Very upset and angry tonight at the havoc sin wrecks in not just the lives of the one committing it, but in the lives of all who love them. In the last 2 days I’ve spoken with four men, two of whom I’m very close to, whose sexual sin has come to light and devastated wives and children.
Men, it’s not worth it. Believe me. If you are looking at things you shouldn’t be looking at, stop. Now.
That was my Facebook status late last night. I am still feeling it today. All day long I have been upset, not at the friends of mine who have done some very foolish, stupid things, but at the insidiousness of sin, sexual sin in particular, and the ways in which we allow it to win. Every where I look it seems to be winning. And I’m angry.
So the next few posts will unapologeticly come from such a place of anger towards sin. I’m going to shoot straight with you, and I hope you will shoot straight with someone in your life who takes seriously the effects of sin but even more importantly, believes that it can be defeated.
SIN DOES NOT NEED TO WIN! If you are in Christ, you are more than conquerors (Rom. 8:37). Jesus lived and died to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8). So please, pay attention. God does not want you addicted but free. Completely, totally, 100% FREE!
So here I want to address a common theme I see in people I counsel and definitely saw in myself a few years ago. It’s the idea of “struggle.” People say all the time that they “struggle” with this or that. “I struggle with pornography” or “I struggle with food” or “I struggle with drinking,” and so forth and so forth.
But after digging a bit deeper it’s discovered there is no “struggle” at all. Or at least very little of one. What is often meant by “struggle” is that they feel an impulse to do something and it weighs on them heavily for awhile until they actually give in and do the thing that’s consuming their thoughts. They assume that by having this impulse they don’t really want to have and wish would just magically go away is the struggle! But nothing could be further from the truth!
Struggle, by definition, means to “contend with an opposing force.” Another definition, which I like a lot, is,
To advance with violent effort.
Pause for just a moment and ask yourself: Am I advancing in my battle against habitual sin with “violent effort”?
If you find yourself giving over time and time again to the same impulses, then you cannot say of yourself that you are “struggling against pornography (or whatever).” You are not struggling, and any attempts to convince yourself or others that you are is merely the delusion your sin has brought you under.
The writer of Hebrews reminds those of us who would say we are struggling that,
In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood (Heb. 12:4).
In the verse prior we are called to consider the one who did, Jesus, who bore the scorn of sinners like you and I, therefore we should not grow weary in our fight – our violent effort – to be holy.
Let me close with a personal story I’ve shared with others I counsel about sexual sin. When I was working at Amazon while at Pure Life I would often see adult material pass through the lines where I worked. Early on in my time there I found this to be a huge problem. It wouldn’t take but a glimpse of something and my mind would begin racing, conjuring up all sorts of things I wanted to forget. At first I didn’t struggle much at all and gave in. But with each passing week, as I endeavored to chase after God with all my soul, strength, and mind, I began to notice something. I began to truly struggle.
I began to pray hard – ALL DAY LONG. When the impulse entered my mind I recognized it for what it was – an attack of the enemy – and I prayed, and prayed, and prayed. I began shouting worship songs in my mind to myself. If necessary I would sing out loud in the middle of my work space. I would pray incessantly that God would have mercy on me, a sinner, and help me to hate my sin the way He does. I would not stop this inner dialog until I had victory and had peace in my mind and soul. And sometimes that took ALL DAY. Sometimes I did not have peace until I went to bed.
BUT I HAD VICTORY.
The next day it would come at me again, and I would struggle. I would fight. I would put forth violent effort against the enemy of my soul and press into Jesus Christ with every ounce of my being. My flesh cried out, my desires flared up, but I would struggle, and fight, and kick and scream because I knew my very life depended on it, and so did the lives of so many others.
And most importantly, because Jesus deserved my blood, sweat and tears.
I can testify that the struggle gets easier, as your spiritual muscles get stronger. There were many nights I went to bed mentally and emotionally exhausted from fighting all day long, but how sweet the victory is! I am testifying to you today that I haven’t had to fight like that in over 18 months. The devil has lost his grip on me in this regard, and I am a free man. You can be, too.
Have you struggled against your sin to the point of shedding blood? If not, then you haven’t really even entered the battle. Don’t sit on the sidelines. Stop fooling around with sin. It will cost you everything.
Praying with and for you,
For more on what God had delivered me from, please read my testimony HERE