Three Breakthroughs to Freedom
There are 3 significant barriers all must face for freedom from sexual sin.
The first is isolation. To break through, we must expose our sin to others. This sounds simple, but there are issues involved.
He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.
Many men don’t have close friends in their lives, so starting cold turkey with a point blank confession of shameful behavior to someone they don’t know is intimidating.
Sadly, the church can be a dangerous place for transparency. Some Christians can barely say “sex,” let alone have someone confide a masturbation and porn habit to them. Tell this to such a person and you’ll get a deer-in-the-headlights look accompanied by a quick change of subject. Some have no understanding how deep the bondage to sexual sin can be, and will pat your head with “read your Bible and pray and you’ll be okay.” A few will blame your problem on your wife not giving you enough sex (I’ve heard of church counselors who’ve done this). The worst are the Pharisees who pull out both Bible barrels and blast away with condemnation.
Such responses contribute to the problem by enforcing the false belief that “I cannot tell my secret sin to anyone, and must stay isolated.”
For some men, letting go of their pride is their greatest battle. They’re not willing to face the harsh reality that their Christian walk is a con game, and they’re not the man they think they are. Just the idea that they have to humble themselves and admit defeat makes them furious – which is proof of how massive the wall of their pride is.
Shame, the fear of rejection, and pride are the enemies to be conquered to break through the barrier of isolation.
Fortunately, for those who are willing to take this first step, there are plenty of options. Support groups are often the best choice because you’re meeting with others who can relate. Counselors or pastors are another avenue, but remember that those who’ve found freedom from their own battle with lust will have a better understanding of the problem. Sometimes God points us to a trusted friend. Some ministries (including Blazing Grace) have online communities; however, face to face communication is always best as one can hide with electronic accountability.
Once we’ve brought our secrets out into the open, the power of isolation and shame are broken, and we’ve made our first significant breakthrough.
The second involves a cold blooded choice of the will.
If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
Some guys go to a support group for years and never get anywhere because they’re not willing to permanently divorce lust. They become recovery group junkies; they enjoy the fellowship, but when they confess their sin it’s not to be done with it, but so they can feel better. They live in a padded, comfortable cage where lust is their friend, not their sworn enemy. Their path to recovery is all about their feelings. If they’re having a good day they might not slip, but if circumstances are tough a little binge won’t hurt. They can always go back to the group and get a confession fix so they can feel good again.
To make the second breakthrough, we must make a forceful, no-compromise, no-turning-back decision to truncate lust from our lives. The days of patting it on the head and giving it a bone are over; we must kill it. In practical terms this means that everything under our control that causes us to stumble will be firmly dealt with. If internet porn is the problem, we have accountability software send reports to a trusted friend (or our wife, if we’re hard core), or install porn blocking software – or do away with the computer. If cable TV takes us down, the service is turned off. If our “smartphone” is the issue, we trade it in for an old fashioned phone that just makes calls. Adulterous relationship? Tell them goodbye and to stop contacting you. We go to support groups and counseling; whatever it takes.
Whether we make this second breakthrough will prove whether we’re serious about breaking free from lust, or if we’re still playing games.
The third breakthough comes when the Lord is allowed to heal the heart.
Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flows the springs of life.
Why would someone have to “allow God” to heal their heart?
Because the process involves pain. When the root issues that a man has used lust to medicate are exposed, i.e. rejection, self-hatred, lies, abuse, guilt, unforgiveness and/or self-hatred, all the emotion he’s avoided for years froth to the surface. Many men will do anything to avoid facing their heart; if they can’t use porn or an adulterous affair, they’ll turn to workaholism, gluttony – or pompous religiosity. These guys are great at preaching and quoting verses, but ask them what’s really going on in their heart and the smokescreens come up: “I don’t have time… I’m a new creation in Christ; I don’t need to deal with that stuff.”
Yeah, right. The river of denial runs strong in the body of Christ.
An easy gage of whether a man is experiencing wholeness and peace is what happens when he’s alone for several hours with the Lord, with no phone, email, i-gadgets, or other distractions. Can he settle into silence, or does it frighten him because he knows he’ll be forced to feel emotions that he’s afraid of and has no idea how to deal with?
The degree to which we allow the Lord to heal the wounds in our heart will be the degree to which we experience true freedom from lust. A man with an empty heart does not have the internal, Holy Spirit-charged power of God to say no to temptation for long; he resists temptation more with his flesh than the Spirit. This doesn’t mean that he’s not saved, but that a large place in his heart is untouched by the love of God.
Part of the problem is our perception of what is progress. A man may be experiencing emotional pain, yet be right at the doorstep of healing and freedom. Or, he could be stuck in denial with an unfeeling, hard heart and miles away from recovery.
How does God heal something like rejection, abuse, or core belief lies of the heart? With the truth. If we allow Him, He will gently expose what’s really in our heart, and then apply truth from His word in a way unique to the person.
Russ Willingham, who counsels sex addicts for a living, writes that he has never worked with a man or woman who truly understood the grace of God. They prove this by their actions as they wouldn’t binge on a grace counterfeit like porn if they’d received the love of God in their heart.
The way to begin this final, critical step is to invite God to have His way in your heart, no holds barred. Ask Him to reveal everything He needs to so that you can experience all He has for you, and then keep seeking Him until His work is complete.
It will be a decision you’ll never regret.
Ladies Prayer Team
We’re restarting our ladies prayer group. The women who’ve participated in the past have found this a blessing as they have others who they can share their struggles with and find encourage from, in addition to praying for each other and the ministry. Most participants are wives whose husbands have issues with sex and/or porn addiction. If you’re interested in getting involved, please email me.
The prayer meetings are held once a week by phone conference call.
The Road to Grace
The Road to Grace; Finding True Freedom from the Bondage of Sexual Addiction is Mike Genung’s book on breaking free from sexual addiction.
Topics covered include:
* Biblical tools for overcoming sexual temptation.
* Healing from shame.
* How to stop a masturbation habit.
* Dealing with the core issues that drive sexual sin.
* Understanding and receiving the love of God in the heart.
* Healing for Wives
* How to restore a marriage that’s been broken by sexual sin and/or adultery.
The Road to Grace is used in support groups, and provides plenty of material for discussion.
For more information and to purchase, visit www.roadtograce.net
Want a free solution for blocking porn websites from your computer that doesn’t involve installing system slowing software? Open DNS works by filtering porn sites at the servers on the internet that your computer accesses to grab the websites from. Go to www.opendns.com for more information and to get set up.
I should mention that I’ve never heard of a porn blocking solution that deterred someone who was determined to get around it, but having something like Open DNS is always better than not, especially if you have a family.
www.blazinggrace.org – Blazing Grace home page
www.blazinggrace.org/forums/ – a community for those who struggle with sexual sin and their spouses.
www.roadtograce.net – Site for Mike Genung’s book The Road to Grace; Finding True Freedom from the Bondage of Sex Addiction.
www.2chronicles714.net – Site that focuses on putting 2nd Chronicles 7:14 into action for individuals and churches.
Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
Blazing Grace’s purpose is to minister to the sexually broken and equip the church to effectively deal with the porn epidemic.
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May God’s grace abound to you.
All material copyright 2012 Mike Genung