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How a Porn Addict Found Hope Between the Altar and the Door

Last Updated: July 30, 2021

Luke Gilkerson

Luke Gilkerson has a BA in Philosophy and Religious Studies and an MA in Religion. He is the author of Coming Clean: Overcoming Lust Through Biblical Accountability and The Talk: 7 Lessons to Introduce Your Child to Biblical Sexuality. Luke and his wife Trisha blog at IntoxicatedOnLife.com

The next best thing to be wise oneself
is to live in a circle of those who are

– CS Lewis

(This blog is dedicated to my old friend and mentor, Shawn, and to all who help bear the burdens of those caught in the grip of pornography.)

I had the privilege of attending Friday’s Casting Crowns concert in Ypsilanti, Michigan.  Right before the show my wife and I got a chance to go backstage and meet Mark Hall, the rest of Casting Crowns, and the opening bands.  It was a very memorable night.

It was my first time seeing Casting Crowns live.  I was most impressed by their utter lack of pretension.  They really don’t look like rock stars or a Grammy-Award-winning band.  It was refreshing.  Melodee DeVevo was amazing on the violin.  Megan Garrett’s voice was incredible.  Andy Williams, the great bald wonder, was one of the most entertaining drummers I’ve seen.  Mark Hall impressed me as a humble man with a true youth minister’s heart who has sort of stumbled into fame and influence.

The opening song of the show was the title track from the band’s third studio release, “The Altar and the Door“:

Lord, this time I’ll make it right,
here at the altar I lay my life
Your kingdom come but my will was done,
my heart is broken as I cry,
like so many times before
But my eyes are dry
before I leave the floor, oh Lord
I try but this time, Jesus,
how can I be sure I will not lose my follow through
Between the altar and the door . . .
I’m trying so hard to stop trying so hard
Just let You be who You are
Lord, who You are in me

How my heart resonated with these words. When I was caught in the grip of pornography addiction, there was a besetting misery in me each time I looked for answers. I knew I could not excuse my behavior like a helpless victim, but I felt helpless and utterly out of control.  I became familiar with the smell of church carpet near the altar.  I became familiar with the burn of fresh tears in my eyes.  No telling how many loving hands have touched my shaking, inconsolable shoulder.  After a while, I began to lose my faith in the altar calls, i.e. my resolve to follow through in obedience after a night of gut-wrenching repentance.

Then, one not so special day, an older man at my church asked me to go to lunch with him.  All I knew of him was that he was a gifted speaker and teacher in our church.  He said he wanted to get to know me better, that he could see some restlessness in my heart and wanted to offer any wisdom that might be relevant.  A few days later I found myself sitting across the table from him, divulging the depths of my sinful story to him, fighting back tears.  He became a true mentor to me starting that day.

During one of our long conversations, he offered to pray for me in regard to my addiction.  I asked him, rather cynically, what the difference would be between his prayer and every other altar-prayer offered on my behalf.  Without hesitation he looked at me and said, “The difference is I am not going to leave you.”  Even as I write this, I am still moved to tears remembering his words and his prayer.

And he didn’t leave me.  We spoke often on the phone.  We met week-in and week-out to talk and pray, dive into the depths of my heart, find the root of my sin, strip away my pretenses, and let the Word of God speak to those fractured areas of my heart.

Between the altar and the door I found the first step to true freedom: it was in a face-to-face relationship with a spiritual father and mentor.  In that season of my life I saw James 5:16 illustrated with crystal clarity: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed.  The intense prayer of the righteous is very powerful.”

(If you enjoyed this testimony, see my previous blog: From Accountability to Discipleship)

  • Comments on: How a Porn Addict Found Hope Between the Altar and the Door
    1. Joe Vance on

      Thank you for your vulnerability and openness. I hope more men will become empowered by your testimony. Keep your head held high.

      Joe Vance, Live Different

      Reply
    2. Ame on

      “The difference is I am not going to leave you.”

      I’ve not heard anything more powerful … ever. And I will say, this is extremely rare … though it sould be the norm.

      My Mentor passed away a year ago next month … she was the only person I ever knew who called me her “Forever Friend,” and meant it.

      May you never forget that you have been given MUCH from God … how rare your gift … and that much is being required of you as you pass on what was modeled to you.

      Keep reading about the kings in the OT … the ones who loved God … and yet became lax in their older years and screwed up big time … so as not to let that ever happen to you.

      Never forget you have less than no strength on your own … all of your strength comes from God, alone. Keep pride far from you.

      Not only do you have your beautiful wife, your child whom you will soon hold in your arms, but you also have a great community of believers and wanna-be-believers watching you.

      People need hope in this terrible addiction. God is able to give them hope through you … continue to keep your face and heart humbled so God can raise Himself up through you.

      Reply
    3. G. Larson on

      Thank you for your testimony and your story. I’m glad you found someone would wouldn’t leave you and you could confide in. Everyone at times struggles on the path between making commitments and keeping them. Our resolve can seem so strong and then crumble so quickly. That’s why we need someone to help us through.

      Also, thank you for your kind comments on my website . Keep up the good work.

      Reply
    4. Earl on

      Thanks for finding my blog and leaving an encouraging comment. I am very impressed with your testimony of finding an accountability partner. May the Lord continue to use you as you help others to grow from what God has revealed to you. I really think it’s sensational that God’s Word gave your heart recovery. I’ve fumbled so often from not admitting my pretenses and getting to confess my sins with valuable lessons from God to a fellowship group has helped me to grow more spiritually.

      Reply
    5. Tyler on

      Thank you brother for your story and your openness. The mercy, freedom, justice, discipline, and love of God is forever a mystery and a joy to me. May our Father, who defies understanding, continue to be with you until we stand in His presence someday, and I pray that we will both be worthy of Him greeting us as good and faithful servants.

      Consumed by His call,
      Tyler

      Reply

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