By Mark Ellis
As a young Hollywood actor, David Kyle Foster led a secret life as a male prostitute, sleeping with three or four men a night. Following a powerful conversion to Christ, he sought counsel with a pastor and confessed he didn’t think he could ever escape the homosexual lifestyle.
“It’s good to realize you can’t stop,” the pastor told him. “Let’s let Jesus do it for you.”
The two men prayed together. “God, if you will, set me free from these things,” Foster prayed.
As he recalls that moment, he says, “I was newly saved and I believed him. Nobody told me what God couldn’t do, so I went home and believed God would set me free.”
Foster’s prayer of faith was answered and he left behind his life as a male prostitute. “I never took drugs again and never acted out. It was miraculous,” he says.
“The temptations didn’t go away,” Foster observes. “But he power they had over me went away. God gave me the ability to say no and there was power behind the no for the first time ever.”
It took Foster seven years before he was fully healed of the demonic strongholds and addictive patterns in his brain. After seven years, he felt he was healthy enough for a relationship with the opposite sex, but ultimately felt God was leading him to celibacy the rest of his life.
Whether it is same-sex attraction, pornography addiction, or other strongholds, Foster recognizes many Christians have difficulty overcoming deeply entrenched behavior patterns.
“One of the biggest reasons is that some people have mixed up temptation with sin and have naively assumed that when they are walking with God they won’t be tempted anymore,” he observes. “That is never promised in the Bible.”
While God doesn’t cause temptation, ultimately, it can fit into His plans. “Temptation is something God can use to send us back into His arms. Then we realize the absolute dependence we have on Him to keep us from falling,” Foster notes.
Foster makes an insightful observation that may surprise some. “Our well-intentioned efforts to keep ourselves from falling are actually religion, they are actually not the life of Christ. They are actually impediments to the freedom we are seeking.”
“If we succeed in our own efforts we become proud of our success,” he notes. “It can never work that way because God must get all the glory. We must be left vulnerable and subject to temptation so we are thrown back into a recognition of our on-going dependence.”
When Foster faces a strong temptation he prays, “Lord, if you’re righteousness doesn’t pour forth through me and keep me from falling I’m done. I can’t do it myself. Lord, You must come in and do this for me.
“God help me immediately!” he prays. “Send your angels. Speak a word from the throne. I am going to stand here while you quench this for me, while you do battle in the heavenlies for me.”
Just as salvation is a work of God, overcoming temptation is also His work – His battle. “Many Christians try to resist it in their own strength. They feel obligated to resist it in their own strength because they want to show God they are holy. But that’s a religious, works-centered perspective.”
Still, there is a place for the involvement of man’s will. “Make the decision ahead of time before the temptation ever arises to say no. Say no in your spirit and make it a permanent fixed no. You can’t enforce it, but God will if you want Him to.”
One night God gave Foster an image of a bouncer at the door of a bar. “God is the bouncer at the door of my mind or one of His angels,” he suggests. “When the temptation comes at my mind, if I want it to stay awhile, the Holy Spirit steps back and lets it in. If I want God to step in, He will stop it every time. He will quench it, divert my attention.”
“The problem is really wanting Him to do it,” he adds.
During Foster’s healing process, God showed him a sinful pattern he was still not overcoming. “Lord, why haven’t you set me free from this?” he asked one day.
Because you still love it, God impressed on his heart. As he pondered that unexpected nugget of truth, he had to recognize there was still “some percentage” of his heart that still loved the feeling he got from that particular sin.
Foster confessed to God he still loved this sin, then he prayed: “God, take away my love for this; come in and make me love You more.”
“The process of increasing your love for God is a process of deepening your intimacy with Him,” he notes. “The pursuit of intimacy with God is the whole ball of wax.” Foster suggests singing love songs to God directly on a regular basis during times of personal devotion.
“It is the revelation of His glory and His love that causes you to love Him more than the things tempting you,” he adds.
If a believer is still not able to overcome an area of weakness, they may need intensive prayer. “Another possibility is there is a stronghold that needs to be cast out,” he says. “Go into prayer with someone who knows spiritual warfare and who can discern spirits,” he says.
For someone struggling with pornography, he might lead them pray this way: “I renounce idolatry and my love for pornography. I renounce the worship of the creature. I confess I’ve done these things. Lord, I ask you to remove every stronghold created by the enemy.
“This is a permanent decision in my life. I want to walk in holiness, even though I know it won’t be perfect. This is the goal of my life, to press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
Foster founded Mastering Life Ministries in 1987 and is also the producer and host of “Pure Passion” — a televised outreach designed to equip the church to minister to those trapped in sexual sin and brokenness. He is the author of “Sexual Healing: A Biblical Guide to Finding Freedom from Sexual Sin and Brokenness,” which has been made into an “Angel Award” winning video and audio course and has been used by many ministries. David has served as adjunct professor at Asbury Theological Seminary, The Bible Institute of Hawaii, Logos Christian College & Graduate School and Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry and currently serves on the faculty of the Wagner Leadership Institute.