Porn Free

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A couple of Sunday's ago, after Peter preached on sexual purity from our series on 1 Thessalonians, Ali courageously stood up to share his testimony of how God has set him free from longstanding enslavement to pornography, by bringing the darkness of this endemic sin to light. He shares his personal account of God's grace below—praise God and may He continue to use this testimony for His glory!

Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,
prisoners in affliction and in irons,
for they had rebelled against the words of God,
and spurned the counsel of the Most High.
So he bowed their hearts down ...
they fell down, with none to help.

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
and burst their bonds apart.

Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
For he shatters the doors of bronze
and cuts in two the bars of iron.
— Psalm 107:10–16

 

the dark room of sin

It’s safe to say that in the year 2018, most of us will have had some sort of history or relationship in regards to our engagement with or exposure to pornography. It may be a sad reality but it is the reality—and for too long people, myself included, have felt guilt, shame and fear around this issue, which has stopped us from sharing with each other the true extent of this problem. The lack of honest conversation around this issue only fuels the problem and keeps it in the dark for too long and causes pain for all.

For me, my first exposure to pornography wasn’t traumatic, as such, or overly alarming in any way. I was maybe in my early teens (which nowadays I’d imagine is relatively late on) and got hold of a naked magazine that belonged to one of my friends. As I got older, access to pornography got easier and easier as the internet became more of a norm. When I moved away to university I had my own laptop with unlimited and unrestricted access to the World Wide Web and from there my use of pornography skyrocketed.

Though my use of pornography was at its highest, it was also while at university that I became more connected to my local church and growing in my relationship with The Lord. I know that might sound crazy or contradictory but it perhaps shouldn’t because it’s something that happens time and time again with Christians: God moves and works through us despite our sin. Despite my ongoing use of pornography God was drawing me into a closer and deeper relationship with Him through involvement at my local church.

Throughout university I earnestly tried to stop looking at pornography. I had accountability with close friends each week to talk about whether I had managed to go that week without looking at porn. I put restrictions on my laptop, which were password protected by Christian friends. I prayed. I fasted. I asked God to help but time and time again I found myself back looking at pornography.

If I’m honest, at some point along the way I think I gave up really believing it was possible for me not to look at pornography, and convinced myself that the problem was physiological and that when I got married things would sort themselves out.

Fast forward to today: I have been married for 7 years and my daughter was 2 in February. I can promise you that the sin of pornography is not a physical or biological issue that is fixed by having sex [which itself is not merely physical but has emotional and spiritual dimensions]. Pornography is a spiritual sickness that in my experience can’t be healed by purely physical means (like having sex, creating blocks on your internet or attending accountability groups).

It is a spiritual issue so needs addressed spiritually.


Exposed By The Light

It is now the middle of May 2018. In April 2017 I attended, along with my wife, Erica, our first counselling session at Dove Christian Counselling. During that time, I was encouraged to bring what I had kept hidden in my marriage into the light and to share with Erica my still present relationship with pornography. The thought of doing this was somewhat crippling—what would Erica say, how would she react, would our marriage be on rocky ground due to a hidden sin kept from her for years?! The enemy was running rampant with lies but God is bigger and stronger and enables us to fight.

I shared with Erica the truth and to my amazement Erica’s response was Christ-like in every way: she showered me with grace and was delighted for me that I had brought something which was so dark and destructive into the light to be dealt with. From there I attended a separate counselling session at Dove where, for the first time ever, properly tackled the sin of pornography that had been a plague in my life for 15 years. Although I had tried many things over the years, I can honestly say now with hindsight that the prayer of repentance I walked through during that Dove counselling was the first time I truly repented of all aspects of the sin—and importantly asked for The Spirit of God to fill me with His power. Since then, for little over a year now, I have been walking in complete freedom from pornography. Praise Jesus for His miraculous work!

Please don’t hear that and think that my enslavement to pornography wasn’t as real or as bad as you might think. It was. At its worse I was looking and acting on pornography multiple times a day. I share that to testify that what took place during my counselling session with Dove that day was little short of a miracle but from what I read in Scripture, and who I understand our loving heavenly Father to be, it is the freedom available for all those who love Jesus and believe in His power.

There is so much more I could share—and am always willing to go into more depth where helpful. Both myself and Erica are always happy to make ourselves available to those who would like to talk more about any of this, so please don’t hesitate to reach out if that would be of benefit!


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This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you:

God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 

If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
— 1 John 1:5–9