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Influencer Courageously Confronts Sin

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Childhood included some tough times for Kirby. Her father battled alcoholism, which led to marital conflict and her parents’ divorce when she was eight. Two years later, her beloved dad suffered a heart attack and died. Young Kirby believed she somehow could have done something to prevent it and struggled with depression for years. At the same time, another battle was brewing. Kirby was just four when she walked in on someone watching pornography. A few years later, she found a hidden stash of porn in someone’s home, and in a few more years, friends at a sleepover showed her porn on the computer. They also showed her how to find it herself and clear the search history to keep from being discovered.  

Between natural curiosity, and sexual desire awakened far too soon, Kirby says it all resulted in an addiction that would last for years. From ages twelve to fourteen, her depression grew to the point that Kirby hated herself and thought about ways to end her life. A lifeline came the summer before she started high school, when Kirby attended a summer camp, heard the gospel, and genuinely, fully gave her heart to Christ. Still, she found herself unable to overcome temptation. “I believed that if anyone knew I was secretly struggling with a porn addiction and lustful thoughts, it would not only be ruining my witness, but disqualify me from God’s love and presence. I thought that once I was saved, that temptation, desire, and struggle would fade away in Jesus’ name. But it did not. It stayed. It grew. You know what else grew? The shame, self-hatred, and self-condemnation, along with anxiety that if anyone discovered my ‘dirty little sin,’ everyone would judge me for my struggle.”  


The beginning of Kirby’s freedom from porn addiction came in the first few months of her freshman year at Dallas Baptist University. She had joined a Christian sorority, and a group of sixty girls went on a camping trip. After lots of fun and getting to know each other, the president had them take part in a revealing exercise. She gave them all a sheet of paper with a long list of often-hidden struggles, and a true/false after each, e.g. I struggle with an eating disorder, I am ashamed of my past and cannot forgive myself, I can’t stop self-harming, I struggle with watching pornography, and many more. The girls were asked to circle what was true of them, crumple the papers, and all at once throw them far across the group. Then the leader read each confession out loud, asking the girls to stand for the girl whose paper they now held. The confessions remained anonymous, but everyone was able to see that she was far from alone in her struggles. When it came to pornography, Kirby was stunned to see half the girls stand. “I am so grateful to say that was the beginning of my journey to freedom,” Kirby says. “So much relief comes when we release what we’ve kept hidden.”   


Kirby has a thorough understanding of temptation and failure, and offers many tools to overcome the vicious cycle, from setting boundaries to immersing ourselves in God’s Word. She emphasizes that no strategy will work unless one is relying on God’s enabling grace. One tool she advocates is learning to expose the devil and his real motives. Our Enemy is real, diabolical, and bent on our destruction, Kirby warns. “If we believe he is evil and his schemes aren’t good for us, we need to drill into our minds that the choices he presents shouldn’t be reasoned with or rationalized. Reading the Bible is not a to-do task that makes God love you more; it serves up transformational truth that brings us closer to Christ, empowers us daily, and gives us eyes to distinguish the things of God from those of the Enemy.” 

Another strategy Kirby says will set us free is to recognize lies we believe about God, whether from the world, the devil, or our own wrong thinking. Some of the common lies she explores, and the truths which dispel them are:

·   God will abandon you. The truth: God will never abandon you when you sin. “He will pursue you, meet you where you are, and cleanse you from your sin and shame, clothing you in His grace. He will draw near even if you have hidden yourself away.” 1 John 1:8-9
·    God is angry with you and disappointed in you. The truth: God has compassion for us in our struggles and weaknesses. “(He is) assuring you of your identity in Him when you feel as though you least deserve it. That is the free gift of our salvation and justification – to forever belong to a good, gracious, understanding, forgiving God.”  Romans 8:1
·    God doesn’t love you (anymore). The truth: “God loves me. He showed His greatest display of that unconditional love on the cross through Jesus’ sacrifice. He so loves me and so loved the world that He withheld nothing to save and sustain us. His love covered my sins and still does.” John 3:16

In her own struggle with addiction, Kirby found what the Apostle Paul said in Romans 7:15 describes her experience exactly. Though she truly wanted to do what was right, she found herself time and again doing what she knew was not. Between a good counselor and her own research, she came to understand enough about the neurobiology of habit formation to explain why trying harder to change never worked. The counselor compared habits, good or bad, to walking through a wheat field on the exact same path until those stalks are trampled and a path appears. In the brain, thinking the same thoughts forms a neural pathway. “The frequency and speed take us from occasional actions to automatic compulsions,” Kirby says. “Habits are not just what we do repetitively but they are resistant and reluctant to change, even though deep down in our hearts, we want to stop.” While we can’t undo neural pathways, Kirby says new ones can be formed. “You can choose His new path for your life and walk it out. You can formulate new habits and cultivate new desires.”  

Her favorite Bible verse along these lines is Romans 12:2: Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. “This daily process counteracts the habits and sin cycles you’ve typically operated in, and it centers on the truth of God’s Word. When we fill our minds with truth about our sin, real life, God’s character, the Enemy’s nature, and who we’re called and created to be, that renewed mind leads to a renewed heart, then renewed conduct, and from there a renewed life,” Kirby encourages. “He still speaks to us today through His Word, and that renews us from the clutter and chatter of wickedness, lies, and sin that try to conform our mind into a counterfeit way of living.”

To purchase your copy of Kirby Kelly's book, "You Can Be Free," please click the link: You Can Be Free. Discover more about Kirby Kelly as a content creator and influencer at her website:

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About The Author

Julie Blim

Julie produced and assigned a variety of features for The 700 Club since 1996, meeting a host of interesting people across America. Now she produces guest materials, reading a whole lot of inspiring books. A native of Joliet, IL, Julie is grateful for her church, friends, nieces, nephews, dogs, and enjoys tennis, ballroom dancing, and travel.