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Moving from Defeat to Victory (Scholarship Essay)

Last Updated: June 14, 2021

Victory Stories
Victory Stories

Every day at Covenant Eyes we hear inspiring stories of victory over porn. Share the story of your journey to freedom from pornography.

Each year Covenant Eyes awards thousands of scholarship dollars to students who demonstrate integrity. This year, we’re doing it again! Check out the application information and pass it along to a student you know or apply for the scholarship today. Applications are due by May 31.

The essays below were written by one of the previous winners.

In 2-3 paragraphs, please explain how you use Covenant Eyes, and how it has impacted your life.

I have Covenant Eyes on every electronic device I can reasonably access: my wife’s computer and tablet, my computer, phone, and tablet, and my wife alone knows the restrictions password for my iOS devices. The right usage and implementation of Covenant Eyes has been the means by which I have torn out my right hand and cut off and cast away my right hand away since it is better to enter Heaven maimed than to enter Hell with a whole body (Mt. 5:29-30). With Covenant Eyes, my war against impurity can—instead of being always defensive–be offensive: ever more beholding and pursuing Jesus as my all-satisfying treasure without worrying that every time I get onto my computer, phone, or tablet that I’ll have to re-fight the battle not to look at lust-producing material.

Pornography was for years—ever since the night in middle school my best friend played a VHS tape he found in his older brother’s trunk–my gravest, most seemingly insurmountable enemy. My Christian life was one of defeat, falling, guilt, shame, spiritual impotence, and lack of approaching God in the word and in prayer for fear my besetting sin had driven a wedge between me and the Lord. With Covenant Eyes, I have experienced years of victory I once thought I’d never even approach. Covenant Eyes is only a tool, though. It’s a tool I’m indescribably grateful for, but it’s only a tool. And it only kills the fruit of the sin of lust; it doesn’t kill the root, which is seeking to be satisfied by something other than Christ—a fool’s errand if ever there was one. But as Covenant Eyes helps you knock out the fruit of the sin of lust, it frees you to zealously and single-mindedly pursue pulling up the root of lust without having to re-fight a battle against a temptation to look at unholy things online each day.

My wife is my Covenant Eyes accountability partner, and she has been ever since we became engaged over 10 years ago. Every week, she gets my report. It reminds her of ways to pray for her husband, and it shows her that her husband is seriously warring against a sin that can damage her heart, our marriage, and our ministry as church planters. And the benefits of Covenant Eyes haven’t stopped with me. As an adjunct seminary professor, I have counseled male seminary students who’ve come to me confessing battles against pornography. I counsel them as someone who’s also been in the ring they’re in, and without exception, I have made downloading and rightly using Covenant Eyes a part of the game plan for every student I’ve counseled for this sin. What joy comes in considering that I am putting a tool in the hands of these future pastors that will be so powerful in helping them avoid being a future sermon illustration after their marriage and ministry have been shipwrecked by moral failure in regard to sexual immorality. I thank God for Covenant Eyes, and I don’t want to imagine online life without it.

Part of the Covenant Eyes mission is to equip men and women to live lives of integrity, to assist people in their commitment to set no worthless thing before their eyes. In your academic, social, and spiritual pursuits, describe how you strive to demonstrate a life of integrity.

In Proverbs 22:1, Solomon writes, “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches.” If peoples’ trust can be illustrated in banking terms, huge withdrawals can be made in an instant, but adding back to the account can only be done little by little over time. Thus, integrity is of the utmost importance for the student, the pastor, and every other Christian lest he risk losing his place of ministerial service, damage his reputation, and—worst of all—bring dishonor to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Because integrity is so easily lost and so difficultly regained, I have striven to be, as Paul told Timothy pastors should be, “above reproach,” “respectable,” and “well thought of by outsiders” (1 Tim. 3:2, 7).

Where academics are concerned, I work to keep my word to my PhD advisor and to my students, and I aim to demonstrate hard work. Whether it’s taking the extra time to make sure my edits of their research papers are thoughtful and helpful or going the extra mile to ensure my online class lectures are engaging or, as a student, working to honor deadlines and keep in communication with my advisor–it’s not just active sin that can damage one’s integrity; passivity and perceived laziness can damage one’s good name too. Of course, avoiding cheating in ways like plagiarism is important too, and a long track record of having never run afoul of any of the honor codes of any school I’ve attended despite the dozens of research papers I’ve written attests to my diligence in that area.

Social and spiritual pursuits often overlap. Indeed, a Christian’s spirituality is an umbrella over every aspect of his life. Because so little is necessary for an accusation to be made against someone, and because an accusation—even a false one—often brings long-term damage, I have striven to avoid situations where even a false accusation can be reasonably levied against me. When I text message or Facebook message or email a female other than a family member, I copy my wife. Recently, an old flame called me to “check up.” Before I even thought about whether I would reply to her voicemail with a phone call, I called my wife to let her know about the call. And, of course, I’m a big proponent of the much-recently-talked-about “Billy Graham rule” that precludes me dining out or riding in a car or being anywhere else alone with another woman who is not my wife or a close relative. Likewise, when I’ve counseled with women as a pastor or with female students as an adjunct professor, I’ve never, ever done so alone.

Not because of some Pharisaical legalism, but because when Jesus is Lord, He’s Lord of every area of your life, I’ve also striven to have integrity in small areas. Recently a friend and I went to lunch, and he accidentally took a cloth napkin from the restaurant. I told him I’d take it back. Perhaps the wait staff saw us pray or overheard us talk about the things of God. I wouldn’t want them to think Christians would steal a napkin. And when it comes time to pay my taxes, much to my flesh’s chagrin (!), TurboTax asks me if I’ve made money not otherwise reported. It’s then that the Lord prompts me to include the small honoraria I received over the past year for preaching in small churches that wasn’t taxed on the front end.

To state the obvious, Covenant Eyes is also a powerful weapon in my fight to uphold my integrity. I do not hide my Covenant Eyes membership, and the knowledge that I am a Covenant Eyes user tells people I’m serious about maintaining a good reputation for Jesus’ sake. And Covenant Eyes helps me never to risk being disqualified from ministry because of moral sexual failure online.

But integrity must never be an end. It must be but a means to the end of glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ with a person’s life. If maintaining integrity becomes our end, we’ll be apt to be legalistic moralists who give little thought to the Savior Who died to empower us to live with integrity. And so while the Christian life is certainly not less than striving to live with integrity, it is much more, gloriously so.

Are you or someone you know in college? Check out the Covenant Eyes Scholarship and pass along the information to a student you know or apply for the scholarship today.

  • Comments on: Moving from Defeat to Victory (Scholarship Essay)
    1. Daisy Miller

      Does this protect them from dirty music to?

      • Chris McKenna

        Hi, Daisy – I’m not sure I understand your question. Or, maybe you’re being sarcastic. I can’t quite tell. But, if you reply, I’ll do my best to respond!


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