To say that my life is marked by grace is an understatement. There is no possible way for me to reflect on my past without seeing God’s love and mercy. This fact humbles me and makes me deeply appreciate Him. There are so many dark times in my life and when it comes to dealing with purity I am thrilled to have been shown the light, the true Light.

Like many of you, I still have pictures etched in my memory of being introduced to pornography as a kid. In particular, I have a memory of a childhood friend who found his uncle’s stash of adult magazines. We must have been only about 9 or 10 at the time. I remember how uncomfortable I felt to be looking at these pictures because I knew it was wrong. It felt dirty, gross, and just plain bad. I remember not having the guts to leave that situation and feeling ashamed later that day in front of my parents even though they had no clue. I felt like a liar – a smelly, filthy liar.

Then there were instances when, as a young teenager, I felt a strong sense of excitement and thrill from looking at similar images. It was as if the rush of getting away with looking at porn was more fulfilling than the actual pictures. I’m not sure if that makes complete sense, but perhaps you can relate.

All of this undoubtedly shaped my view of sexuality. Rather than adopt a holy view of sex (see 1 Peter 4:3), I chose the culture’s view. By the time I was in high school I was sexually active. My heart was totally numb to God’s desire for my life. Yes, intellectually I understood that sex was sinful because I was not married, but I did not care. The only thing I cared about was myself – not God or His plan for my life. This time of my life is marked by a complete rebellion against Christ. Perhaps the worst decision I made was to simply keep having sex, keep looking at pornography, and keep telling myself that it was no big deal. It certainly was a big deal.

Finally, when I was 17, I realized that God’s way was far greater than my way. It was only His grace that opened my eyes up to this realization before it was too late. As I look back on those times I can’t help but wonder how things did not turn out worse for me. Again, it’s only by His grace.

The biggest regret I have in life is that I did not turn to Him sooner. Perhaps I would have been able to talk to someone trustworthy about those struggles and get help before losing my virginity. Maybe if I had turned to God sooner I would have been able to keep myself pure for marriage. The hard reality is that by making those decisions I have to live with the ripple effects.

My prayer is that you will learn from my mistakes and seek God’s plan for purity in your life. There will definitely be difficult times, but if you are willing to place your trust in Him then you can rest on the confidence that His grace will get you through even the darkest moments. I’m incredibly thankful for His grace. It has rescued me from a life of regrets and pulled me into a life of peace and joy.  1 Corinthians 15:10 says, “Buy by the grace of God I am what I am.” Hopefully you’ll seek out His grace, too. 1 Corinthians 16:23, “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.”