David Dinius | A Testimony to the Gospel's Power Over Addiction

David Dinius is part of the Renewal family. He was baptized on Renewal's 3rd year anniversary. Below is his testimony he shared with the church:

I was born and raised in Charleston, SC. The Holy City, according to some locals. I was brought up in a Christian family going to church every Sunday and growing up with parents who instilled a sense of Christian morals and values.

I grew up with a small circle of friends. Being introverted and shy definitely didn’t help making friends, especially finding good friends that loved Jesus and His commandments. I knew what sinning was and that it was wrong. I grew up trying to do right by God’s commands but I was far from getting it right and I knew it. Looking back on it now, my relationship with my parents was very loving and protective and sheltered. But the influence of my friends grew into something that even my closest relationships at home couldn’t keep me from. I had been introduced to pornography in the 6th grade. I remember the immediate moment I had first experienced it and I immediately felt guilty. I confessed to my mother and hated what I had seen. But at that time, something was planted in the back of my mind. An idea. Something that I thought made people happy. What gave them pleasure. What seemed like love. Throughout the next few years, I spent time with people who had encouraged this idea. The more I spent thinking about how my friends were in relationships and how I was alone, the more I wanted what I thought they had. I made myself believe that the love I desired could be found in pornography. What I thought was a harmless secret and that didn’t hurt anyone. That was until I heard that no matter what kind of sin, secret or public, porn addiction or disobedience to your parents or taking God’s name in vain was penalized through death. That penalty seemed harsh and scary. I feared God for what he knew about me and I knew that I was sinning. I began to feel guilty for sinning against God but I didn’t know what to do about it. Carrying around all this guilt, I hadn’t been able to find a relationship that made me happy and that gave me the joy and the pleasure that I had made up in my mind. For years, living in Charleston, I had chosen to carry on with my life giving into temptations what I believed as harmless little moments here and there. Serving myself and not God. Desiring what pleasure of my own that I could easily fill. I hung out with people who supported this. I lived with people who encouraged this lifestyle. Even though I hated sinning against God, I still did it because it felt good. I eventually grew away from God to a point where He was the last thing I would think about. I just wanted to have fun for myself and live for whatever worldly pleasure I could take. Coworkers and roommates and friends alike, there was no accountability. No conviction of my own filthy sin. In 2016, I decided that my life was stuck in neutral and I wanted to pursue the dream of studying music at a prestigious college in a city where I had dreamed of visiting. I took what steps were necessary to follow my own path and plan to leave Charleston and chase my dream. I got into the school I wanted and felt like I could make it happen! There were complications that caused me to postpone my enrollment for a year, but I knew that I could still change my life while waiting on school. I left home for the first time in my life, again seeking my own pleasures. I left with hope in myself, with a little in my pocket, and a lot of baggage. Both literally and emotionally and even spiritually.

But on August 7th, 2016, Pastor Jared taught on temptation. The lesson was based in 1 Corinthians chapter 10 verse 13. I  heard God allowed us all to be tempted. And that God is faithful, so much so that my temptation would never be more than I could handle. Incredible… He limits my temptation to be withstood. I should expect to face temptation.  But I should also know that I can withstand it because it’s never more than I can handle. Because God always provides an escape so that I can run away from it.

Jared said if what you want at the bottom of your heart is to know Him, to be know by Him, to have a relationship with Him, to walk with Him every day, to have God Himself living in you, then the temptation to worship other things fades away. If what you want more than anything is God, then temptation loses it’s grip on you. Whoa. Massive. I want that, every single thing he just said. That's all I’ve ever wanted. The truest love ever. The single most important relationship in the world. So what must happen to have that? The answer is simple, that’s the cross. God loved me so much that He gave His son Jesus to the world to be tempted as I am. And yet He didn’t sin. Ever. Not once. And even still being perfectly without sin, He died for my sin to be forgiven. And every time I indulge in that secret sin, Jesus already bore the weight of that sin on the cross. Through death on a cross, I am forgiven for all of it.

At that exact moment I heard that truth, I felt something on my heart. I physically felt the grip of God take my heart and hold it in His hand. He took all of my guilt and worry and sorrow for my sin and crushed it. In that moment, I went from the deepest guilt I’ve ever felt to immediately desiring the spirit of God in me. My heart then released and I felt lighter than anything. A true God experience and a spiritual high that had never appeared before. There it was. I was forgiven of my sin because God loves me. He loves me so much that He would give the life of His own Son so that I could be with Him in heaven. My guilt disappeared. It was removed by this realization of His forgiveness. That's it! That is the relationship I was longing for! A relationship better than anything on this earth. A relationship that will give me such joy and pleasure that nothing in this world can compare. I knew that I wasn’t imprisoned by my desires anymore. My desires had changed and I realized that Jesus had come to die so that I can live with Him! My desire was to run away from my temptations and sins and follow Christ and to glorify Him and His love for me. That is true love and gives me so much joy and happiness and makes me feel better than anything else in this world.

I know that God has actually captured my heart and I have seen what beauty He really is. I wanted God for God because of his incredible love and mercy and forgiveness. And from that moment on, I want to say no to sin and completely desire God and what pleases Him. This love grows more and more each day and gives me an incredible joy of knowing I have God as my Father and Jesus as a friend like Jesus and knowing all of my desires are fulfilled in Him.