Let’s talk about sex. In this episode, I’ll be diving into a conversation that many find difficult, but is absolutely crucial for our spiritual journeys. We’re talking about sex. More specifically, how to Find Freedom in sexuality through Faith.
With us today is my guest, Matt Cline.
Matt is the founder and director of Restored Ministries, focused on leading men and women out of sexual brokenness and into a life of freedom and impact.
He’s here today to discuss the impact of pornography, understanding repentance and experiencing grace, navigating sexual temptation, practical steps for sexual healing, the role of the church in sexual healing, the importance of understanding the state of our hearts, the connection between trauma and sexual brokenness, and the significance of knowing God and experiencing intimacy with Him.
They also share tips for approaching conversations about sexuality and supporting each other in this area.
So whether you’re tuning in during your morning jog, on your commute to work, or simply winding down after a long day, I hope this conversation brings you some clarity, and encouragement, and perhaps, even challenges you to think differently.
Listen to the episode:
- Matt’s Background (01:39)
- The Impact of Pornography (04:28)
- The Importance of Accountability (07:52)
- Understanding Repentance and Experiencing Grace (08:32)
- Finding Freedom in Christ (11:26)
- Navigating Sexual Temptation (15:00)
- Practical Steps for Sexual Healing (21:20)
- The Role of the Church in Sexual Healing (25:14)
- Understanding the State of Your Heart (28:19)
- Guarding Your Heart (31:06)
- The Importance of Knowing God (35:02)
- The Connection Between Trauma and Sexual Brokenness (36:20)
- Understanding Significance and Intimacy with God (39:12)
- Rooting Ourselves in Christ and Our Identity in Him (21:42)
- Overcoming Taboos Around Sexuality (23:40)
- Tips for Approaching Conversations About Sexuality (24:50)
- The Power of Vulnerability in Conversations About Sexuality (24:50)
- Helping Women in Relationships with Men Addicted to Porn (29:08)
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Pure Victory Podcast
- Pure Freedom Journey
- Follow Restored Ministries on Facebook and Instagram
- You can subscribe to my podcast.
- Connect with Anne on Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube
- Join a FREE Christian women’s community
Finding Freedom in sexuality through Faith
Matt’s journey to sexual healing and his work with Restored Ministries is a powerful reminders that God’s grace and forgiveness are available to all who seek it.
By being intentional about pursuing holiness in our sexuality, seeking accountability, and taking practical steps toward healing, we can find freedom and live a life of impact. It’s important to remember that forgiveness is a choice and that healing is a process, not a destination.
About Restored Ministries
Restored Ministries is dedicated to helping men and women overcome sexual brokenness and lead a life of freedom and impact.
The ministry aims to support individuals grappling with pornography, sexual brokenness, and related issues such as sexual abuse and infidelity. Their flagship program, Peter Freedom Journey, guides participants through a comprehensive 52-week training course, combining video lessons, group coaching, and one-on-one counselling.
Recognizing that everyone’s journey is unique, Restored Ministries offers various avenues for support, including a free online community called Pure Freedom Community, where individuals can find daily inspiration, and tips, and connect with others in a similar battle.
My goal for you primarily is not even to get you free of porn. My goal for them is to experience the love of the Father in their darkest places and then understand their true God-given identity.Matt Cline
2 common challenges people face in sexuality
Understanding the motives behind one’s actions is crucial when addressing struggles related to pornography and sexual sin. Multiple factors contribute to these behaviours, and it is essential to explore them thoroughly.
1. Not understanding how to guard their hearts
The most common challenge is understanding the state of their heart and how to guard it.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.Proverbs 4:23
Often, our focus is solely on our actions and attempting to change them, neglecting the importance of guarding our hearts.
Teaching individuals how God can heal the wounded areas of their hearts completely transforms their perspective.
Often, the focus is on the negative aspects, leading to attempts to avoid or ignore them. Instead, we should examine what triggers tell us about the state of our hearts.
How can God address those areas?
It is vital to recognize that God is all-sufficient and can satisfy our deepest longings. For instance, individuals struggling with sexual sin may question how God can satisfy their needs since He is not physical.
However, what they truly long for is peace and intimacy.
God can provide that peace, satisfy their bodies, and guide them to honour Him in controlling their physical desires. It is essential to grasp that God’s sufficiency extends beyond our perceived limitations, even when we feel distant from Him.
Understanding the condition of one’s heart is often overlooked, primarily due to the overwhelming focus on addiction.
However, it plays a significant role in one’s struggles.
By shifting the perspective to guarding the heart, acknowledging the triggers, and allowing God to bring healing, individuals can experience true transformation.
God’s all-sufficiency, coupled with a deeper understanding of our hearts’ needs, enables us to overcome the bondage of addiction and live a life that honours God.
Another prevalent issue that often leads to sexual sin is rejection.
People experience rejection from their spouses, potential partners, or even colleagues at work. Feeling rejected can become a trigger, prompting individuals to seek solace in sexual sin.
Recognizing that the underlying longing of their hearts is acceptance and intimacy is key. Rather than avoiding or succumbing to self-pity, understanding how to guard one’s heart is crucial.
When faced with rejection, it is essential to remember that Jesus, too, experienced rejection from mankind but remains chosen and precious to God.
Embracing this truth can shift our response, replacing self-pity with a sense of belonging and preciousness in God’s sight.
Dwelling in this relationship with Him can bring about transformation.
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3 Tips on how we can guard our hearts
1. Be mindful of what we allow into our lives
One of the simplest steps towards transformation is to be mindful of what we allow into our lives.
Scripture advises us that if something causes us to stumble, we should cut it off.
This principle applies to various forms of media, such as movies, music, or songs that may lead us astray.
Personally, I used to believe that as long as I stayed away from pornography, I could handle movies with explicit content. However, I realized that even those seemingly harmless scenes affected my thoughts in ways I didn’t desire.
It dawned on me that my pride was at play when I believed I could handle it.
Guarding our hearts means recognizing triggers and understanding what they reveal about our heart’s desires.
To value myself and my journey toward freedom, I made the decision to cut out such content from my life.
The same applies to social media and the pages we choose to follow.
We must understand our worth in the eyes of God and recognize that consuming harmful or explicit content is detrimental to our well-being.
The eyes are the windows to the soul, and if we continually expose ourselves to darkness, our lives will be filled with darkness.
It may seem challenging, but making these changes is relatively simple.
By eliminating what is harmful and aligning our focus with what is pure and edifying, we can guard our hearts effectively.
2. Delight ourselves in The Lord
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.Psalm 37:4
This verse is often misinterpreted and instructs us to delight ourselves in the Lord, and He will give us the desires of our hearts.
Previously, I misunderstood this verse, thinking it referred to material desires.
However, the true meaning lies in delighting ourselves in the Lord and recognizing His goodness, might, and majesty.
Delighting in the Lord involves acknowledging His view of us, accepting His love, and understanding our true identity in Him.
We are called very good, loved, and accepted by God.
This realization shifts our perspective on significance and satisfaction.
Instead of seeking fulfillment from external sources such as relationships or achievements, we find our significance in the Lord.
3. Allow God’s love to encompass us
Allowing God’s love to encompass us and satisfy our deepest longings is essential.
In my personal journey, I used to tell myself that nobody’s life was impacted by me, highlighting a desire for significance in my heart.
However, I failed to accept the significance God had already bestowed upon me.
The reality is that Jesus died on the cross, enduring the worst form of execution, paying the highest price for each one of us.
This act demonstrates our inherent significance in God’s eyes.
When I felt called to ministry, it took three years before I saw any fruit or tangible impact.
During that time, I experienced an intimacy with Jesus as I dedicated hours to reading the Bible and praying in my closet.
This period of apparent fruitlessness taught me that my significance did not rely on the impact I made on others. Instead, it stemmed from being a beloved child of God.
The more I satisfied my longing for significance through my relationship with Him, the more fruit and life-changing moments began to emerge.
Our identity in Christ and understanding our significance in Him is crucial to guarding our hearts and living a life of purity.
How can we approach conversations about sexual brokenness?
1. The Bible talks about sex and so should we
Be vulnerable to a point and share our struggles. Show compassion and grace, avoiding guilt and condemnation.
One common response I receive from people is praise for engaging in this ministry is that sex is a taboo nature.
However, I always remind them that the Bible does not shy away from addressing the topic of sex.
In Genesis 3, Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, and in Genesis 4:1, it is explicitly mentioned that Adam had sex with his wife Eve and bore fruit.
Throughout the New Testament, numerous writers, including Jesus Himself, discuss sex. There is no whisper or secretive tone when it comes to these discussions.
The writers address sex openly, just as they do with other aspects of life. Sex should not be regarded as a taboo subject.
It is commonly preached that sex is a beautiful gift from God and an integral part of the marriage covenant. It symbolizes the intimacy we share with God. Given its power and significance, it is paradoxical that it is a subject we seldom talk about.
2. Have open conversations about sex
In my line of work, people feel comfortable sharing intimate details with me because they perceive me as a safe person. Stories pour in, and it becomes evident that individuals are longing for guidance in this area.
Recently, I was invited to speak at a Bible study for young adults associated with Athletes in Action at the University of Alberta. The participants, who were college-age, confessed that they had never had such a conversation before.
They had questions and issues they had never felt free to address. Their thirst for guidance was palpable.
This illustrates how people crave understanding and support regarding their sexual struggles. It is essential to recognize that our sex drive is a healthy and godly aspect of our design.
While we are taught not to engage in sex outside of marriage or consume pornography, we must remember that sex is a powerful and godly gift.
By confidently discussing the topic, we can help break the silence and provide guidance.
3. Be vulnerable
One effective approach is to be vulnerable to a certain degree.
Personally, I openly share my experiences, as it has become part of my ministry. However, I understand that not everyone is ready to do the same.
Even sharing a little bit can make a significant impact. I recall when I was 20 or 21, my young adult pastor took me out for coffee and established a relationship where openness was expected.
He shared his struggle with pornography, which encouraged me to open up about my own struggle.
That simple act shattered some of the shame I felt.
4. Foster an atmosphere of grace and compassion
Similarly, we can initiate conversations with friends, family members, or even young individuals, addressing the reality of pornography and sexual exposure.
These discussions should be filled with compassion and grace, devoid of guilt and condemnation.
During one of my speaking engagements at a man camp, a pastor expressed his concern about not instilling guilt or shame in people.
However, when I delivered my message, individuals approached me with tears, seeking prayer and admitting their struggles. It was a powerful moment of grace and vulnerability.
It is crucial to approach the subject of sex with grace, recognizing that sexual brokenness affects many individuals.
By fostering an atmosphere of grace and compassion, we can dismantle the awkwardness and taboo surrounding these conversations.
5. Acknowledge past sexual struggles
Additionally, it is important to acknowledge that sexual struggles often arise from our own experiences and the experiences of others.
Many individuals have suffered from sexual abuse or violation. These stories are heartbreaking, and it is disheartening to realize that over half of the people we work with have experienced some form of abuse.
Personally, at the age of 33, I uncovered a repressed memory of being sexually violated at 16. This discovery forced me to process the accompanying insecurities, and beliefs, and forgive the perpetrators.
As I shared my experience with a group I was leading, one participant, a man in his sixties, revealed that the same thing had happened to him at
Tips for women whose loved ones have a porn problem
1. Get help
Access support and seek resources for help. On our website, restoredministries.ca, there is a section specifically for wives where they can find assistance.
They can book a call with our main coach, Kelly, who is highly skilled and also trains other coaches. Another valuable ministry is Hope After Betrayal, which offers additional support.
Our podcast, Pure Victory, also features episodes dedicated to women in similar situations.
These resources are readily available to provide guidance and support.
2. Recognize that it’s not the woman’s fault
I want to emphasize that it is not the woman’s fault when her husband or boyfriend engages in sexually destructive behaviour.
It has nothing to do with her attractiveness or desirability. Many men, including those of our generation, had their first exposure to sexual content at a young age, which had a profound impact on their brain development and sexual desires.
These issues were present long before the relationship began. Thus, it is essential for women to understand that it is not their fault.
In such situations, it often feels like a hurricane colliding with a tornado in a relationship.
The hurricane represents the confession and revelation of the man’s actions, while the tornado signifies the insecurities and emotional turmoil experienced by the woman.
Although it may seem devastating at first, this process can actually lead to a stronger and more intimate relationship. If a woman is willing to examine her own insecurities and seek healing, she may discover personal growth and the potential for her husband to find healing as well.
Many couples have shared that after doing the necessary work to heal, their marriage became better than ever before.
3. Seek understanding and guidance from the Lord
While forgiveness is crucial, it is important to understand the depth of forgiveness demonstrated by Christ on the cross. It calls for wholehearted and swift forgiveness.
However, I acknowledge that in the midst of the turmoil that arises when such revelations occur in a marriage, it can be challenging to reach that point of forgiveness. It may take time, but it is advisable not to delay forgiveness longer than necessary.
By seeking understanding and guidance from the Lord, forgiveness can be achieved, which forms a foundation for reconciliation and personal healing.
Forgiveness not only brings healing to the relationship but also to the individual’s own heart. While forgiveness is not solely for oneself, it has a profound impact on personal healing.
It is crucial to remember that there is hope even in the midst of such challenging circumstances. In moments of intense emotion, it is important not to make rash decisions regarding the relationship.
Approaching the issue with this understanding helps us realize that it is not the fault of the women involved.
4. Unlearn damaging beliefs
We must unlearn damaging beliefs ingrained in us, particularly those from the purity culture of the ’90s.
It is vital to internalize the truth that our clothing choices or sexual availability to our husbands are not responsible for their actions.
Eradicating these misconceptions is a crucial starting point.
Engaging in more sexual activity is never the solution to a porn problem.Matt Cline
This only masks the issue because the problem lies within the heart and serves as an escape mechanism during difficult times or feelings of rejection.
Dealing with the root causes is necessary, and putting pressure on women to provide more sex is not healthy for either partner.
5. Set Boundaries
Seeking guidance and counsel is essential for wives who may inadvertently engage in behaviours that exacerbate the situation due to their desire to uncover every detail.
However, it is important to note that husbands may not remember all the details, making complete disclosure challenging. Receiving guidance in navigating these complexities is crucial for couples.
Women often have a tendency to play the role of a detective in situations like these. We believe that if we know all the details, we can somehow fix everything.
I can relate to this mindset in my own marriage, although it was not related to sex.
There were certain questions I knew I shouldn’t ask because knowing the answer would only cause more pain.
However, these issues didn’t significantly impact our relationship.
In a different podcast episode, I discuss the importance of setting boundaries, particularly in our thoughts and thinking patterns.
These boundaries are crucial for building and protecting our marriage. One important boundary is recognizing that we don’t need to know all the details, as it won’t necessarily be helpful.
Today’s discussion has shed light on various crucial aspects related to pornography’s impact, repentance, grace, sexual temptation, healing, the role of the church, understanding our hearts, trauma’s connection to sexual brokenness, and the significance of knowing God and experiencing intimacy with Him.
By delving into these topics, we have gained insights into the profound effects of pornography, the path to repentance and receiving grace, strategies for navigating sexual temptation, practical steps for sexual healing, the church’s role in supporting individuals on their healing journey, the importance of self-reflection and understanding our hearts, the link between trauma and sexual brokenness, and the transformative power of knowing God and cultivating intimacy with Him.
Armed with this knowledge, we can take proactive steps toward personal growth, healing, and restoration, while also fostering a compassionate and supportive environment within our communities.
Let us continue to seek wisdom, extend grace, and pursue a life of purity and wholeness in our journey toward sexual healing.