In this short testimony, I will offer my testimony of failure, forgiveness, freedom, and a new family that began in a nearly decade-long addiction to pornography. God’s grace and sovereignty are written all over my life, and what the devil once meant for evil, the Lord has now turned into good.
In God’s kindness, I was raised in a mature Christian family. My parents love the Lord and, to this day, continue to demonstrate to me what it means to follow him. They taught me personal devotions, prayer, service, integrity, why sin is wrong, and the horrific repercussions of stepping outside God’s good designs.
Even in the context of this blessing, I came across pornography for the first time when I was around age eight, and very quickly, that curiosity became a full-blown addiction. While I began softcore, porn began to overcome my life. Again and again, I chose self-reliance, pleasure, and self-medication over honesty, integrity, and love. I thought I could keep my sin to myself and that it would never affect others around me. Such naïveté led me to fight with my family, treat women around me as objects, and hardwire my mind to lust, and the explicit material only got worse.
Most importantly, I did not love the Lord. My life was a mess behind doors, but on the outside, I was leading Bible studies, on worship teams, and in theological discussions. I fed my sin and starved my relationship with Jesus. There was no true repentance. No true love. And pornography was just the most obvious disordered desire in my life.
Even as I spiraled more and more, God was working. He gave me family members who were praying for me. He placed godly, older friends in my life who demonstrated what it meant to live with consistency instead of hypocrisy.
I distinctly remember hanging out with them one night in my parent’s garage. They were confessing sin and sharing about how God was working in their lives. I remember feeling the conviction of the Holy Spirit saying to me, “If you don’t open up right now, if you don’t confess your sin, you never will, and you will remain a hypocrite for the rest of your life.”
By God’s grace, I confessed my sin to the guys there, and for the first time, I properly confessed and repented of my sin to God. At that point, I could start saying in truth, “I love the Lord!” I did not have total freedom from porn immediately, but that was when my trajectory as a sinner, forgiven and saved by Christ, began going upwards, not continuing to spiral downwards.
Bringing sin into the light broke the power of pornography. I began to meet weekly in an accountability group to confess sin and to pray with other men. I took a 12-step program, which helped me identify the underlying heart issues that drove me to seek out pornography. I got Covenant Eyes on all my devices to keep myself accountable even in my weakest moments.
Through these methods and more, God began to work a new affection for him. Women became image-bearers, not just objects for my fantasies. Matthew 5:8 says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” I had to realize that purity is not an end in itself. It is a means to an end, which is Jesus! Jesus is the treasure hidden in a field, worth selling all to find. Purity, for purity’s sake, is no eternal motivator; but the goal of being able to see God is. This perspective shift has shown me that fighting for sexual integrity is not a small matter. It is a fight for who sits on the throne of my heart. Will it be porn, or will it be Christ? I am thankful to say that it is Christ. Through his strength, I am now totally free from an addiction to pornography.
Porn wrought some of the most significant damage to my mind, family, and soul, but that is not the end of the story. Because I took sexual integrity seriously, I was able to walk into my marriage with truth instead of lies. Not a perfect record, but a forgiven one. I found a new brotherhood of men to run the race of faith with. These men are my new family. Guys who know the best and the worst of me and to whom I am kept accountable.
Having such brothers in the Lord is a gift of immeasurable value, for which I am profoundly grateful. Again, what the devil meant for evil, God has used for good. I am now able to walk alongside other men and offer tangible hope for freedom.