The purpose of these two pages are to share my personal experience with pornography and how I was able to finally overcome. There are many people who are experiencing the same struggles I did. I have received several hundred positive letters and also a few flaming responses along the way. The purpose of this page isn't to attack anyone. The sole purpose of this site is to reach out to those who desire to make a positive change in their life. If this is you, I believe you will benefit from my testimonial. Many people out there float in and out of porn newsgroups like I used to. If you don't want to change, I have no intention of coercing you. If this site makes you angry (as some of the letters have clearly indicated), notice that I did not deceitfully draw you to this site. I clearly posted the intent of this site on my invitation. I have taken great care not to present a judgemental article because I was where you are. If you get angry and say I am judging (as many of you have), maybe it is not me judging, but your conscience. Telling my struggle and victory is not judgementalism.
I became addicted to pornography at a very early age. I had a neighborhood friend whose brother was in college. He stored his belongings at his parents house. My friend found a very large box that contained nothing but porn magazines. He showed them to me and before long many of the boys in the neighborhood had their own stash. We visited them quite often and I had no idea that I was laying the groundwork that my adult life would be built upon. My mother found one when cleaning my room and my father told me that these magazines would warp my mind. I didnt know what that meant so I just made sure I wouldnt get caught again. At the age of 13, I accept Christ as my personal savior. I still did not know anything about sexual addictions but soon I realized that becoming a Christian didnt fix my problem. The desire to leave the porn behind was overcome by the desires for the sexual stimulation. I tried to leave it behind me but what started out as secret fun was now my master. When it called, I had to answer. It wasnt just a normal desire for a sexual relationship; it remained a serious problem even after I married and now I had to hide it from my wife. A normal sexual relationship is very healthy inside the limits that God has ordained. Sexuality is so much different than sexual addictions. The addiction robbed the normal sexual relationship that was part of my marriage. The two are completely separate and incompatible. It is like comparing an apple to a rotting apple. An apple is good and very healthy but the rotten apple is so perverted that it barely resembles the fruit it once was. And if we eat it, not only is it unsatisfying, but it doesnt leave us in a state where we can enjoy the real fruit. This perversion numbs the taste and sexual addictions are harder to satisfy the next time a fix is needed. What gratifies today will not gratify tomorrow.
There were times when I could go a month or when I was really strong I could go almost 3 months but I was pulled back in and usually deeper than before. It would overtake my mind like a possession. All rational thinking was lost in what seemed like a fog of obsessive desire. It was literally like my mind was sucked out. It didnt matter where I was or what I was doing, when the pornography called me into the fog, I had to answer or plan a way to get away so I could answer. I can remember times when I was laying across my bed reading the Bible when porn would call. I could not resist and once again I was lost in the obsession to find a fix. I felt hopeless. If I was not safe during Bible study, I was not safe anytime or anywhere.
I felt rejected by God. I was filled with guilt and I knew I wasnt worthy of a relationship with God. Perhaps you are in the same place I was. You are not alone. Since opening up and sharing my story, I have met many Christians that are going through what I went through. In this very news group there are many Christians. Ministers and clergy have expressed their struggles with this beast that dominates their minds. I also read in an article many years ago about a reporter who was present when Billy Graham checked out of a hotel. He was attending an anti-pornography conference. The clerk complimented Billy on his integrity. He went on to say that he sees what charges are on the hotel bill and that the majority of the pastors attending the anti-pornography conference were guilty of the very thing they claimed to oppose. Most had been viewing pay-per-view pornography in the hotel rooms during their stay and the clerk was impressed that Billy Graham was one of the few who did not.
I often wondered about this and I thought how hypocritical these pastors were. In light of my own experience, I have changed my mind. I dont think their intent was hypocritical, but rather I believe that they are fighting the monster inside the only way they know how. They are addicted and the only defense they had was to attack the industry. A Christian involved with pornography will never experience intimacy with God and will never enjoy any area of his or her life the way God intended. An impure heart robs our spirit, destroys any hope of godliness, breeds guilt, stifles our ability to relate intimately to our mate. It robs every thing of value from our lives.
But there is hope!
I now live porn-free but it has not been an easy road. Sexual addictions are character flaws. This flaw will never go away, but it can be overcome. We all have character flaws. Some have flaws that everyone can see like dishonesty or alcoholism, some of us have flaws that can be kept in secret. Secret flaws are harder to overcome because we can put up a good front to the world while hiding sins that haunt us. We often fool ourselves by finding ways to justify our actions, but deep down we know we are sinning. Hidden deep inside the heart of everyone is knowledge of God and knowledge of right and wrong. We can push it way down where it we dont see it and we can bury it with distractions but it will always be there. Suppressing the truth only works while we are in control, but when something shakes our world, it always manages to surface again and we have to deal with it. We must either make changes in our lives, or bury it again.
My sexual addiction produced guilt in my life. The guilt drove me away from God. I would go on my way without dealing with my guilt until something would stir my life and cause me to seek God again. After getting things right, it would not be long before the porn would retake control and I would wander away from God again. During the lowest time of my life, I did not attend church for almost 3 years. And when I did attend, I never heard anything convicting only things that made me feel good and this would ease my pain but not address the problem.
One day I reached what I felt like was the bottom. I felt lost and broken. I took a long walk alone in the woods and tried to pray. I did not know how to pray anymore and spent most of my time sorting through my thoughts. I asked God why I was not able to control any area of my life and why was I not able to have any consistency in my Christian walk? I left just as confused as when I got there. The next day I returned for another long walk. I prayed a little better, but still felt like God was a million miles away. The third day I returned again for another long walk. I was more able to pray this time. It is hard to put into words the experience I had with God that day. The only words I that come close is that I saw the cross. For the first time in my life, God showed me and I looked to the Cross of Jesus Christ. Suddenly I understood grace. Then it was as if the shackles that enslaved my mind fell and I was a free man.
I pray frequently that God would help me to write a verbal road map that others who are willing can follow. I want to paint an accurate picture of Christ so others can know him as I do. If you have read this far, I hope you will continue on. Keep in mind that changes take commitment and determination. Dont give up because you are expecting God to hit you with his spiritual hammer and give you instant success. I am convinced that if you follow the same road, you will have the same results. A sexual addiction is a taboo. Christians dont talk about it or share with others. Most, who are addicted, fight this battle alone without any guidance. One person who contacted me said he went to his church for help and was disciplined. People hide their problem and hide their shame. This should not be so. There are many 12 step programs but the success rate is very small or is short lived. I believe it this is because we do not have the power to change ourselves. If we dont allow God to transform us, we will stay on the same roller coaster for the rest of our lives. The only true change comes by the life changing power offered to us through Jesus Christ.
I have now met many that are addicted to porn or other sexual addictions. One thing I have found is that those who cant walk away were exposed at a very early age. Someone who gets into porn at the age of 18 or 19 usually has a much easier time breaking away than someone like myself who was exposed at 9 or 10 years of age. I believe that is because a 9-year-old has a brain that is still developing. If my brain is being over stimulated in an area that I am not yet equipped to handle, there must be some compensation. There was a study published that showed that homosexuals brains have an enlarged brain in the area that scientist have identified as responsible for sexual stimulation. I believe this sheds light on sexual addictions, not just homosexuals. Early exposure to pornography could very well cause the response that a growing and developing brain reacts to by increasing the development of the area that is responsible for sexual responses beyond the norm. So what does all this mean? It means you have an uphill battle. It is not a valid excuse to justify a sinful lifestyle because you have a physical problem with your mental development. If that were a valid excuse, we would all be excused for all sins. After all, the bible clearly says that we are born with a sinful nature. We are commanded to overcome that nature. The addict just has another struggle to overcome.
I went into the woods confused and broken and came out with a deep understanding that I never had before and a head full of ideas. I have recently started reaching out to those who are addicted and I am constantly updated my testimony. I am continually looking for better ways to explain the truth that I have learned. The one principle I have is that the Bible is the acid test and if something is not CLEARLY taught in the Bible then we know our beliefs did not come from God.
From this point on, I want to explain how I overcame my sexual addiction and I firmly believe you can overcome also. It is important to note that we will not all have a dramatic touch of Gods hand. Dont feel like the floodgates have to open or God is not working in your life. The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show Himself strong to those whose hearts are loyal to Him. 2 Chr 16:9
I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways and according to the fruit of his deeds. Jer 17:10.
These two passages apply to those who truly repent and turn from our impure lifestyles. God sees. Lightening may not sound and the earth may not shake but God quietly calls your name. You will not hear unless you put everything aside and listen. He will search your heart and will know when you turn your heart to him. Then God will give you according to your deeds. In other words, once you get to the place where you are ready to seek him and you commit your efforts, God will enable you. You cant do it alone. But God will give you victory according to your work. If you play games, you will not succeed. God longs to show the plan He has designed for your life and God longs to have a close relationship with you. God cares more about your faithfulness than a dramatic testimony.
We all have habitual sins and character flaws in our lives. The bible tells us that we have a sinful nature. What we fight against is our very nature. It is hard to overcome, but we must do it. In the book of Revelation we are told that the one who overcomes will eat of the tree of life, sit with Christ in his throne, inherit all things, rule over the nations, etc The greatest promises are offered to him that overcomes. So what does it mean to overcome? Overcoming is to subdue our very sinful nature and become holy and righteous before God. The first step to accomplish this is to establish a solid foundation. If the foundation you build is unstable, so will your life. If the foundation is weak, nothing else matters. If the foundation is strong, a strong life can be built on it.
Guilt is the first foe we must defeat. God has created us to have a personal fellowship with him. There is only one door that leads to God. In John 10:9 Jesus said, "I am the door. By me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture". Jesus used this parable to make a word picture we can use to understand that he is the way. Only by him can we be saved.
Romans 4:4 Now to him who works, his wages are not counted as grace, but as debt.
We cant please God through our good works. We have a debt to sin that we cannot pay. Christ made it very clear that sin was not only the actions you take, but also the thoughts of your heart. He said that if you see a woman and lust after her, you have already committed adultery in your heart. If you are angry or hate your neighbor, you are a murderer, if you envy, you are a thief. We all sin, and some sins are very habitual. If we play the karma game, we will loose. We can never do enough good deeds to earn grace. Romans 4:4 makes that very clear.
Picture the Grand Canyon. Sin separates us from God and creates a gulf that we cant cross. Good works are like tossing pebbles into the canyon in hopes that one day we will build a bridge that we can cross. But at the end of our lives we will see no evidence of our good works because they went to our canyon of debt and did not gain the grace of God.
Now look at the next verse Romans 4:5:
But to him who does not work, but believes on him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.
This verse is the foundation of a relationship to God. Jesus is the one who died to justify the ungodly (Romans 5:6). This is the verse that unlocked the chains of my addiction and offered me freedom. I realized that I had been stuck in the never-ending loop described in verse 4. I was trying to feel justified before God by my own efforts. But Romans 4:4 clearly tells me that the wages of my works only go toward my debt of sin. A debt I cannot pay. But verse 5 tells how I can be justified. Christ died to justify the ungodly. I am VERY ungodly by nature in fact, what is more ungodly than a man obsessed with pornography? Lets look at the verses that support to this verse. For the sake of time I will only focus on what happened on the cross. Christ lived a perfect and sinless life. He was God incarnated (see John 1). The bible teaches that God consists of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This is commonly referred to as the trinity. The trinity is one and has never been broken until the cross that is. When Jesus was on the cross he cried "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" This used to disturb me. In Hebrews we are told that God will never leave or forsake us but here clearly Christ stated that he was forsaken. Christ was forsaken in your place. He was forsaken so you would not be. God is a Holy God and sin cannot abide in His presence. Colossians 2:14 says that Christ removed the debt against us by nailing it to his cross. The Bible also tells us that he (Christ) who knew no sin, became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). When your sins were laid on Christ, he became sin for you and because he was sin for you, he became separated and forsaken by God in your place.
What literal transpired is that Christ took your sins upon himself and put his righteousness upon you. So now you can be as righteous before God as Christ himself. Not because of anything that you have done but because of what Christ has done for you. When this happens, God no longer sees the sex addict you once were but he sees the righteousness of Christ. But it is not automatic. If we look back to Romans 4:5 it says to him who BELIEVES on him who justifies the ungodly, his FAITH is accounted for righteousness.
Grace is a free gift but must first be received. A gift is only an offering until it is received. The steps to receive grace are simple, but critical. To receive the grace of God we must humble ourselves, repent of our sins, believe on the provision that God offers through Jesus Christ and receive grace.
Humble ourselves. The Bible says God gives grace to the humble but resists the proud. We must first realize that we cant do it alone or in our own strength. If we dont feel like we need God, then we need to re-examine our life.
Repent. To repent means to make a 180-degree turn. Change direction. We are walking in our own way, now we need to stop, turn to Christ and walk toward him. Repentance, humility and forgiveness cant be separated. If we ask Gods forgiveness with the intention to return to our sins, we will not be forgiven because we have not repented. If we sin with the attitude that we can get forgiveness, we have not repented. It takes repentance. Repentance is a commitment to a lifestyle change with Christ at the center as Lord and Savior.
If you wish to respond or ask questions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my website at http://www.exchangedlife.com