I honestly do not know what people will think of me after this post, because humans naturally tend to like super-people who serve God perfectly and hardly struggle (with real issues). Sure, we talk about struggle, we admit to the general idea of failure in our past or present — but few ever publicly admit to the actual, specific, day-by-day struggles of ordinary people.
But the book of Revelation says that we conquer Satan by the Blood of the Lamb (that is, Jesus) and the word of our testimony (Rev. 12:11). So here is my testimony.
First, I will give you a quick synopsis of my life:
I am a white, Mennonite kid, originally from Minnesota, whose family moved to Los Angeles, when I was twelve, to work for the Southern California district of Choice Books and to plant inner-city churches.
Last November my mother, sister, and I were in a car accident which left my beautiful mother fatally injured so that she died in the rescue helicopter moments after take-off.
This was four days before my brother’s wedding, just seven months ago.
That is a synopsis of my life, now let me tell you my story.
I do not write this because I love to spill my guts on the Internet. I write this because Jesus has done a wonderful work in my life, and I have become convinced that not to share my story is denying Jesus’ redemption of my life.
Jesus has given me a story, now it is my job to share it.
I also share it because I think there are a lot of people out there who need to hear others talk about their stories. I have nothing to hide. My story is true and my redemption is true, so why would I not tell it?
I “accepted Jesus into my heart” several times when I was young, the two most significant being at age seven and nine.
Although I do believe I was sincere, I do not think I completely understood the entirety of who Jesus is. To me He was the God-Man in white clothes who died on the cross to save me from Hell. So I said a prayer in order to escape Hell and satisfy my conscience.
I believe Jesus heard my childish prayer and set me on a journey to more fully understand who He is. Why? Because He loves me.
Unfortunately, sometimes in the process of getting better, we become worse.
When I was eleven years old, I realized that I liked to lust.
And in my foolish weakness, I chose to look at pornography.
I cannot say that I just happened to fall into it; I chose to walk into it, and everything that comes with it. And I became a slave to it.
I quietly worshiped and served the addiction for three years and was powerless to rid myself of its clutches.
It was during this time that my family moved to Los Angeles in April of 2008.
Looking back with my limited perspective, our move was probably a life saver for me, but at the time I hated it. The year 2008, my twelfth year of life, was probably the darkest year I have ever lived. I believe even darker than the last four months.
Then, I was a slave to sin (Satan); now, I am a slave to Christ (which is the most freeing situation in the whole world because His burden is light).
My slavery, added with the intense loneliness I felt in L.A., affected my whole lifestyle and I quickly became a recluse who only desired to please myself.
All throughout these years, I knew I was not obeying God. I hated it and I pleaded with God to do a miracle and to give me courage to confess. But everyday I awoke and was forced to serve the master I had given myself to. I was living like God’s good son, but I was truly eating pig’s food (Luke 15:11-32).
On Christmas Eve, 2008, I and my parents had a conversation which ended in my recommitting my life to Christ, but I still did not confess my addiction. I sometimes question the sincerity of my experience, but that night marks a point in time when my life began to turn around.
The spring of 2009 was a huge leap for me.
Back then, Choice Books sold the “Read the Bible in 90 Days” Bible. Being the type of person who likes a reading challenge, I attempted it. Those three months of ingesting God’s word did something that I cannot explain.
It all culminated on June 27, 2009, when I wrote my Dad a letter which explained everything about me that I could think. After having him read it, I felt a relief that I will never forget. I believe it was then, at the moment when I released my idol, that Jesus was able to flood my soul with Himself. But I still had a long journey ahead of me.
It took about another year before I was really free from the bonds of pornography—a year of surrendering to Jesus, and strong accountability to my parents. (Let me insert that I credit my parents trust in me as one of the greatest enablers in my surrender. They trusted me to surrender and make right choices.)
I still need to surrender to Jesus, I still have struggles and temptations of various sorts, and I am still a choice away from falling once again; but Christ’s grace is sufficient for me.
I do not need to fear temptation or Satan.
All I want now is to worship Jesus because He has freed me and justified me before the Father. He is my advocate and I am His child. I can come boldly before His throne and I can look to Him for strength.
This is who I am.
I have nothing to hide because Jesus has forgiven me of everything, and it is only because of His grace and strength that I can walk in victory today.
Jesus, I am grateful.
This is my story, my song. I hope that anyone reading this who struggles with sin in any way, will realize that they are not alone. I hope they will see that Jesus can save them and redeem them.
If you want peace with God — if you want freedom from sin, if you want the light of Christ in your life, if you want strength to walk through any trial—you must surrender to Jesus. Jesus wants to help you, because He loves you.
Half of surrender is realizing that without Jesus we are monsters but with Him we are weak sheep that need protecting and guiding. (And with Jesus protecting us, we are strong and safe.) The other half is just letting go of whatever is keeping us from worshiping Jesus.
We can either continue in what our flesh says is good or we can surrender to Jesus and His love. We can either worship Satan or we can worship Jesus. There are no other options. When we worship Satan, we become monsters; but when we surrender to Jesus and worship before His throne, we become His precious sheep — His beloved children.
I want to be a sheep, not a monster. What about you?
The avoidance of this topic bothers me.
The fact that we act surprised when people confess to struggling with this issue, really bothers me.
Anyone who is remotely engaged in western culture and knows anything about human nature should not be surprised.
Look all around us.
Immorality is everywhere.
Let’s not close our eyes to it, let’s not plug our ears!
Apart from Jesus Christ that is you, that is me. It’s in our neighborhoods, it’s in our governments, and it’s in our families and churches.
Struggles with sin cannot be legislated out of us. They cannot be pulled, pushed, or shoved out of our lives. We are who we are and we are completely unable to change. Do we get it? We or anyone else cannot change us. So let’s quit trying.
Enter Jesus Christ.
For our sin the just Father demands a payment [retribution]. Our sentence is eternity in hell. We cannot escape it; we cannot pay it off any other way.
Yet, God loves us tremendously. So He became a human and lived a perfect life, therefore He had no sentence to hell. Having lived a perfect life He then offered His life as payment to the just Father. He shed His blood and paid hell for each of us.
But God, being pleased with the payment, raised Jesus (the God-Man) up from the dead and set Him at His right hand in Heaven. We now have no sentencing. God is satisfied; we are justified. Jesus now invites us to relate directly with the Father because the Father no longer demands payment from us.
All we have to do is surrender and say “Yes, Jesus, yes! I accept you as the payment for my own sin. I am at your mercy! I worship you! I am yours forever. Yes, Lord, I say yes!”
This is the Gospel. This is the power of salvation — from pornography, bitterness, rebellion, pride, and from every bondage of Satan.
One day, because Jesus has done all this for us, we are going to stand before God’s throne and out of perfect, eternal gratitude we will throw ourselves before the throne, caste our crowns [our rewards] at Christ’s feet and cry “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” (Revelation 5:12).
So what will it be, my friend? Is your temporary pleasure really worth what Jesus can give you eternally? I pray that you will surrender and abandon your earthly life, at the cross.
Share Your Thoughts in the Comment Section!
There are currently 22 Comment(s)
There are currently 22 Comment(s)
Wonderful post! Thank you for sharing this, Christopher!
Thank you for beating this addiction and for your courage to share your story. I pray that it will inspire many to be freed from sin. Keep on keeping on.
Thank you! It was Jesus who conquered sin and He invites us all to walk with Him in that victory! I, too, hope many more will be freed from sin!
Christopher, thanks for your honesty. It takes courage to be real with God and with others. I hope this encourages others to also be real. Praying that God receives much glory from your story!
Amen! May God be glorified through this story!
Wow, Christopher. People need to hear this, and I too pray every day that my struggle and sin will be turned in to a testimony that will heal others. Your testimony is powerful and will reach many. Thank you for being open and honest, and I totally; it truly bothers me that this topic and this struggle that so many people are dealing with, goes un touched and avoided. People need to hear of others coming out in victory through Jesus Christ so that hope is not lost. I praise God for your freedom and for giving you the strength to share this message. I love that God and his angels rejoice at the breaking of bondage, and not only have you shared yours but your story will break many chains. Thank you!
Thank you for your uplifting comment Gabriella! I praise God that my testimony can be an encouragement to others. May it be used for His glory! Freedom from any bondage is truly a wonderful thing and I pray that many more people will find Jesus, the Bondage Breaker, and in Him they will find empowerment to overcome.
Thank you Christopher, for being so honest and open. Thank you for talking about how Jesus breaks chains and calls us to a radical life for Him.
That took a lot of guts to share that. Thank so much Christopher! I really needed to hear this. To remember that God is with me even when I sin and when I make mistakes. May God bless you!
Libby, I am glad it was a blessing to you! Praise Jesus!
Yes, God is always with us and empowers us to overcome. Our progress in life is just like a baby learning to walk. Sometimes we fall down, but God is always there telling us to try again…and slowly we learn, step by step, how to walk straight.
Thank you for your encouraging comment!
I praise God for your testimony! It took a lot of guts to write this – well done! It has greatly encouraged me…thank you 🙂
Yes, praise God! It is really HIS story!
Bless you Christopher! I had the honor of meeting your dad last month at a gathering of saints in honor of your mother, and I am still blessed and very encouraged, and humbled by your family’s witness.
Please keep up the good fight, may our Father strengthen and equip you, and keep the writings coming!
Thank you Marie! I am so grateful to the Lord for His strength despite hard times!
Blessing to you!
Praise Jesus! Christopher, I’ve read your blog, and was so excited to see you on Rebelution. The courage you have to share your Jesus story amazes me. Thank you for being so humble and brave. It’s very encouraging to hear the confessions of other sinners–strengthening to know I’m not alone.
Amen! Praise Jesus! It is my honor to be able to share what Jesus did in my life. Yes, I agree. It is good to be reminded that we are all in the same boat…and that Jesus is willing to help us out. 🙂
Wow… I am amazed at the courage He has given you to share your story! I truly respect your honest confession. I know what it is like to be chained in bonds of your own making. Sometimes when we really realize our own fallibility, that is what finally drives us to Jesus. I agree with what you said about “sometimes in the process of getting better, we become worse.” sad but true… anyway, your post really encouraged me and I am amazed to read the freedom you now have in Jesus. That is what I want so much, and I am encouraged to continue to daily surrender myself to him. thank you and may you continue to walk in His freedom!
Again, I praise God for the victory He has given me and everyone who calls upon His name! Isn’t it amazing that God uses even the “worst of us”? May Jesus be glorified!
Hm.. I don’t know how to say it.. First, thanks for telling your story to the world.. It really helps me a lot.. I have a same problem with lust like you had.. And i am trying to overcome this thing but.. I feel i can’t do it.. I’ve prayed for strength to Jesus.. But i only can control it for 2-3 days after that i don’t know, i just can’t control my lust.. And my fleshes win again and i feel bad and so guilty.. I really want to get out from this addiction but now i feel like all i have tried is nothing because i still fail and fail again:(
I am a believer,and i thought i will never be in this situation.. But i do, and i really need some advices and helps to overcome and break this chain.. 🙁 thanks before..
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Thank you for writing this! 🙂 it really speaks to me. My testimony is quite similar, but yet, quite different and I still do have struggles against temptation. We all do. However, this strengthened me against them. It really encouraged me to hear your testimony! Thank you! 🙂
Thanks for your testimony, Christopher! Blessed be the name of God! I’m really joyful to read the such story and words as you wrote here. Your testimony is kind of similar to that mine…
– You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you. (St. Augustine: Confessions)
Thank you for your honesty! We (girls) really appreciate when guys make a concerted effort to be focused on God instead of following their own desires. You are not only serving God, but being kind to your sisters in Christ. So, thank you.
Well I think you’re amazing for writing this – openly and honestly, the best way there is to reach others. Thank you for sharing.
Man, that is really bold of you! It’s bold because you became very vulnerable about your past, and you called out the rest of us. I respect that so much, thanks for sharing this, it is a great encouragement to me, because the story of my struggle is similar to yours. Keep surrendering and encouraging, God is using you in great and amazing ways!
I think that your story is amazing. I’ve struggled to keep God in persepective lately- I find it so easy to forget that He is the Creator of the universe, the Savior and Redeemer. Instead of focusing on Him, I’ve been focusing on the world. I’m fighting it, but only with His help will I be able to wholely focus on Him. I hope that your story helps me remember how wonderful He is, and I think that because of your obedience to God you will be greatly blessed, more than you can imagine right now.
I am very glad you shared this. I know personally how hard it can be to open up to other people. I know for a fact that your life story has touched people’s hearts, because it did mine. God bless you!
Can you pray for me, because I have this same struggle and I have tried to get rid of it a lot of times but I can’t. And I feel terrible every time I do it.
I certainly will, Jesse!
Your story is so powerful, and I was encouraged by your testimony this morning. Thank you for having the courage to speak the truth.
[…] sermon, story after story. One night I was in deep despair over this addiction, and God led me to an article on the Rebelution. It was the story that changed me […]
Very powerful article Christopher! Looking forward to see other articles written by you!