How the Lord Set me Free from Pornography and Masturbation

I (Liz) am excited to have Olivia write for Binding the Word. In this post, she discusses a very sensitive yet important topic: pornography and masturbation. She shares her past struggle with it, and how the Lord helped her to overcome it, and is continuing to work in her life to this day. Olivia is currently finishing up high school and is passionate about sharing her story with others. She desires to help girls understand that pornography and masturbation are not just things that guys struggle with and encourage others to seek the Lord and grow more into His likeness.


 

How the Lord Set me Free from Pornography and Masturbation

By Olivia Ray



Pornography and masturbation. I don't like those words, and a lot of people cringe at them, but it is a topic that needs to be addressed. It is typically a topic that is hard to discuss and controversial at times, but I hope and pray that whoever reads this can be more educated on how it affects you and the dangers of it. This is something that Jesus set me free from, and I want to answer three questions to prayerfully help some of you: What is the story of my struggle with pornography and masturbation? What does pornography do to your mind and is it wrong? How did the Lord help me to overcome it? I hope that my story can help some of you.


My Story


Let's go back to when it all began. I was a young child when it all started, I was probably around 7, 8, or 9. I'm not exactly sure how I was introduced to pornography, but I lost a huge part of my innocence and purity to it, and it stole a part of my childhood. I jumped from being a child watching Disney Channel and playing Barbies into knowing about sex. I didn't just know about it, but I was also interacting with it.


When I got into middle school, my friends were into fanfiction, and my curiosity got the best of me. I wanted to know what they were talking about, and you guessed it, I got my way because they showed me. After that, I went home and started to read some of it, and that was the beginning of something detrimental. That struck something in my brain that led me into a deep, destructive path, and I remember thinking when I found pornography in the form of fiction and books, “this is a gamechanger.”


I was using books, images, gifs, videos, movies, or tv shows…it didn’t matter, because I was using it all the time. That temporary satisfaction didn't fill me, because it was exactly that…temporary!


You may be thinking, "So what, Olivia? That stuff is normal,” and I would say to you, "Please Keep reading!” A huge part of my testimony is how I grew up going to church only to realize that I was never a Christian at all. I thought that because I believed in God and went to church, stood up with the other kids to be saved, that I was a Christian. That's not true! The truth is, I was not paying attention when they were asking kids if they wanted to accept Jesus. When I realized kids were standing up, I just joined them and didn't sit back down when they said what we were standing for. Maybe I thought “Why not” or maybe it would have been too embarrassing to sit back down. Either way, I don't think that I knew or understood the Gospel.


I can recall as a kid in my bedroom praying to God that I wouldn't use masturbation again. My question is: why would I pray for a thing like that if my conscience or God wasn't telling me that it was wrong in the first place? There was something in me that knew that it was wrong! I was even worried about what my parents and my friends would think if they knew about that side of my life. I would try and stop doing it and make promises to God that I couldn't keep. That ultimately led to me running back to it. Why, though?? Because we are a slave to sin!!!! Growing up in church did not mean that I fully understood the Gospel because I don't think that I did. I didn't even realize I was a slave to sin, and that it was controlling me all of my life! It controls us whether we realize it or not. I did not even realize the freedom that Jesus would later give me.


The world tells us it is okay to explore our sexuality and that these things are normal, but Proverbs 14:12 tells us, "There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end, it leads to death." When I would look at porn it left me empty and more broken. I felt disgusted with myself at times, dirty, and so impure. My body and mind craved it so much that I lost count of how many times I had even done it in my life. It became an addiction and it was something that I lacked self-control in. John 8:34 says, "...truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin."


What does Pornography Do to Your Mind? Is it wrong?

Pornography is so easily accessible and has become normalized. You don't have to go to specific websites for it because it is everywhere, including movies and books. That's how I got a hold of it as a kid. But what does it do to your mind? If you research it you'll find that it rewires and damages your brain. It distorts your brain from realizing the difference between the video or image and reality. It gives your brain a great amount of Dopamine in an unnatural way and it over-stimulates your brain. Because you want and crave to get that high again and again it becomes an addiction. You can compare it to the same thing a drug addict goes through because they need that high, but the same goes for any addiction. It's hard to break one! If you would like more resources explaining what pornography does to your mind, check out the "Other Resources" section at the end of this article, for three studies on the effects of pornography.


Pornography is also used to objectify people. When we look at human beings as if they aren't a person, only to lust after them, it is wrong. Mathew 5:28 says, "But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Not only does pornography effect your brain, it can affect your relationships, especially within a marriage. For example, in the movie Fireproof. I suggest watching it. It is such a great movie!!


The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 6:18, "Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body." These sins that I have mentioned are not the only sexual sins, but the Bible states clearly to flee from them all.


How The Lord Helped Me Overcome It


You can see how dangerous it is and how it affected me. People have this huge misconception that God wants to ruin our fun and they don't understand that the things He says are bad is to protect us for our good. God loves us and wants to protect us and save us from our sin. Without him, we go against what he has designed for good. We take our selfish sinful desires and try to satisfy our flesh when all that results is pain and destruction. I'd be lying if I said that sin wasn't fun or pleasing but let's look at the facts. Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Sin is not worth it!!!! Jesus Christ has set me from that! The bible tells us to flee from sexual sin but not just sexual sin, all sin.


I'll say it again, Sin is not Worth it! Guys, I have tasted and seen the things of this World and I can promise you one thing. The World and the things of it will not satisfy you. There is something in all of us that craves God. We have a hole inside of us that we cannot fill. We try to fill it with so many things and only Jesus can fill that void.


I've had to deny myself so many times when it comes to sexual sin and it is not easy. It comes in many different forms. I have to be careful what I watch on tv. I am sensitive and might not have the best control over how my mind would react. For example, if there happens to be a scene on tv, then I have to turn my eyes or my head away. The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:13, "No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." For me, that means not being alone for too long. It is normal for our bodies to have hormones and stuff like that, but if I'm alone and my mind starts to wander then I have to get up and go distract myself. We have to take up our cross and deny ourselves. Matthew 16:24 says, “Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.


Other Resources

 

I (Liz) have heard it said before that addiction is voluntary slavery after you have been set free in Christ. Romans 6:12-14 says, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace (emphasis added).


The words “let” and “present” in these verses are two indicators that sin, in the life of a believer, is a choice. It’s a continuous choosing to give into temptation, one little choice at a time. I’ve heard many people say that they feel stuck in their sin, that they can never be freed from the desire to give in to whatever it is that they are struggling with. But what if I told you that freedom from habitual sin is found simply in choosing not to do it? Let me give you an example.


For so long I struggled with desiring to read my Bible. Every day, I would ask the Lord to help me to read the Word and to spend time in prayer but would be extremely disappointed when my feelings didn’t change. The problem wasn’t that God wasn’t hearing my prayers, nor was it that He wasn’t giving me the help that I needed. I know this because 2 Peter 1:3-4 says, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.


So, if the problem isn’t God, then it must be with me. And it was. Every time I would pray and ask the Lord to help me, I wouldn’t even attempt to read my Bible to try and change how I was feeling. I would sit around waiting for the Lord to change my heart. It is in obedience that desire is born. A pastor at my church said once during his sermon, “genuine faith doesn’t come from hard work, but genuine faith works hard.” Martin Luther said something similar, “justification is by faith alone, but not by faith that is alone.” Each day, we have to diligently work towards Christlikeness, it doesn’t just happen immediately. We have to choose each day who we are going to serve–ourselves or God. In the same way, to overcome sin we must constantly choose to present ourselves to righteousness.


Or you may be reading this and, like Olivia was before the Lord changed her heart, are not saved. If this is true of you, I urge you to come to the Lord. He will set you free from sin and offer you eternal life through Jesus Christ. He will satisfy you and in Him you will have everything you need. We are all sinners in need of a Savior, and Jesus is that Savior.


If you have any questions or would like to discuss this topic more, please feel to email us at bindingtheword@gmail.com and include "Further Discussion" as the subject.



About the Author

Olivia lives in Griffin, Georgia, and is currently finishing up her Senior year in High School. She is a part of the Griffin Ballet Theatre and is hoping to be involved in Youth Ministry after she graduates. In the future, she’s not sure on her college plans yet, but is possibly thinking a ministry degree and would love to be involved in the worship team.

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