“I would be able to withstand temptation for brief periods, but I would always go back to my old lifestyle. My sin provided me with fleeting pleasure and I used it in times of trouble and stress in my life. I had not yet learned to trust God to take care of my needs.”
Thank you for allowing me to share my testimony that God was, and still is, in the restoration & deliverance business; that where the light of Jesus shines there is no more darkness.
“Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexual offenders, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor swindlers, will inherit the Kingdom of God. And this is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
My name is Jim and I am 40 years old. I have been a Christian for ten years. I have struggled with sexual addiction since my adolescence. This struggle took many forms including addiction to pornography, on the Internet and in other formats, telephone sex, etc. I was active in both heterosexual and homosexual worlds.
In May 1989, the Holy Spirit brought me to the knowledge that I was a sinner and the only way to salvation was confessing Jesus Christ as Lord of my life. After my salvation I was convicted by the Holy Spirit that my lifestyle was contrary to God’s will for my life. I attempted to change my life and rid myself of my addiction. I tried to defeat this sin through the strength of my own will power with no help from others.
I would be able to withstand temptation for brief periods, but I would always go back to my old lifestyle. My sin provided me with fleeting pleasure and I used it in times of trouble and stress in my life. I had not yet learned to trust God to take care of my needs.
I attempted to become a better Christian by reading the Bible more and increasing my head knowledge of who I was supposed to be. I knew that I was supposed to live a good life and that God had promised me that “…no temptation has seized you except what is common to man and God is faithful and will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 20
Even with that knowledge I continued to sin. I could never see the way out and I was sure that the temptation was beyond my ability to withstand it. Due to my continued failures to be as God wanted me to be Satan was able to tempt me to believe that God did not love me and that my salvation was not real.
I needed help, but was embarrassed to seek help. I did not want to seek secular counseling because I suspected that I would be told that there was nothing wrong with me. But I knew there was. I attempted to seek counseling through the church but in so many churches sexual sin is still the secret and hidden sin. It is easier for those addicted to alcohol and/or drugs to stand up, admit their sin and be welcomed than it is for the sexually broken. There is a great deal of shame associated with sexual sin and the perception that it is a worse sin than others. Most of the counseling, that I was able to find, focused on my self-esteem, relaxation techniques, or how to “white knuckle” my way through the temptation. I wanted the magic answers, which everyone else knew, that would enable me to never be tempted again or to resist the temptation – but nothing worked. It was depressing to realize that not only could the church not help but also that they could not even refer me to someone that could. At that time, I could not find a ministry that focused on sexual brokenness.
In May of 1996, I was pretty much at the end of my rope. I was sure that I would never be able to escape the bondage of this sin. I was full of despair and feelings of hopelessness. If I wasn’t “cured soon” I was going to give up the struggle.
Through the Internet, oddly enough, I was able to obtain some phone numbers and subsequently make contact with Pastor Phil and His Way Out Ministries. The Lord gave me hope; this was a ministry that was directed specifically towards the sexually broken. I started meeting with Pastor Phil on a weekly basis. We started and ended every meeting with prayer, praising the Lord and requesting His presence in our midst.
Over time, Pastor Phil taught me not to focus on my sin, as I had been doing, but to put my focus on God. This seems so obvious to me now but I had not taken my eyes off my sin and my past while I was trying to change. It’s like the old thing, “Don’t think of a purple elephant.”
My need was not for more of myself and personal strength, my need was to submit myself fully to my Lord Jesus Christ and let His strength and His victory be my strength and my victory. I had always tried to motivate myself through fear of God rather than be motivated by the love of God. I had a difficult time relating to God the Father. Over time, I learned that my true nature is not that of a failed sinner, but of a loved child of the Most High God. The Holy Spirit moved this simple revelation from my head to my heart. My understanding of my relationship to God, the Father, bettered my fellowship with God.
Pastor Phil’s and His Way Out Ministries perspective was not “why” I was acting out sexually, though this is important, but regardless of the reason, I can change because nothing is impossible with the power and the love of God. “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory.” Ephesians 3:20
I understand that by myself, I cannot change, but with Jesus in my life and in my heart, I am free from the control of sin and the enemy.
Because of my submission and reliance on God, I am changed and am being changed. I keep my focus on the Lord and trust in his love. I no longer believe the lies of the enemy. My faith has increased and I understand that Jesus Christ can meet all my needs both known and unknown.
I have a wife and six children. I thank the Lord that this cycle of sin is broken with this generation. While it was and still can be difficult I am often reminded of Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Because God put this ministry into Pastor Phil’s and in other churches hearts my wife my children and I have hope and a future. Praise be to God!