All the glory belongs to the Lord for the freedom He alone can give. The Free in Christ forum at Yahoo! Groups is what I have needed for a long time. I am gaining strength and resolve every day just by reading the daily digest of posts. There is so much TRUTH here! And it is exactly the kind of truth I need to grow in my relationship with Christ. I have been so ashamed that it has taken me so long to get to this point, and believe me, I know I have not yet arrived and that I could fall again at any moment. But the difference now seems to be that I have a much more solid hope and confidence IN THE LORD that I will be able to walk in consistent holiness and victory.
I am so glad that I have the opportunity to write honestly and openly in this forum about my struggles and failures as well as my victories. The honesty of so many of you has given me courage to open up as well, although I do not post often. The Purity Update has helped me a great deal and I intend to keep participating in it, by God’s grace. It was difficult once I got started with the update to be honest about my failures, but even that process of being honest when I did fail took me one step further down the road to lasting victory. I only hope I have provided a little bit of encouragement to someone through the update and through the few posts I have submitted.
The Lord has done something else new and wonderful in my life this week. When I first joined this forum, I knew I might also need to find a face-to-face accountability and prayer partner or group, because I have made so many promises to God that I would quit looking at porn, only to go right back to it after a few days or sometimes weeks. The thought of finding someone locally to keep me accountable scared me to death. I have opened up to people about my selfish use of sex before, but I often felt afterward that I had disappointed them or that they thought less of me. After joining this forum, however, and struggling through the first few weeks with a mixture of success and failure, the Lord led me to a Christian brother who I believe is going to be a great friend, colleague, and yes, prayer and accountability partner. He is a pastor who has a couple of accountability groups going in his congregation, one of which he participates in with other men in the church. He has stated publicly that he is willing to go to other churches to share about this ministry, which says to me that he is serious about it. So I decided to risk telling him about my past failures and asking him if he would consider helping me in this way. We met for the first time yesterday, and even though it is still a little scary for me, I believe this is the next step the Lord wants me to take in my battle against sexual sin. We talked for a little over an hour about a variety of things that each of us is facing, and then we had prayer together. Praise the Lord again, I feel stronger today. I woke up pretty early this morning and instead of watching TV, I started reading a book about corporate prayer (And The Place Was Shaken by John Franklin). The day has gone great even though I had very little sleep. The Lord has been dealing with me for some time about getting up earlier to spend time with Him, so I guess today was the day to get started.
I could go on and on but this post would get exceedingly long. One thing I need to tell you right now is that I also am a pastor. I don’t think I ever admitted that in this forum and quite frankly, I was afraid to do so. But the Lord is giving me a new courage to come clean. I have been a Christian for over thirty years, but I feel that the Lord is again clearly setting before me the CHOICE to put sexual sin behind me once and for all. I know it will only happen as I trust in His power, because I know how easily I fall.
One very simple but powerful TRUTH that is stated so clearly in this forum may have been the single most powerful influence on my life up to this point: the TRUTH that there is so often a connection between p and m. I knew I didn’t need the p to get to the m; now I know more clearly than ever that I don’t need the m! As someone else wrote recently, it really is such a huge lie to say that men NEED sex and lots of it. What we really need is to love the Lord with all our hearts and to love others more than we love ourselves. That means putting every form of selfishness and isolation behind us. Only then will the Lord be able to use us to maximum effectiveness in our mission to set other captives free.
I know temptations will come. I know that I may fall again, and based on past experience, I am certain that I WILL fall if I ever take my eyes off the Lord and get them back on my own sinful desires. But I praise God with all of my heart today that I am able to walk in a new dimension of freedom that I always believed was available but had difficulty experiencing on a consistent basis. THANK YOU, men, all of you. And now the Lord has also sent me an accountability partner right where I live. Again I say, praise the Lord! Please pray for me that I will continue to grow in my walk with Christ; I am praying for you also.
A Pastor Who Has Found New Freedom Through Free in Christ.