Porn addict’s search for freedom

James Jennings was only twelve years old when he became heavily addicted to pornography. For the next nine years of his life "I was a slave of it, whether it would be from the Internet or magazines. I was living for lust".

On top of this, James struggled with deceit and video games. "I would play video games for 15-16 hours a day for about six years of my life," he admits. "That's all I did: play games. I had more joy being a video game character and worrying about the level-ups and the gear that my character had than my real life character."

And through all this, James says he thought he was a Christian.

James grew up in the church and around 5-6 years of age, he said the sinner's prayer on his grandmother's step outside of her house.

"I remember for years after that, my hope of salvation was in that prayer, in me accepting Jesus," he says. "I would remember that spot. My hope was not in Christ. My solid rock was not Him. I was trusting in a frame that appeared to be sturdy but it was going to let me down in the end."

“It is
[Jesus]
who sets
you free,
not your
own self”
Then, as James entered the early teen years, he began taking notice of the magazines in the cashier lines of grocery stores.

"[Pornography] was what drove me," he confesses, "It was what satisfied me. The incredible thing is that no matter how much you get, it will always leave you barren and empty."

James was pulled out of middle school by his parents when he was caught lying about how he spent his time. Instead of doing schoolwork, James would play video games all day every day.

"When I was eighteen, my parents forced me to get my driver's license because I did not even want to drive," James shares sadly. "I wanted to sit at home, with that computer, playing games all day long. That was my god, my idol, and it went hand-in-hand with the Internet and pornography."

James says that he looks back now and realises that he "was a fool. I was going to gain [the world] and lose my soul for all of eternity."

James began to really hate the sin of pornography. "The shame and the guilt it caused in my life – it really made me miserable," he recalls. "I would be on my face, crying out to God, saying, 'God, I will never do this again'. But I kept going right back to it. I was consumed. I was controlled by it.

"I was really striving to get free. I remember doing courses and getting Internet filters. When I was eighteen, I had a burden to put a testimony up because I had been free of pornography for thirty-something days. Then, I began falling back into the sin so I deleted it."

Then, when James was in a relationship with a girl, he began to think, "If I ever marry this person, how will I ever live with myself, being married and still looking at pornography? I do not want to be in a situation like that."

James began to receive false assurance from the church and other people around him that he was saved. But, deep down, he knew that he wasn't and he knew that something in his life had to change.

"At the age of twenty-one, I was lost," James relates. "I started going to a Bible study one night and started to have an interest in the Word of God. I started to talk to all the guys there about how we had to get free of pornography and masturbation. We had Safe Eyes, internet filters, and did 60 day courses but nothing was working."

James went home after the Bible study and walked into the living room where his family was watching a TV show that had supermodels on it. "I looked for one second, I saw a model and all these thoughts of lust flooded my mind," James confesses. "I went back to my room and all these thoughts of lust overcame me; I could not take them captive. I was going to open up my browser to view pornography but instead, I went and checked my Facebook."

Someone, who had been at the Bible Study that night, had sent James a message, praising him for all the positive things they had seen in his life. James realised that God had done nothing in his life, it was all a work of his own. "I had worked so hard to clean the outside of the cup, yet I had no new heart from God. I was not born again [spiritually renewed]."

That night, James cried out to God. He finally gave up all his idols and addictions to the Lord.

"Even though I did not realise it at the time, I was saved that night," James says. "I had freedom, real freedom, from pornography and masturbation. I was no longer a slave to it."

Months later, James realised that he had not been saved at the age of six; he had been saved that very night as a twenty-one year old.

"To have the preciousness of Christ – to know that He became sin for me and that He suffered the wrath of God and that God allowed His only Son to die on the cross for my sins personally; that is just incredible, it is amazing," James exclaims with a smile.

Later, James started up the website, Illbehonest.com, where people are free to openly share their testimonies and tell others about how much God has worked in their lives.

"For eighteen years of my life, I was totally hardened to the truth," James admits. "I pursued freedom, but I did not pursue Christ. If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed, but it is the Son who sets you free, it is not your own self. So, pursue God with all of your heart, soul and mind; He is so worthy of it."

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