Sep 25, 2017


What you CRAVE matters

Mitch Tidwell offers insight on the problem of pornography and shares CRAVE, a resource he helped create to address the problem for students and leaders.

Today’s society finds itself in the midst of a sexual revolution. Truths that seemed unquestionable in the recent past are on shaky ground in today’s culture. Young adults struggle to understand gender, sexuality and even identity. In the midst of this, pornography has become commonly accepted in our society. It brings in more money than all of the major sports industries combined with over $13 billion dollars revenue each year.

Several surveys have estimated that nearly 70% of men and possibly as many as 30% of women view pornographic images monthly. Barna’s research surveys state that as many as 50% of Christian men view porn monthly. Websites like Fight the New Drug share how pornography affects the mind of an individual as well as their sexuality. Men no longer have a true picture of what healthy sexuality is and thus it can destroy their understanding of love, relationships and physical intimacy.

Pornography is a silent assassin. It has destroyed the lives of so many. Men and women are being transformed and shaped by this encapsulating addiction. For the church and many leaders within the church, it is a taboo topic. Most churches and ministries choose not to discuss it at church, with the exception of some disciple-making groups. In effect, the enemy has been able to advance extensively in this area of sexuality and the church. This new generation of students has been raised with the belief that pornographic images are just a normal part of sexual development and do not have harmful long-term consequences.

How are men and women being affected?
Science has proven that porn hijacks the human brain and it doesn’t go down without a fight. How is that? Everyone’s brain has a reward pathway. Porn releases a chemical called dopamine that takes over the reward pathway. Every time someone uses porn, dopamine is released, and the user gets a high. This chemical reaction only intensifies the need for more porn. It becomes a beast that never loses its appetite.
Porn thus becomes an easy path for someone to walk. It creates a temporary high that makes someone forget about the worries of the world. In a sense, it becomes a medicine for emotional pain. So how does someone take back their brain? How does someone take back their purity? They must carve out a new path.

This begins with Jesus.

How to start a new path
The SBTC noticed a need for a systematic approach to help men and women overcome porn addiction. There was a lot out there, but how can we bring the best ideas and resources all today? So, we developed Crave.

Crave has been designed with two key aspects in mind. First and foremost, the crave freedom website allows a student to have an initial 30 days free from pornography. The key to this process is that over the 30 days an individual is filling their minds with the Word of God. In no way will someone be free from the struggle of pornography in this short span, but what they will have is a new plan and routine to live and walk in righteousness.

The second aspect of Crave that makes it so valuable is that it allows a person struggling in this area to bring another individual into their world. The mentor aspect enables a student to connect with someone else who will get updates on their progress. Most people who truly find freedom from their struggle have accountability and this connects the user with someone who wants to help.

For those struggling, this is the perfect place to start. The first 30 days of Crave Freedom helps you develop rhythms to success. It helps you create a new path when temptation come and it gives you tools to fight this battle for the rest of your life.

If you have students in your group who are struggling with this issue, you can mentor them through this process by signing up as a mentor. You can do this with a group or you can do it one-on-one.


about the author

Mitch Tidwell

Mitch serves as the Collegiate Associate at the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. Mitch’s desire is to assist churches in advancing God’s kingdom on college campuses in Texas. He lives in Fort Worth, TX with his wife, Olivia.