Losing Your Life: Jesus’ Invitation to a Porn Struggler

During Jesus’ earthly ministry, he often called people to give up one thing to gain something better. He told the rich young ruler to sell all of his possessions to gain treasures in heaven. He told Peter and Andrew to give up their profession of fishing to become fishers of men.  And in Mark 8:34-38, he calls his disciples to the most radical exchange yet. He said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it” (vv. 34-35).

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a pastor who returned to Germany during the Nazi regime to pastor the Church in resisting Hitler, is famous for these words: “When Jesus call a man, he bids him come and die.” For Bonhoeffer, he lost his life in following Christ.

The invitation to lose your life is not just for martyrs. The call to lose your life for Christ’s sake is inherent in the Gospel message itself. And this invitation to lose your life to find it is the hope that Jesus extends to a man or woman wrestling with porn.

Porn usage is about worshiping idols. Idols are those things we use to find life, especially to fill the emptiness we feel when our lives aren’t giving us what we think we need.

One of the biggest lies that our idols feed us is that you can find life in them at no cost.  Porn holds out empty promises of intimacy, satisfaction, control, comfort, and the rush of feeling alive. And it offers them immediately.

Pornography offers you false life while hiding its dagger of death.  Jesus offers you true life while explaining the cost up front.

But the hook in that bait is that it takes from us much more than it could ever offer. Yes, pornography offers euphoric pleasure for a brief time, but it will eventually take everything you hold dear. It will take your integrity, your relationships, perhaps your job, your peace, and ultimately, it will take your soul. This is why Jesus pleads with the crowd gathered around him: “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?”

Pornography offers you false life while hiding its dagger of death.  Jesus offers you true life while explaining the cost up front. Yes, following Jesus will cost you your life. But when you see that he lost his life to give you yours, you will begin to see that the false life that porn offers was never worth keeping in the first place.

Paul testifies to this exchange in Philippians 3. Paul’s life was wrapped up in his status, his performance, and his pedigree as a Pharisee. He found all of his satisfaction and value outside of Christ. But once he saw the surpassing worth of knowing Christ and being found in him, he saw all that he was giving up as rubbish. It was all loss compared to gaining Christ. I trust that all of us in Christ have tasted at least glimpses of this reality.

But lest we paint an unrealistic picture of this exchange, we need to acknowledge that the life Christ offers us is received through much suffering, and it must be received by faith!

Paul acknowledged that he suffered the loss of all things so that he might gain Christ. “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of knowing Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus as my Lord” (vv.7-8).

Losing our lives is not an easy process. Jesus said that to come after him, we need to deny ourselves and take up our cross. There is a cross to carry in order to fight against pornography.  It is, first, a cross of denying urges and desires which scream at us to satisfy them.

But it is not only lust that dies a painful death, because pornography is a means by which people seek to satisfy all kinds of desires. People turn to pornography to escape loneliness, to find comfort in stressful seasons, to get a sense of intimacy with others, to experience what it feels like to be accepted and desired. And pornography offers experiences that feel like those desires are being met.

It is only on the far side of faith that we receive God’s good promises for us. It requires no faith to find comfort in pornography. But comfort without faith only leads to death.

So, when Jesus calls us to lose our lives in our fight against pornography, he is calling us to give him all of those desires and all of the autonomous ways we have sought to satisfy them.

He is inviting us to pray in this way, “Lord Jesus, my desire to feel comfort in the midst of stress, I give that over to you. Lord, I acknowledge that I have desired comfort more than I have desired fellowship with you. I confess that I have sacrificed honoring you in exchange for satisfying myself. And I also confess that I have not waited on you and trusted you for your comfort. I sought to take matters into my own hands instead of seeking life from you, the life-giver. I believed the lie that obedience never leads to satisfaction. Lord help me to wait on you for your comfort. Help me to receive by faith your promise to satisfy my heart with good things.”

It is only on the far side of faith that we receive God’s good promises for us. It requires no faith to find comfort in pornography. But comfort without faith only leads to death.

Jesus is inviting you, brother and sister, to find life in him. The world, the flesh, and the devil all proclaim with one voice that following Jesus by faith is foolishness. But that voice comes from a thief who came to steal and kill and destroy. Jesus, along with a great cloud of witnesses, calls you to lose your life for his sake in order to find it. And he came that you may have life, and have it abundantly.


Mark talks more about this on his accompanying video: Losing Your Life While Losing Porn. These short videos can be used as discussion starters in small group settings, mentoring relationships, men’s and women’s groups, etc.
Mark Sanders
About The Author
After finishing internships at both CCEF and Harvest USA, Mark Sanders joined Harvest USA’s Men’s Ministry in July 2015. Mark holds an M.A. in Counseling from Westminster Theological Seminary and a B.A. in Communications and Integrated Media from Geneva College. For 5 years, he taught English in South Korea, where he met his lovely wife. He shared the gospel with college students, and served as a small group leader in his church. In addition to leading support groups and one on one discipleship, Mark also serves on Harvest USA’s teaching staff and has produced all of their video resources. In April 2017, Mark stepped into the role of Men’s Ministry Director.

2 Comments:


  • By Thomas 13 Apr 2018

    An excellent post that is a good reminder of the importance of trusting Jesus at His word to provide our every need. Keep up the good work.

  • By Kaushal Kale 18 Apr 2018

    Thank you Mark for the helpful article. Can mail you personally? I need help in this regard. Kaushal

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved. Developed for HarvestUSA by Polymath Innovations.