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Cyber-porn is stealing the lives of many young men and women.
Cyber-porn is stealing the lives of many young men and women. (iStock photo )

Last week, a guy named "Jake" asked me to pray for him after I taught at a ministry school in a northeastern state. He is only 22—and he wants to serve Jesus with all his heart. But he struggles daily because he has experienced a level of sexual bondage that was probably not even possible a few decades ago.

I got really upset as I listened to Jake's story. It clearly shows how the devil is using pornography to systematically enslave today's younger generation.

Jake was abandoned at age 2 by his 16-year-old father. His teenage mother tried her best to raise him alone, but she couldn't provide the kind of protection or guidance that he needed. He was introduced to porn at age 13, and a friend taught him how to bypass the Internet filters at his middle school so he could watch hard-core porn there. Before long, he discovered gay porn and began watching it daily.

When Jake was still underage, he met a guy on Jack'd, a gay dating app. He gave the man his address and he showed up at his house—and the two had unprotected sex. Jake eventually had sex with 11 or 12 guys through other dating apps like BoyAhoy, GuySpy and Grindr. He never used condoms because he secretly wanted to catch a venereal disease.

"I wanted to die," Jake told me. "I felt like I would never be free from same-sex attraction and I didn't want to spend the rest of my life miserable like that."

Eventually Jake progressed into the realm of cybersex. He learned that he could perform sex acts on camera for people who watched—and he made $1,000 in extra cash that way every three months. He used Instagram, SnapChat, Skype and other social media to advertise for sex or to connect with prospective partners.

Thankfully, God's mercy intervened. Jake ended up in Pennsylvania, where he met some Spirit-filled Christians. He gave his heart to Jesus and quickly enrolled in a Christian discipleship program. His desires didn't go away overnight, but he began a journey toward healing that continues today.

"Since I gave my life to Jesus, I feel less and less satisfied doing these kinds of things," he says. "The more people tell me how much I am worth to God, the more I have become aware of how degrading these things are."

You might think Jake's story is extreme. But I have found that more and more young people today are being pulled into unimaginable depths of immoral behavior because they got hooked on porn, either gay or straight. Once porn becomes an addiction, it can lead to cybersex sites, voyeurism and endless hookups with strangers.

What can people like Jake do if they find themselves struggling with lust and perversion even after giving their hearts to Christ? I will share here what I told Jake last week:

1. You must sever all ties with the past. People who get involved in cybersex typically store dozens if not hundreds of phone numbers and social media connections with past sex partners. You cannot maintain those relationships. Block every number and delete every app. Don't allow even one person to stay connected. Paul wrote: "Flee immorality" (1 Cor. 6:18) and "Flee from youthful lusts" (2 Tim. 2:22). Run as fast as you can from the temptations that enslaved you in the past.

2. Get ruthless with your sin. Jesus said: "If your eye causes you to stumble, throw it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell" (Mark 9:47). This means we must take radical steps to stop ungodly habits. You can't take a half-hearted approach. Throw your phone away if you have to. Starve your lusts. If you try to "manage" or "tame" a sexual addiction it will eat you alive. You must kill it.

3. Ask for help and stay accountable. No one is strong enough to defeat a sexual addiction alone. You must seek help from mature Christians. Confess your sins fully—don't hide any aspect of your problem—and then ask for healing prayer. Find a Christian counselor or join a ministry such as Celebrate Recovery that offers support groups for addicts. Allow others who have had similar struggles to encourage you in your journey to healing.

4. Fill your time with healthy activities. Porn addicts waste hours every day looking at websites, chatting with potential hookups and engaging in online sex. The bondage that develops is as strong as a cocaine habit. Most people who have a porn habit cannot handle being alone—they will automatically sense a craving for sexual images if they have time on their hands.

If this is your problem, you must revamp your schedule and eliminate down time. Spend time with friends, play sports, exercise, work hard, attend church activities and get plenty of sleep. Don't give yourself the option of wasting another minute of your life on a porn site.

5. Seek supernatural deliverance. Ultimately, you must cry out to God for freedom from your bondage. You must fight for your freedom. It's important to read the Bible and pray on your own, but that is not enough. Find a healthy church that believes in the power of the Holy Spirit and seek out prayer support. If the church offers altar ministry after a service, share your struggle and let people pray for you. You will need prayer often. Keep receiving prayer until your habit is completely broken.

Ultimately our freedom comes from the Savior. Look to Him to break every chain. Revelation 1:5 says Jesus "loves us and released us from our sins by His blood." When you believe in His amazing grace, the iron chains of your addiction will melt and you will find the power to resist temptation.

J. Lee Grady was editor of Charisma for 11 years before he launched into full-time ministry in 2010. Today he directs The Mordecai Project, a Christian charitable organization that is taking the healing of Jesus to women and girls who suffer abuse and cultural oppression. Author of several books including 10 Lies the Church Tells Women, he has just released his newest book, Set My Heart on Fire, from Charisma House. You can follow him on Twitter at @LeeGrady or go to his website, themordecaiproject.org.

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