Written by our director, Matt Cline
From time to time, people ask me this question: “Why did you start an organization focused on...that?”
Other times, it gets personal in a hurry. I met a friend's girlfriend for the first time and she asked what Restored Ministries was about. When I told her, she replied with the second thing she'd ever said to me: "Did you used to watch pornography?"
I asked her if she gets that personal that fast with every new person she meets. We all laughed.
It wasn't always like that though. Sometimes it’s hard to even say the word ‘pornography,’ let alone admit that it’s a got a grip on us.
It took me eight years to tell anyone. My heart rate had to have been over 200bpm leading up to the first moment of confession. I still remember the feeling of it pounding in my chest.
When I got featured nationally on 100 Huntley Street and had over 20,000 viewers on a This Is Me TV documentary, my wife asked me what it felt like to have that many people hear my story. I laughed and told her I don't see it as sharing my story with porn, but rather sharing God's love and grace in my life so others can know Him too.
Saying the word gets easier - especially when you conquer it instead of having it conquer you. Here is my story:
At 21 years old, I was sick of my battle with porn. One night I thought, “This has to stop by the time I’m married and if so, there has to be a last time. That last time is tonight.”
And it was. Cold turkey. Just like that. Finished.
Or so I thought...
Eight months went by before I even thought about porn again. Over two years later, I still hadn’t looked back until one night, it happened. I slipped. And so began another battle. This time, it seemed the grip it had on me was stronger than ever.
For two-and-a-half more years I prayed and prayed asking God for help and I couldn’t figure out why I just could not stop this addiction. At the same time, I would pray frequently that God would work through my life to powerfully reach others. I didn't clue in that the two prayers would be connected.
God answered my prayer in a church service with a whisper during worship.
"Matt, I want to use you, but I can't use you until you're pure."
A journey of freedom began that night that was very different than the first time I had quit porn. God started teaching me what true intimacy with Him looks like. I began to learn that this incredible intimacy available to all of us would be the key to getting free from addiction - and staying free forever.
God started showing me that Biblical tools I had heard of my whole life would be the keys to living in victory over porn once I learned how to apply them powerfully. This would launch me into living a life of purpose, impacting people, and advancing the Kingdom of God. I know that this can be true for you, too.
Sometimes people don't understand why Jesus would say He couldn't use me until I got 'pure,' or free from porn. Other times people think I heard wrong, pointing out that God works through broken vessels all the time.
I don't blame them for the questions. It took me a few years to realize the wisdom in what God was saying to me.
Pornography use in my life, like all sin, was evidence that I wasn't truly intimate with Christ like I could be. Porn fills a void in our hearts for a moment that is meant to be filled by Christ for a lifetime. Seeking out porn proves that we don't have the intimacy with Christ that we all so desperately need.
And do you know what leads to Him working powerfully through our lives? Intimacy with Christ.
John 15:5 says, "...If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."
God drew me into a journey of actually knowing Him deeply, loving Him beyond anyone or anything, and seeking Him daily. He is the one-step plan to simultaneously getting free from sin and being the open vessel He needs to move through us powerfully.
Does God work through broken vessels? Absolutely. Did God work through Jesus more than any man in history? Without question. Was Jesus the least 'broken vessel' among humans? No doubt. This has to show us that sin limits our effectiveness for the gospel - and being totally satisfied by our Heavenly Father enhances His work through us more than we can imagine.
Let's not believe that we can stay stuck in sin - or get free from sin apart from Him - and still have Him work powerfully through us like He desires to. It's a mindset that enables victimhood, laziness, missed impact, and a life not lived to the fullest.
The truth is that we should be desperate to get sin out of our lives, but that should never be the end goal. The intended goal of each of our lives is to be intimate with the One who made us so that we can learn to live the way we were created to. When we do that, destructive behaviour, sexual or otherwise, will fall by the wayside and you’ll suddenly find yourself living a life full of love, relationships, and freedom. Just as you were made to.
Do you or someone you know need help in overcoming harmful sexual behaviour? We have 3 powerful options for you.
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