On August 8, 2009, the abundant grace and mercy of Jesus Christ changed my life forever, and it started with the tool Covenant Eyes. Rejoice with me!
Believers fondly remember the days in which they recall beginning a significant step forward in their Christian walk. It’s probably a “duh” to say that the day of salvation tops the list. Add to that the days of baptism, serving in a ministry for the very first time, joining a church’s membership rolls, and so forth. Include me in that crowd, as I fondly remember August 8, 2009, which is five years ago today. My heart has overflowed with joy throughout this week! Yet it isn’t the day I trusted Christ, was baptized, or became a church member. I received Christ around 20 years ago, and those remaining two events happened a little over four years ago. Instead, it’s the day that I finally started living as one whom Jesus saved. Let’s do a little math: 1994, the year of my salvation, is 15 years prior to 2009. What happened during all that time? Well, as I briefly mention in another article, Not Even A “Hint”, I had sadly been mastered by a lifestyle of consuming pornography in its various forms, and was caught up in a mess of other sins. Needless to say, I was a completely ineffective Christian for most of that time, but that’s what makes God’s grace so glorious and beautiful. God changed my life forever on August 8, 2009.
I will spare you the countless gory, and what would altogether be discouraging details of my wasted 15 years. I should also be clear that I’m not one to make big deals out of time milestones. Nevertheless, I wanted on this day five years later to recount some of the story of how God granted me freedom from immorality. Many in my local church know this information; now I am sharing it with you readers. And I’m not embarrassed in the least to do so. I already know that I’m the chief of sinners. There’s nothing I could say that God hasn’t already forgiven, and nothing in the future for which He won’t do the same.
On August 8, 2009, God pressed a giant reset button on my life by providing a practical tool, accountability software for the computer specifically. You might know of it, or even use it. It’s called Covenant Eyes. Every porn addict convicted and led into change by the Holy Spirit handles forsaking immorality differently. I did so starting with the awareness that trusted friends could essentially look over my shoulder while I surf the web starting that day. That was the ticket God stamped for me to stop looking at immoral filth cold turkey. The moment I saw the Covenant Eyes initialization popup on my laptop for the first time, which accurately describes itself as “Guarding Hearts. Protecting Integrity.“, that was it.
My installing Covenant Eyes was significant due to a habitually poor choice I made during the week prior to that of the August 8 in question. It caused me to finally be sick to death of what I was doing. Granted I had also been developing an accountability relationship of sorts with my church’s assistant pastor since the prior March, but I needed some kind of tool, a hearty barrier, to break the cycle. God provided Covenant Eyes. I rejoice with tears that since August 8, 2009, I’ve not actively searched for one bit of immoral filth. And I’m committed with a heavenly vengeance to never do so again.
Does all this mean that immorality has forever lost its grip on me? Do I really need to answer that question? The blunt truth is that the war I face is ongoing; it will never end. You can browse some of the other entries on this blog to understand. Sure, I don’t struggle the same day after day, but I definitely need to always be on guard at work, in public, at church, and especially online. Regarding my thought life, I must be ready to necessarily slay the impulses of my flesh (offense), and know when to spend a day in iron-clad armor, or even retreat (defense).
Like any other Christian man that is passionate about biblical integrity, I wish I was always victorious in this area. Nonetheless, I can rejoice that victory is now the norm in my life, whereas prior to five years ago I couldn’t have been further from the privilege of such a claim. Regardless, I’m constantly reminded that I am weak. And that’s not weak as in somewhat unable. It is a wholly corrupting weakness in which I need the strength that Jesus Christ alone can provide for me to extinguish the flaming darts of Satan. The prince of darkness knows me exceedingly well; he helped me to live a tortured life for 15 years after all, and he knows how and when to turn on the temptation faucet at all the worst times. I dare not deflect my personal responsibility, however. I’m accountable before God for every careless thought I think, word I speak, and anything I may do. And while the fact that God knows me fully can be scary at times, it brings me great comfort to know that it’s for my ultimate good, and His overwhelming glory. He is for me and loves me; the devil is against me and hates my guts. Now I’m finally living with a similar hatred toward him!
Still, even when I taste defeat, I have no reason to despair because I have The perfect advocate Who is Jesus Christ. Certainly in a perfect world, I would never entertain a temptation to lust. That world is coming, but it doesn’t exist, and so I do at times. It’s OK if you’re turned off, even repulsed, by such an admission; it’s hardly a bother because you’re a sinner just like me *wink*. Jokes aside, I can’t praise the Lord enough for healing me from within. More and more by God’s grace and strength, I am practicing the command to regard and treat older women as mothers, and younger (or similarly-aged) women as sisters…in all purity.
It must be clear, however. While a tool like Covenant Eyes has been critical in my putting the sins of immorality and impurity to death, it isn’t the be-all-end-all. The only definitive solution is to behold and treasure my Lord Jesus Christ. That is the only definitive solution to any sin problem. Whenever I’m tempted to lust, the only sure way I can defeat it is to believe and act upon the truth that Jesus Christ is my only treasure and satisfaction. Otherwise, I’ve committed spiritual adultery (i.e. idolatry). Nonetheless, I’m thankful for how grace has steadily re-shaped my attitude and thinking about women, sisters in Christ or not, and caused me to remember often who they and God are when I am tempted.
I thank the makers of Covenant Eyes for being used of God to set me on this new path of life. Far more importantly and necessarily, I thank God for choosing to show mercy to a pathetic, sin-sick soul such as I that so often goes astray. (And thank You God for administering well-deserved discipline each time I have!) Thank You God for giving me the chance to heal from a terrible amount of damage. Thank You for giving me Christine, my wonderful wife, in spite of all I’d done to damage the marriage before I even thought about it existing. Thank You for walking with me every day, and never forsaking me. Thank You for restoring me to fellowship with You and the body of Christ. Thank You for enabling me to be even the slightest bit effective again. Thank You for pushing me to serve and worship You as I ought. Above all, thank You for being my heavenly Father.
There’s no telling the misery I would still be experiencing if the great I AM had allowed me to persist in exchanging the worship of my Creator for that of the creation, the truth for a lie. That’s what sin is after all, a worship disorder. I had an awful one for 15 years, at least with respect to immorality. My heart is much more pure now, and as a result, I can see the God Who loves me…and that I love more than ever, much more clearly. I pray that the next five years and beyond, if God has that for me, will prove to be increasingly fruitful for me as I wage war against Satan’s disgusting perversion of the marriage bed.