It was a normal beautiful Friday morning, and I went to my school’s women ministry called “Delight,” a place where young college women meet and discuss different topics that help us grow in our faith in a community atmosphere. To my surprise the topic took a turn and we landed on the subject of porn and sexual sin. In an even bigger surprise, almost every girl who was there that morning, confessed that a struggle with the spirit of lust was something they dealt with or were currently battling. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t one of the girls who stood and shared that she too struggled with porn and sexual sin.
You may be thinking, “Woah, Heather…this isn’t like your usual light and happy topics.” You’re right it’s not. But here’s what I’ve realized: there is power and healing in vulnerability. Sin cannot exist in the light, but it can grow in the darkness. That darkness being shame and fear that others may judge you if you are vulnerable.
This subject is a tough one to talk about, especially in Christian circles and in the church, but when I saw all of these strong women admit to their sin, it showed me just how much this topic is prevalent and how we as the church, and young women of God, need to start having the tough conversations. No matter how embarrassing, humbling and awkward.
A lot of times growing up we hear, “Lust is a guy’s problem.” That is the message that most of us have heard and believed. But news flash, lust is a woman’s problem too. And, it’s something that burdens thousands of women with guilt and shame thinking that, if lust is a guy’s problem, why am I struggling with it? What’s wrong with me? How can anyone love me, once they find out that I struggle with this? and, How can I get help?
First off, I want to break that stigma that porn and sexual sin is only a guy’s problem because remember, sin is sin.
John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…”
The verse doesn’t say, the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy men. The enemy doesn’t target one gender with one sin. No, he targets anyone and everyone with any type of sin in hopes of stealing their future, killing their life of eternity with the Lord and destroying the freedom found through Christ. But, I have good news: let’s keep reading what John says after that part.
“I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”
Can I get an AMEN!! What better news than to know that we have a God who has come to give us LIFE! Conquering lust is a journey, sexual sin is not overcome easily, and there is no quick fix for it outside of the grace and love of Jesus Christ. Today, I want to share with you some important truths, advice and my own story in hopes of encouraging you and equipping you for the battle that lies ahead.
- You’re NOT alone
Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”
I think, as Christians, sometimes we think/feel as if God has a scale that He uses to weight the “badness” of one’s sin. That is a huge misconception. Sin is sin, He doesn’t see them like different skyscrapers of different heights. He sees them as if He were a bird flying above the buildings: all the same height. And, small!
Stop comparing the “weight or height” of your sin with the person next to you, because as we see in Romans 3:23, everyone has fallen short of the glory of God and everyone has sinned. No matter how “Godly” they are, everyone has messed up, because we are human. That’s what makes God’s love and mercy so beautiful – without Him there would be no hope for us. Whether it’s sexual sin or not, everyone has sinned.
2. Bring it to the Surface and Into the Light
Just shiver in fear a little? Yeah, I can relate. When I felt God pushing me to write this blog post, the first thing I thought was, “But then everyone will know that I too have struggled with this.” Bringing something like this not only to the surface, but for the whole Internet to read and pick apart is pretty dang scary and intimidating. I’m not gonna lie, I was very close to closing my laptop after writing the first paragraph and saying, “Yeah, maybe in a few years God.” That’s exactly what the enemy wanted me to do. That’s when we have to realize that the enemy has made us a slave to his scheme—when we can’t stand up and bring our shame to the surface. In the words of Jordan Lee from Soul Scripts, “A sin or struggle in and of itself doesn’t make you a slave, hiding it does.”
Luke 8:17 “For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”
There is a freedom in bringing it to the surface, or into the light. I know from experience. Don’t let the enemy make you a slave to your own sin. The Lord wants to give you the freedom you are looking for, but we can’t expect Him to do all of the work. We have to stand up and meet Him in the process of breaking the chains.
3. Find Accountability
A little background on my own story. After my parent’s divorce when I was seven, all of a sudden, I found myself very confused, hurt and broken. My parents were no longer together, and they were supposed to be in love forever and show me what love looked like. So, what was love supposed to look like? How did I get that? What could I do to fill this new void that had developed. All of a sudden, I found myself watching things I shouldn’t have been watching when I felt incredibly alone or depressed which led to the action of masturbation at too young of an age to register and understand that it was wrong. I hate to say it, but this continued throughout my middle school and high school years. Did anyone know? Of course not, I was known for being the “Godly, Christian girl.” I couldn’t tell anyone, or else people would see me differently. It was something that I was so ashamed of, I didn’t want to do or be enslaved to, and didn’t want to continue in college.
That summer when I was at my church camp I remember thinking, “I have let the enemy hold this over me for far too long, and today this stops.” I awkwardly and timidly walked up to my pastor’s wife, who I have an infinite amount of respect for. Through awkward “uhms,” and a total lack of eye contact, I finally spilled to her what I had been holding in for years.
“Freedom is found in vulnerability and vulnerability is only possible because of the freedom Christ gives,” – Jordan Lee, Soul Scripts.
That action of finding someone I could trust and be vulnerable with about something I was so ashamed of was the beginning of a not-so-easy, but beautiful road of healing and chain breaking that I thought I would never get. Where I thought I was going to be met with judgement, I was met with love and advice. She hugged me, told me I wasn’t alone, prayed with me and pointed me to different ways I could stop this from having any hold on me.
I am so thankful for that awkward and painful conversation, because now when the enemy comes knocking on my door, I can call her for prayer, turn on worship music and thank God for the freedom I find in Him and remember that I am no longer a slave to the temptation of the enemy.
I cannot encourage you enough to find that person you can run to, because being vulnerable with yourself, having an accountability partner and the Lord will open up the door to such a sweet and refreshing freedom, that you cannot find on your own.
4. Don’t eat what the Devil has prepared for you.
God has a special plan over your life, and the enemy will stop at nothing to try and distract you and hinder that plan, but friends listen to me when I say: Don’t eat what the Devil has prepared for you.
The enemy will hit us with the temptation to look things up or do things when we are least expecting it. In those moments it can be hard to get the enemy and that temptation out of our heads, but Levi Luscko states in his book Swipe Right: The Life and Death Power of Sex and Romance, “Would you like this meal right now, or would you like to see God do great things through your life down the road?”
Do you want to give into the temptation now, and stay enslaved to what the enemy has over you? Or do you want to stand firm in the Lord and say, “You have no hold over my life in the name of Jesus,” and see the great things that God has in store for your life?
Levi also says, “If you’re not careful, and if you don’t keep a cool head, you’ll be tempted to take a bite. Trust me when I say this; you don’t want what the devil’s got in his Crock-Pot, where he’s slow-cooking the death of God’s highest and best plans for your life. Satan knows what you desperately need to understand: desires can keep you from your destiny.”
Even when it seems impossible, or is hard to see, God will always give us a way of escape when we are tempted. We just have to be still and remember who has the say over our life.
Sweet friends, you are NOT alone, and because of Christ, you have the strength to say no the enemy’s plan and say yes to the Lord’s plan. What is holding you down today doesn’t have to hold you down tomorrow. I was right there with you, but now I am here to tell you that God can radically change our circumstances and our temptations, and He did for me. I am not that same girl I was yesterday, or years ago, and it is all because of the never-ending love of God. I’m praying for you, I love you, and we serve a God who is above any sin that the enemy wants to hold over your life.