If your experience was anything like mine, you were exposed to porn at a young age. I was twelve when a friend showed me a magazine, and it grabbed hold of me.
When I got saved, some struggles left immediately. I stopped living like a frat kid, going to parties and drinking excessively. I was instantly freed from cussing. But my struggle with porn proved far more stubborn, even extending into the first couple years of my marriage. It seemed that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t break free.
Then, I went on a four-day fast, and I was completely delivered.
Puzzled, I asked God why, for so long, it seemed I couldn’t break free no matter what I tried—but then one day, the bondage finally broke. What He showed me was that, before getting free, I was sorrowful over my sin, but it was the wrong kind of sorrow.
Paul tells us,
“For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10 ESV)
When I couldn’t get free, I was afraid of the consequences that continuing to struggle could have in my life. I didn’t want it to ruin my ministry or my marriage.
Leading up to the time when I got free, everything changed, I began to be grieved that my sin was hurting the hearts of those I loved. This was godly sorrow—a sorrow motivated not by fear of personal loss, but by love for God and others. And it produced a deep, true repentance in my heart.
If you are struggling to get free, the first question you need to ask yourself is: “Who is the focus of my sorrow?” Do you have worldly sorrow, fearing the personal consequences of your sin? Or do you have godly sorrow, driven by genuine love?
The first kind of sorrow will keep you bound. The latter will lead you toward freedom.
Today, I want you to pray that God would produce godly sorrow in you. Ask to know Him more intimately, and that you would be genuinely grieved over any sin that would get in the way of that intimacy. When you get your motivation right, it makes all the difference.
Day 4 Freedom Work
Scripture Reading — Read 2 Corinthians 7, carefully and thoughtfully, making notes of the differences between worldly sorrow and godly sorrow
Journaling Exercises — Answer the following questions at length in your journal. Aim to write for about 5-7 minutes per question:
- What has been your motivation to get free up until this point? Ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart and reveal this to you. The more thorough you can be, the better.
- Be completely honest with yourself—has your motivation to get free come primarily from fear of personal consequences or from being genuinely grieved that you are hurting God’s heart and the people around you? Who has been the focus of your sorrow—God and others, or yourself?
- What would it look like to have a genuine godly sorrow over your struggles with sin/porn?
Prayer: Father, I don’t want to be motivated by fear, or any other reason except my love for you and a genuine love for people. Help me to experience a godly sorrow rather than a sorrow based on fear of personal loss. I recognize that my sin in this area has first and foremost grieved your heart, and I want to feel that deeply. Help me to feel the pain my sin has caused you and the people around me in my life—and then help me to repent and turn from it. I want to see my sin for what it is and be truly cut to the heart so I can fully and deeply repent. Thank you that even in the midst of my brokenness, you do not shame me, but you receive me as your child, forgiving me and lavishing your love out on me. Amen.