CONQUERING STRONGHOLDS CHALLENGE 8

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22: Self-Assessments

Coming to the realization that you are trapped in sexual bondage can be embarrassing, make you angry or ashamed. It even scares us because it’s a reality check into something we’ve hidden or denied. But, reality is the only thing that will set you free from this addiction. Many of us, and me included, prefer to self-assess any issue we may have. I’m notorious when it comes to medical issues. My doctor’s title is based in academics, not medicine, but I never hesitate to avoid the medical clinic at all costs. Once, I self-diagnosed a pinched nerve in my neck. I continued to lift weights and exercise until I couldn’t hold a towel in my left hand. It turned out to be a shattered disk in my spine.

Emergency surgery, a titanium replacement and a hole in the throat later, I’m still trying to guess on aches and pains.

We need to find the balance when it comes to sexual bondage. If we go back to the beginning lessons, we’ve put in a lot of effort toward recognizing that we do have an issue with sexual sin. We’ve also worked hard to identify the cause of why we act out the way we do. Additionally, we’ve focused on the spiritual warfare that we’ve found ourselves and worked like warriors to surrender our prideful will to God.

This is the grunt work that we warriors can do to create the gap between satan’s grasp and our way to freedom. It’s also a time where we may ease up on our life’s truth because the reality may sting. Right now is not the time to yank the band aid half way off. Expose yourself to you. This requires honesty and complete transparency to ensure you understand what is going on with you. No one else can want this for you more than you. We’ve all heard the advice about taking a good, long look at ourselves in the mirror. It’s great advice and we must do it in this situation. In the look, what do you see? Have you been completely open so far? If not, we’re at day 22.

What are you waiting for? Now is also as good a time as day 1, but please make sure you are giving yourself a fighting chance by honestly self-assessing your situation. We fix mistakes by first understanding that a mistake has been made. Audits are the best tool used for identifying errors. Give yourself a sexual bondage audit today. What has been your compulsion? I’m going to ask you to write out a few things in today’s Call To Action, but before that, it’s important to pray over it. Warriors, I know this whole battle plan goes against so much of what we’ve been taught or observed throughout our lives. The idea of surrendering in struggle has never equaled victory, but like we’ve talked about before, this is a fight within the spiritual realm. God only wants our surrender, so our prideful will is out of His way for our blessings. Add the audit to your armory inventory and take a sincere look at where you are in the fight. Sun Tzu said, “It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles...” While this isn’t scriptural, it’s timeless common sense.

23: Family Support

Warriors, is your family in this fight with you? Way too often we go at this battle alone because we’re ashamed of what we’re doing or have hidden it from them and can’t bring ourselves to include our family. I’ve also mentioned that we usually feel justified in our sexual sin because we convince ourselves it’s a victimless act, but I want to show you the real damage; family. A good man I’ll call Rick, and his wife Sue, had both struggled with his sexual sin for years. He never understood Sue’s feelings of powerlessness because she didn’t understand or help with his addiction. She also felt it was because she wasn’t desirable enough, and instead Rick turned to other women and porn. Sue suffered through Rick’s lies and sneaky behaviors while he tried to conceal his sin. She loved him dearly, but the humiliation among their peers who knew of or participated in Rick’s numerous sexual affairs became overwhelming. She was innocent, but he had broken her. Sue began experiencing symptoms of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder.)

This loving, Christian woman and mother of their three kids did nothing to deserve what Rick was doing to himself or them. Her fear of his exposure and the daily worry of him losing his job if his boss found out that Rick was consuming porn on office computers led her into a dependence on Xanax. It wasn’t until Sue began seeing a Christian counselor by herself because Rick wouldn’t go, that she understood she was not responsible for Rick’s addictions. Although, she did learn that sex was not Rick’s core problem, but that the past she knew of carried lots of personal pain for Rick. Sue also accepted responsibility for her dependence upon Xanax, and worked to break free from it. Rick on the other hand refused to address his past pain caused by a distant mother and the rejection of his parent’s divorce. It was physical sex that gave him a sense of acceptance, and eventually porn that gave him a false sense of control.

The last time I spoke with Rick and Sue, he had suggested a legal separation while working on his sexual bondage. Sue admitted she’d agreed because her anxiety never decreased and their oldest daughter was now acting out with older boys from school. I didn’t pursue the connection after that, but I’d learned they divorced and Rick was suffering even worse than before thanks to the divorce and the job he lost after his addiction was exposed by a coworker.

It really saddened me to see where both of them and the kids had ended up. Family support is vital, and Rick had a rock solid partner in Sue. She tried to stand with him, and even carry him when the burden got too tough, but Rick always said he was afraid of life without the comfort of his pornography. I don’t agree with his decision, but I do understand the complexity of satan’s best efforts to separate us from our family and God. Warriors, if you are married, you must begin to pray for an opportunity to open up to your wife. Chances are high that she already knows. She is just waiting for you to become comfortable or broken enough to talk to her. Learn to lean on those who love and support you. 

24: Christian Support

One of the hardest thing I did, was to tell a close group of men from church that I had struggled with sexual bondage. I thought they saw me as this tough, alpha male, former cop, who rode motorcycles with them and didn’t have a worry in the world. When no one was shocked at my confession, I was a little surprised and maybe even disappointed.

Acceptance

 

It wasn’t a big, emotional revelation because there was no judgment. Some shared they too struggled with sexual addictions, while others offered continued fellowship. We sometimes fear fellow believers because we think they’re going to judge us. If you’re in a bible-believing church centered on Jesus Christ, then brokenness is something almost everyone has shared. Ask yourself this question, “Does the devil want you with a band of brothers, or alone in the dark of shame?”

Simple

I know the answer is simple. So, where do you think God wants you to be? Yes, in fellowship with other believers. I love what Solomon says in Ecclesiastes 4:12

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:12

Many years ago I was a lieutenant running a multi-jurisdictional drug and violent crimes task force. It was a tough assignment and often we found ourselves with very few undercover agents to safely get the job done. During one stretch there were only three of us. I knew the risk every time we showed ourselves in public to make an arrest.

Instead of growing frustrated with a slow hiring process and dangerous risks we were still willing to take, God laid Ecclesiastes on my heart. I printed and framed it in my office where it remained over my 12 years in that assignment. We never lost a life despite the violent scenarios that regularly played out before us. Yes, God knows we are stronger together.

Fellowship

 

He created us to have fellowship. He didn’t need the company, but He loved us before we were created and that is His eternal love. The way God wants to communicate with us is the way He wants us to communicate with each other. That involves close relationships where encouragement, friendship, accountability and love will foster.

 

Traps

 

Warriors, please avoid the trap that most non-believers and lukewarm Christians fall into by adopting an attitude that “church people” are snooty hypocrites just waiting to judge you for having sinned. Are there crumby folks? Sure there are, but that’s true in every aspect where humans gather. The reality is that among a body of Christ-loving men, you will find the support and understanding you need to join the ranks in God’s called army of warriors ready and armored up to bust open the chains of sexual slavery.

Belonging

 

If you don’t currently belong to a men’s group, here’s how to begin. Check to see if your church host small groups. Most that do, will break the groups into areas of interests such as young adult, married, single, etc. Join the group that best fits you and begin building relationships with men in the group. If your church doesn’t have a men’s group, offer to start one. You don’t have to be a pastor, or theologian to lead a group. Honestly, you don’t even have to belong to a church to start your own men’s group. Just be cautious that it starts with a God-centered focus and remains that way.