The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

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Question

Hi,

I'm 15 years old, and I'm a Christian. I used to watch pornography for about two years. I would hear so many sermons about sins, and I try to change my ways, but I can't. Last week my church had a teen camp meeting and I think it has helped me change my ways, but I wanted to ask you: How will God forgive me? People prayed for me but I don't feel anything. I prayed for forgiveness so many times I lost count. I make so many promises, and I break them. I feel scared. I want to confess to my parents, but I don't have the courage to confess. I want to feel the Holy Spirit, but I can't. I ask the Lord to let me feel his Spirit, but I can't feel it. I see everyone else around me getting touched by the Holy Spirit, but I'm there praying to be touched by the Holy Spirit. I want to know if God has forgiven me or not, even if I have asked for forgiveness so many times. Am I in oppression or depression?

Please help me. God bless you.


Answer

What you are doing is searching for some tangible evidence that God has accepted you back. Yes, I know a lot of people claim to feel the Spirit working in their lives. But people do say things because they are expected to say them or want something so badly that they imagine it to be true. Rather than using your friends as a measure, let's look at what God said.

"For we walk by faith, not by sight" (II Corinthians 5:7). Faith is when you trust something to be true even though it is not right in front of you. I have faith that Sidney, Australia, exists. I've never been there, but I've seen sufficient evidence that causes me to trust that it is there. I trust that famous people, like George Washington, once lived in this world, again not because I've seen the person but because I've seen sufficient evidence to trust that the person once lived and did important things. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1).

It appears to me that you believe that the Bible is God's Word. That would mean that you accept it as truth. "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth" (John 17:17).

One truth is that when a person obeys God and becomes a Christian, his sins are removed. "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16). You aren't going to see any physical evidence of that removal. It isn't like dirt which has been scrubbed away. But you will see that the person has changed. He isn't like he used to be. "And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God" (I Corinthians 6:11). No feeling caused the change. The person changed and his feelings changed as a result. "And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household" (Acts 16:33-34).

Sin still remains a problem for Christians. Satan doesn't give up. "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world" (I Peter 5:8-9). When a Christian stumbles, he doesn't wallow in sin. He picks himself up and renews his battle. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (I John 1:8-2:1). How many times you stumble doesn't matter. What matters is whether you get back up and continue to fight. God treats us as He expects us to treat each other. "Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, 'I repent,' you shall forgive him" (Luke 17:3-4). You have to trust that God keeps His promises.

Therefore, the question isn't how many times in the past you've looked at pornography, the question is are you committed to make a radical change in your life today? Are you going to not make excuses for this sin or treat it as acceptable? Are you going to make changes in your life so that you don't give into it so easily? That is the repentance that God is looking for from you. "For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter" (II Corinthians 7:10-11).

So, what I would rather discuss with you why do you think you keep giving in to this particular temptation. You have the desire to change, but there is something about the way you are trying to stop that leaves you still vulnerable. The exit is still there, but you keep using the wrong door. "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it" (I Corinthians 10:13).