At the risk of everything, I'm going to be completely transparent with you: I struggle with lust more than I ever struggled with cocaine or alcohol. It's a daily battle for me, and sometimes I lose.
In college, I came up with this motto, "It isn't premarital sex if you never get married." I thought that was funny, and my friends did, too.
But here's the truth: I have wrecked every relationship I've ever been in. I can make excuses all day, but the root of my failures with women is lust.
I started watching porn in middle school. It was never innocent. I knew what I was doing. Like many others, I started having sex shortly after that. If I wasn't being sexually fulfilled, I'd leave her and find someone else to hook up with. If that wasn't working, I'd just watch porn. (Sorry if this is too straightforward - it's just the truth, and I know I'm not the only one.)
If we're being real, I'd dare to say 90% of us have gone down this road. It always begins with a compromise in my heart. The enemy will say something like, "It's fine. God will forgive you." I'll buy the lie, and then I'm left with instant regret and a feeling of total separation from God. Exactly what the devil wants. The enemy is here to steal, kill, and destroy. Don't you dare make the fatal mistake of thinking one sin is less than another. They always start like this!!!! It always looks like delicious fruit. And it always results in shame.
Friends, porn is destroying marriages every day. It's destroying our faith. We're hiding this lust in our hearts and holding on to feelings of guilt, shame, and remorse. We're all scared to talk about it, because someone will judge us. Watching porn provides temporary gratification, but what it ultimately ends up doing is destroying the need for real intimacy. It robs you of your purity, and you walk around with feelings of inadequacy. It quickly becomes habit, and you're inevitably left with a spirit of compromise.
Once Little Luci finds a way into your thought patterns, you better believe he's gonna keep using that same door. Until we expose our sins in the light, we remain in darkness.
Do you see what I'm doing here? I'm calling myself out. Because I've learned there's more power in sharing my weakness than pretending everything is perfect. This is how I overcame addiction and alcoholism. I confessed my sins before others. Much to my surprise, I discovered that I wasn't alone. That people were pulling for me. That people understood my darkness.
You know I'm a Christian. I'm not shy about the Jesus thing, because I've watched Him transform my own life. I see it in the mirror every day and in the way I treat others. But what a hypocrite I would be if I continued to walk around with this lust in my heart, pretending I'm pure.
Porn will destroy you. Don't make the mistake of thinking it'll just go away when you get married. It'll wreck your marriage. I see it happening. It will lead to adultery. Don't make the mistake of thinking you're stronger than the devil. Only Jesus can win this battle, and He does that through community.
I'll say this again:
Until we expose our sins in the light, we remain in darkness.
People reach out to me every hour of every day with their problems, fears, and insecurities. I always begin by asking, "Is there sin in your life??" Until we get honest about our sin, we'll always feel that distance from God.
Yes, there's forgiveness. I should've been struck dead a thousand times already for the horrible things I've done. But don't make the mistake of thinking grace is permission to live in sin. You wouldn't want your spouse or significant other to cheat on you, so why do we do that to God??? If I truly love Jesus, I will keep His commandments! Faithfulness is the expression of true love.
The days I walk around with incredible confidence and a true sense of purpose are ALWAYS the days after I resist temptation. Speaking from experience as a man who deals with this daily, I can truly say that giving in to lust and temptation is the fastest way to lose your sense of dignity, your sense of purpose, and your ability to confidently make eye contact with other humans - without feeling judged. There's nothing to fear when you're living a pure life, and it's so evident in the way you carry yourself.
If you need accountability on the porn thing, I want to encourage you to shine some light on it. Bring it into the light. Expose your sin. If you're too prideful to acknowledge it as sin, well...that's another blog post for another day.
Send me an email if you need to. I won't let you carry this alone.
Please forgive me for leading you in faith while hiding this sin in my own heart. That's not ok.
Lastly, I implore you to take 45 minutes and watch this entire message. Whether you're single, married, or whatever....you need to hear this. I love you so dang much!!!!!! -Zack