by Eric Christopher Jackson
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Hi, my name is Eric Jackson. This is my testimony. I grew up in a nice house with both parents and four sisters. I never lacked anything. Jesus blessed my parents with great jobs and they were wonderful examples for me. I was good in school, quiet, never got into any trouble. People looked at me as being so smart and nice. My step-dad pastured the church I attended. We are Christians. My life was great, I can’t complain. But something was missing. Happiness.
June 11, 1996, I graduated high school and reluctantly faced a new world. I didn’t prepare for it and I had no ambition to succeed in life. Furthering my education didn’t enter my mind. My only concern was getting away from my parents. By August that year, I had done just that. Moving from one relative’s house to another. Finally, I settled down with my sister and her family for the most part. However, I couldn’t hold a steady job. When things got rough, I quit or got fired. I wanted everything to come to me very easily. Sometimes, I would go without working for a couple of months at a time. That’s when an addiction came into my life.
Pornography is an addiction. I never went to clubs or rented videos. I watched it late nights on cable to the point where the re-runs annoyed me. It was a hunger that never got full. I just wanted more and more. Yes, I was still going to church, praising God as if everything was fine. But inside, I wasn’t serving Jesus Christ sincerely. It was all a front. A pretty good one at that, because no one knew the difference. I watched pornography because it made me happy. It made me feel good inside, I got pleasure from it. However, it was destroying the rest of my life. The beginning of June 1998, I turned twenty years old. I was immature, irresponsible, and a hypocrite. Wow, what would my classmates think of me then?
At one Sunday morning service, I stood in church exhausted. I had stayed up until 6:30a.m. watching XXX movies and I had no energy. The pastor walked back to where I was sitting and put his hand on my forehead. He said, “There is a hindrance there that needs to be moved out of the way.” Then he walked away, never to mention it again. Suddenly, such a strong conviction came over me. I got so sad and sorry for what I was doing. That’s when the battle began between my flesh and my, now reborn, spirit. Many nights, I had trouble sleeping. I fought the temptations, covering my head with a pillow and blanket. Willing myself to stay away from the television. Some nights it worked, but many nights I lost the battle. I had become my worst enemy.
December 31, 1998, there I was in church. As usual, we prayed the New Year in. My prayer was different that year, though. I was angry, mad, yelling at God silently through my prayer. I was tired of the fight, the struggle, and part of me didn’t want to give up the pornography. Jesus listened to me, every word, patiently allowing me to vent out all of my frustrations. I told Him that I couldn’t and sometimes didn’t want to obey Him. He answered, “I know.” I replied, “What do You mean, “You know?!” He helped me to understand that I can’t turn away from sin with my own strength. I need Him to change me. Then He asked, “What do you want to do?” I thought about it and decided I wanted to live for Him, but I didn’t know how to. Apparently, that’s all He needed to hear from me. He began to do the rest.
By my 21st birthday, I was doing so much better. My spirit was steadily growing stronger than my flesh. Still, I had a lot of learning to do and I finally had to face the consequences of my sin. I had to learn to work hard, be diligent, responsible, and mature. I had to learn that Jesus’ love fills me and makes me happy without my life falling apart in the process. I learned to go after dreams I had lost and am still pursuing them today. I found out Jesus gave me gifts to write and create art. He can actually work through me to touch other people’s lives. Knowing that always puts a smile on my face. But as my life became steadier, as I lived out on my own two feet, “it” came back.
January 17, 2003, I fell to the temptation of pornography again. In February, March, and April as well, I fell. I had to go back to the Lord and ask Him, “Why am I doing this when I know it’s wrong?” For the same reason as before, “happiness.” My career in art and writing wasn’t taking off as I expected. My regular job was getting more frustrating and tiring. I focused on my problems more than I focused on the love of Jesus Christ. April 20, 2003 is the last day I have fallen. As I walked to a gas station after midnight, turned my t-shirt inside out. It had “JESUS” going across the front in huge letters. I brought a XXX video and watched the whole thing that early morning.
As the video ended about 3:30 that morning, my eyes were full of tears. I looked at myself in the mirror and couldn’t recognize my own face. I quickly made my decision. I took the sharp end of a hammer and crushed the videotape. Into the garbage it went. All I could do was ask for forgiveness and help to never return to where I had been in the past. Now, July 13th, 2003, Jesus is strengthening me. Giving me new ideas for Christian art and writing, helping me defeat my flesh. I realize that He has a better plan for my life. He will finish the work He has begun in me as long as I stay sincere and obedient to Him. The more that I love Him, the easier it is to live for Him. But, if I turn away, I won’t be able to fulfill the purpose Jesus has for my life. I encourage you to keep your life in Jesus’ hands. No matter what the circumstances look like, there is no better place to be. Live in His love.
Sunday, 7.13.03 ~ 11:03p.m. (EST)
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Awesome witness to the Amazing Grace of God in your Life. "To God Be The Glory" for what He had done in your life and continues to do through your Beautiful Inspirational Artwork and your Beautiful Inspirational writings!!! Philippians 1:6 In Christ Jesus ,Dee "Numbers 6:24,25,26"
Thank you Eric. This was very well written and also very honest. A gentleman came to our church two weeks ago, and he stood up in front of the whole congregation, expressing what you said so well here on Faithwriters, and he, like you, finally was able to conquer his "addiction" through the Lord. He also said that this is merely a "substitute" for the hunger in your heart. As you step closer and closer to Jesus, as you are doing now, you will find that, like any additiction, it wants to pull you in, but your creative outlets and joy in the Lord, will make the rest wain by comparison. Keep writing for our Lord!