Desperate for Freedom From Porn?

 
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Ken Larkin is a biblical counselor at Pure Life Ministries. In this recent interview, he explored from the Scripture the story of a woman with a great need, and discussed how she sought out Jesus for healing.

Ken showed how this relates to the man in sexual sin, and his need for prayer, desperation, and sincere faith to overcome life-dominating affliction. (From #353 - What Role Does Faith Play in Freedom from Porn?")


Ken Larkin is a biblical counselor here at Pure Life Ministries and he's joined us in the studio today to discuss the vital importance of prayer, and specifically the need of the man who is locked in sexual sin to never stop praying, never stop seeking the Lord, and never stop reaching out for freedom.

Ken, thank you for joining us here today.

 Pleasure to be here, Jim.

 

Ken, some time ago Steve Gallagher was heard to quote a Christian therapist who had said, “the worst thing you can do with people involved in pornography is lecture them about praying more and asking God for help. They've already done that, often to the point of despair.” And Pastor Steve referred to his words as ‘blasphemous,’ because this Christian therapist went on to assert that the only real hope for sexual addiction could be found through psychotherapy. He was clearly inferring that God is not trustworthy. You can cry out to him until you're blue in the face, and nothing is going to happen. So, let's start right there. From your many years of counseling men in sexual sin, how important is it to pray and pray and not give up? How important is it to cry out to the Lord for help?

Well, Jim, I would say indispensable. The only way that God has really prescribed anyone to be set free from sin is through His Son Jesus Christ, and Jesus Himself said, “Ask, seek, and knock.” The remedy is to cry out to God in faith, knowing and believing that He can deliver you from your sin, and not to stop crying until you get that help that you need. There's a scripture, Hebrews 4:15-16. “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who is tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace so that we may receive mercy in fine grace to help in time of need.” And I see that, really, as a huge invitation from the Lord for anyone that needs help, that we can come to his throne; and I love the way he coupled that word mercy with grace. God, in your condition, will give you mercy that you don't deserve, and forgive you of your sin as you’re repenting of it, but He's also going to give you the grace to help in time of need; the grace to overcome that very sin that you're crying out to be delivered from.

And so we can come to God with an attitude of confident expectation, not demanding as though he owes it, and not begging as though he were unwilling, but I like the old word beseeching; and that is humbly and even desperately seeking, but knowing that He hears and intends to answer us. Do you see this attitude in the man who comes into breakthroughs in our Residential Program?

Absolutely and I would say that is the one thing that would define the difference between those who really get deliverance while they're here and the ones that don't. They've already tried all their own resources before coming here. So the only help that they possibly have is to cry out to God until He delivers; and He alone can deliver and He will deliver everyone who asks Him in the name of his Son.

 

Ken, I want to turn to a very familiar story found in the scripture. It's in Mark 5, and here we find the story of the woman with the issue of blood. Tell us what you can about her desperate situation.

Well Jim, she had had this issue of blood for 12 years, and with that there was a social stigma according to Jewish customs of the day. She would have been ceremonially unclean, what we would call an untouchable today. And a lot of people equate that with sexual sin. No one wants to touch these people. And she was desperate, and she had tried every human resource. She went to the experts, the doctors, and she really spent everything she had to try to get the help that she needed, that physical healing, and nothing helped. So she was in this dilemma, where she'd done everything she could and probably running out of hope, that there really was no answer for her.

 

Ken, in your own personal experience, can you relate to this woman? Had you sought help from many sources before finally getting free through faith in Jesus?

I did. I went to worldly wisdom. I was the self-help type guy, too ashamed in a lot of ways to reach out for help, go into a counselor or anything like that. But I did all that anyway because I did it through human wisdom, through books, different self-help type things, trying to get myself out of this. And there was nothing that would deliver me. I remember when I applied for the program, the director asked me, “Why do you want to come here?” And I said “if anything else was going to work it would have already happened,” so I knew that only the Lord could ultimately set me free.

So getting back to our story, one day this woman heard that Jesus of Nazareth was in town. And she decided that she would do what she could to get to Him. Can you tell us what happened when she went out that day in search of healing?

Well she went out and there was a huge crowd around Jesus, and probably weakened from her condition of having this ailment for years, it was seemingly impossible that she could actually get through that crowd to touch Jesus, but she knew that she was in desperation and she knew her only hope was in Jesus. “If I could just touch the hem of his garment, I will be healed.” So she was determined to press through the crowd and get ahold of Him while she could, while He was passing her way.

 

Ken, you mentioned the word desperation. Here at Pure Life, we pray that God will send us desperate men who are desperate for real change. How important is this desperation?

It's indispensable, because ultimately only God can set a person free. And if they're not desperate, they're not going to be willing to cry out to God until that happens. We all want a quick fix, take a magic pill and everything's going to be fine. But God, in sexual sin, usually doesn't work that way. It's through a process of deliverance and it's only through crying out to God consistently and learning to submit yourself to Him, He gives you that direction in your life. Because He does lay out a path for freedom in His word, but it's only by His grace that we can walk into freedom. So it's indispensable. I would say definitely that's one of the most important ingredients for anyone who is truly seeking the be free, to have their faith in God in the desperation just like this woman. “I must touch the hem of His garment to be made whole, and I'm not going to stop until that happens.”

 

The other key word that you just mentioned was faith. Tell me, Ken, in your experience as a counselor, how important is a man's faith to him finally gaining freedom?

It's very important because only God can set you free. But faith is that spiritual thing, if you will, that links you to the power of God. And there's two ingredients that I would say are indispensable for someone seeking help from the Lord. Number one, to believe that God is really that good and merciful and willing that He wants to set the sinner free, He wants to deliver the sexual sinner. But the other thing is that He has the power and the ability to do it, and those coupled together is that faith that has a confident assurance that, not only am I crying out to God, maybe my situation is desperate, but I'm not hopeless because God is going to hear me when I cry out to Him.

 

Now even though we might already know it, finish the story for us. What happened with this woman when she reached out to touch Jesus?

Well she was able to reach out and touch the hem of Jesus' garment. And really, it seemed like, considering her situation in a crowd, how was she going to get through to Jesus? So the beautiful thing about this story is, I believe, even the grace of God enabled her on a journey to make that connection with the Lord. And she was able to reach out and touch the hem of His garment. And just like she believed, as soon as she touched Him, the healing power of God went through her to completely eradicate, completely set her free from this physical ailment, destroy it from the roots up, what no human invention, what no doctor could do for her, Jesus did that day.

Every story in Scripture has a meaning and it has an application. Speaking directly to the man who is listening to us today, the man who has tried many things only still to be stuck in his sin, what would you say to him today about faith, desperation, and seeking a touch from the Lord?

Well this scripture is an excellent example of the type of qualities that are going to be important for anyone seeking freedom. And taking the example of this woman, she was persistent and she had faith, knowing they God could and would deliver her if she could just get ahold of Him, and having that same desperation. You might feel like her; you might feel unclean spiritually because of your sexual sin, she was unclean physically, but the same God who was able to cleanse her and deliver her from this physical ailment can do it for you. But you have to cry out in faith and believe that God wants to do it and He will do it and keep crying out till it happens. That's the desperation we need. Not a hopelessness that there's no hope (maybe God might answer my prayer) but a desperation that I have to be delivered I have to be set free and Jesus will do it as you cry out to Him and don't stop until you get that deliverance and you get the freedom that you're asking for.

 

Ken as we wrap up today I wonder if in your own personal experience you found that having persistence, that having a faith that just wouldn't quit that the practice of crying out and crying out is what made all the difference in your freedom and in your deliverance from the Lord

Yes, what I would say Jim, is in my life I had tried to be free of decades of sexual sin, trying to be free, trying to do all the right things, but it wasn't until I really began to cry out to the Lord that I started seeing something happen. And it was a continuous thing; it wasn't like I just cried out to the Lord once and I was free. God kept working in my life until finally one day I looked back and I was free. I wasn't – my life was no longer dominated by this, so I can say that it was the prayer, it was the crying out to God; it was believing God wanted to, was willing and He was able to set me free. And as I cried out to Him persistently, God did that in my life. I got desperate enough to ask and God answered that prayer in a bigger way than I could have hoped for. And today I'm in freedom that I at one time I thought I would never ever experience.

 

Thank you, Ken, for your counsel, for your work on behalf of men in sexual sin. Thank you for your words here today.

Thank you, Jim.


This excerpt is from our podcast episode, “What Role Does Faith Play in Freedom from Pornography?” Episode #353.

To access our full podcast library, visit purelifeministries.org/purity-for-life, or check us out in the iTunes store or Google Play store.


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