My lust addiction, while far from broken, had waned some through taking my thoughts captive, cutting out opportunities to sin, and resisting my enemy. When I say waned I mean I went from falling several times a day to several times a week. I can’t tell you how huge that was. But it was still an addiction, because I couldn’t stop. You have to be honest about these things.
“I need to get accountable,” I thought to myself. And I’m sure God was in it, too. A couple of godly guys from my church had started an accountability group so I joined in, thinking that if someone asked me how I had done with lust that week things would get better. Any book on overcoming lust will tell you so, and so will I, but only to a point.
See, accountability has to be pretty airtight to work. It’s easy to hide behind poorly crafted questions. “Did you fall this week?” Uh, define “fall.” Right? And if we met on Friday, I’d be sure to get my porn and masturbate on Saturday so I could say that I fell right after we met, but the rest of the week was great. So I had something bad to confess, but something to be congratulated for too, even though the whole thing was an act. I came to see that I could confess this sin to the whole Western world and still, accountability wouldn’t take me the whole distance.
(FYI, the only accountability that truly works begins with each person making a list of the three questions they absolutely do not want to be asked, and the list must be given to people who can ask the questions at any time).
I remember one day in my office (I was a youth ministry intern at my church) I was slammed by such a ferocious temptation that my cheeks went flush and my heart pounded and I felt weak inside (that was actually a pretty common occurrence, by the way). I knew, KNEW, that if I didn’t do something drastic, I’d fall into sexual sin. I didn’t know what to do. I started to panic.
Then an idea came. I called my mom and said, “Mom, I’m being tempted to look at pornography and I need you to ask me how I did this afternoon when I get home!” Yes, I actually did this. And you know what? The thought of having to confess masturbating to my mom evaporated that temptation by the time I was off the phone. Praise God! And thank goodness.
It’s true, my mind was being renewed. I had made serious progress. But the second real turning point was just around the corner.