CONQUERING STRONGHOLDS CHALLENGE 3
7: What If People Find Out?
The age old question of “What if?” This is the devil’s number one trick to keeping you down. That two word sentence has led to the destruction of lives and ended the pursuit of dreams. What if I fail, what if they don’t like me, what if I’m not good enough, smart enough, rich enough, and on and on and on.
What if you decided your pride wasn’t as important as your freedom, or your wife or your kids, or you? If a stranger asked 100 people about what they thought of you, what do you think they’d say? Now, in all honesty, does what they say really matter? You are dying inside, yet what some stranger on social media thinks about you is worth allowing the devil to keep you tethered to a leash. We’ve all been and will continue to be persecuted. God assures us of this.
I’m not suggesting that we strap an old-school sandwich board over our shoulders and march downtown to announce our sin, but I ask that you consider coming clean with yourself to begin with. Next, cry out to God and confess what He already knows.
Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
2 Timothy 3:12
If he already knows then why must we confess it? Because God wants to know your heart and that you are also aware of the condition of your own heart. Your words show where you are in the process, and whether you are willing to submit to His will and pray forgiveness of your sexual sin to receive His healing light. Next on your list of those who must know is your wife. Data shows that in 83% of the time a wife suspects infidelity, their intuition is right. Make no mistake, even sexual sin without intercourse is still adultery.
Some schools of thought suggest that men wait before disclosing sexual sin to their wife until they have refrained for at least 6 months. I don’t agree with that. Once prompted by the Holy Spirit to confess your sins, it is best to allow yourself to be moved. Keeping recovery a secret, is still maintaining a secret. It’s not like she’s going to congratulate you for keeping her out of the loop until you worked it out on your own. We’ve already talked about this, but an accountability partner is vital for ensuring your success. A brother believer, pastor, best bud, an online support resource or in-person support group are all options. Pick the one that’s right for you, not the one that’s most convenient. The question you should now ask is what will life be like as a free man. It will be amazing because you are free.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
8: What Are The Spiritual Risks
Satan rakes in over $97 billion dollars annually through the global porn industry according to a 2015 NBC Business report. This week we are focusing on exposing sexual addiction, while at the same time, sex is exposed to us at an overwhelming rate. It’s everywhere, but it’s not unbeatable.
Can you name anything that has a greater effect on separating man from God than sexual sin? I’m not sure there is anything more destructive to men. If we look at the wide range of activities intertwined by sexual sin, I think we’d be safe to answer a resounding; No.
I still thank God I escaped without a draw to pornography. Maybe it’s influence wasn’t present because there were no such thing as home computers while I was growing up or even in college. I recall the 1984 magazine with then, Miss USA, Vanessa Williams. I bought the edition, looked at the pics; and with that, went my first and last experience with buying, owning or possessing porn. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for millions of men. Porn is a powerful and readily available weapon used against men and women. Porn addiction is usually identified as the most prevalent form of bondage. It’s an easy access in the hands of almost everyone with a cell phone. Many websites offer free access, or hooks to lure us in. In 2016, 4,599,000,000 hours of pornography were consumed at one website alone. That equals 5,246 centuries worth of watching. By the time we’re paying, we’re staying.
Unless you have committed to regaining your freedom through Christ, you will find yourself ensnared in the devil’s delight while your joy wastes away. The spiritual risks are simple. Sin separates you from God. The separation from God is a spiritual death, and although God does not turn away from you, He can’t look upon sin. That is why Jesus cried out to Him while hanging upon the cross,
“…why have you forsaken me?” And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
God the Father never abandoned His beloved Son, Jesus, but because He had taken on the sins of the world as the final atonement for sin, God could not look upon Him until the sacrifice was done. Can you imagine allowing one of your kids to suffer the most excruciating pain possible, and being unable to intercede?
The spiritual consequence of sexual sin is just that. You are creating a gap between you and the God who loves and can save you. But, you must want to be saved. God will not do more for you than you want done for yourself. Fixing this is easy. Confess and repent. BAM, you’re back in good graces with God. The beauty of this is the closer you draw to God, the less you’ll want to create sin environments that cause the separation. Life in Christ is not repressive or void of action and adventure. Have you read the bible lately? It’s the greatest love story in the world. Know God’s love and avoid the spiritual risks of playing with the burning fire of sexual sin. When we play with fire, we’re going to get burned.
Warriors, I know this seems impossible at times because every time you’ve gained a step forward, the devil is there to convince you to take three steps back into the shadows. You were not always in bondage, and if you can recall those days, then use that as your anchor to pull forward into God’s light. This is a supernatural battle in the spirit realm. God has won the war, and you are one of His beloved warriors. Celebrate the victory of recovery and restoration.
For on account of a harlot a man is brought to a piece of bread;
And the adulteress hunteth for the precious life.
Can a man take fire in his bosom, And his clothes not be burned?
Or can one walk upon hot coals, And his feet not be scorched?
9: Coping Mechanisms
We often confuse what it is that we are addicted to with being the actual problem of being addicted. Alcohol, drugs and sex are not the problem. These, among many other forms of acting out, are mechanisms we turn to as a way of coping with the real issue. Because we spend so much time, energy and money on our obsessions, we naturally remain consumed with them, yet fail to identify why the act became necessary in the first place. Let’s look at actual causes of addiction rather than the addiction itself.
Many men can trace the origin to past pain in their lives. Dysfunctional families produce sexually addicted men more than any other factor. Some data indicate that 82% of sex addicts report being sexually abused as a child. Whether abused as a child, the addicts describe one or both parents as rigid, distant and uncaring. In addition to sexual addiction, 80% identify a presence of addiction in their family of origin. I justified my father’s silent, rigid behavior for decades. The fact that he never said he loved me, or even said a kind word to me never entered my mind as a cause for my draw to the flesh. Although he was in-house, he never spoke, never interacted, and not even as much as a high-five for cutting the grass. Yet, I made excuses by claiming he showed his love instead of spoke it. After all, he was the strong, silent type, right? It wasn’t until I sat at his bedside over the three days as he died, that I almost begged him to say he loved me. With his final breath, he took those words to the grave with him. I don’t hate him for it. I try to understand his life and the tough relationship he must have had with his father.
His passing served as a permission to begin seeking the truth. It was once I understood the damage of a dysfunctional family that I accepted that my sexual bondage had always been a result of past pain. Pain so repressed that it haunted me over the course of my entire adult life, until God revealed the blessing of forgiveness and restoration. Our brain plays an important role in our addictions. A process called neuroplasticity allows for a “rewiring” of the brain that can lead to the obsession for substances or acts as stimulation to satisfy its need. A common expression to illustrate this is, “Thoughts that fire together, wire together.” Brothers trapped in sexual compulsion don’t associate it with intimacy. That’s one of the many problems with it. People think sexual addiction is just being hyper-sexualized, or overly horny. On the slight exception of chemical imbalances that create a high sex drive, bondage to sex is not as simple just wanting sex or being very physical.
Whatever our original source is, the act of having sex, watching sex or fantasizing about sex, does not leave us with a warm and cozy feeling. Conversely, trying to avoid unpleasant feelings or deal with outside stressors, such as work troubles or personal issues, causes more guilt, shame and remorse. Warriors, take this time to open the back door to your addictive behavior and explore your past. If there are people you can speak with who may provide clues, do so, but be careful that memory and bias don’t filter actual accounts. That goes the same for your memories. We sometimes become desperate for answers and allow shades of jaded recollections to foster into an untruth that creates more pain.