I was first introduced to pornography at the age of 13 or 14 by a friend. He had video clips downloaded to his phone, along with CD’s. I can’t remember from which source I saw first, but in that moment the addiction began. I would only watch porn from the sources that he provided but never from my own phone or computer.

One day I was looking through a sports car magazine and in the back of the magazine I saw an enticing woman and next to her picture was a barcode. So I downloaded the barcode scanner app to my phone and scanned the barcode in the magazine. The app opened up a link to a webpage full of sex videos. My heart jumped out of my chest at the fear of getting caught, but also at the realization that this content is available to me at my disposal. It never occurred to me that I could search and find these things on my phone.

That’s when my addiction really became a stronghold. Along with my porn addiction came masturbation. Although both addictions started at different times of my life they became one. If didn’t have it I felt the urge to and after I did it was gratifying. I was a functioning addict. I kept my grades up in school and was a “good” kid. At least that’s what everyone saw. But I knew and God knew that there was no good in me. The high I got after each experience became less and less.

Masturbating and/or watching porn became a norm multiple times a day; it was my crack. Every crack addict started off healthier than they were before they became addicted and I realized that my health was diminishing. I began to sleep less because I spent my sleep time searching for video after video after video that till this day I can’t get out of my head. I spent any time alone that I could get with my addiction. I pushed things I needed to do to the last minute to give as much time with my addiction as I could.

My addiction created a ripple effect in my day that effected everything and everyone around me. I began to feel like I was losing control of my addiction, yet it had control of me from the start. I tried many times to stop my addiction and sometimes kept a tally of the days that I was free, but my sobriety only lasted a short time before I messed up again. The problem was that I was trying with my own will power and did not let God have full control of my life. Quite frankly my flesh liked what I did, although my soul hated it. The battle for my mind and body continued day after day.

There was a weekend of sermon training that I, at the age of 20, along with other young men of my church was invited to attend to be trained on how to use PowerPoint software to give sermons on our own. After staying at a log cabin campsite from a Friday afternoon to Sunday morning I was equipped with the tools to edit my own sermon. The topic of my sermon was the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. I had never given a sermon before and my anxiety grew more and more as the date got closer and closer. I was driving to church to give my sermon and I prayed to God to calm my anxiety. Music usually helps to calm my nerves, so I turned on a Christian radio station to listen to. I don’t remember the first song that played, but I remember being brought to tears and feeling a sense of peace that I had never experienced before. After that moment I knew that God was with me. I reached the end of my sermon and was going to give an altar call, but no words came out of my mouth. In the silence God was telling me to share my pornography addiction with everyone, but the devil was telling me things like, “don’t share, everyone will look at you differently, you’re disgusting.” I made my long fought decision and started to speak about my addiction.

The more I spoke I felt my stronghold loosen like it never had before. I felt free. My addiction turned into a testimony in a time that I did not plan to share. God spoke to me and I hesitantly obeyed. I don’t know whose heart my testimony reached, but God reached my heart that night. James 5:16 (KJV) says, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” I finally let God have full control of me and He was able to do the work He was trying to do in me. I am 24 years old now and I have not been perfect, but I now know from my experience that God is capable of freeing me and has freed me of my strongest addiction, but only because I fully surrendered to Him. Galatians 5:16 (KJV) says, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Please don’t hide your sin, tell someone and let God in.

(Note: Though the vast majority of those addicted to lust will need 12 Step programs, therapy and hard work to recover, “we only know a little” and we believe in the power of our loving God to change lives.)