Redemption

A few days ago, I wrote a blog talking about my struggle with pornography. After writing it, I felt like I should write a follow up post about the hope that I have in Christ.

Jesus said in Luke 5:31, 32, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” When Jesus said this, He was speaking to the Pharisees because they asked Him why He hung around sinners and tax collectors. And how awesome is that? We as a human race are sick and broken, but Jesus came to earth to love us anyway! We don’t deserve the forgiveness that Jesus offers, but because God loves us so much, He gave us grace.

Jon Acuff told a story about when one time he was at Chuck E. Cheeses (he was a kid at the time) and he saw another little boy get a big bowl of ice cream. And what he thought was the sprinkle line was really the hot dog condiment line. This little boy accidentally put mustard on his ice cream. A worker had seen this and asked if he wanted a new bowl of ice cream. The boy shamefully replied, “No thanks, I’ll just mix it in.” And he mixed in the mustard until his ice cream was a yellow mess. And that got me thinking, how often do we do this in real life? Where we are sick and broken and we just mix in the sin and shame until its a disgusting mess. Let God take your bowl of disgusting ice cream and let him fix it!

Even though my bowl is a disgusting mess, God still loves me and he is working in my life in order to fix that bowl. If you ever feel like you’re too far lost, that there is no way you could possibly be forgiven or loved by God again, that is a LIE straight from Hell! Satan is trying to rip you further and further from God. But it’s never too late for you to give your bowl to God and let Him fix it.

God loves you! No matter what you are struggling with.

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
-Romans 8:37

“God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”
-2 Corinthians 5:21

In God’s grip,
Alex

Going First

 

A while ago, I posted a quote by Jon Acuff on Facebook about going first; going first when it comes to sharing very deep stuff that a lot of people may not know about you. As Christians, we tend to only talk about “safe” sins such as not reading your bible very often or not praying enough. We don’t like to talk about the stuff that is tearing our souls apart. Jon Acuff writes, “When you go first, you give everyone in your church or your community or your small group or your blog the gift of going second. It’s so much harder to be the first. No one knows what’s off-limits yet and you’re setting the boundaries with your words. You’re throwing yourself on the honesty grenade and taking whatever fallout that comes with it. Going second is so much easier. And the ease only grows exponentially as people continue to share. But it as to be started somewhere. Someone has to go first and I think it has to be us. Let’s give the gift of going second (Jon Acuff, Stuff Christians Like Pg. 194).” So like I mentioned above, I posted this on Facebook but never really did anything after that, and I feel like God is leading me to go first so that I may give you guys the gift of going second.

Writing this is very hard for me because it is forcing me to relive some things that I would rather forget about. So here goes. I was first introduced to pornography when I was in the seventh grade, so I would have been around eleven or twelve. I was snooping around in my dad’s office just being the inquisitive child that I was, when I bumped into his bookshelf and knocked down a few Playboy magazines. So marked the journey of deep regret, shame, and self-loathing.

For those of you who have never been addicted to porn, here is how it works. The porn industry takes what God originally meant to be something wonderful and beautiful to be shared in marriage, twists it and sells it. They exploit what God biologically wired in our bodies that was meant for marriage and make a profit of it. When someone says they are addicted to porn, they mean exactly that, it essentially, is a drug. When people are sexually aroused, their endorphin levels increase. Endorphins are are an opiate-like neurotransmitter that will make you feel “high” essentially, when their levels increase. Porn is addicting and I consider it to be a drug.

I struggled with porn all throughout Jr. High and up into high school. It really got bad when I started looking on the internet. My generation and the generations after me got the crap end of the stick when it comes to battling a porn addiction, we grew up and are growing up in a new found technological world where we can access our drug of choice via the internet on a home computer, laptop, and even internet enabled smart phones. 10+ years ago that would have been impossible.

Being a Christian this addiction has been rough on my spiritual walk with God. I’ve read the verses that say to flee from sexual immorality and such. It made it hard for me to come into the presence of God and pray with Him and worship Him. It also made it hard for me to feel His love. I thought to myself “How could God ever love my black and diseased heart?” I felt like this because I didn’t fully understand the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross. Jesus died for our past, present, and future sins. He conquered death along with the world’s sin. It wasn’t until I fully understood this that I began to walk with God and grow more and more in my relationship and knowledge of Him.

I am still battling my addiction. It is something that I will have to stop with the mighty strength of God. I now know that there isn’t anything I could do to make God turn against me or love me less. He loves me so much that He sent Jesus to die for all of my sins and all of your sins. A few things that have helped: an accountability partner. Having someone you can share your struggles with is very encouraging. Not just struggles with porn, but any struggle you might be going through at the time. And another: there is a ministry call XXX Church. It is an amazing ministry dedicated to seeing the recovery of porn stars, porn directors, and porn addicts. They have free software up on their website that helps set up accountability with a few good trusted friends.

I would like to leave you with a few more words:

First to the men: Find an accountability partner! It’s feels great to share your struggles with someone without the feeling of being judged. Encourage each other! Also, know that God loves you, despite the lies the satan tries to get you to believe.

To the women: If you find out that one of you good Christian guy friends is addicted to porn, please don’t react in the typical “You look at porn? That’s disgusting!” way, because chances are, your friend has enough shame to deal with as it is without adding more to his plate. The best thing you can do is love him and pray for him.

“I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman.”
-Job 31:1

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
-1 Corinthians 6:19, 20

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
-Philippians 4:13

“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”
-John 14:13, 14

In God’s grip,
Alex