I was a slave to sexual sin for the past 5 years. I grew up in a not-so-perfect Christian home. I attended church all my life, but I’ve struggled with anxiety, identity and self-esteem issues for as long as I can remember. During my sophomore year of college, I desperately questioned everything, including Christianity. I went through this phase of trying to psychoanalyze myself to figure out what the heck was wrong with me. I turned to secular sources to help me figure out my identity because the church cliché’s were just not cutting it for me. I stumbled across this woman’s blog... she said that knowing your body is a huge part part of really knowing who you are because it leads to self-awareness and empowerment and some other nonsense. At the time, it made a lot of sense to me and I was introduced to pornography and masturbation. I did the research on what to do and it was kind of like science for me.
I didn’t think much of it, it was kind of just like…Oh, I can make my body do this. Cool. I didn’t always turn to pornography, but masturbation became an ongoing habit. It became a quick way to de-stress. It was something I could control. Pride, selfishness, and insecurity were the root. If I was upset about something, it was a way to alleviate the pain and pass the time. Eventually I realized it was a sin but when I tried stop, I couldn’t. Alter call after alter call, I would cry out to God and promise I’d never do it again. I couldn’t last for more than a week without falling into sin again. So, on top of my self-esteem issues were now piles of shame, condemnation, regret, and defeat. I hated myself and avoided God because I felt dirty. Ever felt that way?
Fast forward… so I dated this one guy. Fooling around and getting as close to the edge as possible without going “all the way” with intercourse became the norm for me. During that time, I started to watch pornography again. I knew that we were in the wrong, but I only half-heartedly tried to put up barriers. I had grown comfortable with sin and I wasn’t convicted enough to truly change. One day I’m sitting there and God’s like “Quanetta, if I asked you to give up Steven and come follow me, would you?” I’m like, well yeah of course God! Did I actually think He would do it? No. Well, the next day Steven and I put ourselves in a situation that could have become a huge compromise. The day after, he broke up with me and said some things that completely shattered my self-worth.
Brokenness is sometimes the best thing that can happen to you. I had tried so hard to change myself so that I could fit the image of the person he “needed”. I had placed my value and purpose in some guy, and when he didn’t love me for me, I thought I was done for. But God allowed my heart to be broken. Like, all-time, never before rock-bottom broken. And I knew Jesus had just asked me to “come follow”, so I ran to him that night. It wasn’t until I was completely broken and empty that I was able to surrender EVERYTHING to God.
Two weeks after the break up, I stumbled across Heather Lindsey’s Blog. Go check her out! Her transparency really helped things to click for me. I was challenged to make my quiet time with God an absolute priority. I left social media for a while so that I could hear God more clearly. I didn’t want to compare myself to anyone, make a name for myself or prove my worth to anyone. I decided that I would live to pursue God alone.
Well, if you sit at Jesus’s feet long enough, things will start to change. He started the slow process of helping me overcome sexual sin, and it started with giving me identity. God finally began answering my most desperate prayers. The Holy Spirit began to illuminate scripture to me and I got to know God (and myself) through studying His word. For the first time in my life, I can honestly say that I know who I am. I finally know what it means to be a child of God- adopted, loved, and created for His good work. I know who I belong to. I know that I’ve been purchased with His own blood (Acts 20:28). “I am yours” is no longer just a cliché to make me feel good about myself. I literally am owned by someone else because of a transaction that was made on the cross. And now I live for my Master and not for myself. I know that His grace is more than enough to solidify my worth (2 Corinthians 12:9). I know that I am His prized possession (James 1:16-18). “He has great plans for you” doesn’t sound like the cop out I’ve always thought it to be. When I hear, “I have a plan for you, Quanetta. Come follow me?” I get excited because I know the one who leads me.
Soon, God began to deal with the area of sexual sin. What does identity have to do with sexual sin? Before, I didn’t really know that as a new creature in Christ, I had the power to deny sin! I didn’t understand that my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who lives in me (1 Corinthians 6:19), a special building dedicated, prepared and designed for worship. I didn’t think that the devil would actually flee if I resisted. I didn’t believe that God promised He would never allow me to be tempted beyond what I can bear, and that He would ALWAYS provide a way out (1 Corinthians 10:13). Back then, I never even thought to ask Him for help. I figured, “it is what it is”, and gave in to sin time and time again. But spending crazy time in the word actually gave it time to take root and grow in my heart and mind. And I started THINKING differently.
That summer I got baptized. It was one of the best nights of my entire life. It was my declaration to follow Christ and reject sin. My old self died and I came out a new person. And I knew that I was different. I even felt the weight of sin lifted off from me. It was so crazy I can’t explain it!! I missed my train home because I too busy frolicking through the streets of NY in the pouring rain. I went to the Pinky Promise Conference that next week…(seriously, go sign up its life changing).. and left so determined to live holy before God.
A little over a month went by where I didn’t fall into masturbation. An entire month! (I’m tellin’ you, ya girl couldn’t go more than a week without messing up smh). I was so shocked… wow I really am free?!! And then the day happened where I messed up. I had never experienced shame and defeat like I had in that moment. I beat myself up so much and thought, “Well I guess people really don’t get set free after all. God, that was so dumb. I thought you set me free? What the heck man??” Then God bought me to this verse: “though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again” (Proverbs 24:16). If you fall, you have to get right back up. Don’t listen to Satan when he tries to remind you of your past. “See, I knew you couldn’t change. You’re always going to be like this. You’re horrible”. No! You HAVE been set free by Jesus Christ because whoever Christ sets free… is free indeed! Now you have a choice, and it is up to you to CHOOSE to deny sin and worship God EVERYDAY.
So I got right back up and things were great again for about another month. Then I messed up again. Why was this happening? I had been staying in the word, praying, guarding my heart and mind by staying away from garbage media, so what was the problem?? Then I realized it was like clockwork. Menstrual clockwork. Ladies, I don’t know about you, but the week before I get my period… it gets real. One particular night during that week, I vented to God about it. I said, “God, this totally sucks. I’m PMSing, I’m horny for no reason, and I just want to cuddle with someone.” I was so frustrated; I was in tears. The Holy Spirit came to help in that moment. I was reminded of God’s promise to supply all my needs (Phillippians 4:19). I remembered His promise that if I resist the devil, he has to flee, and that God promised to draw near to me if I drew near to Him (James 4:7-8). So I’m like “alright God, this is what scripture says, so I’m taking You at Your word. I’m drawing near to You. Imma need you to satisfy me right now cuz this, this is crazy!” And he did.
That night, He met with me and I ended up spending like 3 hours with Him and I had the BEST time! He is so true to his word. We sing “Christ is enough for me” all the time, but do we really believe it? Do we really believe that God can satisfy our EVERY need? That night He showed me that yes, He can and will satisfy like nothing else can. So now when I know that time of the month is approaching, I make sure that I spend extra time in the word and guard my heart and mind from any seeds that could corrupt me. The next month, I didn’t give in.
I’ve learned that when Christ sets you free from something, you don’t just go skipping around on cloud nine thinking that everything will be ok. Jesus would always say “go and sin no more” after he healed someone. He holds us to the same impossible standards: Be holy, as I am holy. To repent means to turn away from your sin and turn toward Christ. It is not enough to simply say, I will not look at pornography anymore. All we’re doing is changing an action. It won’t stick. Resolve in your HEART to please your King in every area of life. Something in your routine has to change. For me, I had to turn off the secular music, no garbage television/movies, memorize and repeat scripture, stop drinking and clubbing, and less meaningless social outings so I had more time to be in His presence. Do what you gotta do! You HAVE to strengthen your spirit man. You HAVE to be in the word on a daily basis. Not just the daily bible verse on the way to work, or the sermon you hear on Sunday. I’m talking fresh revelation, just you and God’s word. You HAVE to guard your heart. You HAVE to put on the full armor of God. You HAVE to abide in him. I’ve learned that apart from him, I can do nothing. I cannot resist temptation on my own. If I try, it is always an EPIC FAIL. Just ask him for help in those moments and believe that he will, you’d be surprised! When I had no armor, I was defenseless and the sin would overtake me. Now, when I’m tempted to masturbate, I’m fully aware of the situation. I hear loud and clear when the Holy Spirit says “Ok. This is your way out. Get up. Turn on worship music. Cast down that thought, quick!” It becomes a CHOICE to reject sin and honor God. Pray and ask God to strengthen you, and he will. I am living proof!!
Is it always easy for me? No. But the more you resist that sin, the less enticing it becomes to you. I still get tempted, but now I’m equipped and I know I can pass the test. If in the future I don’t, I will get right back up. It’s not a stronghold anymore. Falling into sin will mean I’m being careless with keeping my guard up, or not reading my Bible for like 3 days straight. Try not eating food for 3 days. It’ll show. You’ll be weak. Same thing with your spirit, you won’t be strong enough to resist. It’s really not rocket science. When I realized this I was like… well DUH Quanetta!! -_-
One more thing. You probably won’t be instantly freed from sexual sin. It may take a while to get the Egypt out of you. Just hang in there and give the word time to grow in your heart. It took almost 6 months before I learned how to actually stay free, but now I am free indeed!! WOOOOOO!! J I’m thankful for the way God works. During those 6 months, I’ve humbly learned how to depend on him moment by moment, and my relationship with him has become stronger. Same thing with my identity. Negative thoughts of inadequacy do resurface from time to time, but now I know they’re not true. I’m learning how to cast those thoughts down with scripture and live in complete confidence.
I never set out on a mission to be set free from sexual sin. I never set out to find my identity. All I did was answer his call to “follow me”. I pursued Christ, and as a result, HE did a work in me so great that I could never do on my own. Spending time in His presence and ABIDING in Him allowed HIS SPIRIT to produce fruit in my life. Fruit like self-control. It wasn’t my strength, because Lord knows I couldn’t last a week without messing up again. It was HIS word that transformed me, HIS spirit that opened my blind eyes and helped me to see the truth. His word that overpowers years of inner turmoil and tells me I am His. HIS touch that makes me whole.
Masturbation and pornography don’t have to be something you “struggle with”. This chain CAN be broken. I pray you experience freedom as you run toward Christ.
Praying for you! Now go read your Bible lol