To an audience of hundreds of youth and college students on Wednesday morning, Jessica Harris extended a challenge: confront and confess your sins to be truly free from them.

Harris, who was featured as the second main plenary session speaker at a missions conference called Higher Calling Conference, has herself experienced the struggle of committing the same sins repeatedly, and bearing the shame of not being able to share those sins with anyone. She opened up about her past addiction to porn, and her struggle of not being able to stop even after she committed her life to Christ.

Jessica Harris
(Photo : Christianity Daily)
Jessica Harris, author of 'Beggar's Daughter,' was one of the main plenary session speakers at Higher Calling Conference 2016.

Christians continue to go back to their sin “because we’re trying to protect it,” Harris said. “Instead what we need to do is say, ‘Here it is. Someone help me take it down.’”

After years of being unable to tell anyone about her own sins, Harris said she had the opportunity to open about them at a women’s group in Bible college, where the members were encouraged to write down their ‘strongholds’ — the sins that they continually struggle with — and give the pieces of paper to the leaders.

“It’s terrifying to tell your strongholds and to take them down, and it could be painful. But the freedom that comes from that is completely unmatched,” said Harris. “To not fear someone finding out, to not fear the past catching up to you. To say, ‘Yeah, so I did that, and God’s grace covers me.’ There’s a freedom and a power there that is unmatched.”

“The thing that will keep you from that is shame,” she added. “As long as the devil can keep you ashamed, he has you.”

She challenged the students to overcome their shame to truly put behind their sins, and live in the freedom that God has given.

“God wants to use the new man,” she said. “We need to be renewed to be used.”

Harris, author of ‘Beggar’s Daughter,’ was one of six main plenary session speakers during the annual missions conference hosted by SOON Movement, a college ministry that has a presence in numerous universities across the nation. This year’s Higher Calling Conference took place from December 20 to 23 at the Town and Country Resort and Convention Center, and focused on the theme, ‘Resurgence.’

The conference also featured 12 elective seminars on topics such as vocational calling; faith and work; depression; sexuality and purity; and apologetics, among others.