We all have those moments. We shut the laptop, feel that overwhelming sensation of guilt, and put on our favorite “anti-lust” hardcore song. We rummage through our Bibles, looking for anything that can support us and give us hope. We want that guilt taken away as soon as humanly possible. We get on our knees and we confess our sin to God, sometimes we even try to push out a few tears. That’ll show Him how truly repentant we are, right? When the prayer is over, we climb back into our beds and sleep peacefully. Our prayer went something like this: “I’m sorry God; I’ll NEVER do that again!”
Now don’t get me wrong, the Bible tells constantly of the power of prayer, and there is nothing wrong with praying through hardship. James 5:13 says: “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.” So yes, if we are suffering through our temptation and sin, it is good to pray! It’s better than good; it’s exactly what we should be doing! But, before this, James writes: “But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no…”
I was always that kind of teenager who wasn’t really too emotional. My convictions have always been more of an intellectual thing, not so much an emotional thing. I never really felt it in my heart that I had truly been doing wrong. I just knew that Jesus said that lusting is wrong. And I know in my heart that He is Lord, so I want to obey Him.
On and off I would have nights much like the one I listed above where I would fall in repentance. I would try to have one of those groundbreaking “I’m so sorry God!” moments. Just like the ones I heard about at camps where the speaker had some kind of “mountain top experience” that changed everything while at a youth camp many years ago. I had been raised thinking that when breakthrough happened, it happened with an explosion!
In the media we see things like that all the time. The main character’s life takes a 180 after they’ve blasted an incredibly ridiculous amount of aliens, robots, super soldiers or whatever have you. And so we expect our spiritual lives to be like that as well, or at least I always did. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten on my knees with my face to the ground trying to cry out to God like all the camp speakers said they did. But I found that it just wasn’t working. I didn’t really feel truly repentant, and so I was always falling right back into my struggles.
Eventually, I got to the point where I just kind of gave up trying. My excuse was because “my heart wasn’t in the right place.” What a load of crap. The reason I wasn’t being convicted, was because I wasn’t in the Word! My heart wasn’t in the right place, but I definitely knew where it belonged! And I wasn’t putting it there. James 4:17: “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” I knew I should be in the Word, I KNEW it would keep me out of trouble, yet I wasn’t doing that.
When I started getting more into the Word, I realized that I hadn’t been doing what I ought to do. And when I began to remember what I had been taught, I realized I had to be in accountability. For James ALSO wrote in chapter 5, verse 16: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
So, since I wasn’t being righteous, I got righteous accountability. It wasn’t even some emotional ordeal where I came to my friend in tears confessing my sin. I just sent a text message, “Pissed, I jacked it.” There, I confessed to him. And he confessed to me. And since then, I’ve been clean, and he’s been clean. We’ve been texting each other, talking to each other, keeping each other ACCOUNTBLE. My X3 report goes to my parents, not even my actual accountability buddy.
As a side-note, that’s because I’ve always considered just straight lust and masturbation to be my struggle, not SO much pornography. I feel like I can be open to my friend, and he can be open with me. Because, I had to face it, whenever I gave up one outlet to my lust, I simply searched for an alternative.
It took active assessment of my behavior, study of the Word, conviction by the spirit, and ACTION to finally start trying. I’m not saying I’m perfect or that I’ve made it, but I’ve taken my first few steps into destroying this thing once and for all. I ask that the righteous keep praying for me, and that you find teens around you who are struggling. We need your prayer! Pray for the Spirit’s conviction, and pray for it to be genuine. Not some mountaintop experience, because in my “experience” they don’t freaking work!
God works, The Spirit works, and prayer works. Not just crying and shouting “I’m sorry God! I’ll never do that again!” I realized that I had to be in consistent repentance for my sins. Because I am a sinful, sexual being, and only He can release me from it. Yes, this was a Levi the Poet reference.