Introductory words: It is no exaggeration to say that we are living in an age of sensuality. Starting from television and movies to mobile phones and Internet, we are constantly bombarded with sexual content, be it partial or explicit. It has now become only a matter of touch on remote control, on enter button or a click on mouse to indulge oneself in sexual immorality.
There are so many folks in our day, including the nice and sincere ones, living a life of bondage to pornography. There are untold people who are secretly addicted to porn. Sadly, they suppose there is no hope of deliverance from this addiction. Thus, the following interview is posted with a hope that such hopeless people will find hope. May be you are one among them and this message is for you.
Note: The following interview was done using open-ended questions. I put it in writing, edited myself and sent it to Prem for his final approval. Also, the actual name of the interviewee has been changed to Prem Raj for the sake of confidentiality.
CSD: Prem, I have learned you have been once an addict to porn and now walk in complete freedom from this bondage. Would you please explain how your addiction to porn began?
PR: I was first introduced to porn through an adult magazine. When I saw it, which actually belonged to my friend, my curiosity aroused and my sensual feelings went wild. Like a hungry dog for bones, I indulged myself in it. That later led me to look out for novels with explicit sexual content. As the days went by, my craving to watch and read such obscene things became intense.
I was desperately searching for porn material, particularly in second-hand book sales, for by now I became familiar with authors who write on this subject matter. I was willing to go to any extreme, pay any cost, just to satisfy my sensual hunger. As I watched and read them, I also got addicted to masturbation and immersed myself in a world of sexual fantasy.
CSD: How did things go further as you went along in life the following years?
PR: After finishing my basic studies, I worked for six months. Despite the fact of being a slave to porn, on the other hand, I had a bit of God’s fear in my heart, wanting to know God’s word and serve Him. So, I got into a Bible college. This training had somehow helped me, yet I did not completely give up watching porn. Regretfully, even while studying in a Bible college, I was watching erotic stuff once in a while and masturbating.
Incidentally, in all these years of addiction, none knew my secret struggle and addiction to porn. I was a pious guy before others. I did think of sharing it with someone, but I couldn’t do so for fear of rejection.
Then came a major breakthrough in technology—the Internet world was introduced in India. This was a great opportunity to gratify my lustful passions. It became easy for me to watch porn, going simply to Internet cafés and enjoy watching and reading sexual content. I also borrowed CDs and watched porn films.
Finally, I got a laptop with internet connection. You can imagine how my addiction escalated. Pornography was now available to me anytime I wanted to watch. I used to download all sexual stuff and secretly scan them at my convenience. Day by day, I became sensually wild and immoral in my thoughts and sight. I eventually found myself in a situation I could not live without watching porn.
CSD: You said that you have done Bible College with a desire to do ministry. How were you handling porn when you got into ministry?
PR: After completing my training in Bible College, I went for other trainings and got involved in ministry. I was ministering to various people, went around preaching and even giving counseling to others. I even became a youth leader in my church. Yet, in secret, I was helplessly living an immoral life, watching porn and masturbating. I was living a hypocritical life. And I lived this double life in a way nobody could doubt me. I left no trace of detection.
CSD: How were your feelings when you watched porn? Were you satisfied and living a happy life?
PR: The more I watched porn, the more I became miserable. Watching porn never satisfied me. If it did, it is only for a moment. In actual fact, it made me even worse, hungering for more and more. Even though I appeared to others as a jolly and nice guy, deep inside my heart I was empty, lonely, sinful and dismayed.
CSD: What about your feelings of guilt? Did you feel sorry for the way you lived?
PR: This was what had happened every time I watched porn. Once I finished watching porn and masturbating, feelings of guilt would overtake me. I used to ask God for forgiveness, cried and wept before Him. The remorse was so strong that at times I tore my clothes, fell on the floor and writhed in agony. I could not face anyone. I lost genuine connection with God and people around me. I despised myself and hated to look at my own face.
Sometimes, I cancelled my preaching, for I was filled with remorse for watching and soaking in dirty stuff. I knew what I was doing was sin. It is something I shouldn’t be doing as a child of God. But, I was helpless, addicted and became a slave to lust.
Then after feelings of sorrow and repentance, my lustful passions would rise and I felt desperate to watch again. I couldn’t control myself and gave myself over to indulge in porn. In short, I fell into a cyclical process—watching porn, feeling sorry, asking God for forgiveness and again returning to my own vomit, watching porn.
CSD: How did you eventually find liberation from porn?
PR: My deliverance from this addiction was not immediate, but progressive. After years of struggling with this sin, God mercifully revealed Himself to me. The healing actually began with an exposure to the majesty of God. For the first time, my eyes were opened to the glory and goodness of God.
Earlier, I had mere head knowledge of God. But I began to see for the first time the beauty of God. I was astounded to read about how great God is as found in Job 38-41. How He created the whole universe by His wisdom and power, how He is sovereign and above all things, how He is sustaining the entire earth and how everything exists because of Him. And, yet, He has His eye over me, a tiny creature before the Most High God.
When I started to know God’s excellencies, explored His majesty and tasted godly pleasures, the lustful passions began to lose its power over me. As I experienced God, who in His rich mercy had forgiven me and showed His glory in my life, I found great joy and satisfaction. I discovered lasting pleasures in Him. I fell in love with Jesus and that freed me from the love of sensuality.
I now know God and I love Him and want to please Him. I even love my wife and I seek to find my physical satisfaction in my wife alone and not in anything else.
CSD: Well, Prem, thank you so much for honestly sharing your heart. Finally, what is the message you want to pass on to those whose lives are ruled by lust and pornography?
PR: First, I want to mention that watching porn is a choice. You cannot blame anybody or anything. It is you who make a choice to click, to touch, to see, to entertain and to fantasize the forbidden things. So, ultimately, you are completely responsible for the choices you make in your life.
Second, addictions are not easy to overcome. You cannot get out of it on your own. You require divine help. Not just help from God but God Himself. Although your prayers may not be answered immediately, don’t give up. Don’t get disappointed and dejected. Keep seeking God, keep asking for His help, keep studying His word, keep looking for opportunities to know more of Him and keep pouring your heart before the Throne of Grace to reveal Himself to you. These words are forever true, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13)
Third, share with someone. Don’t live a life of secrecy. One reason for me to continue in this sin for years is due to withholding myself from opening to someone who could help me. And when you share with that person, make it a strict accountability. You may fall again, but still keep yourself accountable. You may even be rebuked and seriously corrected for watching porn, but still keep yourself accountable. Don’t let your pride ruin the help others could offer you. Whether you are addicted to porn or may be on your way towards addiction, rise up and seek help right away.
At last, I want to express—I have wasted a lot of my life and time by living in lust. For more than ten years, I was a secret addict to porn. Thankfully, I am now free from this sin, not just recently but long back. This does not mean I don’t face temptation at all. By God’s grace, I overcome it. I don’t watch porn constantly. I don’t watch porn once in a while. I don’t watch porn at all. I now enjoy the freedom of purity. I want to tell that there is no lasting satisfaction and happiness in porn. True joy and contentment is found only in Jesus, the one who loved us and gave Himself for us.
CSD: I am thankful to God for liberating Prem from this addiction to porn. I know him quite well personally and find his testimony trustworthy. Prem is now having a wonderful family and is doing a great ministry. God is using him to be a tremendous blessing to many. He now walks in freedom from pornography and enjoys his life in Christ.
Friend, if you think you are lost in lust and have no hope of deliverance from pornography, remember, you would never reach a situation in your life wherein you find yourself having no hope in God. There is always hope in Jesus. He died for our sins. He rose again from the dead to give us victory over sin. So, cling to the feet of Christ with a broken and contrite spirit. Know Jesus and love Him, for He is the most beautiful and wonderful person in whose presence sin loses all its power of enticement.
Of course, accountability to others, confession of sin, repentance and exercising self-control—all these things are important to overcome lust and pornography. But the most important element is seeing and savoring the glory of God.
When we draw closer to God, irrespective of our weaknesses and failures, and start seeking His holy face, study about Him, pray to Him, know Him and experience Him, we find displeasure in the pleasures sin offers. Knowing God more frees us from habitual sins. Living a life in His glorious presence is so pleasurable that even all the pleasures of sin fall short of it. Finding our utmost satisfaction in God liberates us from addiction to temporal, sinful pleasures. Falling in love with Jesus uplifts us from the mire of sin.
“Thou wilt make known to me the path of life; In Thy presence is fullness of joy; In Thy right hand there are pleasures forever” (Ps. 16:11).
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