I have spent my entire life in selfish pursuit of the hunger you have always talked about. This hunger has led me down very dark pathways, and even to prison–not once, but twice. I have had an addiction to pornography all my adult life, and it was this addiction that ultimately led me to prison, and to Christ. For decades I was an intellectual Christian, one of the many for whom being a Christian changed nothing whatsoever in my life. I would pray to God, to Jesus, whenever my life became difficult, whenever I became afraid. When I lost a job because I was looking at pornography at work, I prayed, made promises, and never changed. When I was convicted and sent to prison, I did the same. While in prison, I went through and completed treatment, but it never fixed the core issue. The Hunger.
I was ‘out’ for two years and began looking at pornography again because of my absolute despair and the meaninglessness of my life. While back in prison, I began the ‘God, just get me out of this….’ promises again and I started to read the Bible. I had done this before as well. There have been several times where I ‘tried’ to be a ‘good Christian’, but just couldn’t live up to the supposed expectations. For some reason, I knew that I couldn’t do this “Christian Thing” half way. It was all or nothing. So I would read the Bible for a few weeks and stop.
When I came back to prison, I started reading the Bible yet again, and I noticed that on the days where I read the Bible, I didn’t have those deviant fantasies which had so long been a part of my mental landscape. I had always used fantasy to escape the uncomfortably of my life, to fill the hunger, but I had finally come to a place where I truly didn’t want that in my life anymore. In any case, I started reading the Bible every day, not because it was ‘right’, but just out of the desire to keep the sexual fantasies at bay. Everything grew out of that.
One day I finally realized that I actually LOVED God, and I began to FEEL his love for me. I know people say ‘that changed everything’. Well….it absolutely did. For everyone who already has this, you won’t need me to explain. For those who don’t have this…I’ll never be able to explain it to you. It sounds like foolishness, like some sort of mental self-help trick I am playing on myself, but it’s not. I have tried meditation many times, and zazen NEVER did this for me. This isn’t something I’ve convinced myself of, it’s not a trick, it’s not me being some weak and gullible rube. I have a PHD-level IQ. I’m not some simple-minded pleeb. But I tell you that the love of Christ matters so much more than anything else that exists, in ways I won’t be able to describe properly. Being with Christ isn’t about trying to be good, it’s a love relationship that comes to define you as a human being. God can have any part of my life that he wants. I am his slave. And it’s not because I’m a good person–I’m a selfish person. I don’t know how to explain it, but when you feel this kind of love from Christ, you hand your life over to him because you want him inside everything you do, inside everything you are. So I drop to my knees and worship him not because he’s worthy of it, or because he’s making me, it’s because I need his love like air. My worship of him doesn’t degrade me. It’s not about degradation at all. Worship is just the natural consequence of being in love with your creator. Again, to understand, you’ve just gotta be there.
This has changed so many things about me. Not only do I not have an issue with porn anymore, (certainly I am tempted from time to time to look at something I shouldn’t, but it’s completely different), but I don’t define who I am by my so-called intelligence anymore. IQ. Big deal. So I’m good at this or that. Fine. It just doesn’t matter anymore. Hardships. Meh. The world, it’s temptations and hardships…none of that clings to me the same way it used to. Sure, I’m still affected by the world, still don’t live up to my Godly potential. OK, yeah, but I have Christ. I have much still to learn, but even that doesn’t matter terribly. I just sort of shrug my shoulders at the world. I’m poor. Does it really matter? <shrug> Not so much. I have Christ. I don’t have a girlfriend or a wife. Does it really matter? <shrug> Not so much. Sure I’d like to have more money and be in a relationship. Nice to have. Not necessary.
I have Christ.