“They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…” – Revelation 12:11 (NIV)
Our testimony holds great weight and power, especially to someone who is in the valley looking for an ounce of hope to carry them through. In the battle for sexual purity and integrity, those who have found themselves lost in addiction can begin to feel that there is no way out. Satan wants you to believe that no one will understand what you are going through. He supplies one lie after another. His desire is for you to believe that disclosing your secret will only lead to guilt, shame, embarrassment, judgment, and condemnation.
Today, we want to encourage you that you are not alone. People do genuinely understand where you have been, as many have walked the path ahead of you. Freedom is possible, as you will discover through Brad’s story.
In 5th grade, I was viciously attacked and kidnapped. Taken to a shack in the middle of the woods, I was terribly abused. I remember the shock I felt when it happened. I wasn’t strong enough to fight back. Instead, I was forced to do perverted things. As a result of repeated attacks, I was left badly wounded and had sickeningly deep scars from the attack. Amazingly, though I did escape, I was told the scars would be permanent.
I was left feeling incredibly ugly and full of shame. I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror. Slowly, I became a loner and never developed in maturity the way other people my age did. My school classmates constantly teased and tormented me. Needless to say, I internalized the pain and became an angry person.
In response to fear, I would fly off the handle in rage. In an attempt to protect me from further pain, I would build walls around myself, seek to control my environment, my life, and the few friends that I did manage to have.
Manifestation of Fear
Fear often manifests itself in control and anger. You’re upset because you don’t feel safe. And, as was the case with me, you can lose friends over time as a result of that explosive anger.
This anger, though, had become my “normal”. The only life I knew was that which was dominated by fear, control, anger, and rage. I didn’t know any different.
The Bible calls it a “familiar spirit”, and I can now spot it a mile away in others – even in complete strangers. It hates to be exposed, so it covers its victims in plastic smiles and empty words. It can be quite religious, having a form of godliness but it denies the carrier from operating in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Fear and control says, “I believe in the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit,” but refuses to operate in them. This spirit will prevent others from walking in it too. But think about this, even demons believe in the power of the Holy Spirit. Does that make them charismatic? I think not.
I unknowingly carried the pain from my attack with me wherever I went, even into my marriage. My wife saw the scars that had mostly faded on the surface, yet she pitied me because she knew that I had deeper scars. But I was a rageaholic, and sadly my wife left me. Consequently, I sought medical help but the only answer came in the form of 18 years worth of antidepressants.
Suicidal thoughts caused me to seek out pastoral and private counseling, but it didn’t help. I suppressed the memory of the attack and did not remember it for years. But one day, I very clearly remembered my attacker’s name…PORNOGRAPHY.
The Problem with Pornography
Yes, when I was 10 years old, pornography attacked my soul and took me captive. The first glance took place in the woods, in an old shack that was filled with pornographic magazines. I was forced to do perverted things there. This encounter inaugurated decades of mental and spiritual abuse by becoming addicted to porn in magazines and DVD rentals.
The enemy tried to make me believe that my scars were permanent. But the Bible told me that though the curse is passed down to the third and fourth generation, it can be broken by the blood of Jesus. The wounds that were bent on destroying me and all my relationships can disappear, but only if I’m willing to walk out the journey. I can be set free in a moment by God’s grace and forgiveness; however, it will take 3-5 years to renew the mind and create new neural pathways. And during this time, I cannot walk alone.
The truth remains. Porn is insidious. It destroys everything it touches, even if one is exposed for only two minutes. No amount of pornography is safe. In fact, the exposure itself can be quite lethal. All it takes is one look, and suddenly you’re hooked. It’s the same as an addiction to crack, meth, or any other substance. However, according to brain SPECT scans, the porn-addicted brain deteriorates far worse than those who struggle with substance abuse.
Getting My Life Back
I fought to get my life back. There was no discipleship plan in place, like what is being offered through the use of the Conquer Series, so it took me much longer.
The Conquer Series is helping men uncover the root of where their struggle with pornography got started. It’s combining Scripture and Science to speak life, hope, and healing back into what the enemy declared as too far gone. Men are learning why trying harder does not work, and the importance of renewing their mind. Not only are they reclaiming their identities as sons of God, but they are powerfully walking in that revelation.
As I fought to get my life back, my wife noticed a change taking place within me. Slowly, she started to feel safe again. Eventually, she returned to me, not because I asked her to, but because God is good. God was recreating me as I realized that I didn’t have to be a victim any longer. My wife believed in me again and told me that I could choose to no longer partner with fear, anger, and porn. On February 25, 2020, we celebrated 31 years of marriage together, and I am so thankful for my wife. She truly is my Proverbs 31 woman!
It’s Time for the Church to Awaken
The Church, the very community meant to be the body of Christ, has become riddled with addiction. Men don’t know that there is hope and healing unless they are made aware of it proactively. Let me say that again. If you don’t know there’s freedom and healing, you won’t be set free.
If you’re a spiritual shepherd or leader and you don’t address this issue head-on with your people, then you will have to give an account for why you ignored Satan’s attack on your sheep. They are your sheep, and they are being devoured by wolves.
Don’t wait. The time to act is now! As Dr. Doug Weiss says,
“The Church will win every battle that it is prepared for.”
But remember, the opposite is also true.
If your church will not take a public stand to help its own congregation overcome porn and sex addiction, then join along with me and say, “I will”. Sign up at SoulRefiner.com, and get digital access today.
Brad Wolff is the Senior Minister at a healing center called ACTS Ministries, Inc., located in Beaufort, South Carolina. He is passionate about helping men find freedom from the bondage of sexual sin and has led a number of Conquer Groups throughout Beaufort County, SC.