Day 24 – Let’s Talk about the “A” Word

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.  

Journaling Exercises — Answer the following questions at length in your journal. Aim to spend at least 5–7 minutes per question.

  • 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.

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Dr. Joseph Serwadda's Story

Over the past decade, numerous pastors and leaders from all over the world have been crying out (and even begging us) for discipleship resources in their language. This may sound extreme, but in America we have an abundance of books and resources that are available to us that are often taken for granted. In many ways, we have access to excess.

In some developing nations, people have never seen a book in their language. When leaders from these nations are given a book, they treat it as sacred gift! They even hand-write books and Bibles word for word so that they can spread this message of hope to others in their sphere of influence.

Dr. Joseph Serwadda, a leader from Uganda who oversees a group of churches that number approximately 27,000, echoes this need among pastors and leaders all over the world: “Our biggest need is not money or bigger buildings, but solid teaching. We lack literature for people to read and study on their own. The more people we have in church who are less instructed in the Word of God, the less solidity we have. Come and help us preserve the harvest. This is a Macedonian call!”

Pastor Yassir's Story

Over the years, Cubans have long suffered under the oppression of a single message: communism. Despite this challenge, Yassir is committed to sharing a new message with his people, a message of transformation that can lead to national revival.

Cubans, in general, have been conditioned toward communistic consumption. That’s why Yassir wants his people to embrace a new identity: a life defined by what they can give. This shift requires growth and maturity that can only come through a new perspective.

He explained, “The Cuban church is strong and filled with passion. But I believe it’s important that we shift our mentality. We need to see how the Gospel goes beyond our own needs. Ultimately, we need to take responsibility for ourselves and our nation, and not just wait for outside intervention.”

There aren’t many Christian resources in Cuba. So, Pastor Yassir’s church, along with many other churches throughout Cuba, have been profoundly impacted by the resources Messenger International has provided for them in their own language.

In our conversations with Pastor Yassir, he often cited an ancient proverb: Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you’ve fed him for a lifetime. He sees MessengerX as a tool both to feed his people and teach them to fish.

It’s become evident that after many years in our ministry, the most effective way to transform a village or town is not to construct a church building. This just keeps the local leadership dependent on us.

We are much more effective if we give the indigenous leaders such as Pastor Yassir spiritual knowledge that will empower them to influence their village, town, or city. Such knowledge helps produce the faith needed to grow and sustain the work, which, if necessary, will include buildings and other resources.

Stories like Pastor Yassir’s fuel our mission, because we believe that everyone deserves to know life-transforming truth!

Nura's Story

Before Nura became a follower of Christ, her life was a living hell.
After the death of her husband—from whom she endured many years of abuse and suffering—she became a widow with four children. In search of peace and inner healing, she sought solace in religious places and practices, which only led her deeper into depression and financial debt.

Her last resort was Jesus.

“I came to the Christian church and begged for help! I accepted Christ after I heard of the promise of peace and healing that is found in Him,” Nura wrote. “I slowly began to recover, but there was one thing hindering my healing—unforgiveness.”
Filled with regrets, Nura struggled to forgive her husband. But the grip of offense began to weaken when her pastor handed her a copy of The Bait of Satan.

“I forgave my husband after I learned how much I, too, needed forgiveness,” shared Nura. “Now I am healed, and I have peace for the first time in my life. Some even say I look ten years younger!”


Pastor Raphael's Story

Pastor Raphael was raised in Kenya, immersed in a culture of darkness. As a child, he lacked affection because his father believed that strong men don’t show love. He continually witnessed his father beat and belittle his mother. Everywhere he looked, insidious behavior was practiced toward women and infants—families were being destroyed and lives were ending before they had a chance to begin.

This was the destiny Raphael was headed toward.

But everything changed when truth entered the scene. The first area to be transformed was Raphael’s heart—which, in turn, transformed his marriage and his family. And with a strong and healthy family, his whole outlook toward life has changed.

“Through the resources of Messenger International, a relentless passion was ignited in me to see the people of my country free from lies,” shared Raphael. “I discovered my purpose to train up others and bring God’s transforming truth to remote villages.”

Raphael has trekked miles through mud and rain to reach people, often rising early and returning late. He would travel over 50 miles a day with his bicycle—but through the generosity of the MessengerX community, he was given a motorcycle, which has enabled him to double his efforts while easily transporting the resources and supplies he needs to facilitate his classes. Raphael has seen over 200 of his students graduate in the villages he serves.

“Thank you for investing in my people,” expressed Raphael. “Each day tribal warriors are transformed into children of God, marriages are infused with love, and the innocent are protected. Your generosity has given us the tools we need to rewrite our story and reclaim our humanity.”

Dahlia's Story

Formerly a Muslim, Dahlia fled to Turkey after she was expelled from her Iranian school and excommunicated by her family. Her crime? Becoming a Christian.

You can now find Dahlia in a refugee camp, far from what she once called home. But despite the upheaval, she has found purpose in her pain. On a daily basis, Dahlia walks through her makeshift town and prays over the people. They have become her people—the audience of her message.

Dahlia has become a messenger, and she is often spotted lovingly serving those around her and sharing her faith with them. Despite language barriers, people are drawn to her because they see something different in her. And what’s amazing is that she’s not only reaching the people in her refugee camp, she’s also impacting those she left behind in Iran.

“I’ve had calls from Iran,” writes Dahlia. “People who mocked me because of my faith now believe in Jesus and want to know more. So, I tell them about MessengerX, which has a lot of translated discipleship resources.”

As we continue to provide people like Dahlia with life-transforming truth in their own language, we’re helping them grow in their faith and discover their purpose—and we’re equipping them to make a difference in their world.

“I am beyond thankful for all of the books that I’ve been able to read in my language, such as Driven by Eternity, translated in Farsi,” shared Dahlia. “I read them again and again. The messages keep me company in this lonely season, and they inspire me to reveal Jesus to the hurting people all around me.”