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Loved and Pursued

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“I understood that I was a sinner, and I placed my faith in Jesus as a child,” said Matt Robison. “But as I grew up, I never fully followed and surrendered every aspect of my life to Jesus. I found my identity in sports, ministry jobs, and people pleasing – idols that fueled disappointment, anger, and fear.

“At 14, I became ill with a bacterial infection. I was consumed with pain and fever for months. It hurt to move. I could barely walk. Everything I had worked for was taken away, school, sports, and friends. I was angry, lonely, and confused. Why would God do this to me? I thought He loved me. I put on a brave face and told others I knew God was good and faithful. I thought that is what a good Christian was supposed to say. I now believe He was and is, but in those moments, I wasn’t so sure. I was angry at God because I had zero control over my life.

“The Lord used the difficulties in this to realign my heart and desires for Him. And while I repented from my desire to make life about me, I slowly began to drift back to what I knew – pride, anger, control, anger, and pornography.

“With help from doctors, over the next two years I slowly regained my strength and my ability to walk, and eventually run again. Just as I recovered and my life felt back to normal, I had yet another infection. This time it was in my liver. I was again bedridden and angry for another three months. My high school years were very lonely. Pornography was a way for me to escape the reality of work, school, stress, and haunting feelings of rejection.

“After college, I landed my dream role in ministry overseeing student activities at a Christian university. It was here that I hit a breaking point in my pornography addiction. As stress and work responsibilities increased, so did my hidden sin in isolation. I thought my accomplishments, platform, and popularity would bring significance to my hurting heart. Instead, it magnified my insecurities, addiction, and isolation.

“As my addiction grew, I knew something had to change. I attended different recovery programs at surrounding churches but would quickly leave in shame, fearful of seeing someone I knew. I longed to confess to others and find freedom, but the fears of rejection and losing my job were greater than my desire to be free and have intimacy with Jesus. I always rationalized a reason to run back to my sin, doing exactly as Proverbs 26:11 says, ‘Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.’ I felt God didn’t do His part. But truthfully, I was the one running and quitting, and yet God graciously kept pursuing me.

“A few months later, I met a man who wanted to start a ministry on campus specifically geared toward helping men find freedom from pornography addiction. I agreed to meet with him, and he asked me to help him lead the ministry. With my heart pounding, I gave him every excuse in the book why I shouldn’t, but he wouldn’t budge. I finally confessed to him that the reason why I couldn’t lead was because I was addicted to pornography. That was the first person I openly confessed to. Instead of the guilt and shame I was expecting, I was met with grace, humility, and love. We decided to pause the ministry to focus on my recovery and discipleship.

“As I look back, I can see now this wasn’t the first time someone willingly offered to help me with my struggles. My dad and even other ministry leaders wanted to help me, but I walked out on them. I could run from recovery ministries, but I could not outrun God.

“It was during this time I started to embrace the love and compassion that Christ ultimately gives those who seek Him. Through the study of Scripture, confession, and discipleship, I found that God loves me, He is pleased with me, and I am His son only because of Jesus. It was never a matter of my actions. I finally understood what it looked like to have an abiding relationship with Jesus. The Lord used my insecurity, need for control, anger, lack of trust, and need to be loved to show me exactly how He loves and pursues me each day.

“Don’t let pride convince you to manage your sin on your own or keep sin a secret. God doesn’t just deal with your problems, He offers you a new life through Christ if you place your faith in His life, death, and resurrection for the forgiveness of your sins. The Lord was faithful then to give us a Savior, and He continues to be faithful today. We aren’t deserving of any reward because of our sin, but God Himself, in His kindness and grace, gave us the ultimate gift: God in flesh through the person of Jesus so we can have life. My sin and brokenness, which once led to hopelessness and isolation, is now a platform to declare His love.”

Matt found continued freedom and growth through re:generation on Monday nights at Watermark. Join others who are seeking healing and recovery from all struggles including: anxiety/depression, pornography, fear, control, substance abuse, codependency, sexual abuse, same-sex attraction, eating disorders/body image, anger, obsessive thoughts, and any other struggle that has you stuck.