I recently received an e-mail from a client stating she had some very good news for me–she had been set free by the power of Jesus after years of addiction to porn and masturbation. Someone ministered at her church on her exact struggle. She went to the altar, left it there, and has now been doing great for the past few weeks.
To the surprise of some, and perhaps even to the disappointment and disapproval of others, my client’s “good news” was not met with jubilation from me. Instead, it was met with a heart filled with caution.
My concern came because, to my knowledge, the individual hadn’t acted on some of the things we had discussed, such as installing Internet Accountability and Filtering or getting an Accountability Partner.
Freedom Comes from Calvary
Do I believe in the freedom that comes from Calvary? Absolutely. I stake my entire life and eternity on what Christ did for me on Calvary.
When I accepted what Christ did for me on the cross, He placed all the benefits of the cross on me and set me free. Even though I still chose to stumble in the horrors of sex addiction for years after coming to Him, positionally, I was still free! I just had to learn how to walk out my freedom. Then, once I learned to walk out my freedom, I needed to learn how to protect my freedom.
So, I have no problem believing my client when she said she was free. What caused caution for me was that I too have proclaimed “freedom” after some wonderful, and very real, spiritual experience only to find myself disillusioned at the fall that came sometime after.
Related: In Case of Relapse
Again, I want to make it very clear–I do not believe falling is inevitable, or that the freedom won for us is anything less than all sufficient. The freedom Christ provides is so sufficient, and so valuable, that we must do whatever it takes to protect that freedom.
The Answer to Intimacy Disorder
Sexual addiction of any kind is not really about sex. It’s about intimacy. Those of us struggling with a sexual addiction (whether it’s to masturbation, porn, anonymous partners, or the host of other ways it manifests itself), suffer not from a sexual disorder, but from an intimacy disorder.
We have a genuine need to be intimate. Calvary did not set us free from our genuine God given needs. It set us free from our sinful ways of meeting those needs. Once we are set free from our sexual sins, we still need intimacy. We must learn to meet those needs in healthy ways. Or, very likely, no matter how free we are, we will end up back in the same mess or entangled in other areas of our life.
Plain and simple, God will not set us free from a need He Himself gave us. He will, however, teach us how to meet that need. The answer to the problem of sexual addiction will most likely involve more things than a one-time trip to the altar (as important as that is).
I can point to very defining moments in my own healing, as well as those of my clients. But, I can also point to hundreds of hours at the feet of Jesus letting Him love me, hundreds of hours letting others love me, and hundreds of painful times of relational risk that resulted in intimacy with God and others and lasting freedom.
I have been walking in freedom from my habitual sin for almost 11 years now.
What made this difference after being bound for 23 years? By the Lord’s grace, I came to realize it is not just God that makes the difference, nor is it just man. I need both God and man in this journey.
Even though I’ve been free for some time and been counseling clients for about 2 ½ years, I still meet with two ladies, each twice a month for accountability. On top of that, I meet with my pastor approximately once a month for accountability. Each of these people regularly receive a copy of my Covenant Eyes report. I also try to meet with my counselor and mentor once a month.
Why do I do all of this, and plan on continuing to do it? It isn’t because I don’t think I am free. It’s because I know I am free and must protect my freedom at any cost.