I write this sitting in a Café at 6.40am watching it slowly fill with the early morning crowd while listening to Michael Hutchens of INXS singing ‘the devil inside’. A fitting place to be speaking of the word of God and its power to change a life.
The way in which we approach the word often dictates the way in which we leave the word. During the darkest phase of my pornography addiction I feared the word, I hid my face from the word of God as it convicted me, I found no comfort in it and when I did get myself into the word found myself aligning more with the ‘enemies’ of God than I did as a child of God. The promises weren’t mine, the comfort was reserved for the righteous and the prosperity of Christ for the pure.
I knew in my heart that the forgiveness of the cross was for me but couldn’t grab it as my head told me I was the ‘worst of sinners’ not just because of one action of sexual sin but because I was addicted and it was now a solid and seemingly immovable dark part of my life. I tell you as a minister I was being pulled and crushed on levels that were ‘doing my head in’.
The air was getting thin and I knew I couldn’t survive in this atmosphere, I needed a breakthrough and history was telling me that it was not going to come from me, it needed to come from the outside. Without realizing it I was set up for a fresh encounter with the word, a broken and nearly destroyed man was about to encounter real hope. It wasn’t an epiphany, it wasn’t a lightening striking, it wasn’t a super spiritual moment of deliverance instead it was a gradual revelation of the word with skin on, it was Jesus breaking through into my life.
As a minister I was trained to be theologically minded and without realizing it had turned my relationship with God into a cerebral and rational experience and the addiction to pornography had only served to hurry this switch as my heart wasn’t able to engage God anymore. I needed the word more than ever and God knew it so He did what He has always done and orchestrated to reveal His love to an undeserving man. I was now the women at the well, the women caught in adultery, the beaten man on the road, the one with leprosy who didn’t need theology but encounter.
The word became flesh to me, I was lost and He came searching and engaged me with His love and His mercy and began to draw me towards forgiveness, healing and freedom. He didn’t disappear when I failed again and again. I still had the overriding feeling of failing Him and a large cloud of guilt and condemnation on my soul but without doubt it was the word becoming tactile that was directing me back. Where was the Bible in all this? While the written word was difficult for me to read the words that had been stored in me through years of study were now becoming tangible and real. As this ‘break in’ was happening I started engage a real Jesus and this only served to help me want to change.
I still needed to apply myself to the process of breaking this addiction but now it was out of a desire of love for the one that loved me not because of the guilt of failing. The word is the answer but for me it was allowing the word to become flesh. This process has only served to make me a better minister of the Kingdom as I can now preach the word with love, mercy and understanding of the need of revealing Jesus not just a principal, not just a key to life, not just a correct truth, though hopefully all of these as well. There is no doubt that the word is the answer.