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Conquering Sexual Strongholds

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? It can feel absolutely paralyzing.

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 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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24 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for this post. I glad to know that I am not alone. Please pray for me and my fiance as i deal with this stronghold. But I know in Christ that I will be healed. Thank you.

  2. Thank you so much for the encouragement!…Most people would never understand this weight and sin…you made the statement about secrets….but this is one sin you can only tell God, you could hurt too many people if you disclose it,,,especially if you’re married…but I’m so sick of it…sick of it consuming my time…coming between me and God….me and my wife…just sick of letting it rule me. It has only caused me hurt, pain and shame. You can’t go to the church…they’ll only further hurt you and utterly destroy you…I know that’s not how it’s suppose to be…but let’s face it…that’s how it is. I know I must go to God…He alone can help me. I’ve dealt with these feelings almost as long as I can remember myself ever since I’ve been 5 or 6, but for some innate reason I also knew it was not acceptable and was wrong…for those people that say we choose to be that way…that tells me they don’t have a clue. Who in their right mind would wish such a difficult ungodly life upon themselves. Pray for me and others who struggle with this .

    1. I’m so glad you were encouraged. You’re right…God is definitely the most important person to talk to about this. If you would ever want to contact someone who you could talk to (or even just look at the website), I would recommend Jayson Graves’ ministry, Healing For the Soul. He is a married man who has also struggled with same-sex attractions. Jeff Fisher’s Porn to Purity also has some similar resources on his website. I will definitely pray for you and your marriage.

  3. Thank you, I feel so much more encouraged, it may be hard & feel impossible at times especially with a stronghold that is birth in us and lives in us for a long time, at times it feels easier just to hang on to the sin than to the right thing and let it go. thank God for conviction, and the pain,disappointment & hurt I had caused Him with my bad decision was so overwhelming it lead me to give up the sin, the pain made me understand that I wanted to put God first and serving Him was the most important thing in my life, more important than what my flesh wanted, we are human & make mistakes, alot of them,but never enough excuse to hurt the Heart of God, Be Blessed 2day2morrow & always.

  4. Thank you very much for this post! I have stuggled with this for so long. I feel so much better now i know GOD has freed me. Amen! Haluluah!

  5. Thank you so much for this post. I have been battling this pretty much my whole life. My late older cousin did inappropriate things when I was only 4 or 5 opening the door for homosexuality, lust, and an unforgiving spirit. Not so much unforgiving of him because although he was 8 years older than I, we were still children dealing with our circumstances as they were handed to us. I know this because 4-6 years later after that same cousin was murdered, his father, which was also my uncle in law, he attempted the same measures his son was successful in. So I understood why my late cousin could this to me. My unforgiving battle was with our so called older generation Christian family. 10 aunts and uncles plus my mom that helped create this with demons they never truly allowed God to heal them from in their past and childhood by even allowing such things. Yet they made me the black sheep and would quickly condemn and do nothing beyond tell you they’re praying for you. Since then I have been battling homosexuality, lust, unforgiveness, and acceptance to say the least. I have lived an openly gay lifestyle because I didn’t think I could live any other way. Yet in the back of my mind, sometimes all through it I knew I couldn’t live that way at all. However even with all that I know God is with me by His grace and His grace alone. I have some good days and I have some bad ones. I have some good weeks and I have some bad ones. I just feel stuck sometimes. But this, your post has truly encouraged me. I probably will keep reading it. Lol

    Thank you for sharing. Truly encouraging

    1. Hi Tony. I am so glad this post encouraged you. Keep drawing close to God! He loves you so very much. The intimacy that can be found with Him is truly amazing and irreplaceable.

  6. This was so helpful for me!! I have been struggling with this for sometime now, and I’m glad that I feel I can start fresh in the name of JESUS!!!!!!!!!

  7. So helpful especially After being saved and fallen back into the lifestyle and not understanding exactly why but becoming defeating because you know that your better but in reality God is better and able to keep us from falling.

  8. Thank You. A very excellent article coming from a place of Love and Seeking God for help. Very Helpful. -Mike

  9. Hello, I am thankful and have been encouraged by your post. It’s good to know that one is not alone in this. I have pretty much being battling this my whole life but never paid to attention to it which has led issues of sex controlling me and dominating my thoughts. With your post, I now feel can overcome this in the name of Jesus. Hope that you will be praying with me. Thanks

  10. Thank you so much for this post am encouraged Sometimes when we commit a sin we unable to face God cos we feel so guilty of out action.Thank you for reminding me that God is open to listen to me.

  11. Thank you some much for your website. It came at a pivotal time in my walk with the Lord. I ran to Him, rather than from Him. Be encouraged in your ministry with the Lord and may you experience new dimensions of Him you never thought possible. Shalom!

  12. Thanks alot for this post i have been moving well with christ two years back after being born again but in this month almost finishing my third year moving with christ i have backslid batteling with lust for sex but because of this article i have seen a way to fight against it by telling my problem to GOD. Be blessed for your inspiring article

  13. Thanks so much for this post, am encouraged. Am addicted to pornography, masturbation and it has led me to have sex outside my marriag. Have asked God for forgiveness but I don’t know how to tell my wife about it. Please how do I go about it.

    1. Hi Michael. I am so glad this was encouraging for you. I know of a couple ministries for men that I want to recommend for you regarding how to find healing and also regarding help in disclosing this to your wife. The first one is called Awaken, and the other one is called Jesus is Better.

  14. Hi…i have given my life to Christ for 8 weeks now…but my past of sexual sin is still with me…i stoped watching porn and stoped masterbating but…i cary a sexual lust with me…been watching porn and masterbating for years now im 8 weeks clean…now im just dealing with lust…am a merried man but my sins have broken my marriage and i just want to fix it…i need to get rid of this lust please help

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