Testimony, Assurance, Spiritual Warfare, and Growth - question

I want to give my question in the form of my testimony.
I was raised in church and I walked to the altar at the age of 6, and to the best of my understanding at the time, and I believe sincerely, asked Jesus to save me.
From that time I did not really devote myself to Bible study or prayer, and discipleship was really missing from my life. By age 23, I identified as Christian, but I drank, smoked, used drugs, and was heavily addicted to pornography.
After meeting my wife, one of the most authentic followers of Christ I’ve ever known, my life changed - seeing her walk with Christ made me realize what was wrong in my life. Immediately, I dropped the smoking and drug use, and tried to quit lust/pornography. I also began Bible study and prayer like never before and rededicated my life to Christ. A couple of years later alcohol was completely booted from my life - lust and pornography were still an issue. We locked my phone and eliminated sources of web access for me. Stumbles happened, but they were becoming less frequent, but I still allowed myself mental images and there were even times when I would plan to sin with lustful thoughts. There were times when I would execute such a plan to sin, then would be reminded of Christ’s sacrifice and say to myself, “yeah, but…” and I would sin. On one occasion such as this in the summer of 2018, I began to indulge in sin and then this voice in my mind that was not my own started cursing at God. I fell, literally, on my face asking God’s forgiveness and begging for mercy. A handful of further stumbles followed, but in October 2018 I confessed all to my wife (including the fact that I had deceived her about much of my sin), I repented, confessed to God, asked forgiveness, and from that time the bondage was broken in my life and I had a power of self control I had never had before. The affliction of the “unwelcome thoughts” persisted for a year or so as did constant battles of assurance and fears of apostasy, but now I am closer to God than ever. I still struggle with assurance, however, especially when I read the book of Hebrews. In fact, many times any time I encounter judgement, punishment, condemnation, or rebuke in Scripture I almost automatically apply it to myself and get into a fear cycle.
My understanding, after counseling, is this:

  1. I was saved from possibly the age of 6, or around 23, but I really can’t put a date.
  2. God allowed the affliction of the “unwelcome thoughts” because that, at least seemingly, was what it took to finally break the bondage and bring me into obedience. (Psalms 119:67)
  3. I was being sanctified during those years - evidenced by a decreasing pattern of sin and growing yearning for God.
  4. The fear and condemnation was and is spiritual warfare. A stronghold of Satan’s was broken and he was lashing out.
  5. God is unimaginably good and faithful (Hosea).

*To underscore the depth of the stronghold of lust, I would add that I was exposed to pornography at around age 6 and had largely unimpeded access to it until I began to limit my own access (Mark 9:47)

My question: I believe points 1 through 5 are true, but how can I overcome the fear cycle and my struggle with assurance?

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@David_D Praying that the Lord Jesus would give you peace, assurance, and fill you with His Spirit brother :slight_smile: I encourage you to listen to the below sermon from a pastor of a Church I used to attend on this topic where he talks about assurance. Also, consider that rebuke in Scripture is not meant to cause condemnation, but to bring about life change and faithfulness in the reader.

  • in Scripture, the purpose of rebuke is not condemnation, but so that the reader / hearer may remain faithful through temptation and trial
  • God’s discipline of His children always leads to righteousness, eternal life and greater joy - not shame, self-contempt or exclusion from the Kingdom

Sermon

How to Have Assurance of Eternal Life - May 26

https://www.ingleside.org/media/watch-and-listen/

Hebrews

Every text has a context - when we see rebuke in Scripture we need to understand why the author is giving that rebuke before we assume it applies to us. In Hebrews, it is clear that the author was speaking to individuals facing great trials and temptations that were pulling them away from their first love. The rebuke was meant to keep them walking in the truth in spite of those temptations and trials.

This rebuke was not meant to cause condemnation, but to keep the readers on track.

The background of such exhortations must have been the readers’ need to continue enduring amid persecution and the trials of life (e.g., ch. 12). They appear to have grown less attentive to Christian instruction (5:11–14), and some apparently have ceased regular attendance at their meetings (10:25). The author reminds them of their past faithfulness and love despite persecution (10:32–34).

Ultimately, the author’s words of encouragement and exhortation are rooted in his teaching about Jesus Christ. The Son of God became the heavenly high priest, who offered himself as a sacrifice once for all. Christ obtained salvation for all who approach him in faith (6:1; 11:6; compare 4:2), and such faith perseveres until it receives the promised eternal reward (6:12; 10:22, 38–39).

https://www.esv.org/resources/esv-global-study-bible/introduction-to-hebrews/

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Hello David. Am not really Good at keeping books, chapters and verses (working on that). There’s a verse in the Bible that reminds us that “he who is in Christ is a new creation, behold old things are passed away and he has made all things new”
I believe that any doubt of assurance is the devil trying to pull you back. Giving you life to Christ makes you a target in the kingdom of the enemy but the word of God is True and Amen.
Here are some verses I believe will strengthen your faith and assurance
Romans 4, Romans 6, Psalm 82 V 6, 1 Corinthians 10:13,
1 Corinthians 15: 58, 2 Corinthians 5:14 - 21, 2 Corinthians 11: 30 & 31.

Finally as a famous verse states: there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (can’t recall the book and chapter again but it’s in one of the epistles).
I pray this helps and God gives you the strength to stand firm on your faith and belief in him.

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Hello my brother, let me just say your testimony, eerily simlar to me. Bound, Shakled for 30 years
I got to where I needed it to survive, more important than anything else, my hope when i wasn’t my escape when i was. Did not realize this aspect till sometime after coming to Jesus. My identity, basically my assurance, security came from that.
I threw away my hidden stash of trash the day I was saved. Burned it all up so no one could get it. When I saw Satans lie and confronted it with the truth in Christ the lie had to go and freedom, security, and assurance came. That hard part to admit. for me. “it was my god”

This passage really spoke to me

All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
I Corinthians 6:12 NKJV

The light always repels darkness.praying for complete victory
Mike

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