Understanding how God designed the brain is key to breaking and staying free of a porn addiction. While it almost always begins as a moral problem, porn addiction is also very much a brain problem . For the mind to be renewed, the limbic system must be accessed, and the brain reprogrammed .
THE PLASTIC BRAIN
Cradle-to-grave, for better or for worse, the brain is constantly changing and remolding itself. The brain makes new connections, giving birth to new neurons, with each new thought or action. Each time the thought or activity is repeated, the pathway deepens. For good or for bad, if repeated often enough, these pathways become subconsciously programmed into the mind.
Over time, these behavior-beaten pathways strengthen, and begin firing automatically. This explains why an administrative assistant can increase from 50 to 100 words per minute after just several weeks on the job. Or why a golfer’s handicap drops more rapidly once he begins going to a driving range between competitive rounds. Unfortunately, this same behavior-beaten pathway analogy also applies to the viewer of pornography.
THE CHEMICAL BRAIN
At sexual release, neurochemicals flood the brain, imparting to it the highest of chemical rewards. God designed us to produce these neurochemicals in healthy sexual relationships. But when a man uses pornography to “act out” sexually, he sets himself up for bondage. Instead of neurologically bonding to his wife, he bonds to the images he is viewing. With continued use, the unhealthy porn pleasure pathways strengthen, while the God-designed pleasure pathways weaken. A chemical imbalance develops, causing the brain to depend increasingly on porn for pleasure and sexual release. Unaware that his reward circuitry is being hijacked, the “recreational” viewer of pornography is on a fast track to becoming a porn addict.
HOPE FOR HEALING
As desperate as the porn addict’s case might seem, all is not lost. As described in the Bible nearly 2000 years ago, it is possible to reverse the damage and have the mind renewed through the transforming ministry of the Holy Spirit (Romans 12:2). Because God designed our brains to be plastic until death, there is always hope for healing. Science now confirms this great biblical truth. With the discovery of neuroplasticity, the scientific community now also understands that it is possible to physically restructure the brain.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2).
REPROGRAMMING THE BRAIN
The limbic system is the brain’s seat of emotions, and an input receiver for the senses (think emotional, visual). Imprints of the images the porn addict has viewed are also stored in memory in the limbic system. It is here therefore, in the limbic system, that most of the battle for the brain takes place. For healing to occur, the limbic system must be accessed, and the brain reprogrammed.
A GAME-CHANGING BOOK HAS ARRIVED
In A Way of Escape, readers learn how to step up the degree to which they “walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16). They learn how to build a library of limbic-friendly, Spirit-saturated apps. Apps that are uniquely fitted to them, and their unique Spirit-filling triggers (Ephesians 5:18b-19).
I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).
The still-struggling now have another option. The still-struggling now have fresh hope for discovering that long-sought-after way of escape from sin and temptation (I Corinthians 10:13). A way that—because it is wholly Spirit-powered—does not require enlisting the aid of an accountability partner or group. Truly, a game-changer!
1. Wiles, J., and T. Wiles, Conquer Series: The Battle Plan for Purity (Study Guide, Volume 1), Second Printing, KingdomWorks Studios, Stuart, FL, pages 32, 42, and 52, 2017
2. Wiles, J., and T. Wiles, Conquer Series: The Battle Plan for Purity (Study Guide, Volume 2), Second Printing, KingdomWorks Studios, Stuart, FL, page 33, 2017