It was a typical Saturday night. My parents went to bed and I stayed up for a little while to watch TV. The show I was watching came to an end so I turned out the lights in the family room and went into my bedroom. I went through my nightly routine of checking my email and Facebook. Then the oh so very familiar temptations came.
Almost everyday for about eight years I fell into the temptation of masturbation. It became a part of my day. Of course no one knew about it but me. Even after I accepted Jesus into my life, the struggle continued. I was addicted. I just couldn’t stop. In my heart I knew it was wrong and that I didn’t truly want to do it but the temptations were irresistible. Not only with masturbation, but the struggle continued with pornography and many other sexual lusts.
When the temptations came once again on that Saturday night I was so fed up with them. I mustered up what little energy I had to resist and told Satan no. I sat there in my bed with this full out war going on inside of me. All I knew was that I needed to turn on some worship music and try and go to sleep. I went to YouTube and started searching for some good worship songs. After listening to a couple I found this one that is called "Freedom’s Calling". As this song was playing, God started to speak to me. The song played, “Freedom’s calling. Can you hear it?” I knew that the Lord was using this song to speak to me. The song continued, “Freedom’s calling you into the family room. Here you can be yourself. Here you can be yourself.” When those words hit my ears the Lord brought me into a vision. The vision was a very familiar place. It was my family room in Arkansas.
When I was nine years old my parents told my sister and I that we were going to move. We had lived in Arkansas since I was two years old and now we were moving to a place that I had never been to. I did not want to move but I had no other choice. After we moved I had a very hard time fitting in and making friends. Everyone had their own cliques to hang out with except me. I was very different than everyone. But I knew that in order to survive school I would have to fit in.
Going back to the vision that God brought me into, I was in the family room in the house I grew up in. The song continued saying, “Here you can be yourself.” I heard the Lord say to me, "Brandon, I want you to just be yourself.” To which I quickly and emotionally replied, “But God, I don’t know how to be myself. I don’t know who I really am.” Then I broke out in tears. At that moment God revealed something to me. He showed me that when I moved to New Hampshire, I had to be someone else in order to survive. I tried to be who I truly was but that person wasn’t accepted. So I changed who I was in order to fit in and make friends. From that day forward, I lost a part of me. I lost who I really was.
As I sat there in my bed crying, I felt God comforting me. He said, “Brandon, you were hurt when your parents made you move. And all of the struggles that you have gone through, including lust, depression, anger, and attempted suicide, were all because of this wound that was never healed. But I want to free you from that bondage. I want you to be yourself.” Those words broke me. I wept that night like a little boy. All of the rage from the past and all of the emotions I had held in were free to come out, and I let them out. It was like carrying a burden that weighed 10,000 pounds for years and years.
Then God had me do something. He told me to get up out of my bed and take a physical step forward through the “door” of freedom. I sat there for about fifteen minutes just weeping. I had begged to be set free for so many years and now the opportunity was right in front of me. But I couldn’t step through the door. I just didn’t want to let go of all of the past wounds that I had placed my identity in. But by the power of the Holy Spirit I rose up and took that step into freedom. I entered into the freedom that God was giving me. The freedom to be myself.
I now feel a freedom that I have never felt before. The only thing I can compare it to is the day that I gave my life to Jesus. God set me free that Saturday night and it changed my world forever. Before, when I was tempted, I really wanted to give into those temptations but I knew I wasn’t allowed to. It is just like what Bruce talks about in To Kill a Lion. He talks about Not Free To vs. Free Not To in Chapter Three. For a while after reading the book I tried to forcefully tell myself I am Free Not To, but I knew that my heart was saying I am Not Free To. But now when the temptations come, I know that is not who I am. That sin is not me! I am Free Not To sin.
The book To Kill A Lion is what really got me questioning the sexual sin in my life. Where did it come from? Is there something behind it? What is the root that needs to be pulled out? It showed me that there is more to the temptation than meets the eye. This book helped me tremendously and I definitely believe it can help anyone else out there that is serious about getting rid of the sin in your life. I plan on taking the counsel from this book and using it to help others reach freedom in their life. Bruce is a great guy and it’s a blessing that he would share his knowledge through To Kill A Lion. I highly recommend it!