Welcome back if you’re joining me from the Introduction. If not, please head back and read it first before moving on to this one!
“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”
The first time I shared this part of my story publicly online, I was absolutely petrified! Since then the fear has been swallowed up by passion and excitement! I have loved being able to bring a message of hope to people who’ve been emptied of it as well as sharing about how it has transformed my relationship with God! Do go and read it if you’d like some context for what I’m going to share in this series!
Let’s jump in.
After walking away from being addicted to porn to follow Jesus (seriously, you might want to check out that post…haha), I found that there were some new things going on in my heart.
There was a renewed love for Jesus and a new clarity in hearing the Holy Spirit accompanied by the sense of a clear conscience and pure heart before God. With all of that going on, the idea of going back to pornography was actually laughable!
Along with the sneaky one at the top, here’s a few Bible verses that help to capture a bit of what I believe happened to me.
Jesus says of the ex-prostitute who recklessly worshipped Him: “Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” (Luke 7:47)
John tells us that “If we confess our sins, [God] is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1John 1:9) and that “…if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him.” (1John 3:21-22)
There is a depth of shame and guilt that often comes from watching porn that is very deep and very dark. You might be able to relate. Although many engage with pornography to gain a sense of power, there’s a sense of powerlessness that lingers and flares when you actually try to free yourself.
Getting set free by Jesus creates a love and an intimacy between you that you jealousy guard. Knowing the power of His forgiveness and grace in practice instead of in theory produces a gratitude that wants to serve Him and pursue the desires of His heart.
Getting set free by Jesus creates a love and an intimacy between you that you jealousy guard.
I think that denial of sin is one of the biggest dampeners on our relationship with God and our growth as Christians. John tells us that our access to forgiveness is determined by our confession of sin, not as a work that earns it but as a door bringing us into the experience of the grace that is available to us.
Many of us want to continue in our favourite sin and so we find ways to excuse it. “It’s not really that bad”; “We’re not under law we’re under grace”; “I’m not hurting anyone” and “It’s just a bit of fun” are excuses that I’ve heard a lot and used over time.
We may feel more “free” and less “religious” while we indulge in these activities and attitudes but if our goal is intimacy with Jesus, denial is only going to hinder us.
It’s the pure in heart who see God and it is those who confess their sin and admit their wrong that get purified.
Some might argue that sin doesn’t separate us from God because He loves us unconditionally. I’d definitely agree that He does. The separation occurs in our hearts, not His. When Adam and Eve ate the fruit, who hid? God? Nope. It was us and it is still us.
When we know we’ve sinned, shame causes us to withdraw in our relationship with God which immediately begins to affect how we see and hear Him. We might still shout to Him from behind our fig leaves from time to time but we’re still hiding.
Our fig leaves are whatever we use to hide behind to keep a safe distance from ourselves and God. Our fig leaves may look super-spiritual or indifferent, they may be very subtle or obvious.
They may be made up of our church attendance, they might be our daily Bible reading or maybe just our good deed for the day but either way, they are something we have designed to try and stop God from seeing us as we are.
We have to remember that we have an enemy and our enemy wants us to live in the condemnation of our hearts i.e. deciding that God hates us and wants nothing to do with us and this is all so that we won’t run to the One who is actually able to heal and forgive and restore us!
When our consciences are clean and we know that our hearts are set towards pleasing Him, there’s an ability to stand openly before God without fear or shame, to see Him more clearly and know Him more fully.
Our access to forgiveness is determined by our confession of sin, not as a work that earns it but as a door bringing us into the experience of grace that is available to us.
I don’t want to imply that I hear God’s voice more clearly than the next Christian because I don’t watch porn, because that would negate His grace. In fact, I was floored by the fact that God continued to speak to me and through me while I was still addicted to porn!
What I will say is that I believe our hearts are instruments given to us to interact with God and that they work best when they’re clean. Although instruments may still work when dirty, they won’t operate at the level they were intended to.
I wonder why we often live as though we want to try and get away with as much dirt in our hearts as possible instead of guarding them for the sake of intimacy with our King? Jesus said in Matthew 5:8 that the ability to perceive God is linked to the purity of our hearts.
Terms like “legalism”, “striving” and “earning salvation” may have already jumped into your mind. I’ll be addressing this mindset a little more fully in the next post but since you’ve read this far I’d like to encourage you to honestly ask yourself a few questions:
- Are there any hobbies or practices in my life I’m wanting to shield from God’s eyes? It can be hard to identify these things or they may be the things that immediately spring to mind. Sometimes these are the things we hide from Christian friends but basically these are things we’d wouldn’t do if Jesus was sat in the room with us.
- Do I want to see, hear and experience God with more clarity than I currently am? Sometimes we can get apathetic in our relationship with God and forget that He is a shoreless, bottomless ocean of excitement, delight and revelation and we find ourselves content to paddle on the surface and ignore the call of the deep.
- Do I value purity? Do you see purity as an optional extra to your life and relationship with God? Does it feel more like an unnecessarily strict rule that religious people try to put on you?
- Do I understand grace? Do you see grace as an excuse to sin or a gift to help you grow in righteousness?
Thanks for reading! Head over to Part 2! Today’s song will be sponsored by All Sons and Daughters