In Genesis One, an incredible story begins to be told—the greatest love story of all time—of an all-powerful and utterly complete-in-Himself God choosing to reveal His heart of mercy and exercise His creative power. Day by day, with the entire heavenly host watching in awe, first light spun out of the mouth of God, then space, then the earth and the waters, and life and plants and a limitless universe filled with star and planets, and then the living creatures that took their ordained position.

And on the sixth day, after He had made everything that man would ever need for him to live and flourish and remain ever aware of his Creator, God “created the man in His image…male and female He created them,” (Genesis 1:27) and gave them dominion, ruler-ship over it all.

 

Such a wonderful love story, yet, the moment the deceiver entered the scene, man chose to believe a lie and forfeited it all. A war broke out that day; yes between good and evil, right and wrong, but even more so, between the truth and the lie. You see, the only weapon Satan will ever have against God’s people is, in fact, His power to deceive.

Today, the “Spirit of this World” has spun a web of deception that has overcome all aspects of human life and even infiltrated the Church of Jesus Christ. His lies have caused many believers to “forfeit it all,” to forego all of God’s blessings and promises. I know… I was one of them.

My first exposure to pornography came as a mere, defenseless child, less than 10 years old. Unaware of the serpent’s scheme, I innocently rode my two-wheeler down to the neighborhood candy store where I always spent my weekly allowance, and there it was.

This was in the early years of Playboy magazine, which led the way for a whole new genre of Satan-inspired “adult entertainment.” The magazine was prominently positioned in the candy store.

Something went into me that day that I could not shake. I came back a day later, and rifled through the pages that filled me with both shame and overwhelming excitement. The images were indelibly implanted in my mind. Like Adam and Eve, a whole new world opened up to me. Little did I know that I had been bitten by a vicious serpent, and its deadly venom had entered my soul.

Although this poison is not deadly in one dose, by repeated and progressive attacks, the serpent’s victim becomes increasingly unable to resist. Satan is a patient predator. He studies and understands his victim. He doesn’t present his corrupted view of reality all at once, but rather step by step, lie by lie, as he sees the target ready to accept the next dose.

Through my teen and early adult years, pornography—and its relentless companion masturbation—became a regular part of my life, progressively drawing me deeper into magazines, adult movies, strip clubs, you name it.

I was raised in a church-going family but that did nothing to abate my habit. Satan had convinced me that these practices were just a harmless way to satisfy a single man’s natural desires. After all, he assured me, it’s a “victimless” crime…it hurts no one. “Have fun, be merry, for tomorrow you may die,” became my mantra.

By the time I married at age 32, pornography and masturbation were firmly entrenched in my heart, and had completely distorted my views of women, sex and marriage. I thought I loved my wife but, the truth was, I entered marriage overcome by a “what’s in it for me” attitude.

It says in Genesis 3:1 that “the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field,” and sure enoughSatan’s lies took a new turn on his now-married prey. It did not take much for him to persuade me that pornography would be a wonderful way to enrich and add excitement to our sex life. My new wife was hesitant but acquiesced to my pressure.

The excitement lasted for a while, but soon our relationship began to unravel as I expected her to do and be what my pornographic inside-world had convinced me was the way to a happy and fulfilling “love” life. It did not take long for her to harden and pull back, feeling used and unloved in ways that went far beyond the bedroom. The fact was the world that Satan had led me to, pornography and masturbation, had utterly destroyed my capacity to love my wife. We were divorced in four short years.

I married again, five or so years later. The result was the same.

 

Disillusioned and unaware of what I had become, I then fell prey to the most sinister of all of Satan’s lies, self-pity. He assured me, “You deserve better than this. God has let you down.” Over and over again, this message convinced me that I had a right to indulge in my sexual sin.

The serpent now went in for the kill. The stronghold in my heart that I had yielded to him, this harmless and “victimless” pornography, led me down roads I never thought I would travel as I yielded to sexual sin of all kinds. Sex became medication to me, but a drug whose potency became less and less effective, as I needed more and more to dull the pain of what had become my life. Weekends would go by where I would spend $5,000 or more on my sin and end up deeper in depression and despair. Any hope I once held of lasting joy and happiness, or even a normal life, had evaporated.

Satan’s poison of lies and false promises had disabled me, leaving me in a spiritual and emotional trance that took complete control over my life. I had completely lost touch with reality, with truth. I had become literally insane. It was clear now that the ultimate victim of pornography was me, and that I had forfeited all the promises that could have been mine in Christ.

Until Jesus intervened.

I know now why He had to allow me to go so far, to go down so many dark alleys, and for so long. I was finally backed into a corner, desperate and totally out of options when He extended His hand to me, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) His offer to me was to come into the Pure Life Ministries residential program where He would reveal Himself, and correct the lies about myself, about life, and about Him.

It was at Pure Life Ministries that He opened His Word to me and gave me hope. When the serpent came at Jesus with His lies in the desert, offering Him food after forty days of fasting, Jesus rebuked him with God’s Word, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4) For the first time in my life, I began to feast on God’s Word.

The Lord spoke clearly to me through Romans 6:16,“Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?” I had presented myself to Satan and became his slave, and now, Jesus wanted to know if I would present myself to Him and receive His righteousness.

You see, there is an antidote to the serpent’s deadly venom of lies, and it is the Truth; repeated and steady doses of the Truth. I have become a lover of God’s Word.

Today, ten years later and serving in full-time ministry, I can say from a heart overflowing with gratitude, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes… I will never forget Your precepts, for by them You have given me life.”(Psalm 119:71, 93)

My inside word, once a cesspool of pornographic images and imaginations, is now clear and free. I am married now eight years and learning to love a woman sacrificially and unconditionally.  All that I had lost has been restored, and so much more.   

To anyone taken captive by Satan and led into the world that I had become enslaved in, I offer the hope and truth of my testimony from Psalm 103:1-5:

Bless the Lord, O my soul and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction,  who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, who satisfies your mouth with good things,  so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

 

 

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