From the time I was eighteen years old it took root. As the days passed it grew. I held secret a sin, believing that no one would understand. Early in my life, I didn’t know Christ and most of my friends didn’t know Him either. When I shared a struggle—which was rare—I was told to get over it, move on, you’re crazy, you got mental issues, or come on man!
Though I had accepted Jesus Christ as Lord of my life, I was still isolating. The longer I isolated, the tighter the enemy gripped.
“But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:3)
I would share bits and pieces of my struggle of insecurities with others, but not all of it. The real truth was buried away deep inside.
“Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13)
Isolated and insecure, I devalued myself by comparing myself to my own perceptions of others. This greatly affected my relationships. When I dated a woman, I wanted to know about her past boyfriends: how they looked, their careers, their ages, etc. I needed to stack up. I needed to be better. This rabbit hole led me to dark places of sexual insecurity. I would imagine my girlfriends with men of their pasts. Pornography acted as gasoline fueling this fire, searing false images, jealous thoughts, and crazy ideas into my head.
I believed I could fight this battle myself, that my insecurity would eventually disappear—but it didn’t. Two years into my relationship with Christ, I was still keeping secrets. I knew Jesus was calling me to live in the light (to expose sin), but I was afraid to reveal the real me (John 3:20). I wanted to maintain an image, so I concealed my sin and shame, like Adam in the garden trying to hide behind shrubs. But who can hide from God’s sight? I was wasting away.
“For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away, through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.” (Psalm 32:3)
When I began re:generation. I told myself, “I will be open, but not with this struggle. I’m taking this to the grave.” I told God, “You can’t have this one. I won’t confess this sin, this embarrassment.” But God continued to press me until my secret sin became a burden too great to bear. One evening, I finally confessed to my re:generation group. I confessed the exact nature of my sin (Step 5). I didn’t just give them a nugget. I gave them all of it. In that moment, the weight of the sin lifted.
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” (James 5:16)
I was met with love, care, kindness, and understanding. I proceeded to confess to other Christians and my mentor. Finally, I was fully known and loved. I was free from the burden of sin and shame.
“If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:6-7)
To this day, secret sin and insecurity no longer control me. Now, I experience freedom by living in the light with other Christians. God showed me that His grace is enough for all of my sin. The fact that Christ chose me and died for my sin, defines me more than any sin. When I fully trust in the work of the cross, I am secure to be known in my weakness, and the power of Christ rests upon me.
“…therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
- James R.