October 2013: 100 Days on the Road to Grace is Available
My second book, 100 Days on the Road to Grace; a Devotional for the Sexually Broken is now available.
This newsletter includes information on the book as well as excerpts from two complete readings.
The book offers 100 readings that include:
* The path to freedom from porn and sexual addiction.
* Keys to rebuilding your character.
* Coping with anger, depression, and fear.
* Rebuilding trust and bringing healing to your marriage and family.
* Bitterness and forgiveness.
* Breaking the bondage of self.
* Spiritual Warfare.
* Revitalizing the relationship with God.
* Living a life that counts for eternity
Here are the two excerpts:
Excerpt: The Terror of Intimacy
Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.
When I first started to come off lust, my emotions went haywire. I’d spent years building a thick wall of concrete around my heart. Pulling out the cornerstone of lust rocked my defenses to the core.
I hated emotions; love terrified me. Dating girls was a scary proposition. As soon as I started getting close to a girl, I had to bail out. Emotional intimacy caused pain and a sense of rejection and depression to surface, none of which I knew how to handle. The message I internalized very quickly was that I could not, must not, get close to another.
None of this had to do with sex. It is quite easy to have physical intimacy but be checked out emotionally. To be intimate emotionally is to bare the soul—to reveal one’s fears, hurts, doubts, and pain to another.
I swatted anything away that might have been perceived as love. Compliments were written off as insincere. I judged affectionate people as weak or mushy “touchy feely types.” When the men at the support groups I attended hugged each other at the end, I would squirm.
In spite of our efforts to cover up our internal torment, the loved ones we are closest to, particularly our spouses, can see right through us. Some time ago, I was in a counselor’s office with my wife. When the counselor asked her why she thought I struggled so hard with accepting love, she immediately responded, “Because he doesn’t think he deserves it.” In those few words, my wife encapsulated the lie I believed but had never verbalized. I’d done such an effective job of closing off my heart with lust and “the wall” that I was emotionally blind.
Then there was my relationship with God. What a mess. I was always obsessing over my sins and groveling in fear over every fault. God was miles away to me, a distant figure of wrath, brimstone, and damnation. Intimacy with God was for those who got the Christian walk right (which to me meant that they didn’t struggle with lust). Sex addicts like myself were lucky just to be forgiven for our sins. A joyful relationship with the Lord was out of reach for the “Christian pervert,” I thought.
Our terror of intimacy is driven by lies. These lies range from “I will be rejected if they really know me,” or “I will get hurt or abused if I get too close,” or “I will never be accepted or loved as I am.” Such lies keep us bound in fear of the love our friends, spouse, and the Lord want to give us.
Love with another human being is risky. There are times when we will expose our heart to our spouse, and they’ll blow it. No husband or wife gets it right 100% of the time. The keys to overcoming the fear of intimacy are discovering the truth as revealed in God’s Word (He does love us, see Ephesians 2 and John 4), taking risks and opening up with the people we know care about us, learning when our emotional hot buttons are getting in the way of intimacy so we can diffuse their power over us, and even after communication misfires, persevering to draw near to them, especially with our spouse.
If we are willing to break down the walls and let people and God in, the love and acceptance we crave will shine in our hearts like the morning sun.
Excerpt: Keep Your Guard Up!
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8–9
Temptation will never stop this side of eternity.
Some men get a few weeks, months, or years of freedom from sexual sin, then think they’ve arrived. “I’ve got lust beaten… saying no to temptation? Piece of cake. Yo church! Lemme show you how it’s done.” The Devil licks his chops over such men. “Hmmm… shall I have him medium or well–done?”
Every once in a while, the enemy comes at me with a lust pile–driver. I happen upon a provocative movie poster, and then hear, “Come on… it’s only PG–13… you can just look away during the naughty scenes.” Or I have a sexually charged dream, followed up with more temptation the day after, and then another dark dream the following night.
If the enemy can get me in pride mode and thinking I’m “it,” all he needs now is one small opening; just a little compromise. Let’s say I check the ratings of that PG–13 movie and see there’s a sex scene or two. The scenes look “mild” so I decide to proceed. Although I close my eyes during the sexually charged parts, the sound comes through loud and clear. What I heard replays in my mind a few times… and then I start rehearsing it. The next thing I know I’m putting meat on the bones and am imagining people doing things. Maybe I wish I’d have opened my eyes during the movie—just a little bit, of course.
Now I’m playing with fire and am just one or two decisions away from a fall. If I don’t realize that I’m sliding fast down a slippery slope and start scrambling back to the top, I’m done.
Here are four points to consider for staying alert:
1. We’re stuck with our selfish, lustful, proud flesh until death do us part. We’re always one or two decisions away from sin. If King David, who God used to write Scripture, could fall into sexual sin with Bathsheba, so could you.
2. Pride causes blindness and temporary insanity. Never think you’ve conquered lust; bite on this hook and you’ll find yourself one step away from a fall. Some support groups make those who’ve sustained a few years of freedom into mini–gods. Don’t go there. Remember that any freedom you’re experiencing from sexual sin is a gift, and the best way to keep that gift is to live in humility. I need God and His Holy Spirit–powered grace every day to stay free from lust, and so do you.
3. We have an enemy who’s been manipulating and attacking humanity for thousands of years. He can smell pride, fear, lust, or compromise from miles away, and he knows how to exploit it. He knows your weaknesses and he can read you like a book. Be aware of the direction your thoughts and actions can take you, and work to stay as far away from the cliff of sin as possible. Think through your decisions before you proceed. If you’re toying with the idea of going to an R–rated movie that has nudity or sex in it, remember what that stuff does to you. Think on how the images and sounds will play in your head for hours or even days afterwards. You don’t need it. No one ever died from not watching a movie… but many have stumbled because of it. Remember to separate your wants from your needs.
4. Do the right thing even if it makes your friends uncomfortable… or convicted.