Why Trying Harder Doesn’t Always Work

Pornography keyboard
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I used to think the most profound thing in the world were pulsars, quasars and galaxies. No, the most profound thing in the world is your brain.

It is composed of over 100 billion neurons. That’s 100 billion—as many stars as there are in the Milky Way galaxy. Your brain composes only 2 percent of your body mass, but it uses 20 percent of your energy. It has the consistency of butter at room temperature and should be as smooth as a billiard ball.

There are more neurological connections in your brain than there are stars in the entire universe. We discovered over 50 different neurotransmitters. There are at least 50 combinations and permutations and possibly many more.

Your brain makes about 5 trillion decisions per second—and so most of the decisions you make you don’t make on a conscious level.

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So, what is a thought? Neurons that fire together, wire together. You have neurological patterns in your brain; you have echoes from the past. This is where wounds from your past come to haunt you. We’ll come back to this later.

Your higher reasoning power is your cortex. It’s only 2.4 millimeters thick, as thick as six business cards. This is where you make conscience decisions for what is right and wrong.

Your Survival System

Your survival system is your limbic system. This is what determines what you want to experience and don’t want to experience. Sexual bondage takes place usually in your limbic system.

Because the limbic system is a survival system, it will overpower the pre-frontal cortex. In other words, the limbic system will overpower your decisions to do what is right, even though you know it is wrong. How is this possible?

For example, have you ever had the experience of walking through the woods and all of a sudden you see a snake and you jump back? Then you look at it closer and realize it’s a tree branch. What happens is your limbic system doesn’t bother to inform the pre-prone part of your cortex. The limbic system just says, “Run!” There was no information that came from your cortex that said, “It’s just a stick." Your limbic system, which is your survival system, yelled, “Snake!”

Understanding this is pivotal to understanding how men get trapped in sexual sin. They’ve learned to act from their limbic system during times of stress or crisis. Watching porn is not about sex as much as it is about how you’ve learned to medicate the pain in your life.

Most men trapped in this bondage have been doing it since they were children. They’ve been medicating the pain on the inside for a long time, and it happens so automatically they don’t even think about it.

Wounds From the Past

When you have woundedness in your soul, you can believe Christ with all your heart in your pre-frontal cortex. But when you are under a lot of pressure, your limbic system fires off.

Is it possible for a man to just stop his behavior of watching porn? No. What started out as a moral problem quickly became a brain problem. It’s changed the structure of his brain. Can his brain be restored to health? Yes—in about two to three years. But it’s going to take structure and accountability.

And not all sexual addiction is rooted in woundedness. Young boys are becoming addicted to the release of dopamine during the viewing of pornography.

This scientific insight shines a new light to biblical truth regarding 1 Corinthians 6:18: “Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.” When you sin sexually by watching pornography, you sin against your brain.

That’s the strategy and power of sexual bondage. It promises you everything and gives you literally nothing. It sets you up for total destruction.

Are we saying that someone is not responsible for their behavior? Of course they are responsible for their behavior. Sexual bondage equals sin. So, how are we going to help men get out of the cycle of insanity? First and foremost is to be gripped by grace.

The Conquer series reveals to men biblically based strategies to overcome sexual sin and begin the process of “renewing their mind.” It’s equipping men with the weapons to defeat the enemy, who can live victoriously and free from sexual bondage. It’s for any man who’s ever been tempted.

Jeremy Wiles is the executive producer and director of the Conquer series. For the original article, please visit conquerseries.com.

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