If you are wrestling with sexual sin, chances are you also feel ashamed and isolated. Whether you are wrestling with sexual fantasies, pornography, lust, masturbation, or any other kind of sexual struggle, you are not alone.

Do you love God, yet you find yourself entangled in sexual strongholds without knowing how to get out? I know what that’s like. It can feel absolutely paralyzing. I have good news for you! There is incredible hope for you to walk in freedom.

What is a stronghold?

A stronghold is a mindset, value system, or thought process that hinders our growth in Christ. Strongholds are barriers that prevent our ability to know Jesus intimately. 

Many women are tied up by sexual strongholds, even though this topic is rarely talked about within the church.

When we think we are alone in something, we are much less likely to seek out help. Sexual strongholds are often kept a secret because the weight of sexual sin carries so much guilt and shame.

Sexual strongholds (and the shame that comes with them) separate us from God. They keep us from Him, but He is the only one who can set us free. My ultimate goal is always to lead you to Jesus, the only one who can truly satisfy your heart’s desires.

I want to share with you five different areas that are crucial to implement when wanting to break free from sexual strongholds:

What Are You Seeking?

Whatever we put all of our attention on will be what our lives are centered around.

For instance, if you put all of your focus on breaking free from porn, guess what will become the center of your focus? Porn.

  • If you put all of your focus on the pain you are feeling, pain will become the center of your life.
  • If you put all of your focus on freedom, freedom will organize your life.
  • If you put all of your focus on healing, healing will become the center of your life. This sounds a bit better than the first two examples, but it still won’t bring you healing.

Whatever we seek first organizes our lives. What are you seeking first? Is it really what you want to be at the center of your life?

When the Holy Spirit started showing me all of this, I was so surprised, because I had been putting all of my focus on healing and freedom, thinking that’s what would set me free.

Instead, my focus needed to be on Jesus.

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).

The Holy Spirit started showing me that I needed to stop digging for the root of my problem. He wanted me to focus on Him, not how to be set free.

I didn’t know how to do this and worried that I would fall harder and deeper into the sin I was trying so hard to stay out of if I didn’t give all of my focus and attention to staying free from it.

Do you fear the same thing?

My prayers started changing from, “Why won’t you set me free? I can’t do this anymore.” To “Jesus, you are the one who satisfies my deepest needs”.

I encourage you to seek Jesus first. Seek Him for who He is, not what He can do for you. As you continue to do this, you will be able to let go of the burden of setting yourself free and be able to build intimacy with Him. A huge key to finding freedom from sexual strongholds is pursuing intimacy with Jesus.

Identify and Break Free from Shame

Shame and sexual strongholds go hand in hand. The difference between guilt and shame is that guilt is based on something we have done (or didn’t do), and shame is based on who we believe we are. Shame can be attached to our identity, which is partly why it can be so difficult to recognize sometimes. What shame whispers in our ears is based on lies that we accept as truth about ourselves.

Do any of these thoughts sound familiar to you?

  • What would others think if they knew?
  • I need to hide who I am, what I did, or what happened to me.
  • What’s wrong with me?
  • I am the only one.

Shame causes us to hide. It convinces us that we are alone, deeply flawed, and more messed up than anyone else around us.

Shame causes us to hide from:

  • Each other – “If they only knew…”
  • Ourselves – “I’m going to bury this. I can’t deal with it.”
  • God – “I can’t go to God about this…”

Shame is a barrier to building intimacy with Jesus and building close, healthy relationships with other people. We cannot have a close relationship with someone we are hiding ourselves from.

Jesus can remove these layers of shame from you. He can remove the shame that is preventing healing and the shame that keeps you going back for more of what you promised yourself you would stop doing a long time ago. He can also remove the shame that prevents you from seeing yourself the way God does.

Are you seeing some of the ways shame has been affecting you?

It is safe to reveal your heart to Jesus. He doesn’t shame us like people can – or like we can shame ourselves. Coming out of hiding and into His presence with our sin and brokenness can be scary, but I promise you He will never shame you.

It might feel like it’s too late. That is a lie from the pit of hell. Jesus wants your heart. He wants all of you.

Take some time today to ask the Holy Spirit how shame has been affecting you.

Reach Out

James 5:16 tells us that we are to confess our sins to each other and pray for each other so that we may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Reaching out to someone when struggling with a sexual stronghold can be terrifying. I completely understand. I waited such a long time to do this, because I didn’t know who to talk to, and I was terrified of what people would think of me. I appeared to have my life in order, and no one had any idea that I was consumed with sexual sin.

I encourage you to pray about someone you can reach out to. Maybe you tried once before, and it didn’t go very well. I am so sorry that happened to you. Please do not let that stop you any longer from trying again.

Maybe you have been believing that you will never break free from a sexual stronghold or heal from sexual brokenness. You might feel you have gone too far for God to help you now. This is not true.

It is so important to reach out and confess the sexual sins or strongholds you are dealing with. They can also help identify any lies you may be believing.

Recognize Toxic Connections

Even after I eventually stopped watching porn, I continued fantasizing about certain scenarios in my mind. As time went on, I started realizing that I did this all the time. My thought-life was out of control. My mind would drift off to sexual scenarios I had been a part of before, whether I wanted to do this, or not.

Years into this, I learned about toxic ties that we can have with others. This included sexual ties. These can also be called soul ties. Our souls consist of our mind, will, and emotions. These toxic connections involve our mind, will, and emotions. The more I learned, the more everything I was dealing with started to make sense.

Toxic connections can be formed when we have any kind of sexual contact outside of marriage:

1 Corinthians 6:16 says, “Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.”

Having sex outside of marriage causes us to bond with that person. It is a spiritual act just as much as a physical one. This is why there is no such thing as casual sex. Whether we realize it or not, our souls become joined to the other person.

I believe this can also happen with pornography. Our souls (mind, will, and emotions) are very much engaged in pornography use. Our souls connect with the people we see while we engage in masturbation. This is as much a spiritual act as it is a physical act.

This also applies to acts done against our will. Our souls are still involved as much as our bodies are. There is a toxic connection that takes place. As I mention this, I want to quickly say that there is restoration available for all of us in this area. Even sex outside of marriage that was very much consensual.

These soul ties can be broken, and Jesus can make us brand new. He can restore your sexuality just as He has been restoring mine.

I have a post about soul ties here if you would like to look into this more.

Pursue Intimacy with Jesus

Are you able to go before God and be transparent about the pain in your heart, sin, and even be willing to admit when your motivations regarding certain situations haven’t been right? Going before Him in this way is always humbling and often scary when you are not used to it.

There is power and healing that comes when we express to Jesus the deepest parts of our hearts.

Psalm 62:8 says, “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah”

I grew up not really knowing how to express myself to God at all. I always felt like I needed to behave in a certain way around others, so this applied to my relationship with Him as well. He knew what was in my heart, but I surely wasn’t going to admit it to Him.

I came to a point where I had so much bubbled up inside of me, that I poured my heart out to God in my journal, and I eventually gathered the courage to read it out loud to Him. I talked about all the things that were unmentionable up until that point. I talked about the connection that I ached to have with another person. I talked about the lust I was dealing with and the pain in my heart. Something broke in me that day. I didn’t know what it was yet, but part of the wall I built between myself and God began to crumble.

I encourage you to pour your heart out to Him. Yes, it can be very difficult sometimes. Push past the fear and shame and find the intimacy you were created for. This is the kind of intimacy that will fill you up to overflowing. It will be more than enough to fill those places that crave intimacy, to heal your heart, to bring you what you’ve tried to find everywhere else. Give Him your heart in a way that felt too vulnerable before. He will not let you down.

Remember That You’re Not Alone.

Please don’t ever think that you are alone. This has been a very important one for me. I always thought I was the only one who dealt with this, and that helped keep me in bondage for so long. It was only when I was with a group of women one day and one of them (a friend of mine) disclosed that she had dealt with something similar in her life. I was blown away (that’s an understatement), because I thought I was the only one. She had no idea of my situation. Her confession helped to strip away so much of the shame that buried me, and it was the beginning of my healing. Her brave confession was the beginning of my freedom. I knew I was not alone.

You are not alone in this. Satan loves secrets, and he’s hoping that you will keep this a secret forever, because that will keep you in bondage.  You are not alone.

Thank You, Jesus, that all things work together for good for those who love you and are called according to Your purpose. You are my Lord and Savior, and I can’t imagine where I would be if it wasn’t for You protecting and leading me along the way. I love you!

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