Saturday, June 20, 2015

Illuminating Skeletons

I struggle with pornography and masturbation.

There...I got it out there. That was the hard part. “Why on earth are you telling me this?” you may ask.  Well, to be honest, it’s not because I want to, but rather because, as I prayed this morning, I strongly felt the Lord telling me that it was time to be completely candid about my struggle. 

You see, it’s something that I’ve struggled with off and on since around 8th grade, and I’m sick of it.  It’s not because I haven’t tried to beat it.  Believe me, I have.  I’ve downloaded accountability programs on my computer and on my phone.  I have an accountability partner, etc.  And while those things are great and have really helped, when it comes down to it, despite my guards, sin has always found a way, but today I'm done giving it one.

They say the first step to getting over a problem is to admit that you have it.  I think that the reason for this is because you can no longer hide it by putting up a facade.  John 3:19 says. “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil” (NIV).  Darkness is the reason most crimes take place at night. If they were committed in broad daylight, there would be no cover, nowhere to hide.  So, I, Caleb Julin, hereby remove the darkness from my life and flood it with the light of God that illuminates all faults.  I am not perfect and certainly don’t have everything together.

God has been teaching me this year that one of the foremost problems with the church today is a lack of candidness among believers.  We act like we have our lives all together in these perfect little bundles, and yet shock the world when a pastor is arrested.  As someone who feels called into ministry, I do not want to allow the same thing to happen to me as I have watched happen to Christian leaders all over the world.  I don’t want to be carried away by my sin.  How many Christian scandals could have been prevented if Christians were candid with each other about their struggles and allowed the Church to work as it is designed; keeping fellow believers accountable for their actions?

To those I have sinned against, I ask your forgiveness and hereby make a commitment to all who read this: Today, June 20th, 2015 marks the first day of the end of my struggle. It stops here. Hold me to that.

Proverbs 28:13 says, “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (NIV).  So here I am, publicly, before God and before you, my fellow believers, confessing my sin and my struggles. I beg of you to keep me accountable.  Don’t let me walk in the shadows any longer.  Help me to change my struggle to the past tense.  And please, don’t be afraid to share this.  I want the world to know of my struggles so that I may struggle with them no longer.

If you are reading this and struggle with something yourself, let me encourage you to share that struggle with others.  The body of Christ is built so that we do not have to bear these burdens on our own.  Our strength is found both in numbers and in Christ’s victory over sin.  As Paul said, “But thanks be to God!  He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57, NIV).  Maybe God isn’t calling you to write about it for the world to read, but whatever you do, leave no darkness for your sin to hide in.  Let our generation be known as one that was open about their struggles.

Psalm 51:
1Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
    and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
    and justified when you judge.

Surely I was sinful at birth,
    sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
    you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

Hide your face from my sins
    and blot out all my iniquity.
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    so that sinners will turn back to you.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
    you who are God my Savior,
    and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 Open my lips, Lord,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.

16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
    you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart
    you, God, will not despise.
18 May it please you to prosper Zion,
    to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
    in burnt offerings offered whole;
    then bulls will be offered on your altar.


Photo credits: "A Cross of Candle Light" by Wing-Chi Poon - self-made: arrangement made by Yun-Yu Hsieh and people from Austin Chinese Campus Christian Fellowship (ACCCF); at Gonzales, Texas, USA. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -


  1. This is so awesome to see. Not that you struggle with things, because as a sister in Christ I obviously don't want to see struggle, but because you're fighting it courageously. I'm praying for you as you beat this. Satan has no hold on us, only God. You're breaking free from his hold and God is beaming with pride. :)

  2. Caleb, I could not think you any braver than I do right now! Always remember that sin and darkness cannot live in the light! I know where this darkness leads and have been part of it....although a part unbeknownst to me as my husband walked down this road in silence and allowed himself to become quite alone....I have had a front row seat to the devastation and destruction in the lives of children and wives.... its devastating to men and women alike....because it is something that if left in darkness only grows. I know that God will deliver you! There are VERY talented who will walk closely with you....and people to pray over you as you walk this out.......I have a VERY talented counselor who specializes in this area and there are others. I would be glad to give you a this alone. God wants us to walk in a good church...and with your is so brave of you to open yourself up because now God can use you to bring others out of darkness! Well DONE!

  3. Thank you for your honesty and humility, Caleb. I know what it's like to be at your stage of life, and it's not easy. Technology may have changed, but the human heart hasn't (Jer. 17:9)! Let me encourage you with a few things I've learned in 45 years:
    - The fact that you struggle is an indication that the Holy Spirit is at work in your life, and God has promised to finish the work he began (Phil 1:6; 2:13). It does not all depend on you.
    - Remember that your standing before God is based on the righteousness of Christ (I John 2:1-2) who pleads our defense before the Father. While we struggle and fail (I John 1:8-9), he never does. So our foundation is strong and sure.
    - While the struggle will never completely end, thankfully it does become easier as you age. It’s like the stock market - sometimes it's 1 step forward and 2 steps back, but the trajectory over time is always upward if you continue to submit your life to the Lord. In time, you will look back over the years and see that God has been at work in this very area.
    - The greatest help I've found is by obeying Scripture's command to flee sexual temptation (I Cor 6:18; 2 Tim 2:22). I personally do that by not watching TV, rarely going to movies, avoiding YouTube, not spending time at the beach, having internet filters that block specific websites, etc… It’s a bit extreme, but I find that if I don’t feed my impulses visually, they grow weaker over time. I think that’s what Jesus meant by “And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out” (Mark 9:47). The desires are always there, but radically avoiding stimulation (e.g. fleeing) is key for me.
    - Yes, it helps to have a wife, but let me tell you a secret: she is much more attractive to me because I’m not viewing other women. You will have to patiently wait for that gift. In the meantime, trust God’s timing because he is training you now through the struggle. You will be a better husband later, if you fight temptation now before you are married.
    - Always have accountability – I’m accountable to 7 men in my church, and it’s embarrassing to admit failure to them. Sometimes that’s the only reason I avoid pornography – but I don’t care. If it works, I’m glad it’s there!
    - Lastly, please know that I pray for you every week. You are not walking this path alone.

  4. Caleb, there is so much to say. I’ll make these comments public in case someone is reading them who can benefit from my mistakes. First of all, what you wrote was brave. I cannot claim such bravery as my sin, as you know, was not my proclamation but a discovery. Keep bringing it to the light, when you act out or whatever tell someone, anyone just don’t let sin have a hold through secrecy. It grows and it we (I at any rate) did what I could to keep it secret even while desperately wishing to be free and to have someone say ‘ Yes, I see what you’ve done, I see your struggles and I love you anyway.’ Caleb take note that you’ve made this proclamation and people around you are telling you they love you. Let that encourage you to keep being honest and open (with the right people and in the right way) even as you stumble. You will stumble and you might think ‘I don’t want to disappoint the people who thought I was doing so well.’ Bring it to light anyway…this is a journey, a process. I used to study Saul and David and wonder why Saul’s struggle with sin was condemned by God and David’s was forgiven. Then I would think ‘I’m Saul and God hates me because of my sin.’ I’m not sure if that resonates with you. But let me assure you God loves you Caleb.
    I also caution you that while your proclamation is good and brave and the kudos are deserved, be careful not to see it as something you did. What I mean is that the only way out is surrender. We tried to make it right. We tried to stop. We tried…we tried. For me I thought to myself, “I can defeat this I need to defeat this I will defeat this” For a time I would but then … It only brought me deeper into the cycle the harder I tried. I wanted to be the one. I even wanted to be the one to fix all the damage I’ve done, but God told me that I don’t get to that. I had to surrender that to Him too. I’ll say it several times but surrender.
    And any idea that being in a relationship with the ‘right’ person will help solve it is absolute bunk. I can only speak for myself, but I was married to someone who was beautiful, smart, and good. There was no deficiency in her as a person and it wasn’t that she didn’t do something she should have. The problem was ME. It was the core issues in me. You carry that into the relationship. No person could solve that but God and me. The process of discovering the ‘issues’ that contributed to my making the horrible choices I made and acting out in the ways I did, was very powerful and key in diffusing my addiction. Ultimately though I made those choices and the issues behind them don’t excuse that. Those choices got me in a deep hole that kept get deeper. The only way out was/is surrender. Surrender to God and keep being open and honest. Join an SA group, get a sponsor, have Christian brothers that hold you accountable and work the steps of recovery. Please know Caleb that I will avail myself to help in any way I can. It is not an imposition, it is helping me work the system myself (see step 12)
    You will get through this brother…with God, with honesty, with peaks and valleys – you will get through this. God loves you. I love you too brother…proud of you!!

  5. Thank you for sharing this with everyone, Caleb. Honestly. That's a type of courage that can only come through God, and I'm happy to have gotten to read this, although the first sentence was so abrupt and came as quite a shock.

  6. As Caleb's parents, we want to thank all of you who have offered your loving encouragement, support, and wisdom to Caleb in response to his post. Since Caleb first placed his trust in Jesus Christ's blood payment for his sins at not quite 4 years of age, we have seen his sensitivity to the Holy Spirit's leading. That clearly has not changed, and we're so proud of his willingness to be used of the Lord, no matter how difficult that calling might be. If we as Christians are to be a light in a dark world we must be real. Jesus came to seek and to save what is lost. We were all hopelessly lost. Whether my area of struggle or your area of struggle is the same as Caleb's, we all are wretched sinners in need of God's grace. Thankfully, because of the blood of Christ we can draw near to God and find full acceptance, not because of our righteousness but because of HIS righteousness.

    Watchman Nee says in his book, The Normal Christian Life, "Some of us oppressed by our own weakness, may at times have been tempted to think that there are sins which are almost unforgiveable. Let us remember the word: "The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from every sin." Big sins, small sins, sins which may be very black and sins which appear to be not so black, sins which I think can be forgiven and sins which seem unforgiveable, yes, all sins, conscious or unconscious, remembered or forgotten, are included in those words: "every sin," "The blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from every sin," and it does so because in the first place it satisfies God. Since God, seeing all our sins in the light, can forgive them on the basis of the Blood, what ground of accusation has Satan? Satan may accuse us before him, but "If God is for us, who is against us?" (Romans 8:31) God points him to the Blood of his dear Son. It is the sufficient answer against which Satan has no appeal. "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth; who is he that condemneth? It is Christ Jesus that died, yea rather, that was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us" (Romans 8:33-34). Thus God answers every challenge."

    Caleb, your father and I always have been and continue to be proud of you, our precious, only son. Keep "working out your salvation with fear and trembling," calling on the truth of God's Word to strengthen you in your daily walk and allowing the body of Christ to hold you accountable and demonstrate God's ongoing love for you.
    Love always,