You know what really puts me in a super weird mood for no apparent reason? Looking through old pictures.. I can't really put my finger on why, but it does. If I had to try and guess it would be because I know I have missed a lot of opportunities.. Don't get me wrong, I have had tons of rare opportunities also! But, let me try to explain.
Sometimes I wake up from a daze and I have been scrolling through someones Facebook page that I haven't talked to in years. Have you ever been there? That may have been how you found this post. This might sound rude, but I recently was going through friends on Facebook and deleting the "friends" who I can't even remember the last time we spoke, if ever. So if you're reading this you probably made the cut.. But even that puts me in a weird mood. Maybe because I feel like I missed my chances to share Jesus with those people.
If you have read any of my posts ever you would know that pornography was introduced into my life around early middle school and really hung around for way too long. Even if I have pursued Christ and attempted to live a better life, this struggle was clinging to me.. I'm not completely sure with other addictions but with this one it encourages a secret life. A double life where everything may seem acceptable to the outside world, but if you dig at all you would see decay. So for me when I stare into the eyes of myself in an old photo, I see wasted time.
Every time I slipped I would promise myself, "this is the last time." Every milestone in my life came and this same promise was spoken over and over again. Until finally I would just say it to feel better about myself.
Freedom is always just one conscious step away. To stop looking at porn it requires fighting EVERY SINGLE DAY, in order to set your mind on Christ.
In my life I am extremely blessed to say I can look around at any moment and see men running to kneel at the cross. These men are far from perfect, but they know they desperately need Jesus. They all hold very different roles in their day to day life, but for me they are brothers. When I first started opening up about my struggle to stop giving in to pornography I learned something. It is a shared struggle throughout many lives.. Far too many. Every once in a while someone will come tell me how they love how open I am and how I can speak of struggling with pornography. They speak as if it is so brave, it may be, but it's so common and so deadly that I cannot let it hang around!!
So most of the time I look at old pictures and see time wasted. I look at old friends and the life I was living and see missed opportunities to shine a light. High school was a huge failure for me to show Jesus. I may have been a "good" kid, but even a "good" kid can distract people from seeing the Gospel.
When you kneel at the cross and trust Jesus your past is no longer a shortcoming. Jesus' life was not a waste and I can never out-sin the grace that God pours out. When Jesus sees me He sees a chosen child. Through Jesus and His life, death, and resurrection I can look at my past and see God building and molding me even in the filth in order for my freedom to be that much more glorious. For me my past is now a way to show people where I was, and to praise my Father by displaying how He saved me and washed me from those.
"So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him." (Romans 8:12-17 ESV)
On my own I would be a missed opportunity. On my own I would have longed for more and always come up empty handed.
My life has purpose, and so does yours. My purpose in life is to glorify God and to love! The concept of the Gospel is really crazy if you think about it. It isn't natural to our brains. God made man and man rebelled over and over and over again. God cannot be in the presence of sin. So instead of just wiping the earth bare and scraping the idea, God becomes man and dwells with us. God in the flesh is Jesus, who lives a perfect life without sin. He is killed on a cross. Put in the grave, and at that moment it seems all hope is lost. But three days later He rises from the dead and beats sin and death!! All who put their faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior are set free! Jesus took our burden that we may be free. This is the ultimate love story and we have a place in it!!
One day I want a family. I want to be able to be an amazing husband and father. Those have always been a big deal to me! But, without Christ I will never come close to either of those. If porn was still active in my life I would fail in all of those areas. But, through Jesus I have been given a purpose and a vision. I am free and I am not alone. Brothers and sisters, you are not alone. Speak up and lean on Jesus.
My name is Andrew Berry! I am just living my life chasing after Jesus and trying to point others to Him.