansHope.org

BibleGateway.com

CovenantEyes.com

How Stuff Works - Human Brain

"Start the Conversation" Discussion Questions

Jacob’s Story: Purity

  • Since God created sex and it is good (within marriage) why do we struggle to talk about it?


  • Why would it be a struggle having sex at an early age?


  • How do choices now affect future relationships?


  • What is purity? What are you told that it is at church? At school?


  • Do you want your parents to sit down and to be honest with you?


  • Why do we have so many misconceptions about sex and why do we avoid discussing it in church? How do we protect ourselves in this sexually saturated society?



Joy’s Story: Self-Image

  • What types of messages does culture send to us?


  • What does it mean to guard you heart?


  • How can relationships be difficult? Are Christians that are relationship more complex?


  • Is physical image the most important feature when you choose a boyfriend or girlfriend, or is it something else to you? What is it?


  • Why do you think God asks for sexual patience?


  • Besides just saying NO, are we being taught in church how to navigate through culture when God says one thing and culture says another?


Jamie’s Story: Talk About It

  • How are we supposed to help people who have struggles?


  • What did you do the first time you saw porn? Does that image remain with you?


  • Did you ever feel you were the odd man out in a conversation around sex? How did it make you feel?


  • Who have you had conversations around sex? Do you have an parent or adult to talk about sexual issues or questions?


  • If so many good people are involved in porn, sex, etc. why is it a touchy subject?


  • Who do you know that you can help that no on else is helping?


Kevin’s Story: Confronting The Issues

  • Do you prefer to confront big issues or to ignore them? Why?


  • Do you think porn and sex is rampant in our culture?


  • Do you believe 12 to 17 year olds are the largest users of Internet porn?


  • How is God view of sex different from our cultures view? What do you think?


  • How can we personally support purity and not come off as judgmental?


JD’s Story: Integrity

  • Discovery of porn on the internet…. how has it affected you?


  • How does porn affect relationships? Have you known someone affect by it?


  • So when we view porn or have sex does it affect other people?


  • What characteristic of Christ do you think that people see in you? What characteristics would you like them to see?


  • What is grace? Are there limits to grace?


Sarah’s Story: Vulnerable Situations

  • What did parents teach you? Baseball, swimming, instrument etc…


  • Have you been in situations that were uncomfortable with the opposite sex? How do we avoid these situations?


  • In you have a sex question, who do you go to?


  • James 5:16 “Confess your sins to one another that you may be healed”. Do you do this? Why or why not?


  • What does it mean that God is strong in our weakness? Does God give us more than we can handle?


Jimmy’s Story: Porn

  • Have you ever felt isolated with your struggles?


  • Have you every felt you were not in control of your sin?


  • Confession is good? Yes or No?


  • Has someone walked you through a difficult time? Have you ever been that “one” to anyone?


  • Why is it often harder to do right than to do wrong?


Wes’s Story: Sex

  • Does everyone struggle so why does everyone act perfect?


  • How is pornography addiction different from drugs and drinking? How is it the same?


  • Is purity good or bad … realistic or not?


  • Should we always avoid “awkward”? When should we not?


  • Is it awkward to talk about seex after we get started talking about it?