Today I was browsing Facebook and I saw some pictures from this year’s Soul Survivor camp. If you’re not aware, Soul Survivor is a Christian camp for young people, which is attended by over 20,000 young people every year. It’s an incredible ministry which transforms thousands of lives every year.
Soul Survivor is over for this year, but those pictures reminded me that it was ten years ago this year that I gave my life to Jesus at Soul Survivor. To celebrate, I thought I’d post an extract from my upcoming book, Curiosity Killed the Intimacy, which is currently in second draft stage before hopefully going to publication. This extract is from the first chapter in the book, in which I tell my story of how I began to follow Jesus as a result of His miraculous intervention in my life.
“When I was about 14 I had my first experience with online pornography. (My first encounter with any form of porn was years earlier though, when I was 8 years old and my friend brought a playing card with a picture of a naked woman in to school and showed me). The initial contact came from a visit to a friend’s house after school one day. We spent a couple of hours playing a wrestling game on his PlayStation before we got bored. He decided that it’d be fun to look at some porn websites. I admit that I didn’t even fully know what that meant at that point! I’d never seen anything like the images that were suddenly before my eyes. It felt both wrong and exciting at the same time, although to a young teenage boy I think the exciting part outweighed the wrongness of it.
A few days later I decided to explore further for myself. My family was out for the evening and I was talking to one of my friends online (remember the days of MSN Messenger?). I asked him if he knew any good websites I could look at, and he sent me a link. From there I was hooked, and every opportunity I had when my family were out I would log on, exploring further and further in this new world. I couldn’t help myself, I just had to see more, and so I kept looking.
So many times I promised myself I was going to give up. A few times I even went as far as deleting all the clips I had saved on the computer, but it was never long before I succumbed again. The clearest thing I can compare it with is a smoker who, proclaiming that they’re quitting declares, “This is my last one!” It’s never the last one. Many smokers I’ve spoken to tell me they’ve lost count of how many ‘last ones’ they’ve had. I used to pray and promise God that I was going to stop, that I would do it this time. All that ever achieved was that I felt even more guilty. The Apostle Paul warns against this attitude in his letter to the Galatians,
“How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?”
Years passed and I continued to struggle alone. In 2006 I was 17 and I went with some friends to Soul Survivor. At the beginning of that week I decided to quit smoking (I had started less than a year previously) and so I did my best to persevere throughout the week. In one of the evening sessions I heard a talk which changed everything. I can’t even remember the details of what the guy spoke about – it was something to do with 12 foot tall angels and I wan’t sure of the theology behind it all. He ended his talk with an appeal for people to come forward for healing from addictions, eating disorders and other things of similar nature. He shouted, “There’s something on you. God can see it, and I can see it!” I was terrified that this man could see what was on me!
I stood up, along with hundreds of others. One of my friends stood up with me and I told him that I wanted prayer for quitting smoking, but in my heart I said to myself and to God that I really wanted to quit porn. Ideally, I should have been honest with my friend as well as with God, but it had taken all the courage I could muster to stand up in the first place. My friend prayed for me and we sat down. The first thing I noticed was that I no longer wanted to smoke, so we all got pretty excited. In that moment I knew that I was free and porn no longer had a hold on me. I was instantly and completely delivered from my addiction. The heavy burden of shame and guilt that I’d been carrying for all those years was gone. That same night I gave my heart to Jesus in a real and permanent way and determined to serve him.”
If you don’t know Jesus, I’d love to have the opportunity to talk to you about Him. Get in touch with me using the contact form on my homepage, or through the comments below. Following Jesus is the greatest adventure in life, and the only way to really live your life to the full. I dare you to take the step of finding out more about Jesus today.