How God Brought Me To Freedom
Pornography is as old as man. I wouldn’t doubt if some Paleolithic cave painter was tempted to reproduce a nude form on the wall, then heard his wife shuffling in the next cavern and stuck to his bison and deer.
What is brand new is the tsunami of porn that has literally overrun the world with the rise of the machines. And like a tsunami, this filth-flood has literally overwhelmed us all, its impact being felt on every part of society – most painfully in the home and church. And trust me on this – these muddy waters aren’t seeping into the church, they’re pouring in.
I speak from experience. Early in my marriage, I dove into these waters. The riptide caught me. I found myself gasping for breath, about to go under, unable to save myself.
In time, God’s grace snatched me back to shore and dropped me gagging and exhausted on the sand. Three things saved me:
First, I very quickly confessed to my wife the line I had crossed. I invited her to see inside my heart and asked her to share in my struggle for wholeness (which in turn helped her in her own struggle for wholeness, and brought us closer to that mystical thing called Oneness.)
Second, we submitted to good and godly counsel from people with compassion and skill to offer it. I thank God for the help he provided. Because back then, the usual response to someone who came forward and confessed this sin was, “You’re done.” And here I was a pastor-in-training, not even out of the starting blocks yet.
But God led me to an older man I knew who didn’t minimize the danger I was in, but neither did he tell me it was hopeless. And that I was hopeless.
Janis and I also got connected to a professional counselor, who for 18 months helped us work on our marriage, and gave us great grace along the way. Here our marriage was on ice, and do you know what the counselor’s name was? Dr. Thaw. (If Batman ever went to counseling, that’s what his therapist’s name would be.)
The third thing that saved me was my daily “quiet time” of Bible reading and prayer. Early on in college, with the encouragement of a group called the Navigators, I had developed this habit, and somehow by God’s grace, it stuck. Even during the darkest days of my struggle, I kept up this daily time of having coffee with Jesus.
What I began to notice is that verses would frequently ‘fly off the page’ as I read. It was as though Jesus were sitting across from me speaking. I began to write down the verses, and what I sensed the Lord was saying to me. To my shock, he began to speak very vividly to me about my sexuality, and my marriage, and his great love for Janis.
Not once did he tell me that my struggle was not sin. Not once did he say, “It’s OK, it’s how I’ve made you, you have my blessing in doing this.” Trust me, I looked everywhere for that verse. And never finding it, I wanted to make one up. “Look at David. The lucky dog could have sex every night of the week with a half dozen different women, and God just looked the other way. I wanna be a man after God’s own heart just like him!”
However, in my struggles I also learned afresh of the amazing grace of God my Father, who was willing to enter into dialogue with me. He never turned his back on me. Each time I fell, he was there to pick me up. Through it all, he kept up the conversation, and over time, I learned things about myself and what made me tick.
As C.S. Lewis once said, a Christian who is honest enough to hear the truth about himself comes to know his sin like Sherlock Holmes knew Moriarty.
Truth is, what I learned as time went on was that my sin was far deeper and more malignant that I ever could have imagined. And being rid of it would be far more complicated than simply powering off the computer. What I learned is that Jesus was out quite literally to train me to walk in holiness. Disciple has the word discipline imbedded into it. And Jesus brought discipline to my body, mind, emotions and will.
In the end, it was this training – every bit as real as Yoda training Luke, or Morpheus training Neo – that brought me back to freedom. I believe it’s this same training that will help God’s sons and daughters today to live in this sex-crazed world and not fall. It’s this training for godliness that we’ll be discussing at length when we’re together next week.
Come expectant. Jesus will be waiting for us.
Bear Clifton is a pastor, writer and screenwriter. In addition to this website, his blogs and devotionals can be enjoyed at his writing website: blclifton.com. Bear is the author of “Train Yourself To Be Godly: A 40 Day Journey Toward Sexual Wholeness”, “Ben-Hur: The Odyssey”, and “A Sparrow Could Fall”.