Here we are. You’ve come to the end of your journey in the Freedom Experience. Our hope is that this has been instrumental in helping you see freedom differently, approach it in a healthier way, and find hope that deeper, lasting change is possible.
For many reading this, you’ve taken huge steps toward freedom. You’ve put in the work, and it’s paid off. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s not another train!
Still, for others, it feels like there is still so much that has to be worked out in order to be fully free from your struggles and step into the life Jesus offers. Perhaps you’ve experienced some shifts in your perspective and gained some ground, but you’ve still fallen multiple times throughout this experience, and you are wondering what to do now.
Most will find themselves somewhere in the middle, having taken some big steps toward living a freer, fuller life, but knowing there is still work to do in order to step into a greater degree of freedom.
If you fall into either of those last two camps and this experience at times has felt like taking three steps forward, two steps back, don’t lose heart. This is a journey and it takes time to walk out. It’s a day by day process where, if you keep pressing into the work, you will continue taking steps in the right direction. One day, if you persevere and do not quit when it’s hard, you will look back and be amazed at just how far you’ve come.
In the last 30 days, we’ve given you a lot of tools to begin to experience a deep inner transformation, showing you how to address many of the core issues that drive compulsive sin behavior, how to address core beliefs that are keeping you stuck, and given you many practical ways to fight the battles more effectively. Our prayer is that this has helped you take significant steps forward—but we recognize that for nearly everyone, continued work is needed. As we have mentioned, freedom is less of a one-time event and more of an ongoing process. It took time to reinforce the destructive patterns of behavior in your life, and it takes time to reinforce a new way of living.
We encourage you to take the things you’ve learned in this experience and continue them in your daily life. Whatever you’ve found helpful, keep pressing into it. If you’ve done the daily freedom work, completing the lessons, daily scripture readings, journaling, and prayers, you’ve likely found it immensely helpful (if you haven’t done that, you will continue to have access to the 30 daily lessons here and you can access all Zoom recordings here, so make sure to go back and complete these at your own pace!). Many will find it useful to go back through the 30 days of lessons and freedom work or to revisit specific lessons that stood out to you. Going back through your journal entries will also prove immensely valuable as it will remind you of the core truths you’ve begun to walk in throughout this journey.
While we’ve tried our best to pack this 30-day experience with as much transformational truth as possible, there are several resources that we would recommend you look into for follow-up work which will serve you well as you continue taking steps toward freedom. Below you will find a number of books and video series and courses that will further equip you to step into the fullness of life that Jesus created you for (we do not have any financial incentive to recommend these resources).
Surfing for God: Discovering the Divine Desire Beneath the Sexual Struggle — this book by author and counselor Michael John Cusick was a groundbreaking work on recovering from compulsive sexual behavior and does a great job of helping you pursue healing and transformation on a heart level.
Getting to No: How to Break a Stubborn Habit — this book by Dr. Erwin Lutzer takes a thorough and thoughtful journey through Scripture, providing a solid framework for how to deal with core lies and wrong beliefs that keep you stuck and equipping you with powerful tools and principles to help you live free.
Think Differently, Live Differently: Keys to a Life of Freedom — this book by counselor Bob Hamp takes a compassionate but utterly practical approach to finding true freedom, providing one profound insight after the next into how life in the Kingdom of God really works—and how change really happens.
Washed and Waiting — this book by Wesley Hill is a groundbreaking work for those Christians who struggle with same sex attraction but want to live faithfully to Jesus. Whether you wrestle with these desires personally or simply want the ability to better empathize with those who do, you will find this book to be full of compassion, honesty, and uncompromising truth.
Foundations of Freedom — this 100% free Course by Bob Hamp from Gateway Church is well worth the time investment. With nearly 8 hours of teaching, it will help you pursue freedom very differently, teaching you how to lean into God as your source for transformation rather than spinning your wheels in your own strength and reinforcing your struggles. You can access all five sessions of this course at the following links: Session 1, Session 2, Session 3, Session 4, Session 5
The Porn Free Course — this course by John Bevere helps you walk through the foundational principles from Scripture for getting free and staying free. It’s available for free at MessengerX.com along with a wide variety of other helpful resources.
The Healthy Relationships Course — this course by counselor Chip Judd will help you form healthier relationships, whether with your spouse, family, or friends, and teach you how to relate to others from a position of wholeness rather than co-dependency and unhealthy attachment.
The Wild at Heart Film Series — this teaching series from John Eldredge will help you identify core longings, help you to address core woundings, and to both recover and live authentically from your true god-given heart.
The Clean Course — this course by Dr. Doug Weiss will equip you with very practical tools to help you live openly and honestly before God and others so you can live a genuine integrity and become worthy of trust.
Overcoming the Battle in Your Mind — this sermon from Jimmy Evans will help you learn to renew your mind through the Word of God and destroy the enemy’s strongholds in your life so you can walk in victory.
Finally, as you take continued steps forward toward freedom in your own life, we encourage you to bring others along in the journey. By taking the truths that have changed your life and offering them to others, you plunder the darkness you once lived in, flooding it with light. It is a kingdom principle that when we give something away, we get more of it. Teaching others to walk free from bondage will not only help them, it will help you reinforce the truths you have learned in a profound way. Walking in freedom is so much bigger than just you—it is about those you are called to impact!
It has been an honor to walk through these last 30 days with you. May the Holy Spirit give you an ever deepening awareness of God’s heart for you, and may you learn to trust His unchanging goodness and love as you continue to step into a freer, fuller life.
Day 30 Freedom Work
Scripture Reading — Read Philippians 1–3, noting whatever the Holy Spirit highlights to you.
Journaling Exercises — Answer the following questions at length in your journal. Aim to spend at least 5–7 minutes per question.
- What have been the most powerful truths you have begun to believe throughout this Freedom Experience? In what ways have you begun to think differently about your struggles and what it means to live free?
- Who do you know in your life that would benefit from what you have learned in the last 30-days? What would it look like to open up to them and invite them to go on a similar journey with you?
- What has been the most helpful part of this experience for you? Write it down, and then write down a plan to incorporate ongoing freedom work into your life so you can reinforce what God has done in your heart over the last thirty days. What are some additional resources you plan to go through?
Prayer — Jesus, I know that I can trust You, the one who began a good work in me, to carry it on to completion. I yield my will to yours and ask that, day by day, you teach me to live by the Spirit so I can walk in the life you desire for me. Thank you that you never give up on me—and help me to never give up on myself. Give me the strength to believe that with your help, I can change. May I never believe the lie that I can’t change. If I fall, may I quickly run back into your loving arms to receive mercy and grace to help me in my time of need. Remind me of who I am in you. Reveal the depths of your goodness toward me. May I know deep in my heart that you do not withhold things from me, but for me, and that you are always good, always loving, all the time. You are the Good Shepherd. You and you alone lead me to life. Amen.
- We’d love to hear from you! If you’ve completed the Freedom Experience, please take 5 minutes to write into us at [email protected] to tell us how this experience has impacted you and what you found to be the most helpful parts of it. This helps us make the experience better if we ever repeat it in the future.
- Several of you have reached out to us asking if this material will continue to be available after this experience, or if you can take your church or small group through it. You will continue to be able to access the daily lessons online, but we are also in the process of putting them all into a downloadable PDF document that you will be able to print out for future use to help you take others through this process. We will email that out to you once it becomes available. The video recordings of the Zoom calls will also remain available for a minimum of 90 days from the end of this experience.
Today, we’re going to begin by making a statement that probably feels very obvious.
Change is hard.
It takes a lot of work—much of which, if you’ve been going through these daily lessons, you’ve been doing.
Certainly, there are a variety of things which can make change a bit easier—but we should not expect change to be easy. Compulsive sin habits are most often deeply embedded struggles that have had years if not decades of reinforcement. This should go without saying, but that is hard to change overnight. There is much that needs to be rewired in our brains—and that typically takes time, spiritual growth, a level of maturing as a person, and the involvement of other people to help you in the journey. We’ve been walking through many of those things in this 30-day Freedom Experience.
Addressing core wounds and going through inner healing certainly helps with change. So does learning who you are in Christ. Beginning to think soberly about sin and realizing that we are hurting God, others, and even ourselves, is also a critical step. It’s also important to catch a vision for where your life could be once you leave your sinful compulsions in the past that you can reference in a moment of temptation to help you think clearly. All of these things and more can be immensely helpful in the journey toward freedom.
Ultimately though, as much internal work as you complete, there is one thing you have to do in order to break free and step into the life God has for you. Are you ready for it?
You have to make different, often difficult choices, consistently.
You have to say no to whatever it is that’s destroying you, repeatedly, and choose instead to pursue the path that leads to life.
Freedom from sin is less of an event and more a continual choice to stop settling for cheap counterfeits and pursue a better yes.
Every time you say no to sin and yes to the life God has for you, you build momentum. Over time, your appetites change. You begin to desire what is good and true and noble. You learn the art of living from your true, good heart—the one God put inside you that bears His image and nature. It’s a battle that requires much perseverance, but if you don’t quit, you will eventually win the war.
Our prayer for you as we near the end of this 30-day journey is that it has helped you do the internal work that will help you experience lasting transformation—but that transformation requires that you choose differently. It requires that you begin to see sin for what it is—a fleeting pleasure that ultimately leads to your destruction, and that you begin to see God for who He is, a loving Father who wants nothing but the best for you, even when He asks you to forego the temporary pleasures of sin so you can step into more.
You were created for more.
When you learn to say no to sin and yes to the better life God is offering—one that flows from union with Him—you will find it.
That is real life. It is life as Jesus intends for you. You were not created for bondage to things that lead to death. You were created to live in the freedom that comes from leaning into union with your Creator. In fact, in John chapter 17, which we read yesterday, Jesus makes a stunning statement. He says,
“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3, NIV)
That’s what this whole thing is all about. Knowing Him. As we make the often difficult choices to leave our sinful habits behind—to let go of the very things we’ve depended on for life—and instead learn to draw our life from God, we become more fully who He created us to be. In a mysterious paradox, as we become more fully His, we become more fully ourselves.
Every time you face temptation and say no, you take one step closer to the life Jesus intends for you. Our prayer for you is that, after going through this 30-day freedom experience, this life of freedom feels not only possible, but inevitable, if you just refuse to quit in your pursuit of it.
Jesus has given you everything you need to live free, whole, healed, and fully alive. Now, men and women of God, it’s time for you to rise up and step into your god-given destiny. You are no longer a slave. You have been set free. Now go live like it!
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NKJV)
Day 29 Freedom Work
Scripture Reading — Read 2 Corinthians chapters 4–5, and take careful note of who God has made you to be.
Journaling Exercises — Answer the following questions at length in your journal. Aim to spend at least 5–7 minutes per question.
- Meditate on what it means that you are a new creation in Christ. How does that make you feel? What does that mean about what you truly want? At the core of your being, do you truly still desire sin, or is God working in you to desire something better?
- Romans 6 says that you are dead to sin. 2 Corinthians 5 says that “old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new.” If you believed this, how would it allow you to put the past behind you and step into the new thing God is doing in your life?
- In Christ, we are completely forgiven of all our sins. If you were convinced of this truth deep down—that before God, you are innocent and pure and holy, as if you had never sinned—how would it motivate you to live? Would you be afraid of Him and stay at a distance, or would you run to Him on both the good days and the bad? Would it make you want to sin or to stay free from it?
Prayer — Father, I am so grateful that you do not give up in your pursuit of me. Your love is truly relentless. Thank you that when I was dead in my sins, you made me alive in Christ. Thank you for making me a new creation—doing away with the old and raising me up into a new life in Christ. I don’t fully understand these mysteries, but I receive them by faith. Reveal them to me in deeper ways over time. Thank you that you have washed away all of my sins and cleansed me from all unrighteousness. Help me to trust you as a loving father and to learn to live as a beloved child. You alone can lead me to true life, for you alone are life. Amen.
Yesterday, we dove into the “secret” power to Jesus’s life—living in connection to His Father. Then, looking at John 15, we discovered that it is the same for us—that the secret to producing godly fruit is not to focus our efforts on producing better fruit, but in learning how to remain connected to the vine, our source of life, which is Jesus. Our life as Christians is meant to flow from our connection to Him.
Now, of course, living in connection to Jesus runs quite contrary to the normal flow of this world. To do so requires intentionality, focus, and no small degree of effort. Don’t let the word effort there scare you. We are of course “saved by grace, not of our own works,” as Ephesians 2 reminds us. But as the late Christian philosopher and theologian Dallas Willard reminds us, “Grace is not opposed to effort. It’s opposed to earning.” Effort directed at maintaining our awareness of our connection and unity with Jesus is an important part of the successful Christian life.
To see a great example of this on display, we look first and foremost to the life of Jesus. What practices do we see in His life that allowed Him to live in an awareness of His connection with His Father? There are several, which we will dive into here.
First, we see Jesus regularly prioritized prayer and solitude. All throughout the gospels, we see Jesus sneaking away to spend time alone and to pray to His Father. Here are just a few examples:
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35, NIV)
“And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.” (Matthew 14:23, ESV)
In many senses, you might go so far as to say that prayer is the very act of living in the awareness of our unity with God, and in active dependence on Him. Making prayer a core part of our lives is critical to learning to abide in Christ and allowing His life to flow through us.
Secondly, we see Jesus fasted. In Matthew chapter 4, we read,
“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.” (Matthew 4:1–2, ESV)
In this passage, we go on to read how Jesus was tempted by the enemy and was victorious time and again. Though his body was hungry, His time of fasting gave Him a spiritual fortitude that gave Him power to resist the temptations of this world. There is much mystery to fasting, but it would seem that at least one of the benefits is that, while we intentionally deny our bodies what it wants, it builds us up spiritually, teaching us to rely not just on physical food, but on God himself (see Matthew 4:4).
Thirdly, we see Jesus knew the Scriptures. We should never come to the Scriptures out of a legalistic mindset, thinking that we are impressing God by our rigorous study. Spending time studying the Bible is not about checking off a spiritual to-do list so we can feel good about ourselves. In John chapter 5, Jesus addresses the Pharisees in the following manner:
“You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” (John 5:39–40, NIV)
For Jesus, it would seem the purpose of the written word is to lead us to encounter the Living Word. The Pharisees and teachers of the law in Jesus’s day knew the text quite well—but their focus was off, and it benefited them little. In their hearts, they were still far from God. When we study the Scriptures, our heart’s desire and prayer should be for God to reveal Himself to us as we read. We should read the Bible not out of legalism, but out of love, seeking to encounter the living God through its pages. As we do, once again, we reinforce our connection to the very life of God.
Fourthly, we see Jesus practiced Sabbath. While Jesus certainly confronted legalistic practices that had come to be associated with this day, He certainly did not throw away the Sabbath. If anything, he revealed what the Sabbath was really all about. In Mark’s gospel, we read,
“Then Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27, NLT)
For Jesus, resting on the Sabbath is not something we do out of a legalistic duty to check the box on our religious obligations. It’s about receiving a gift from God. It’s about aligning ourselves with our Creator, who also rested on the seventh day, as a pattern for us that we should follow. Perhaps Jesus healing so many people on the Sabbath is a sign to us that Sabbath and rest are about healing. As we make a habit of ceasing from our toil and striving for one day per week, and instead, learn to rest, we once again learn to abide in Christ and the life He offers us.
There are certainly more practices from Jesus’s life that show us how to live in connection to the life of God—but this list is a good starting point. None of this is about legalism or checking off religious boxes. If you try to implement these practices in order to somehow impress God or feel good about yourself, you will not realize their true benefit, which is to learn how to come to God in order to have life. As you implement these practices and learn to lean into the life of God, you will find the strength you need to live as He calls you to—not out of self-righteous striving—but out of a genuine connection and relationship with God. Indeed, it is only the one who regularly spends time connecting with their Heavenly Father who is empowered to live as a beloved child.
Day 28 Freedom Work
Scripture Reading — Read John 16–17, noting the importance of living in unity with Christ.
Journaling Exercises — Answer the following questions at length in your journal. Aim to spend at least 5–7 minutes per question.
- Has it ever struck you that Jesus, the very Son of God, still needed to do things like pray, spend time in solitude, rest, fast, and learn the Scriptures? If Jesus needed these things, what is your need for them
- For people who struggle with compulsive sin, it is rare that they have anything resembling a vibrant and healthy devotional life. Take an honest assessment of the practices you currently have in your life that help you to routinely connect you to God as your source of life and write them down in detail.
- Again, not making it about legalistic performance, but about living in genuine connection to the life of God, what are some strategic practices you can implement into your life to learn to abide more intentionally in Christ? How would implementing these practices help you live with a greater awareness of God’s love for you?
Prayer — Father, I recognize my utter need for you, as I have tried to live free so many times in my own strength, and failed over and over again. Teach me to lean into you as my very source of life. I don’t want to be like the Pharisees, going through the motions of religion while missing your heart. Your heart is the very thing I want to be connected with! Help me to get free from legalism and to learn to practice the spiritual disciplines out of a genuine desire to know you better and to drink deeply of the water of life, which you offer. I am tired of looking for life in places it can’t be found. I am tired of trying to produce fruit on my own, disconnected from your life. Reveal to me your heart as a Father to spend time with me in the secret place—and empower me to live as a beloved child. Help me to follow Jesus’s example and to implement practices into my daily life that will help me to live connected to you as my source and my strength! May my very life flow from you. Amen.
Let’s begin today with a question—what is the key to living like Jesus?
If that question sounds impossibly high-minded, it isn’t intended that way. Living like Jesus is in fact how we are called to live as Christians (1 Peter 2:21, 1 John 4:17). Of course, we all fall short of this ideal in many ways—but Scripture is clear that as we grow in our faith, we will resemble Jesus more and more. The Christian life is meant to have a trajectory to it.
There’s a problem though. Anyone who takes seriously the teachings of the New Testament apostles and tries to live them out quickly realizes it. Living like Jesus is very difficult. We might clean up our behavior for a little bit—but eventually, we realize just how entrenched our behaviors are in ways that look very little like Jesus—even ways that are diametrically opposed to Him.
Often, it feels that the harder you try, the more difficult it gets.
Eventually, there comes a point for any serious disciple of Jesus where they realize the futility of their efforts to produce the fruit of Jesus’s life in their own. Exhausted, burnt out, and utterly spent, they cry out, “There has to be a better way!” And of course, there is.
Living in obedience to God and reproducing the fruit of Jesus’s life in our own is not something that can be achieved in human effort. At least Jesus certainly didn’t seem to think so.
The secret to Jesus’s life was that it flowed from unity with His Father. The gospel of John drives this point home over and over again. Just take a look at the following passages:
“Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.” (John 5:19, NKJV)
“I and My Father are one.” (John 10:30, NKJV)
“Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me” (John 14:9–11, NKJV).
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. (John 14:16–20, NKJV)
Unity with the Father is what made Jesus’s life possible. And you know what? Unity with God is what makes the Christian life possible. It’s the secret sauce, if you will. After all of the passages we just read about Jesus’s union with His Father, we see Jesus making this famous statement in John 15,
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5, NKJV)
This verse is often taught to us in isolation, but it is in the larger context of all the verses and chapters before it, many of which are listed above. Jesus shows us that His life is made possible by His connection to the Father, and then similarly, that our life is only possible through our connection to Him. Life flows through connection—and fruit comes from life.
If we make behaving the right way our primary focus, we are concentrating on the wrong end of the equation. The branch of a vine does not bear fruit by redoubling its efforts. As a branch, it does not have in and of itself the ability to produce anything unless the life of the vine—powered by the water and nutrients it pulls from the ground—is flowing through it. It bears fruit simply as a result of staying connected to the vine. It’s the same with us. If we want to live like Jesus, we need to learn to draw our life from our unity with Him, as He did with His Father.
Tomorrow, we will dive into specific ways we can live with a greater awareness of and connection to our unity with Christ, but for now, just let this truth sink in. Your struggles to change your behavior have very little to do with your actual behavior. We struggle to live as we should when we attempt to live while disconnected from our unity and connection to Christ. When we learn how to stay connected—which is the primary area we should focus our effort on—the fruit will take care of itself.
Day 27 Freedom Work
Scripture Reading — Read John 14-15 and note how important unity with Christ is to the Christian life.
- Does the idea of living in unity with Christ seem foreign to you? How much of your Christian life feels like it’s just about doing the right things and learning to obey God?
- When you look at the life of Jesus, do you see Him trying to do things in His own strength, or do you see Him relying on His union with the Father? In what ways? Give some examples here.
- What are some practical ways you can live with a greater awareness of your unity with God on a daily basis? How might your life change if you made those your focus rather than simply trying harder to behave better?
Prayer — Father, I am tired of trying to do this thing in my own strength. I cannot do this on my own. I’ve tried and failed so many times. I’ve been down that road and I know how it ends. I want to learn how to live like Jesus, depending on you for my very life. Reveal to me just how close you are. Holy Spirit, show me that my life is now hidden with Christ in God—that you have taken up residence inside of me. Help me to live with an awareness of your indwelling presence and to do life in partnership with you. Teach me how to stay connected to the vine so your life can flow through me to the world around me. Amen.
It’s all too easy to feel down about yourself when you struggle. Looking at porn or giving into whatever temptation it is that you battle leaves you feeling broken, weak, and unworthy. Over time, it is all too easy to live in shame and guilt and allow your failures to drag you down into a cycle of self-disgust. It can feel as though God is disgusted with you and that you are a constant disappointment to Him—so naturally, you stay at a distance for a while. It feels way easier to approach God once you’ve felt bad about your sin and yourself for a while, and you put together a streak of a few good days where you feel you have your act together a bit more.
If the above process sounds familiar, it’s because it is. Perhaps one of the saddest things about sin is that is causes us to feel like we have to pull back from God and cover our shame. It’s been this way from the very beginning, and it is still playing out to this day.
In Genesis 3:7-10, after Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, we read:
“Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” (ESV)
Perhaps one of the most tragic things that happened when Adam and Eve fell is that their sin caused them to pull back and hide from God when He drew near. Then, feeling exposed and unworthy, they tried to come up with their own solution for their sin and made coverings for themselves to hide their nakedness.
It all seems a bit odd—but are we all that different?
God longs to walk intimately with us, but in our sin and shame, we pull back in fear from the very one who loves us the most. His heart breaks over how our sin breaks us, and He longs to restore us to Himself. But sadly, so often, we feel we must clean ourselves up and cover ourselves before we allow ourselves to be seen by Him.
Though the idea of making coverings for ourselves out of fig leaves feels a bit dated, we still take part in the same ritual in our own ways. We pull back. We feel we can’t come to God because He is surely too grieved by our sin. We reason He is likely angry and frustrated with us that we cannot seem to get our act together. So rather than run to Him, we wallow in self-loathing and stay at what feels like a safe distance.
And all-the-while, when we pulled back in fear of a wrathful, angry God, His love would not settle with leaving us in our state of separation. Tearing through the fabric of space and time, He came after us. Like a good shepherd going after a wayward sheep, He left home and went into the far country, searching for us until He finds us in our wandering. Taking on skin and bones, joining us in our humanity, becoming acquainted with our brokenness, He would be known as a friend of sinners. And sinners, when they encountered and experienced His love, did not find Him to be full of wrath and anger toward them—but full of mercy, grace, and compassion.
On the cross, this love was all on full display. If the cross is anything, it is a representation of how far God is willing to go to reach us in our wandering. He bore the death that was ours so that He could give us His life. This is not a God who is waiting to destroy us when we mess up, but a God who is longing to restore us to Himself by whatever means necessary. This is a God who, at the height of his suffering, cries out, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” As John chapter 3 reminds us, Jesus did not come into the world to condemn the world but to save it!
Your invitation today is simple. Stop thinking that you can add anything to what Jesus did on the cross. The price He paid to free you from death, sin, and the grave was more than sufficient. God does not need your self-loathing or for you to remain at a distance in fear when you sin. In fact, when we do these things, it is actually pride masquerading as humility. It says to Jesus that what He did on the cross was not enough, and that you must add your own penance to it before you can come to Him. True humility is to see yourself as God does—as forgiven, accepted, and beloved. It is to receive with gratitude the work Jesus did to set you free, and to let your life be a response to that reality.
When we see God rightly, we do not draw back in fear when we stumble, as Adam and Eve did in their delusion. We run to Him in faith, trusting that He loves us and believing that what He did on the cross was more than enough to blot out every stain and to make us white as snow.
As John the apostle reminds us,
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18, NIV)
It’s time to allow perfect love to wash over your heart, and as you do, to draw near to your loving Father with confidence. Our enemy would have you believe that God is waiting to kick you while you are down, when all the while, our Father is waiting to pick you up into His loving arms.
Day 26 Freedom Work
Scripture Reading — Read Romans 5 and 1 John 4, taking notes of what the Holy Spirit highlights to you.
- What has been your response to God when you fall into sin? Do you run to Him or do you feel the need to draw back and hide from Him? In what ways do you hide?
- Do you view God as longing to restore you and pour out his mercy and grace on you, or as waiting to kick you when you are down? How does this play out in your life?
- How would you respond differently to God when you sin if you knew that when you ran to Him, you would experience forgiveness, mercy, and compassion?
Prayer — Father, I want to fear you in a healthy way—to give you the reverence and awe that you deserve. But I do not want to be afraid of you and draw back. Help me to see you as a loving Father and not a cruel taskmaster. Reveal yourself to me as slow to anger and abounding in love. By your Spirit, expose any wrong beliefs I have held about you that have kept me from running to you in my time of need. I do not want to hide from you and distance myself as Adam and Eve did. I want to run into your loving arms. I choose to believe that the work Jesus accomplished on the cross was enough, and that there is nothing I can do to add to it. I receive your love, and ask that you help me to understand how wide, long, high, and deep it truly is! Let your perfect love wash over my heart, and may it lead me to run quickly to you if I fall. Amen.
When it comes to love and sexuality, the one thing all humans have in common is this—we have all been wounded in this area. Most of us deeply, in one way or another. Perhaps you have been through intense trauma and abuse, or perhaps your wounds are more subtle. Regardless, nobody gets completely off the hook. We all have hurts that we carry through life that we didn’t choose. Some of them we carry for years, or even decades.
When it comes to love, there are two primary ways we are wounded. The first way we are wounded is that we are wrongly loved. This is when we experience mistreatment and even abuse from others—often those we had expected to love us the most. The second way we are wounded is that we are not loved. We were neglected or rejected by those whose love we deeply longed for. While the life situations that result in these two types of wounds vary widely, at the end of the day, we live in a broken world where broken people break people. This is part of the human experience.
We touched on this at the beginning of this study, but it’s worth repeating. John 10:10 tells us that our enemy seeks to kill, to steal, and to destroy. You don’t have to look past the assault on your own heart and soul to find evidence of that.
But it’s not the end of the story.
In the latter half of the verse, Jesus declares, “I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full.”
On another occasion, Jesus declares to Zacchaeus, a broken, rejected man, “for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10, NKJV).
Jesus is on a clear mission to bring us back to life. He is in the business of restoring our hearts.
The good news of the gospel is that God through Christ is restoring both our hearts and ultimately, the brokenness of this world. Whatever happened to you, however you have been mistreated, abused, neglected, or rejected, there are two major ways Jesus brings healing and wholeness.
The first comes as a surprise to many—Jesus enters into our pain and suffers with us. We do not have a God who is far away and distant, unable to empathize with us. We have a God who in Christ, became human, and entered into the mess of broken humanity. In his life, and through his death on the cross, he endured the worst mistreatment imaginable—bearing the fullness of human depravity into himself. Whenever we find ourselves wondering, how, if God is good, is there so much evil and suffering in the world—or even in our own lives—we must live and wrestle in the tension of this mystery. Even our own God is not immune to or exempt from suffering. He experienced the worst of what this world has to offer.
That, of course, is only part of the story though. We know that after Jesus suffered and died, on the third day, He rose again. The resurrection emphatically declares that God is making all things new. It declares that death does not have the final word. It declares that suffering and pain are not the end of the story. It declares a new, better ending to the human story—so much of which has been plagued with darkness.
So what does all of this have to do with God healing our wounds? A lot.
First, wherever you have been wounded, you are not alone. Jesus, through the cross, enters into all of our suffering. He experienced betrayal, rejection, abuse, neglect, hate, abandonment, and more. Through the cross Jesus permanently communicates to us that we are not alone—that He knows our pain, and He is with us in the depths of our experience.
Second, through the resurrection, Jesus declares that He is putting us and the world back together again. Notice that even in His resurrected form, he still bears the marks of the nails on his hands and feet. Our suffering marks all of us in ways we did not choose. But it is these same scars that become the storied reminders of our redemption—beacons of what God has brought us out of and through. He heals our wounds, but he does not rob us of our stories—He makes them beautiful.
It’s been said that time heals all wounds, but it would be more accurate to say that, as we lean into His unfailing love, that God heals all wounds in time. And as we experience the healing of our hearts, once marred and broken by distortions and perversions of love, we are freed to exchange our own brokenness for the glory of being fully alive. Whether your story is one of abuse, neglect, rejection, or most likely, a combination of all of those—Jesus, rewrites the ending. In His love, He brings beauty out of ashes—so if you have ashes, if parts of your life feel like they’ve crashed and burned, it’s time to get your hopes up. God isn’t done yet. Beauty is coming.
Day 25 Freedom Work
Scripture Reading — Read Isaiah 61 several times, taking notes of verses the Holy Spirit highlights to you.
- What are the primary ways you’ve been wounded in regards to love? You don’t have to write down your whole life story, but take the time to write down the themes and, in as much detail as you are comfortable, the ways you have experienced perversions of love or the absence of love altogether.
- Looking over your life and what you’ve been through, can you identify a theme to the ways you’ve been hurt? Is there a similar storyline that runs through your pain?
- Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you any lies about love that you have come to believe as a result of the enemy’s work in your life. Take some time here, and write down whatever comes to your mind.
- Ask Jesus how he feels about the different ways you’ve been wounded in the areas of love and sexuality. Be specific if you can. You may even find it helpful to ask Jesus where He was in these moments of pain and hurt.
- Finally, considering how God brings beauty and resurrection life, ask God to speak directly to the areas where you’ve been hurt the deepest. What is the voice of love saying over you?
Prayer — Jesus, there’s a lot that I don’t understand about the realities of living in a broken world. Sometimes it feels as though darkness gets the final word—but I know that is not true, for you did not stay in the tomb, but rose again. There are areas in my own heart that have been so wounded and broken by others, and even by choices I have made. I feel I am full of ashes—but I thank you that you are the one who brings beauty out of that place. I ask you to speak words of healing and restoration over me. You know the specific ways that I’ve been hurt. You know the ways shame has marked my story. You know the darkness I have felt defines me at times. Speak words of compassion and healing that bring new life to my heart. Heal my wounds with your love—that I may join you in putting this world back together. Amen.
A note in closing: this lesson was intended to give you some practical steps to take in order to begin pursuing healing and wholeness in the areas where you have experienced wounds and even trauma. Repeat the above steps as often as necessary. We highly recommend enlisting the help of others in your journey toward healing—whether that is a trained professional counselor, or a trusted and mature friend. We are the body of Christ, and it takes the body to heal the body. Walking vulnerably with trustworthy allies who can provide insight into your story and partner with you in the ways God is redeeming your past is an important part of living free. Invite the Holy Spirit to lead you to the right people who can be allies in your healing.
If you’ve ever brought up your struggle to get free from porn in Christian circles, there’s a very strong chance the solution you were given was to get accountable. Accountability seems to be the church’s default answer to the problem of porn—but it is only a part of the solution, and it must be done in a healthy ways. Let’s be honest—many attempts at accountability are legalistic, fear-based, and bear little fruit. But let’s be careful not throw the baby out with the bath water, as the saying goes. Instead, let’s explore what it looks like to incorporate the help of others in your freedom journey in ways that are both healthy and helpful.
Make no mistake about it—bringing your struggles into the light and working them out in the context of trusted friends who can provide wise counsel is a helpful part of getting free. It is a fool’s errand to try to get free and fight your battles on your own. It is similarly foolish to hide your sin and keep it secret. If you have any doubt of either of these claims, just read the following verses from Proverbs:
“Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” (Proverbs 15:22, ESV)
“So don’t go to war without wise guidance; victory depends on having many advisers.” (Proverbs 24:6, NLT)
“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” (Proverbs 27:17, NLT)
“He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. (Proverbs 28:13, NASB)
Living honestly and openly with some trusted people and asking for counsel is just what wise people do. It positions you to start winning the battles you face so you can take steps toward lasting transformation. It requires humility to admit that the way you are doing things isn’t working, and to enlist the help of those in your life who are stronger in the areas where you are weak. They will be able to encourage you, help you sort out the issues of your heart, and stand with you when you are facing temptation to help you overcome it.
Furthermore, entrusting your struggles and weaknesses to others allows you to experience the mercy and kindness of God through them. As long as you are keeping secrets and not allowing people to see what’s really going on in your life, you will find it incredibly difficult to experience love—which, as we’ve covered extensively, an inability to receive love will only drive you further into your struggles. In order to feel genuinely loved, you must first risk being known—which requires vulnerability and no small amount of courage to allow people to see your messiness. If you hide your sin from everyone, you will feel that people are merely loving the image you portray to them, but not the real you. Shame is broken by bringing things into the light. As we’ve said previously, you cannot hide and heal at the same time.
So with those important considerations in mind, we can safely conclude that involving a few others in your freedom journey is an important element. It’s just not meant to be the only solution to stubborn sin—and we should seek to do it in a healthy way. Many attempts at living in “accountability” are essentially no more than implementing a system of regular check ups accompanied by confession, where the one with a sin struggle must admit their temptations and failings to their accountability partner. This can quickly become fear and shame based. It may motivate you for a time to avoid sinning so you don’t have to face the discomfort and awkwardness of confessing it, but it rarely deals with the core issues of your heart. In many cases, it is little more than a system designed to keep you from doing something you secretly want rather than a system designed to address deeper issues and help you live from your new heart.
Does accountability have a place in getting free? The answer is that it depends on how you define it. If by accountability, you mean a fear-based system of scheduled but reluctant confession that merely focuses on the external without addressing the core of your brokenness, it is unlikely to be successful. But if by accountability, you mean learning to live openly and honestly with trusted friends who will remind you of your God-given identity, extend the mercy and grace of God to you when you fail, and give you strategies to live according to the new heart God has placed in you, then it can be a powerful ally.
Remember, getting free is not about learning to abstain from something you secretly want. That’s like arm-wrestling yourself. It doesn’t work. Remember the words of Jesus—a house divided against itself cannot stand. Rather, freedom is about learning to live according to your new desires. Your sinful nature was crucified with Christ, and when God raised you from the dead and gave you new life, He also imparted His nature to you. More than that, He gave you His Spirit, cleansed you of your past sins, and empowered you by His grace to walk in the life He intends for you. That’s the foundation for living a free, fulfilling life.
Surround yourself with people who constantly remind you of who God created you to be, who contend for you to come fully alive, and who will stand with you against whatever seeks to destroy you. Wherever you can find people like this, whether it be with a trusted counselor, a pastor, or perhaps a few mature friend, go all in. It can prove instrumental in your journey to freedom.
For a more in depth reading on what healthy accountability looks like, read this.
Day 24 Freedom Work
Scripture Reading — Read Colossians chapter 1 and 2. Take notes of what it says about who you are in Christ.
- Be honest with yourself here—what is your current desire for porn (or whatever sin you struggle with)? Do you still want it in any way? Do you feel you are in a civil war, trying to avoid it while a part of you still secretly wants it? Or are you allowing God to transform your desires from the inside out?
- What would it look like to involve others in your freedom journey in a way that is helpful and healthy? What are some practical steps you can take this week to share your struggle with others who will encourage you and spur you on toward the life God intends for you?
Prayer — Father, I want to experience your love, and that means I must allow myself to be fully known by you. Help me to come out of hiding and shame into the light. I know nothing is hidden from you—but at times, I feel I do not bring all of myself to you. Help me to be with you fully, to allow you into the places that I feel are dark and dirty. Bring light into those places, and let your love wash over me where I feel the most unlovable. Then surround me with people I can share my struggles with and find help where I need it. I long to please you. In my heart of hearts, I do not want to sin and hurt both myself and others. Thank you that you have given me your nature and that the deepest parts of me long to live in the life you offer. Help me to surround myself with people who want the best for me and remind me of who you say I am. Amen.
If you’ve ever tried to clean up your diet, you know how difficult it can be. Eating healthy is important to ward off disease, improve our immune systems, and to live long, full lives. Yet for so many, it is a near constant struggle. Generally speaking, we know the foods we shouldn’t eat, but we have such a hard time staying away from them. Why is that?
It all comes down to science and the way our brains are wired. Foods that are high in fat, salt, and sugar tend to be the most unhealthy, and also, the most addictive. That is because when we eat them, it triggers a dopamine release in our body. And as covered in an earlier lesson, dopamine is a neurotransmitter that imprints pleasurable experiences on the brain so we will be more likely to repeat them in the future. It is associated with nearly all addictive behaviors, from doing hard drugs and checking your phone a hundred times a day, to eating fast food and, you guessed it—watching porn.
Here’s the thing though—your body can only handle so much dopamine. The more dopamine you trigger your body to release above normal levels, the more desensitized your body’s dopamine receptors get. That means that to get the same high you’ve experienced in the past, you need a greater stimulus in the future. If you’ve ever wondered why addictive behaviors escalate over time, this is it. This is why if you eat unhealthy foods, you will crave more of them in the future—and over time, you become more and more unhealthy.
When changing your diet and learning to eat healthy, there’s an important principle, which, given enough time, will play out. Whatever foods you consistently consume, you will develop more of a hunger for. The opposite is also true. Whatever foods you choose not to consume any longer, you will eventually lose your appetite for. That doesn’t mean you’ll never have a craving for anything unhealthy. Rather, it means that for the most part, your appetite changes for the better as you eat better. You will still have to exercise self-control from time to time, but it will get much easier as you consistently make healthier decisions.
This process of reassigning our hunger gives us a key insight into how dopamine works. Dopamine ultimately reinforces whatever behaviors you engage in to fulfill your appetites. If you refrain from fulfilling your appetites with unhealthy things for long enough, your brain will eventually get the message that it needs to find other ways to get dopamine—and as you pursue healthier options, you will begin to form new attachments to them through, you guessed it—our old pal dopamine. In this way, dopamine can be both a powerful enemy or a helpful ally. It all depends on whether you pursue it in unhealthy or healthy ways.
As you begin the journey of cleaning up your diet and learning to make healthier choices however, the choices can feel very difficult. That is because most people who are used to eating junk food have created quite strong appetites for it. This is why, in the beginning stages, most experts recommend cleaning out one’s fridge and pantry to get rid of unhealthy foods that they might crave in a moment of weakness. It’s far easier to develop a new habit if you cut off access to the old way of meeting your cravings. In the long term, as you eat healthier foods, your body and brain adapt to the changes. In the beginning, however, you are far more likely to stick to a healthier way of eating if you don’t have access to junk food in the first place
Now, of course, we aren’t just talking about how to stop eating junk food. We are talking about how to stop looking at porn—and more specifically, how to become a healthy person who no longer needs to look at porn. In fact, you will find the process for kicking junk food habits to the curb and learning to eat healthy is not all that different from that of quitting porn. Putting the spiritual aspect of it to the side for just a minute, porn is essentially sexual junk food. It’s a quick, unhealthy way to respond to your cravings that comes with all kinds of long-term negative side effects. And the process for getting free involves the difficult decisions to get the junk food out of the house and force yourself to find other healthier things to replace it with. In the long run, as you make healthier decisions, you will reduce your unhealthy cravings and attach your hunger to things that give you life and not just a quick fix.
Day 23 Freedom Work
Scripture Reading — Read in the book of Proverbs until you find at least 5 separate verses that speak to the struggles you have, and write them down.
- In what ways do you want a healthier life? How is the process of quitting porn a part of your pursuit of a healthier life?
- Without using spiritual language, how has porn use contributed to you being unhealthy? In what ways has it been like junk food to you? How has it affected the way you see yourself, others, and sexuality?
- Again, without using spiritual language, make a list of as many benefits as possible that you will experience when you learn to replace porn with healthy ways of getting your needs met. Then answer the question—are you willing to make the difficult choices you need to make in the short term in order to change what you hunger for in the long term?
Prayer — Father, I want to be healthy, healed, and whole. I want to be fully human, and to treat others as fully human. Reveal to me the ways that porn has harmed the way I see people you love. I don’t want to see others as objects that I can use to satisfy my own desires. I want to see them as people you love dearly, created in your image. I yield my eyes to you and ask that you fill them with light, that I may see as you do. Amen.
Few people change in a straight line. Most change is messy, difficult, and plays itself out over time. So if you are frustrated that your journey toward freedom is taking a while, just stay the course. The people who get free are the ones who do not give up.
Proverbs tells us the following:
“The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again.” (Proverbs 24:16 NLT)
Refusing to quit and never staying down when you fall are key components to the journey toward freedom.
With all of that being said, it’s very important that when we are stuck, we learn from our mistakes, figure out what is off, and find a new path forward. If you are struggling to find lasting freedom, here are a few reasons why people stay stuck. Make note of all that apply to you, and as you move forward, make the necessary adjustments.
- YOUR MOTIVES ARE OFF. We covered this at the beginning of this freedom journey, but it’s worth coming back to. In 2 Corinthians 7:10, we see that godly sorrow leads to repentance, but worldly sorrow leads to death. The person experiencing godly sorrow is genuinely grieved over their sin because they see how their sin has hurt God and others. This sorrow leads them to live differently and pursue a life marked by love. The person who experiences worldly sorrow over their sin is more concerned with avoiding the negative consequences that sin might produce in their own lives. In other words, their primary motivation is fear of personal loss and is focused inward. Godly sorrow comes from a genuine love for God and others and is first and foremost focused outside of one’s self. It’s not wrong to be concerned about the negative effects sin will have in our lives—but our primary focus needs to be much bigger than this.
- YOU ARE TRYING TO GET FREE ALONE. You can’t hide and heal at the same time. If you want to walk free, you need to immerse yourself in healthy community and involve other people in your journey toward wholeness. Proverbs 15:22 tells us, “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed” (ESV). Who are you routinely asking to speak into areas of your life where you are struggling. Are you being open and honest with others who are in turn encouraging you and spurring you on in your god-given identity? Are you hiding in darkness or are you bringing things into the light, where you can experience the love and guidance of caring, trusted friends?
- YOU STILL LIKE YOUR SIN. It’s a hard thing for any church-going Christian to admit that they still like their sin. Sure, they will say they hate it—that’s the proper answer. But what they typically mean is that they hate the guilt, shame, and condemnation they feel as a result of continuing to struggle, but there are still elements of their sin that they love. We cannot be double-minded about sin and get free. In Romans 12:9, Paul instructs us to, “Hate what is evil, cling to what is good.” When we come into full agreement with God about sin and hate it fully rather than partially, we can then learn to cling to what is good and build our lives around that. It is only when we have a love-hate relationship with sin that we continue to struggle with it.
- YOU DON’T HAVE PROPER BOUNDARIES. When you are trying to get free from porn, it’s critical to have proper boundaries in place to keep you from engaging in behavior that hurts both yourself and others. Things like web filters and software that monitors web and phone activity are not the ultimate solution to porn, but they can be an extremely helpful tool to help keep you from porn while you are doing the work of pursuing inner healing and transformation. In the long-term, lasting freedom comes from learning to live according to your new, god-given desires—but in the short to medium term, having the right fences up is critical. If you are still struggling, sit down with a trusted friend and go through the Porn Proof guide, which will help you decide which boundaries and fences are appropriate.
- YOU AREN’T LEARNING TO LIVE LOVED. Deep struggles with porn most often stem from trying to get our god-given longing for love met in the wrong way. God is love, and we were made by love, in love, and for love. When this need goes unmet, we will look for other ways to feel the love we were made for. To this end, porn helps us feel loved for a moment, even if it is completely based in irrational illusions. When you learn to receive God’s love and rest in it, you will find the pull to pursue the false intimacy porn offers is greatly diminished. The simple truth is that God loves you as much right now as He ever will. He doesn’t love you less when you are struggling, and He will not love you more when you are finally free. If you have a hard time experiencing God’s love personally, find verses about the love of God and just meditate on them until they get deep in your heart. Pray through these passages and make a habit of asking the Holy Spirit to reveal the love of God to you. Over time, these practices will help you to live loved, and people who live loved don’t go looking for cheap substitutes.
There you have it. The five reasons listed above are not a comprehensive list, but they should help you identify key areas where you can still experience significant growth and transformation. Take an honest assessment of where you are on each of those areas, and make the adjustments you need to make going forward. Keep at this thing. Stay hungry for freedom, remain open to truth, and maintain a bias toward action, and you’ll keep making progress.
Day 22 Freedom Work
Scripture Reading — Read 1 John chapters 1–3, taking notes of how God loves us and the effect that receiving that love has in our lives.
Journaling Exercises — Answer the following questions at length in your journal. Aim to spend at least 7–10 minutes per question and go into as much detail as possible.
- Looking at the five common reasons people stay stuck outlined above, which do you feel you have significant room to grow in. Be honest in your answer, and go into as much detail as possible. The more honest you are, the easier it will be to figure out why you may still be stuck.
- For every area you were able to identify where you still have significant room to grow, write out practical actions that would help you grow in that area. Some action steps may be obvious like “invite a trusted friend into my struggle,” while others, you may need to lean into the Holy Spirit and what He has to say about it.
Prayer — Father, I ask that as I pursue freedom, you fill me with humility and wisdom to see the areas where I need to grow and to take actions that will lead me into life. Holy Spirit, search my heart and know me. Reveal to me the things I still believe that are keeping me stuck, and reveal the truth that will set me free. I ask that you continue to open my heart to receive the abundant love that you have for me, and that you heal me where I am broken. You know the specific things I need. Open my heart to receive correction and encouragement from you so that I can turn from destructive behavior and live in wholeness and healing. Amen.
When you are in a moment of temptation, it is extremely difficult to think with a long-term perspective. The potential benefits and pleasures of giving into the struggle can become intoxicating. Thinking about temptation with a short-term mindset is a recipe for disaster. The less you consider the future, the more likely you are to give into temptation. But the more you consider the long-term consequences of giving into short-term gratification, the less likely you will be to give in.
This is why Proverbs 29:18 tells us, “Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint” (BSB). If you lack a context for the way your decisions in the now will affect the future, you will not be restrained by wisdom, but rather, you will be unrestrained in your decisions. You will do what feels good rather than what is good.
Consider the story of the prodigal son. He left home to live a life of sin because he failed to consider the long-term ramifications of such actions. Had he understood how his choices to throw off restraint and live wildly would lead him to one day be starving in a pigstye, he might have made different decisions. Seldom do we actually connect our decisions to pursue short-term gratification with the long-term pain and hardship those decisions will ultimately bring.
The goal of today’s lesson is simple: to help you connect giving into temptation with the pigsty it leads to, and to see how standing strong helps you move toward the life you ultimately want.
First though, we have to tackle a big lie people often tell themselves when they give into temptation. Rarely does the decision to pursue short-term gratification produce immediate consequences in your life. Because of this, it can be tempting to believe that you can sin without consequences. Nothing could be further from the truth. The lie that we can plant the seeds of sin in our lives without reaping the consequences is just that—a lie. Don’t ever confuse the lack of immediate consequences with a lack of consequences. Romans chapter 3 tells us that “the wages of sin is death.” Galatians 6 tells us that “a man reaps what he sows.” James chapter 1 tells us that “sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to death.” All sin eventually leads to death. Period. There are no exceptions. The sooner we get this revelation deep in our hearts, the better.
So with all of that in mind, let’s dive into an exercise that will help you live with greater clarity and vision. A fair warning—this will be an extension of some of the journaling work you did in the first day of this journey—but do not ignore it. You will be going much deeper in a way that should be profoundly helpful. What is this exercise? It’s taking time to intentionally map out where your choices will lead you in the future. When you consider not only the short-term gains, but also the long-term consequences of your actions, you will live with much greater sobriety and make choices that align more consistently with your long-term goals. You will transition from thinking “I can’t be happy without this” to “I can only be happy without this,” a critical shift in belief that everyone who gets free must ultimately go through.
Remember, getting free isn’t just about saying no. It’s about finding a better yes—and that better yes is the life God offers you if you will only follow His lead. It’s not a life without trouble or hardship—but it is one where you are fully alive and step into who He created you to be.
Day 21 Freedom Work
Scripture Reading — Read Proverbs 29 and Galatians 6. Consider the pros and cons of living with a short-term vision vs a long-term vision.
Journaling Exercises — Answer the following questions at length in your journal. Aim to spend at least 15-20 minutes per question and go into as much detail as possible. When you are completed with the two questions below (aim for at least one full page for each question), make sure to come back and read through these journal entries regularly. This will help to cement a new vision in your mind.
- In as much detail as possible, write out all of the negative consequences you are currently experiencing as a result of having given into the specific sin you struggle with. Then, using your imagination, write down in detail what your life will look like 5 years from now if you change nothing. What pain, heartache, and destruction will your sin produce in your life and in the lives of those you love?
- In as much detail as possible, write out all of the benefits you will experience when you make the difficult choices to walk away from your sin. Write out the life you could be living 5 years from now. What impact will five years of consistently making the difficult decisions to leave your sin behind and say yes to something better have in your life? In your relationships? In the way you see yourself? In your vocation/calling? Why do you want this life? What will be required of you to step into it? How will God help you get there?
Prayer — Father, help me to think soberly about the choices I make. It often feels that I have no choice in the matter. The pull of sin and temptation can feel so strong at times—but I know that you always provide me a way out. Help me to see how I can only experience true life by following you. By your Spirit, reveal to me any areas where I am living in deception. Expose the lie that sin has no consequences. Help me to see choices to sin for what they are—steps toward death and destruction. Give me a bigger vision for my life. I want true life, not just temporary relief and pleasure! Build a dream in me for the life that you will lead me into when I partner with the work the Holy Spirit is doing in me. Amen.