Freedom. We want it, we crave it, yet we think it’s impossible to have.
Even as believers, there are a lot of us living in chains. Slaves to our desires. Slaves to our sin. We have heard of the concept of freedom, but we have never experienced it for ourselves.
Most days we think we can earn this freedom. Maybe if we pray more, do more, or work more, then we will experience freedom, but eventually we run out of steam. This semester I had the opportunity to work with Dirty Girls Ministry, a ministry providing help, hope and healing for women with pornography and sexual addiction. For ten weeks, I met with the same women online for a face to face support group. Some of these women were in recovery from a past addiction, some had relapsed, and others were knee deep in their struggle.
During our ten weeks together, I learned a lot about addiction, healing, and recovery. Here are just a few of the lessons God taught me through these women:
Satan uses our slavery to addictions to make us question our salvation.
Most sexual addiction issues are really intimacy issues.
Sexual addiction leads to self-hate.
It is hard to remember God’s truth in the midst of addiction.
The church needs to talk about porn and masturbation.
When we don’t talk about it, Satan thrives in our isolation.
These issues are not just a man’s problem!
Those in bondage truly desire to live in freedom.
We believe the lie that lasting freedom is not possible.
We blame our sexualized culture for our addictions.
Finding freedom is not just behavior modification, but is a heart change.
Accountability is 100% necessary for continued freedom.
In order to heal, we must restore our view of God.
Lastly, we can’t experience freedom on our own.
These women were constantly trying to break free from the cycle of addiction, but always feeling defeated. As a group, we discovered the key to freedom is the Holy Spirit.
The only way to experience freedom is through the power of the Holy Spirit, not by our own strength.
Are you struggling with sexual addiction? Do you long for freedom?
You can experience freedom.
Freedom from the chains of sexual sin.
Freedom from the thoughts of shame and guilt.
Here are 3 ways that the Spirit gives us freedom:
1) The Spirit connects us to God in the most intimate way possible. Once you become a Christian, the Holy Spirit takes root inside of you. Nothing is more intimate than one thing inside another. Think of the intimacy of sex. The intimacy we have with God is even more intimate than sex. This intimacy will fix the intimacy issues of sexual addictions.
“Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” 1 Corinthians 3:16.
2) The Spirit plants in us the very desires of God. We may desire the pleasures of sex outside of marriage, but we have the living God inside of us. God’s desires are living inside of us to help us find freedom.
“I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.” Ezekiel 36:27.
3) The Spirit enables us to battle the flesh by giving us God’s power. The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is the power that lives within us.
“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” Romans 8:11.
The Holy Spirit is our lifeline to freedom. We have to give attention and care to the Spirit, spend time with God and constantly get filled by His word in order to fight the flesh.
The Holy Spirit will help you live out freedom.
I know that freedom is hard, but you are not fighting alone. You have the Spirit of God inside of you to give you the desire to follow him and to give you the power to battle all temptations.
This Friday is Good Friday – the day Jesus was crucified on the cross. I can’t think of a better time to share this message because the only reason we get to experience freedom is because He died.
You can be free because Jesus’s death on the cross was for all of your sins. Jesus died to give you freedom. He took on all your shame and guilt in order to make you white as snow.
Right now, you might be filled with shame… you can experience freedom because of His death. You might feel guilty… you can be free because of His blood.
Jesus is our Savior, redeemer, and lover and because of this we are free.
Once you become a Christian, you have a new identity in Christ. You are set apart. Sin no longer has a hold on you and is no longer your identity. This doesn’t mean we won’t sin anymore, but now your identity is with Christ. Everything is different. You may not feel it, but that is the reality. It is not about praying more or doing more, it’s about who we are in Christ.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1.