How does unbelief contribute to the need I feel for pornography?

How does unbelief contribute to the need I feel for pornography?
Feeling the need for sexual titillation is like getting hungry when you haven't had anything to eat for a day. It's as natural as the day is long.

Sex is a desire that rises up within the body and is there. We're just wired for it, men and women (women differently, but not without it). And it wasn't belief or unbelief that made that desire happen. It was hormones that made that happen.

So the first answer to the question, "How does unbelief relate to my sense of need?" is that it doesn't have anything to do with the sense of want or desire. Those desires are just there like your hunger for a steak or your tiredness and desire for sleep.

Now when the question is, What do you do with it?, there unbelief has everything to do with whether you need pornography. I said "titillation" earlier, referring to some kind of sexual feeling—that's natural. But now, if you go towards pornography to do that, that is an issue of sin.

Because pornography is the abuse of women, first of all. And, secondly, it is the illegitimate stoking of a legitimate desire. And God has other ways for that to be satisfied.

Unbelief relates like this: my understanding of faith is that you don't just believe that Jesus as the Son of God died for your sins, rose again, reigns in heaven, is coming again, and forgives my sin. That's only factual. It's also a being satisfied with that, treasuring that. Faith is not just an intellectual assent to doctrines. Faith is an affectional embrace of the Savior for my deepest longings.

Unbelief, on the other hand, is a failure to be satisfied in Jesus. It's a failure to go to him as the living water and the bread from heaven and the light of the world. It's a failure to go to him as a satisfaction that's deep enough and strong enough to satisfy me when I am tempted to go in a sinful direction to indulge an appetite—say, an appetite for companionship or food or sex. The satisfaction of Jesus—that is, belief in Jesus, embracing Jesus, loving Jesus, being content in Jesus—is going to be the power that severs the root of that impulse.

I believe with all my heart that the main way we're sanctified in life is that we conquer the power of the promises of sin with the power of a superior promise, such as Jesus saying, "I'll be with you. I'll love you. I'll take care of you. I'll reward you. You'll know a fellowship with me if you conquer this that you wouldn't have known otherwise."

And who of us has not tasted that, right? We've either yielded and gone into some sexual thing that has made us feel yucky and dirty, and we have to repent and hope we won't do it again; or we've conquered. We've walked into some path of light and holiness and purity, and everything in us is saying, "Yes! O, that I could do that every single time, because it is so much richer and fuller and deeper than the other way!"

If belief includes an affectional embrace of Christ as your deepest satisfaction, then it's going to have a huge effect on whether you embrace pornography.

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website:


  1. Great article with some wonderful insights. This can definitely apply to so much more than just pornography. It applies to anything that we use to escape the reality of life.

  2. Gail McConnell: Thank you John Piper. I love bold writers who are not afraid to speak of the sickness of the mind and admit how desperately we need Jesus Christ to overcome the old way of thinking, speaking, and acting. How can I then relate to pornography?
    If I watch pornography (sex outside of God displayed on television), I am a participator.
    This sexual lust can feed my mind with fantasy desires which can take me into my flesh self-pity, self-loathing, or living in the world that says "sex outside of marriage is ok". It is all part of what the devil uses to twist God's will and to move my flesh to rationalize...yes, even as a proclaimed Christian.

    As a woman, I first and foremost now know that who I am is of a royal race...a daughter of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I don't live in the garbage of sick thinking anymore. I don't live in the basement. I live in the heavenlies and sit next to the Lord Who dwells in the High Places of Spirit and Truth. Only when I see myself from heaven's perspective will I be able to resist anything that is not of heaven's quality. Only when I see myself as beautiful from the inside out...a sacred temple in which the Holy Spirit dwells...will I get sick when sex/pornography is used as a weapon against my temple.

    Being born again is more than just being a believer. It is acting in that belief. And the paradox is that I cannot act in that belief in my own power; I need Christ to invade me as I meditate on His word day and night, give thanks, take everything to Him that attempts to twist my mind, praise Him, and bear witness to the Cross by intentionally acting in faith regardless of what others are doing around me.

    When Christ lives in me, lust dies, pride dies,
    dependency on others for approval dies, fear of criticism or rejection dies, the need to try and control others dies. Death to self is all of this. Ha Ha devil!!!! Pornography belongs to your sickness and prideful rebellion and attempts to make God look like a fool! Your days are numbered. I see you and you are headed for eternal death, never to bother God's children anymore.

    I pray we all put our armor on! This is a battle that takes place in the mind...not the body. Quit acting like you don't have any armor. The Word is your armor! Wear it! Yes, even women....we are feminine and gentle and yet God has given us weapons of warfare to be bold in our prayers, praise, thanksgiving...and even in our humility. BE foolish for Jesus!!!!


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