Freedom from Pornography
Overall, I was a good kid; but I had a lot of dark secrets. I must warn you that the following information may not be suitable for some, so please use discretion. Nevertheless, it’s a story of the power of God.
When I was very young, while playing outside with a friend of mine, I was approached by some older boys in my neighborhood and sexually abused. At the time, I didn’t see it as abuse; and before I knew it, I was no longer a victim but rather a participant. A spirit of perversion laid hold of me at a young age, and I carried it with me for years.
Before I knew it, I found myself at the age of nine or ten in another friend’s house pretending to play hide and seek. What we were really doing was consistently hiding in his parents’ room because my friend had found some erotic magazines under his dad’s bed. That was the birth of an addiction to pornography that plagued me for years.
All through this time, I continued attending church and pretending to be the most upright Christian there ever was. I read my Bible every day. I strove for excellence in everything I did. I was even in a few ministry positions as I grew older.
All the while, I knew my addiction was wrong, but I couldn’t break free. I would go for a week or two without looking at any pornography, but I was nevertheless trapped in my condition. It seemed as though it didn’t matter how much I loved Jesus or how hard I tried to please Him — I simply couldn’t break free.
A Taste of Freedom
One day, after changing churches and becoming involved in a vibrant youth group at the age of 16, a traveling minister came to our church and held three evening meetings. There he spoke of freedom and deliverance in Christ. I was so desperate to escape my mess, but I was so entrenched in lust and immorality that I felt completely hopeless. Nevertheless, at the end of his message, I approached the front of the room for prayer.
To be honest, it was mostly because of my pride. Everyone else was going, and I didn’t want to be the last one still sitting in my seat! Before I knew it, the preacher was right in front of me. And with an intriguing combination of clear determination and gentle lovingkindness, he asked me, “How can I pray for you?”
My eyes darted away. I had never confessed my sins to anyone before. What was going to happen to me? Was I really ready to give all this up?
No. I’m not ready, I thought, but I’ve got to go through with this. I NEED to be free…
“I hba pblm wf lst,” I mumbled sheepishly.
“Huh?” he responded, almost comically.
This time I decided to just let it out: “I have a problem with lust.”
“Oh,” he responded nonchalantly, “Well then, spirit of lust and sensuality, I command you to leave in the name of Jesus.”
It was that simple. I really wasn’t prepared for what came next, though—I can only tell you exactly what happened. As soon as he said those words, I physically jumped back about six feet and landed on the floor unhurt. I felt like a million pounds was lifted off my back. And for the first time, my mind was completely clear of the nagging perverse thoughts and temptations. I was FREE!
For six months I walked in total freedom from lust and pornography. I shared my testimony at youth group, and others began being set free as well. It was an awesome time!
But then I drifted. Before long, I had allowed temptation to get a grip on me again. Looking back, it’s ridiculous; but at the time it made all the sense in the world — mostly because I wanted it to make sense. I thought to myself, Everyone has heard my testimony now; that means I can start looking at pornography again and get away with it.
I followed through, and I was in worse shape than before. After all, Jesus said that when an unclean spirit comes out of a person, it returns later. And if it finds the “house” clean and in order — but still vacant — it will return and bring seven more demons worse than itself. I was a living example of this scripture.
True Freedom at Last!
Fast-forward a couple years. I was part of a team preparing to start a new church in the rural community of Fowlerville, Michigan. In the midst of my sinful condition, I had been a worship leader, youth leader, small group leader, Sunday School facilitator, and more. I had all the credentials the world would look for in someone who would help to plant a new ministry. But my dark side stayed hidden.
Hidden, that is, until my new pastor required his new staff to attend a weekend retreat that focused on issues of inner transformation and freedom in Christ. I was raring to go, but I had no idea what would transpire.
On the first night, we were asked to write down the “story of our lives” and include anything the Holy Spirit brought to our memory. It didn’t take long before all my repressed memories about what happened to me as a young child began to surface. These were events that I had buried beneath my mask of so-called perfection. I struggled to write them, but I did it anyway. I took an account of those boys in my neighborhood approaching me and the activities that followed. I wrote down every instance where I had personally spread that plague of perversion to others. I even included my return to pornography, lust, and sensuality.
Over the course of the weekend, the Holy Spirit helped me forgive those boys for what they did, confess my bitterness against God for letting it happen, and forgive myself for my own involvement. I verbally renounced those things in my life that had been separating me from a thriving relationship with God.
People prayed for me and cast those spirits away yet again. This time there wasn’t any dramatic physical demonstration (like flying backwards), but I felt that weight lift again. I had finally dealt with the root issues. All this time, I had simply needed to allow Christ to help me forgive all those people.
For the first time in my life, I was able to share the full story of my past without any shame or guilt. Instead of it being a story of my wickedness, it had become a testimony of Christ’s power and deliverance! I was finally free!
That Brings Us to Today
I’m not perfect, nor do I claim to be. I’m just like anybody else who has been set free from a life of sin. You see, sin is separation from God. It’s not first of all an activity; it is first of all a state of being. When we live in separation from God, our actions follow suit. When we live in sin, we begin to commit sinful acts.
In other words, I’m not free from making mistakes or slipping up here and there, but I am free from the canyon of separation that once stood between me and God. I have a genuine relationship with Him! And you can too!
I don’t share my story for my benefit but for yours. God created you with a destiny and a purpose. He created you to have a relationship with Him. Everyone’s story is different, but we can all turn our lives over to the same loving Author; and He will write a future for us that is far greater than we could have ever imagined.
Today, I’m a new creation. The old “me” has been put to death with Christ at the cross, and the Holy Spirit has breathed new life into me. I’ve chosen to live in unity with Christ — not that I am Christ, but that He gladly shares with me His character, authority, and relationship with the Father through the Holy Spirit.
By His grace, I’ve been a part of many miraculous things! I’ve seen people healed of cancer and other “incurable” problems. I’ve seen storms move supernaturally. I’ve had spiritual encounters that can only be attributed to the Holy Spirit’s presence and activity…AND YOU CAN TOO!
Here is Where You Come In…
I don’t have the whole picture. I’m just one little puzzle piece when it comes to revealing Christ in this world. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit gives different people different gifts so that we can all live as one body — the Body of Christ. That means apart from you revealing Christ in the manner God has appointed, Jesus is not fully revealed!
As you read my writings or hear my teachings, I pray you’ll see Jesus in ways you never had before; and as you share your thoughts and testimonies with me, I pray that through you I will come to see Jesus in ways I never have.
The only way this is possible is if you too have chosen to give your life over to unity with Christ. Consider your sinful nature to be dead by recognizing that it died when Jesus died. Don’t be afraid to confess your condition openly — it’s the first step to being able to share your testimony openly. I’ve learned that Jesus hung naked on the cross; and if we are to put our sins up there with Him, then they too must be naked and exposed for everyone to see. It’s a risk, but it’s the path to freedom. Some may laugh at you; some may mourn for you—but death is death, and it’s the only way to move on to resurrection.
That’s stage two (because Jesus didn’t stay dead!). Ask the Holy Spirit to give you new life and make you a new creation in Christ. He will do it. If the Holy Spirit can physically raise Jesus from the dead, then He can certainly do the same in you on a spiritual level. Let Him transform your mind and emotions. Ask Him to guide your actions and decisions. Allow the Holy Spirit to cleanse you (like He did me) by revealing things from your past that need to be dealt with.
As He does this, you will find yourself more and more free from the impact of the world. You’ll start to walk in authority and in relationship with God the Father in heaven. How? Because you also get to be a partner with Christ in His ascension into heaven to sit at the right hand of God the Father (Look it up in the Bible in Ephesians 2:6).
There’s so much more to discover, but I hope you now see the simplicity of it. Find a “spiritual family” of believers in Christ who will pray for you, encourage you, and pursue God with you. Seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit to direct your life. And regularly put yourself into living contact with the living Christ through prayer, reading the Bible, interacting with fellow believers, and sharing the Good News about Him.
Real Christianity is not about having all the answers; it’s about knowing the Answer. It’s not about having all the power; it’s about having an intimate relationship with the Divine Power. True Christianity is not about merely attending a church; it’s about being the Church.
I won’t give you advice on how to be a “good religious person.” Rather, I pray you’ll discover a vibrant, life-transforming, miracle-working, supernatural relationship with the One who loves you most and created you for this very purpose.