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Craig Groeschel - Your Porn Battle Plan



Today I'd like to tell you about my very first exposure to pornography. Is that an awkward way to start? 'Cause it feels awkward to me. I go, we're gonna go there today, and yes, we are, I'll tell you about my very first exposure to pornography. And for those of you who maybe you're about my age, you realize that when we were growing up, you didn't have the easy access to porn that so many people have today on mobile devices and such. For my age, you kind of had to almost like stumble upon a discarded magazine, or have a friend who had a dad that had a secret stash.

I had a friend named Steven, who discovered his dad's secret stash. And Steven came to school to tell me, "Oh my gosh, you're not gonna believe what I found. You want to come to my house to look at it"? That was the day, I hate to admit it, but I did not walk home from school but I ran home from school to Steven's house to see what he had found. And I remember very clearly, even though it was decades ago, my first exposure to porn, I remember looking going, "Oh, so that's what those are"! And I felt this rush of excitement. This thrill, this adrenaline hit, this buzz. I didn't wanna feel that way. It wasn't premeditated. I didn't choose it. But that's what I felt.

Then it was followed by this very real sense of guilt and shame. Like I've done something wrong, which was only amplified when I came home and my mom is waiting for me at home, and says "Hi, my little sugar sweetheart, I love you so much". I didn't tell her, but I thought "Mom, I'm going to hell. I'm so going to hell". And that was my first exposure to porn when I was maybe 10 or 11 years of age. And it started a war in my mind, of desiring to see something that was thrilling and exciting and yet feeling incredibly guilty.

I'm talking to warriors today. And the good news is that you have the heart of a warrior, with the kingdom to advance, and someone to protect, and a battle to win. And yet you have to understand though, warriors, that you have a very real spiritual enemy, and his goal is to steal, kill and destroy. He wants to distract you, disengage you, discourage you, take you out of the war because the distracted warrior is always a dangerous warrior. And one of the most common ways that our enemy will attack warriors is with a battle in the mind of lust that's often triggered through pornography. And that's why today's title is this, "Your Porn Battle Plan".

What's your plan? 'Cause every warrior goes into war with a plan for victory. The reality is in all my years of pastoring great people, I've never ever met a warrior who said, "My goal is to abandon my post. My goal is to become a slave to lustful images. My goal is to wreck my life, lose the faith of the people that I love, hurt those who've trusted me, betray my spouse, shame, my children. My goal is to be stripped of all spiritual confidence, to live in a sense of shame. My goal is to take everything that I value so much and trade it for momentary selfish lust". No warrior has ever said that. And yet, there are very good people who actually love God and do that all the time.

In fact, this little question. Let's talk about Christian men and Christian Women. What percentage of Christian men and Christian women do you think view porn monthly? We're not talking about like three or four or five times a day, not like, you know someone who's really, really ragingly addicted. But we're talking about someone that might really love God and go two or three weeks and then like stumble upon something and look for a few minutes, and then, "Oh, I should have done that", and then go a little while and then look again. What percentage of Christian men and Christian women would you guess would battle with porn? The answer is, according to studies, 64% of Christian men, and 15% of Christian women will view porn monthly, or more.

So, admittedly, from the statistics, we know that men are generally more vulnerable to this. But the sad thing is women are becoming increasingly vulnerable, often for a different reason, based on my research and pastoral experience. It's often a girl who feels curious, feels like she wants to learn something, doesn't wanna be left out, and then doesn't realize that she can become addicted very easily as well. Those of you who are between the years 18 and 30, raise your hands, 18 to 30 year olds raise your hands. Unfortunately, in your age range, the statistic goes up about 79% of those your age who are men, even Christian men, will look at porn monthly, or so.

What do we realize? That we need a battle plan against the schemes of our enemy in order to win this victory so we can fight the battles that God has called us to fight. Today, we're gonna look at a guy that was an amazing warrior. He was a man after God's own heart. What's interesting about this guy is there were 929 verses about this warrior. The verses told us that he was a poet. He was a musician. He was a worshiper. He wrote about half of the Psalms. He was an amazing King, a fantastic leader in so many ways. He was a brilliant and brave warrior. And yet, with all these amazing qualities, this man is often remembered by something that is described in three out of 929 verses in the Bible. 929, and he's often remembered by what happened in three of them.

I'll show you the first verse to introduce the context of this story. And then there's three verses for which King David, a great warrior, a man after God's own heart, is often remembered. Scripture says this, Second Samuel, chapter 11, verse one, "In the spring", everybody say in the spring, In the spring. "In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with all the king's men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah, but David remained in Jerusalem". In the spring, when the King David should have been at war, he stayed back at home.

And here are the three verses that describe the tragedy. "One evening, David got up from his bed and walked around the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, 'This woman she is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite.' Then David sent messengers to get her, she came back and he slept with her". If you know the rest of the story, she got pregnant, David made a series of compounding bad decisions. And that was the beginning of indescribable pain for King David and for so many others.

A man after God's own heart, and he's often remembered by something described in three verses in the Bible. What happened? Essentially, if we're going to describe and define as clearly as we can, what happened in his life, the same thing that happens in the lives of so many warriors. The first thing is, we noticed, David wasn't where he was supposed to be. So he saw something he wasn't supposed to see. Then he did something he wasn't supposed to do. And that cost so many people who ended up losing so many things that they weren't supposed to lose. And it all started when he wasn't where he was supposed to be. That the King in spring when kings go off to war. David should have been at war, but instead he was at home.

When do so many of us get messed up? It's when we're not engaged in the battles that we're supposed to fight. You're warriors. Every single one of you, male and female warriors. You've got someone to protect. You've got a kingdom to advance, you've got a battle to win. But when we're disengaged from our God given calling so often we're vulnerable to the selfish temptations of lust. David should have been leading the charge. He should have been rallying the troops, but he was disengaged. And that's the very reason so many of us are losing this battle.

What do I know about you? My guess is again, based on almost three decades of experience, talking to people about this subject and many more. I'm gonna tell you what's very likely some version of your story. It won't be exactly right. But almost all of you will have some version of this story, where many of the details would apply to you. There was a time at some point that you were very likely exposed to something sexually impure. It might have been pornography, like me in the fifth grade. It might have been worse than pornography when someone that you loved and trusted took advantage of you and molested you, betraying your innocence.

It might have been that you were on a date with somebody, and she smelled good. And he was a smooth talker. And it went from a little kissy, kissy, kissy, to suddenly clothes were coming off, and the next thing you know, you ended up doing something that you weren't planning on doing. What you didn't realize at that moment is you actually were wounded. You were wounded. You were hurt, you were injured. You were emotionally wounded. You were mentally wounded. You were spiritually wounded.

It's a little bit like a computer virus. If a computer gets a virus, that virus then infects the rest of the computer, what happens is now that you have this wound, you didn't look at the gift of sex that God created in his holiness and beauty for marriage the same way. Because now you were injured. And your thought life is slightly corrupted, you lost a little bit of your innocence and there's a war going on. Because there's a part of you that likes the thrill of the sexual whatever it is. The porn, the masturbation, the the fooling around, whatever it is, because there is a buzz, and there's a thrill and there's a feel good and there's a dopamine release.

And then it's often followed by this shame, and this guilt, and maybe even the self disgust. And so you might have been embarrassed 'cause you didn't know who to tell. And so you kept it to yourself. The only problem is the sin grows best in the dark. So maybe, you started justifying it, saying it's not that bad, it's not that big of a deal. And then if you're a Christian, you might have prayed, "God take this desire away, take this desire away", but the desire didn't go away. And so you prayed some more and you made promises. I won't do it again, I won't do it again! And you didn't! For three whole days! Or three weeks, or three months, or maybe even three years.

You had periods of what we might call sexual sobriety, until you tripped up and did something you shouldn't do. And you fell into sexual binges, kind of like when you eat one piece and say, "Well, now I might as well eat the whole thing". And say you hoped, but hey, when I get married one day, then everything will fix itself. Then we'll get to be together, seven, eight times a week. All my problems are gonna go away. And then you got married. And your problem didn't go away. Because you thought you were dealing with a lust issue. But it wasn't just a lust issue, you were dealing with a wound that has not healed.

David wasn't where he was supposed to be. He saw something he wasn't supposed to see. He did something he wasn't supposed to do. He was vulnerable just like so many of us are vulnerable. When are warriors vulnerable? I'll show you a couple of times from this story and from Scripture. We as warriors we're vulnerable whenever we're overly confident. Those of you who think I don't need this, you know, this this is silly, isn't it? You might be the most vulnerable when you're overly confident.

Imagine King David saying, "Hey, it's springtime, I know I should be at war, but Joab he's one of my best commanders. We've got more troops. They don't need me, I'll just stay back". He was overly confident. The apostle Paul said this. He said in First Corinthians 10, verse 12, "If you think you're standing firm", you don't have a problem, you're never gonna be vulnerable. He says, "Be careful that you don't fall". Don't be overly confident.

I used to be overly confident at times until God really did a miracle. It's hard to describe but when I was 27 years of age or so, right before starting the church, I really wanted to be clean from this type of temptation. And I prayed God and heaven, do a miracle. I pray I would never ever have a lustful thought again. And as hard as it is to describe at the age of 27, God cleansed my mind and to this day I have never had a single impure thought. I just made that up, that didn't happen. "Really, Pastor, can we believe you"? Like no, that was a joke, okay. No, no. I am always, listen to me. I am always potentially vulnerable. "You pastor Craig"? Yes.

The problem with Pastor Craig, he's still pastor man, Craig. I tried to cast the man out of me and he just don't, he won't go away. I'm always potentially vulnerable. And that's why as a warrior, I've gotta be honest and I gotta be wise. When I'm going into battle, I've gotta know that my enemy is gonna set some land mines for me. I've gotta be honest about where I'm most vulnerable and wise enough to stay away from those things. So what you wanna do is you wanna be very wise about what it is that triggers you. What is it that you find yourself in real trouble along the way?

Is it for you when you're like scrolling on social media? And then you know he's hot or she's in a bikini and the next thing you know you're in trouble? Or is it when you're playing computer games late at night and your spouse is asleep? Or is it when you're traveling on business and you have a couple of drinks and the next thing you know you're vulnerable? Or when you're in the hotel room, looking through the TV stations, you're like, there's that? Or when you're with your girlfriend watching Netflix and you're in shorts and you got hair on your legs and she's in shorts, and her legs are smooth, and when smooth hits hair something happens, you know, and the next thing you know you're in trouble.

Hey, if it's not awkward yet, just hang with me baby, 'cause we're going there today. Everybody all right today? Just breathe in, everybody breathe in, just breathe in one, two, three, breathe out, okay, we're still alive, we're still alive. Female warriors, is that when you're reading a romance novel about that fictional guy that doesn't exist anywhere? And you compare them to your really very real dud at home, you know? Is it when you're reading the article that says "15 ways to drive them wild in bed", and suddenly you start to go somewhere in your mind? What is it that triggers you?

Warriors, you have to understand, that you're only as strong as you are honest. You're only as strong as you are honest, you have to be honest. What I wanna do in my own life, knowing that I am a warrior with a mission from my God, I wanna acknowledge that my enemy will try to stop me and disengage me from the battle. And so I'm gonna put some safeguards in my life as a part of my battle plan, so I will not be as vulnerable to the attack to the enemy. So some things I do, this is just common sense, to honor my bride Amy, and to honor my God and my pastoral calling. I'm not gonna be alone with women, in any context. We're not talking in my office, you're not getting my car, and we're driving to a restaurant so we can sit across from each other and have intimate talk.

I know in the business world that's kind of common and whatever, like maybe the business world needs to grow some brains and recognize there's just no reason for that, okay? Sorry if that offends you. For me, I know that I could be potentially vulnerable to look at things online that I shouldn't look at. So I've got my iPad, I've got a mobile device, and I've got my computer. And I call them locked down. They're locked down to the best of my ability. I've made it so that I can't access something that I shouldn't look at. So on my mobile device, and my iPad, I can't download apps, I just can't. Someone else has to put in a code, so I can't download an app or I might look at something that's inappropriate.

My social media, there's like five or six people that have the codes to my passwords, all my passwords, I've got adult content blocked so I can't erase anything. And if I try to book a massage, it won't let me even do that. I can't do lots of things, can't even order a swimsuit and stuff like that. But anyway, there's ways around. Someone else can order my swimsuit. My computer, everything is tracked. So what I've done is I've put up safeguards.

And you're like, "Pastor Craig, are you like that weak and that vulnerable"? And the answer is no. Not normally. Not most of the time. But you never know. Six months from now, when I'm in a bad place emotionally or mentally or spiritually, I'm traveling somewhere and it's late at night you never know. So, why in the world would I resist the temptation in the future, that I have the power to eliminate today? I'm a warrior. I've got a battle plan. Why would I wait to fight off something later on, if I have the power to eliminate that battle today? Come on warriors. Use your brain. We don't run into battle without a plan.

A warrior is vulnerable when we're overly confident. Secondly, we're vulnerable whenever we feel entitled. Think about King David, can you imagine him feeling entitled? I am the king and this is a very complicated job. I've got so much weight upon me, I'm working hard and my wives... He had multiple ones like, isn't one enough, Mr. David? But anyway, my wives aren't meeting my needs. And so I deserve a little something, something on the side. I'm going to justify this I feel entitled.

For you, it might be like, you're not married. And all your friends are playing Chitty Chitty Bang, Bang, right? They're hooking up and so you're saying, "Hey, I'm not doing that man. And so since I'm not doing that, this is just my one little thing. I just kind of look at this. I just kind of, you know, this is this is my release, it's not really that big of a deal. I could be doing so much worse", and so you justify it. Or you might be married to a guy who doesn't really engage with you emotionally. So you justify what you do. Or your wife may not be meeting your needs and you are a man with your needs. So you justify getting your needs met in some inappropriate way.

David decided to go up to the top of the palace. It would not have been unusual for a woman to take a bath, but you can almost see his line of thinking. "I think I'll go up and get some night air and just look around and see if I see anything". And he did. He saw Bathsheba. Just seeing someone attractive is not a sin, but he didn't just see, he looked intently. And the reason I know that is because the Hebrew word translated as saw, he saw her bathing, is the word ra'a and ra'a doesn't mean like look and look away, ra'a means to go whoo. It means to stare intently. I pronounced ra'a like this. Ra'a.

That's what he did. You've seen some people ra'a before, right? That's what he did. And you may say that's not that big a deal. He's just looking, he was just looking. You're not touching, he saw something he wasn't supposed to see. Which led him to do something he wasn't supposed to do. Jesus was crazy passionate about this subject of purity. It starts with the eyes. Jesus said this, sounds crazy, but He said, "If you look lustfully at a person, you've already committed adultery in your heart". He said, "If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out".

Dear God was he being literal? I hope not. Can you imagine you walk into work? You see another guy? He's got a patch on an eye. And so do you. You're like, "Christian"? "Yeah, Christian, yeah, yeah". What you're saying is take this seriously warriors. This can sideline you. It changes the way you think. It distorts what's real. It poisons what's pure. It objectifies people. It dishonors God, and it robs you of what you really, really want, which is intimacy. Not just sexually, but relationally and spiritually as well.

We don't just fight sexual temptation. You read all these verses about fight temptation, fight temptation, you find temptation. When you read about sexual temptation, the Bible says flee. Flee, don't fight, flee. If you run into a bear, my recommendation is you run. You're like, "Hey, I've been I've been doing kickboxing lessons, want some of me"? No, no, no, no, no. No, that's the way sexual temptation is, okay? You don't fight it. You run Forrest, you run. You get, you get out of there. He wasn't supposed to be where he was, saw something he wasn't supposed to see.

If you feel the weight of this right now. A little heaviness. You're thinking, "Ah, should have skipped church today". And a little voice is saying don't let anybody know. Don't tell anybody. What I want to say to you is this. Especially the men, "why are you talking to the men"? Because I can, 'cause I want to, come on men. Be men of honor. Be men of integrity. Come on ladies. Let's fight for purity. So honor God, and all that we do. Crave, crave the freedom. Aren't you tired of covering your tracks and wondering, when are they gonna find out? How have I gone this long without anybody knowing? Aren't you tired of the emotional distance that it creates? Aren't you tired of the spiritual drag that you feel? You wanna represent God, but you just feel completely insecure. Because there's this weight holding you back.

Eventually, David got there. Took another man, a prophet, getting up in his business. And finally, David confessed. Scripture says this, Psalm 32, verse 5, David says, "Finally, finally, I confess my sins to you, God, I confessed. And I stopped trying to hide my guilt. And I said to myself, 'I will confess my rebellion to God'", and what did God do? He said, "And you, Oh, God, You forgave me. All my guilt is gone". I hope somebody will give praise to our good God for His grace and His mercy. In other words, no matter how trapped you feel, no matter how dark it is, our God is there for you. There's always hope, there's always potential for healing in Christ.

Come on warriors, let's fight, let's fight like people of God. Let's not surrender and just justify this. Let's have a plan. We are warriors. What is your plan? Very simply five things. It's simple. And some of you, you will do this and you will find victory. The first thing we do warriors is we confess to God. And the good news is, Scripture says, our God, He is faithful and just to forgive us and purify us from all of our sins. That's how good our God is. When you confess, God hears your confession, and he forgives your sins.

The second thing we do, number one, we confess to God, the second thing we confess to the right people. Good. We confess to the right people. James said this, he said, confess your sins, one to another, and pray for each other that you might be healed. Do you see the difference? We confess to God for forgiveness, but we confess to people for healing. Come on warriors. How long have you been battling this? If you're not winning, it's because you need the right people around you. We were not designed to fight alone. I need warriors in the battle with me. That's why I'm wearing LifeProofs. That's why iron sharpens iron. That's why I don't just need my bride. But I need a few men that can kick my butt and it generally takes more than one to be quite honest. I need someone who can call me on it and confront me. You confess to the right people.

Third thing you do is you remove the triggers. Don't be stupid. Come on, don't be stupid. If you continue to lose on the same path, get off the path. If I'm up into David's business, David, no night strolls on the rooftop. Remove the triggers.

Number four, get the necessary help whatever it is. Come on. Make the phone call, look them up online. Get counseling for you, for your marriage. Listen, you got to go to rehab? Let's get it done. Come on, let's get it done.

Number five. You let the goodness of our God heal your wound. Will this be an easy battle to win? No. You may fight this battle your whole life but with Christ, there is freedom. With Christ, there is joy. With Christ there is real sexual intimacy in a marriage that honors God. In Christ, there's emotional intimacy, both with your spouse and with your Father in heaven. With Christ, there is healing.

Female warriors. If you gotta battle with porn, let's call it what it is. Let's work your battle plan. And I wanna speak directly to the female warriors just for a moment from the perspective of my male warrior friends. I would love to invite you ladies into the fight to fight with us, and occasionally on our behalf, because we need your help. And here's what's gonna happen. Somewhere, somehow, there might be a confession. A husband to a wife, a wife to a husband, a friend to a friend.

And ladies, what I know about you is if there's an important man in your life, who says, I've sinned in this way. Your first reaction will be anger, disgust, fury, rage. You might feel like insecure, "Am I not enough? How could you do that to me"? And every single one of those feelings are completely justified. No doubt about it. But I pray, you can deal with those feelings. And on the other side of those feelings you can look across at a warrior, who's not just some kind of jerk, loser, pervert. But a warrior who's been wounded and loves you enough to ask you for help. Because Listen, we need each other. I don't fight for purity alone.

Warriors. You're not weak. You're not a victim. You don't take shortcuts. You deny yourself. You make sacrifices. You're a warrior. You never ever surrender. Your mind will always be a battlefield. But you are its commander. You are not its slave. Who are you? Warriors, you're an overcomer. By the blood of the Lamb, and by the words of your testimony and the power of Christ, you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. You are more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus, because the very same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead it dwells inside of you.

Warriors, the enemy isn't attacking you because you're weak. The enemy is attacking you because you are a warrior. You have someone to protect. You have a kingdom to advance and you have a battle to win. You may fail, yes. You may fall, yes. You may stumble, but with Christ, you rise to fight again, because you are a warrior and a warrior may not win every battle. But a warrior never stops fighting. And when you continue to fight with the people of God, you will see the victory of Christ because whom the Son sets free, is free indeed.

So Father, we ask, in the name of your son Jesus, to help us do battle together, protecting, God, the wound that you would heal it, and we will honor you in purity, fighting the battles you've called us to fight.


As you're praying today in all of our churches. I wonder how many warriors male, female, young and old, those of you who say, "I wanna honor God with a life of purity in Christ". I hope it's everybody. Would you lift up your hands right now? Just lift them up all over the place.

God I thank you for warriors who will have a battle plan, who will never ever overestimate their strength nor underestimate the enemy. But recognize we have an enemy who devises schemes to trick us, trap us, distract us, destroy us. So therefore God we will honor you, searching your heart, your word, confessing our sins to you, to the right people in our life groups, in our accountability relationships, getting the help that we need, with wisdom, removing whatever temptation might trap us. And God, believing in faith that today is the beginning of healing, that you would start to heal these sexual wounds, God. That we could live for you, in purity, with honor, and intimacy, and strength to fight the battles you called us to fight. Help us heal together God, by the power of your risen son, Jesus.


As you keep praying today at all of our churches, nobody looking around, there are those of you you're going to recognize. You need spiritual help. You need direction. I remember feeling just this deep sense of shame years ago, trying so hard to be good enough for God, and no matter how hard I tried, I always ended up do the wrong thing. And I had to come to recognize that I couldn't be good enough on my own. No matter what, whether this is an issue for you or something else, none of us can be good enough on our own.

And the good news is that our God is so loving and so full of mercy, that he didn't leave us on our own, but he became one of us in the person of His Son Jesus, who was without sin. The greatest warrior in the history of the world, gave his life, died and rose again, so that anyone who calls on that name that is above every name, the name of Jesus, anyone who calls on his name, would be saved, forgiven, transformed. Not just saved from their sins, but saved for a life of purpose, to battle and engage in the spiritual battles that matter to the heart of God, advancing his kingdom.

In all of our churches are those of you you're tired of being ashamed. You're tired of the weight of your guilt. You're tired of living a life without purpose. And you recognize you're here today because there's a battle going on for you. The forces of darkness against the kingdom of light and all you need to do is say, "Yes Jesus I'm on your side. I turn from my sins I give my life to you". All of our churches those who say yes, I want your grace, I want your forgiveness, I want your your power. Jesus I give my life to you, that's your prayer. Lift your hands high now all over the place and say yes.

Up here, God bless you. Right back over here. Here both of you, praise God for you guys. Others of you today, right back over here sir, a warrior boy into the Kingdom, right here, others, my gosh, somebody give God some praise. Church Online, you click right below me. Both of you right back over here. Come on, come on, come on, come on, come on. If you would today, all of our churches, just stand to your feet. You're engaged and ready for battle, stand to your feet. And let's pray together with those being born into God's army. Pray:

Heavenly Father. Forgive all my sins. Jesus save me. Set me free. Fill me with your spirit, so I could do your work, so I can live in your will, so I could show your love. My life is not my own. I give it all to you. Thank you for life in Christ. In Jesus' name I pray.

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  1. Freek Ludick
    Today, 08:41
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    To the people facilitating this message, may God bless you and shine His Countenance upon you.
    Thank you for delivering this message, which breaks the chains of sin and shame and humbly advances the kingdom of Heaven through the gospel of Jesus Christ, the only and true Son of God.