Recovery • 11 minutes to read
Maybe it’s because my ministry experience is in worship, or perhaps it’s my long love affair with music. Either way, I think there is something special about music and the effect it has on us. Have you ever noticed this?
I’m not just talking about worship music. I’m talking about normal, on-beat, rhythm-keeping music. Have you ever been to a concert—in a crowd of 20,000+ people all singing along to a song together? There is something special about it. Whether it’s Coldplay or U2, David Crowder, or DC Talk; there is something special and unique about music.
Why is it so special? My guess: I think God created music to resonate with us to the very depth of our souls. Listening to music, singing songs, hearing messages and truths to an arrangement connect with us unlike anything else. I think God knew what He was doing when He created us and gave us the inspiration to make music.
If you are anything like me, music is one of the ways that I most experience God and His love for me. It’s an amazing avenue to encounter biblical truth coupled with a great deal of spiritual and emotional impact.
On my road to recovery from sexual addiction, one of the most influential ways I’ve experienced the truth, grace, and love from God is through music. I believe that God can speak directly to us and minister to us through the channel of music.
Here are seven song suggestions that could help you on your road to recovery:
COME TO THE ALTAR
If you haven’t listened to Elevation Worship, you should check them out! They are an incredible band of believers who perform songs that are as biblically charged as they are powerful and motivational.
This song continues to be one of my favorite worship songs of all time. Look at the first verse and tell me you haven’t found yourself in this place:
Are you hurting and broken within?
Overwhelmed by the weight of your sin?
Jesus is calling
Have you come to the end of yourself
Do you thirst for a drink from the well?
Jesus is calling
Pain and brokenness—this is exactly what sexual addiction feels like. You feel unlovable and unredeemable. “Overwhelmed by the weight of your sin,” been there far too often. “Do you thirst for a drink from the well?” Like a deer panteth for water, I thirst for the Lord and the refreshment only He brings.
This song is most powerful in its chorus:
O come to the altar
The Father’s arms are open wide
Forgiveness was bought with
The precious blood of Jesus Christ
Far too often we assume that God’s posture toward us is negative and filled with disappointment. We see our Heavenly Father with His arms crossed and a frown on His face. But that’s not reality. God doesn’t sit in judgment of us. He is not a grumpy old man in the sky.
That’s what Come To The Altar is showing us—God’s arms are not crossed; they are open wide, welcoming us into His embrace. God’s face is not one of disapproval, but reflects forgiveness and acceptance of us.
Come To The Altar reminds us of the position our Heavenly Father has toward us, His children; the one’s He bought, purchased, and redeemed because of His great love and affection for us.
SON OF GOD
CORY ASBURY (BETHEL MUSIC)
I weep every time I hear this song. I’ve heard it hundreds of times, but every time I hear it, God uses it to remind me of who He is and of His amazing power.
In the midst of sexual addiction, we often find ourselves feeling powerless, unable to make the appropriate changes or gain any traction toward freedom. We feel like an infant: unable to support ourselves, unable to make any adjustments to how we act or feel.
But the chorus of this song sets us straight:
The Son of God
High and lifted up
The Father’s love
Came pouring down for us
HE HAS OVERCOME
The spotless lamb
For every sinner slain
Our hope beyond the grave
HE HAS OVERCOME
HE HAS OVERCOME
Not only is this song beautiful in its arrangement and instrumentation, it is emotionally charged with the spiritual truth that God is our OVERCOMER. He has done immeasurably more than we needed and, at the same time, exactly what we need.
We have a God who loves us. He proved that love when He provided the only way to have a relationship with the Father God. He has overcome the enemy, the power of sin, and the penalty of our sin. He has OVERCOME! And the beautiful thing, through Him, He gave us the ability to overcome the challenges we face.
Now, you may not be familiar with Andrew Ripp. He is not a “ Christian artist.” But through my fandom of this guy, I learned that he is a believer who has struggled with past addictions. In his most recent self-titled album, Andrew dives right in with “Deep Water.”
Listen to the first couple verses:
It’s like quicksand leaving me feeling paralyzed
At the edge of the ocean floor
I’ve been standing here looking out at paradise
Too afraid to leave the shore
I spent my whole life looking for ways to medicate
Too afraid to fight the war
And I’m sick and tired of this ball and chain
Never going back anymore
This is a guy who has experienced addiction at its deepest level! Feeling like I’m in quicksand and unable to move or make a change is one of the biggest shame points of my life. My inability to break the bondage of pornography was like an anchor tied to my legs— dragging me further and further down into isolation and shame.
If you have been around Pure Desire for any amount of time, you know that our understanding of addiction is a way of medicating our pain. Andrew speaks so clearly about that truth in this song.
The chorus is captivating:
I’m rollin’ out to deep water
I hear you callin’ out my name
I will never be the same
Andrew illustrates the difficulty of wading into the struggle, the pain and the past we all have. It’s so hard to want to confront the pain in our lives; when we do it re-opens the wounds of our past. But we must wade into the deep end—the deep waters—if we want to experience healing and restoration.
This is a great song that pushes us to examine our own heart and wrestle with this question: Are you willing to wade into the deep waters of your pain to find lifelong healing?
Fierce is not a word we use very often. It means, “ having or displaying an intense or ferocious aggressiveness.” When we think about this word in context to our relationship with the Lord we tend to think of God’s anger or hatred of our sin.
This is where Jesus Culture flips the switch on us. Listen to this chorus:
Like a tidal wave
Crashing over me
Rushing in to meet me here
Your love is FIERCE
Like a hurricane
That I can’t escape
Tearing through the atmosphere
Your love is FIERCE
Two imagery points to consider: a tidal wave and a hurricane. We know the devastation and destruction that both can bring. We’ve watched it happen in our country over the past few months. Homes destroyed, lives altered, hopes lost. But when you begin to think about these two acts of nature in the context of God’s love for you, things begin to change.
Take a second to close your eyes and let these words come to life: God’s love crashes over you like a tidal wave. God’s love overwhelms and overcomes you. You can’t escape the all-powerful love of God—a hurricane of affection and favor for you.
If we truly understood the depths of God’s love for us, we would never question the place we hold in His heart. Let this song speak directly to your heart, to your identity, and to your soul. God’s love is an unstoppable force that will continue to overwhelm and overcome your insecurity, your fear, and your shame.
LORD HAVE MERCY
Brady Toops beautifully and powerfully pens a song that represents the stance we should all have before the Lord. Far too often, we assume that God will always give us mercy and grace, which creates in us a position of expectant stagnation.
Yes, God will continue to give us grace and mercy through His Son Jesus, but we cannot take it for granted. That is what Brady reflects in this simple and straightforward song; asking the Lord to have mercy on us.
When I come to you in prayer, Lord have mercy
And when I wonder if you’re there, Lord have mercy
When I cannot find the way, Lord have mercy
Should my heart begin to stray, Lord have mercy
Simply put, we need God’s mercy in our lives. We need to continue to ask God for His mercy toward us—whether it is shown through the pain and trials we experience or in seasons of joy and prosperity.
Remember, when we’re in the midst of recovering from sexual addiction, it is difficult to imagine that God will give us mercy. It’s easy to sit in a place where we anticipate continued punishment from God. But, when we ask God for mercy, He is faithful to give us His undeserved mercy.
EVERYTHING AND NOTHING LESS
Chris McClarney is an excellent song-writer and vocalist. He offers up this song as a modernization of an older hymn, I Surrender All.
I’m not sure what your experience has been, but I know for most of my teenage and adult years I lived with the assumption that my addiction to pornography was something that prevented me from being effective in ministry. I thought, “If people really knew what I was looking at, they would never let me lead anything in Church again.” In order to serve in the local Church, I thought it was a secret I needed to keep in the dark. I was wrong.
Addiction will do that—it will tell you that you must keep all deep, dark secrets to yourself. “Don’t let others in; they will judge you and look at you differently. Don’t share your deep, dark, and heavy sin with others; they can’t handle it.” Those are thoughts we all have in the midst of addiction. But, we miss out on is being fully known by others.
You see, we don’t just do that with others, we do it with God as well. We know that He sees everything, but we still do our best to keep our sin hidden from Him. We stop praying about it. We don’t ask God for help. We isolate from the power and presence of God. We feel the need to accomplish freedom all on our own.
This is what makes Chris’ song so inviting:
Everything and nothing less
My best, my all
You deserve my every breath
My life, my song
I surrender, I surrender all
I surrender, I surrender all
We must come to the place where we can bring everything to God without shame or judgment. We can bring all of it before the King of kings and trust Him with our mess. And, as we do this with God, He will bring others into our lives to practically show us His love and acceptance. When we share our story, our struggles, and our addiction, God shows us His great mercy and love through the ones He’s places in our path.
Ultimately, if we do not surrender the process of healing to the Lord, we will never find true healing. It’s not about the process; it’s about God using all the pieces of our lives to bring about restoration. We must surrender.
If you have not yet heard this song, you need to! In this amazing song, Zach Williams captures the essence of God. This song highlights the role of God—the One who breaks the chains of our sin. As one who has experienced the bondage of sexual addiction, it definitely feels like I was shackled to a boulder headed down to the bottom of the sea.
We’ve all search for the light of day in the dead of night
We’ve all found ourselves worn out from the same old fight
We’ve all run to things we know just ain’t right
And there’s a better life
There’s a better life
There is a better life. One that is full of freedom, full of true biblical community, and one that isn’t weighed down by sexual addiction. We don’t have to be trapped in our addictions, by our sin, and by our mess. God is committed to growing us, shaping us, and renewing us.
If we hope to defeat our addictions to pornography or sex, we must believe and hope that God is capable of breaking the chains of bondage. We must believe that God is devoted to setting us free from our addictions, our struggles, and our sin. God’s mission in your life is bring about more freedom, more healing, and more growth. Don’t let the enemy convince you otherwise. God is your Chain Breaker.
I hope these suggestions are helpful on your road to recovery. I know that they have made a significant impact on my life and in my recovery. I suggest you make one of these songs your life anthem. Keep circling back to it, so you can recenter your mind and your heart. Allow God to use music and truth to soften your heart to His truth and His love.
Don’t overlook the power of music and worship in the battle for freedom. God has truth He wants you to hear. All you have to do is listen.