Women & Pornography

Why God Doesn’t Just Stop You From Watching Porn

At the height of my addiction to pornography, I prayed God would stop me from watching.

The process went something like this:

I would think about porn all day long. I would get back to my dorm room, sit down at my computer, log in, open up the browser, type in the web address, and before hitting enter, I would say, “Ok, God. I don’t really want to do this. I need Your help. Please don’t let this website work.”

Guess what? The website worked every time.

And when it loaded, I would feel some sense of justification.

“If God really wanted me to stop doing this, He would help me. He didn’t. I asked Him to and He didn’t, so I’m just going to keep watching.”

To some, that may seem like a silly approach, but many addicts can identify.

We pray for God to fix this for us, to take away our desire, to break the internet, to help us get caught, and those things don’t happen. How are we supposed to reconcile that with our faith?

Isn’t God supposed to answer prayer? Doesn’t He want us to have freedom? Can’t He control everything? Why doesn’t He just break the internet for us?

If God doesn’t want us watching porn, then why doesn’t He stop us?

Well, there is no “if.” Pornography is not something we should be participating in or viewing as followers of Christ. It goes against His intent for sex and even His glory in creating us. It takes people, created in the image of God, and reduces them into objects to be consumed. It takes the most intimate act between two people, the power of which is used to illustrate God’s love for the church, and distributes it for free on the internet.

It wrecks relationships and families. It rewires brains. It desensitizes us to violence. It teaches unhealthy views of sex. The reasons why we shouldn’t watch porn are vast.

The reasons why we do- there’s really only one: entertainment.

If the entertainment were packaged as something that would wreck families, promote violence and human trafficking, and distort our view of sex, we’d probably be less likely to take that first bite. Instead, it’s packaged as freedom, sexual expression, and a healthy sexual alternative. Only after we’ve sunk our teeth into it do some realize it’s not exactly delivering as promised.

So why doesn’t God stop us from doing it?

Without diving into too much theology, the basic answer is: because that’s not how God works.

He empowers us to do His will, but doesn’t force us to.

A recent example I shared with a friend is the story of Jonah.

Jonah had clear instructions of exactly what he was supposed to do. He did exactly not that. He found a boat going in the opposite direction and bought a ticket. It doesn’t say this in the story, but I often imagine Jonah thought, “Sweet! See, if God really wanted me to go to Nineveh, then why does this boat just so happen to be here going in the opposite direction?”

God could have handled this in a couple of ways.

He could have taken the city Jonah was called to (Nineveh) and moved it. Why not? He’s God. Imagine if Jonah climbed off the boat and instead of finding himself safe in Tarshish, found himself in Nineveh.

Alternatively, God could have made the boat fly to Nineveh. After all, He wanted Jonah in Nineveh, so the easy solution is to drag Jonah there one way or the other.

Neither of those happened.

Instead, God let Jonah disobey.

He sent a storm after Jonah, rocked the boat, and caused Jonah to see the error of his own ways. It was Jonah who had a change of heart and was sent on this repentant journey by way of fish belly back to Nineveh. There, his heart changed back to trying to justify why he ran in the first place, but that’s another story.

The point is God doesn’t stop us from disobeying Him. He empowers us to obey, and there’s a difference. 

When you sit down at the computer, already determined to watch pornography, and type in that web address before essentially daring God to stop you, it’s no different than Jonah buying that ticket in the opposite direction.

You already know what you’re not supposed to be doing, and you’re already doing it. 

According to 1 Corinthians 10:13, we always have a way to escape. In this case, that is closing the browser window and walking away, not expecting God to blow up the computer. Could He? I guess. But there’d be a lot of dead phones and computers if that’s how this worked.

Expecting God to intervene and stop us is more often than not evidence of an unrepentant attitude toward pornography.

I want this and if God doesn’t like it- tough. He can do something about it.

For some though, it’s an honest misunderstanding of how battling sin and temptation works.

One of the most common prayers is that God would just take away our desire for this.

As a woman who was once a porn addict and remained a virgin until she got married at 32, I completely understand this frustration.

Why did God give me a sex drive that I can’t use yet? Why doesn’t He just turn it off?

It’s an honest prayer, but it ignores the very real physical component of sex and addiction. There’s two components to this: the baseline desire and what we do with it.

The base desire is sex, and most of us humans have this desire. It’s a biological drive fueled by hormones that are part of our bodies. It’s a powerful drive (ask any abstinent teenager or young adult) and it’s a natural drive. Sure, the levels vary for some. Some people seem to have higher drives than others, and it can change with age, or with health, or other circumstances, but it’s there.

There is nothing sinful or wrong about this drive or desire. In fact, it was created by God. Asking Him to take it away is essentially telling Him there’s a flaw in His design.

The problem comes in how we’ve learned to deal with that desire. If you struggle with pornography, then you have learned to cope with your sex drive by using pornography. So there’s a path you’ve carved that leads from “I really want sex” to “sexual release.” You have trained your body to respond to your sexual desire by desiring pornography.

The same is also true in the case of masturbation, fantasy, or even sleeping around. We train our bodies to respond to “cravings” in certain ways.

Eventually, it starts to look like our sex drive is fueling our porn problem. So, we think, “Well, if I can just kill off the drive, then I won’t have a problem.” If we can just take the gas out of the car, the car can’t go anywhere.

In this case, “the gas” (our sex drives) comes from God and He gave it to us for a good reason, so no, He’s not going to take it away from us. He has a reason for it.

The problem was never the gas or the car. The problem was the road we built. The road we built because we wanted to satisfy our desire now instead of waiting to do it the way God wanted.

The funny thing is, the other road- the original way God wants us to respond to our sex drives- is still there. It has never stopped being an option.

But our brains function a bit like a GPS. God’s way is longer and harder and doesn’t get us to our desired destination fastest. So, we take the toll road we blazed instead and then get mad at Him for the cost.

It takes self-control and awareness on our part to change course. The answer is not to destroy the car, take away the gas, or ask God to blow up the road. The answer is to stop taking the wrong road. 

When you think about porn all day and start planning what you’re going to watch, you’re already taking the wrong road.

When you shut your door behind you, make sure you’re alone, and loosen key pieces of clothing, you’re already taking the wrong road.

When you open up that web browser and activate the in private mode, you’re already taking the wrong road.

When you type in that address and go to press “search,” you’re already taking the wrong road.

And the way to stop isn’t to expect the road to suddenly shut down, to pray your spouse or parent catches you, or that the site you typed in somehow magically becomes a recipe website.

The way to stop is to turn around and go the other way.

When you don’t press “search” and delete the address, you’re turning around.

When you put your clothes back on, you’re turning around.

When you turn off the browser and walk away or install a filter you’re turning around.

When you open up that door, walk outside and call up a friend, you’re turning around.

When you refuse to dwell on those thoughts of pornography, fantasy, or lust, you’re turning around.

When you look at your sex drive as a God-given gift, with a God-intended purpose, for a God-ordained time, you’re turning around.

God won’t blow up the road, but He will absolutely empower you to turn around and to take the right one. Instead of asking Him to stop you, ask Him to help you stop yourself.


No temptation [regardless of its source] has overtaken or enticed you that is not common to human experience [nor is any temptation unusual or beyond human resistance]; but God is faithful [to His word—He is compassionate and trustworthy], and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability [to resist], but along with the temptation He [has in the past and is now and] will [always] provide the way out as well, so that you will be able to endure it [without yielding, and will overcome temptation with joy].

1 Corinthians 10:13 {AMP}

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