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Image by Mohamed Nohassi


Motivation, desire, and surrender are three required components to make a change such as tackling addiction or compulsion. Let’s take a quick look at these components to change.




Motivation: This is the catalyst or reason you are considering stopping the use of pornography in your life.


Desire: Desire is what is in your heart—an inner drive or craving to be a better person, cleanse your soul, and have better relationships with your spouse, family, friends, and God. Without desire, the original motivation commonly fades. 


Surrender: All addictions have the same basic roots. Support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), various counseling theories, my personal experience, and my experience with other addicts support this fact. As such, we can learn from the history of AA. The first three steps of the AA twelve-step program are 1. We admitted we are powerless over (name the addiction) and our life has become unmanageable. 2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. 3. Made a decision to turn our will and our life over to the care of God as we understood Him.  

In short, it’s “I can’t manage this; God can help me; God, I give my life to you to heal.”

These three components are the underlying nature of surrender—namely, surrendering to God. Surrendering to God is the key step in letting Him infuse grace into our lives so our deficiencies may be healed and freedom through Him realized. 


Going Deeper

Now, let’s explore these components in greater depth.



What made you go from “I’m not convinced that looking a porn is a problem” to “I need to stop looking at porn”? The clinical term for this step is moving from pre-contemplation to contemplation. Something pushed you over the edge to propel you to move forward. What was it? Maybe you haven’t thought about it that much. However, looking at your reasons or motivation will help you establish a foundation and you’ll be less likely to waver as you begin the process. 

Let’s do an inventory of what may have led you to this point. Circle the statements you relate to and if there are any others, write them on a separate paper:

• I’m hurting my spouse/family.

• I’ve lost my job over porn use at work.

• I fear losing my job from porn use at work.

• I’m worried I can’t stop.

• This is not the person I want to be.

• I don’t like feeling controlled by my desire to act out.

• I am ashamed of my porn use.

• I can’t control my sexual desires.

• I can’t stop thinking about or looking for an opportunity to look at porn.

• I’m always planning my next porn time.

• Porn has become my primary entertainment.

• Porn is my “go to” activity when I have a bad day.

• I fear loss of heaven or my salvation.

• I feel that God is angry at me.

• I’m so ashamed that I can’t even pray anymore.

• No one understands me.

• I’m growing more and more disrespectful of women.

• I am having violent or sexually abusive thoughts toward women.

• I am experiencing erectile dysfunction.

• I am becoming more and more isolated.

• I am or am becoming depressed.

• I don’t enjoy social interactions as much as I used to.


Desire and Surrender

It is a fact that you won’t truly change your behavior until you really want to change. You must want to stop looking at pornography more than you want to breathe. Let’s stop the denial and be honest with yourself: At some level, you probably don’t want to change. This behavior brings you pleasure, relief, escape, control, or other benefits. In effect, it’s a medication that deep down you don’t want to completely let go of. It’s kind of like what happens when you have a tooth pulled and the dentist prescribes a powerful painkiller. Even though you don’t use the entire prescription by the time the pain is gone, you hesitate to dispose of the remaining few pills. You want to keep them—just in case you “need” some in the future. Completely eliminating all access to porn from your life is very similar. Some part of you may want to maintain possible access in case you need it. That’s the reality;  you may not be completely ready to give it all up and surrender it right now. However, you wish you did desire just that. Honestly, deep inside, you say to yourself “I want to give it all up, I want to surrender all porn, but I just can’t quite let go.” I call this “desire the desire.” If you desire the desire to completely eliminate porn from your life, God can work with that. This is so critical that I have written a special prayer just for this and recommend that you say it every day.


Surrender Prayer

Dear Lord Jesus Christ, I desire the desire to surrender my heart and entire being to you but I cannot do it. I fear the abandonment of losing control of who I am. I ask that you take what little space I can open to you, use it, and invade my heart, take it captive, and protect it from all evil. I beg for your help in my complete surrender to you. 


The basis of this prayer is acknowledging that you are weak and need God’s help. You are admitting that deep down you don’t want to give up what porn provides for you, BUT you are willing to ask and allow God to enter a part of your heart where He can do His work deep inside you so you can eventually be willing to give up this part of you. 

Motivation, desire, and surrender are not only a necessary part of recovering from any compulsive or addictive behavior but also a healthy way to look at any change you wish to make in your life. 

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