Tag Archives: pornography

Rescue from Relapse

Relapse is without a doubt the most difficult part of recovery.    The pain it causes not only to yourself, but to those who love you, is torturous.   It’s like ripping a scab off of a wound which seemed to be healing nicely.   The shame, guilt and self-hatred which accompany a relapse is suffocating and nearly impossible to silence.

I know this feeling well, and regrettably, all too recently.   If you are anything like me, after a relapse you want to just crawl into a hole and die.   The sense of profound failure is crippling.  It’s impossible to look anyone in the eye.   Edgar Allen Poe’s infamous, incessant, beating heart beneath the floor boards gets louder and louder in my ears and I’m convinced everyone sees me as not just a failure, but a murderer of all that is good and holy.   It’s how I see myself in days and weeks following a relapse.  It’s how I all too easily assume God sees me, too.

That last bit is the worse, and potentially the most debilitating.   In my experience, how we understand God’s relation to ourselves in our highs and our lows, our recovery and our relapses, makes all the difference in how quickly or how slowly (or if ever) we get back on the horse and the road to sanity.

Understanding God as One who is for you, not against you; who is immovable and unconditional in his love towards you, is essential, in my opinion, to rebound from any relapse.   Holding on to this fundamental understanding of God is difficult to do, however, when the accuser of our souls is working overtime to bury us in shame and despair.   Sometimes this accuser’s voice comes through people we’d least expect, those who hold trusted positions in our lives such as family members, pastors, counselors, and friends.    It might sound something like this text I received from a family member just weeks after she learned of my relapse:

My thoughts today are that you should just be done with God.  Obviously he cannot help you.  He is powerless to set you free so why bother with him?  You cannot serve flesh and God simultaneously and you always choose the flesh! So denounce God and then you can continue your life without guilt. Without the struggle.  Seriously.  Your life is a testimony that God is unable to set the captive free so stop the struggle and just give in.

Yuck.  Even typing that out makes me feel like I need a bath.   The accuser, scripture tells us, will often masquerade as an angel of light.   Sometimes we will hear these lies from people we think should know better.   It’s bad enough that these lies are replaying themselves in our heads like a tape on repeat when we relapse.  It’s almost unbearable when they come at us from people we love and who claim to love God and us.

The best way I know how to defeat the enemy is expose it to light.   If you are hearing the voice of the accuser in the midst of relapse – or any struggle – talk about it.   Share your thoughts with trusted friends in recovery.   I am so grateful for my brothers in recovery who heard these words and graciously spoke truth and love over me.   They helped me start the process of letting go of resentment towards those who know no better and speak from their own places of pain and humanity (still working on this!).  They also reminded me that my higher power is not in those words and to seek out what it is he has to say about me.   Words such as these:

Do not gloat over me, my enemies! For though I fall, I will rise again. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light (Micah 7:8).

for though a righteous man falls seven times, he will rise again (Prov 24:16).

The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand (Psalm 37:23-24)

The LORD helps the fallen and lifts those bent beneath their loads. The eyes of all look to you in hope; you give them their food as they need it. When you open your hand, you satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing (Psalm 145:14-16).

“Say to them, ‘This is what the LORD says: “‘When people fall down, do they not get up? When someone turns away, do they not return? (Jer. 8:4)

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:28-29).

There are countless more truths found in Scripture which reveal a God who does not abandon us in our weakness but who, paradoxically, is made strong through them (2 Cor. 12:9-11).

A relapse is never the result of God’s weakness or inability to save us.  It is always a result of our own frailty and powerlessness, revealing wounds we’ve yet to allow the Healer to touch.  It’s an opportunity for us to learn and grow in our walk not just in recovery but in Christ, and an opportunity for saints around us to practice the art of gentle restoration (Gal. 6:1).

I hope someone reading this finds hope in the midst of relapse.  Know that any voice that sounds like condemnation is not from your Father in heaven.   Run to the One who while we were yet sinners – enemies of God – laid down his life for us that we might walk out of our pit and into the light.  He is always ready and willing to help the downtrodden and the poor in spirit.   He does not grow weary in doing good towards us and his thoughts towards you and I today and always are bountiful, infinitely rooted in love, peace, and hope.

Grace and peace,

Chad

Tired of being a slave to porn? Take your first step towards freedom

Being enslaved to pornography is hell on earth. I know because I’ve been there. If you are there now, or don’t wish to go back to that life, I would love to talk with you.

I will be forming a support group for men who want to be free from the hell that is sex addiction. God created us for so much more than that. If you are interested, please send me a private message by email me at recoveringchad@yahoo.com. Your anonymity and confidentiality are important to me.

I will be beginning a local group for those who can meet weekly and if the interest is there, an online group for those who are far from me.  I’ll have more to say about the format soon.  Please share this with anyone you think might need some hope.

Grace and peace.

The Christian dissonance of “It’s My Body”

I try to avoid political topics on my blog but the latest news regarding “heartbeat” bills and discussion around women’s right to have an abortion has been occupying much of my head space.

Which is interesting to me because I wasn’t this occupied with it in the past.   The reason I felt it worth writing about here is because I think my views about abortion have changed some, aligning more with my views on sexual integrity in general and the rights I believe we have over our bodies in particular.

It’s this latter portion that is most concerning to me, especially as it relates to those of us who are Christians.   For the record, I don’t believe it’s the job of the Church to legislate morality (in most cases), but I do believe it’s the job of the Church to serve as a conscience to the State.   We may not get to make the laws, but we certainly should be witnesses to the light.  What we support (or don’t support) while bearing the name of Christ makes an indelible impression upon a watching, confused, disbelieving world.

Having said that, allow me to state my premise clearly, and then I’ll unpack it.   Whether you agree or disagree with this statement, I hope you’ll continue reading and even comment.

The deeper we pursue Christ and his holiness, the more incoherent and dissonant is the world’s message declaring, “It’s your body, it’s your choice.”

This should come as no surprise to Christians, but it’s amazing how much we muddy the waters with the things we support.   The dissonance between the messages “Come, pick up your cross and follow me,” and “It’s your body, it’s your choice,”   which are often proclaimed from the same pulpit and pew can only further confuse a world in such dire need of Christ’s liberating, healing, saving word.

Our primary task as Christians is to make disciples.  How can we expect the disciples we are making to understand what it means to lay down one’s life for the sake of the gospel when we tell pregnant women, “It’s your body, your choice”?

Scripture teaches us that when we become Christians we recognize that we have been bought with a price.   Paul, if writing today, would no doubt ask us the same question:

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. (1 Cor. 6)

Do we not know that our bodies are not our own?   Why, as Christ followers, are we telling people the exact opposite?

Paul writes in Philippians that we who know Christ are to have his mindset:

Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!

He goes on to declare that it’s this mindset – this lowly, humble, it’s-not-MY-body mindset – that God will exalt and this spectacular display of selflessness, one that seems utterly foolish to the ways of this world, will cause every knee to one day bow and tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Friends, this means that the degree to which people are not calling Jesus Lord of their life is in large part the same degree to which we, his Body on earth, are not bearing witness to the sacrificial, self-denying life of Jesus.

Naturally, this has implications in how we live far beyond (and before) thoughts of abortion are even entertained.   Understanding that this body I have is a gift from God and not my own dictates how I use it moment by moment.  It means I can’t just say “yes” to something because I desire it because I understand that my desires are not always holy desires.   Thus, questions about sex outside of marriage, masturbation, pornography use, and of course, abortion, all must be held up to the light of the gospel and it’s demand upon not just my doctrine (what I believe) but upon my body (what I practice).

It’s only when I surrender my body, along with my heart and my will and my thoughts, to God that I can begin to know the sort of freedom and joy and peace Jesus promises to those who seek him and his righteousness first and foremost.

I’ll conclude by stating my premise once again:

The deeper we pursue Christ and his holiness, the more incoherent and dissonant is the world’s message declaring, “It’s your body, it’s your choice.”

Grace and peace,

Chad

Will Jesus do many miracles among us?

A few years back I met a missionary from Africa who was here in Tennessee sharing the gospel with Americans.  I was fascinated (and convicted) as he shared the heart he and his church back home has for the lost here in my own backyard.  One thing he said to me I’ll never forget:

In Africa, we witness miracles all the time because we depend on them.  Without God meeting our daily needs, we would die.   The reason you see so few miracles here in America is because you’ve learned to depend on technology and modern medicine to meet your needs.   God is not so necessary.

I don’t know about you, but I want to live a life where God is absolutely necessary, where I am increasingly dependent upon him to meet all my needs.   This is true of me less than I care to admit.

March Madness is right around the corner and you’ll no doubt hear many players and coaches reciting a line I remember hearing often during my brief time playing ball in high school:

Leave it all on the court.

After this game, don’t be the one who looks back with regret that you didn’t give it your all.   I wonder at times whether I will one day look back on my life and be satisfied that I left all behind for the sake of Christ, who left all to give me life.   I wonder if I will one day know all that could have been accomplished by God’s power working through me had I believed the impossible.

Or will it be said of me that Jesus could not do many miracles with Chad because of his unbelief (Matt. 13:58)?   I’m sure he’s done and will do some.  But many?   How much is many?

When I moved into Church of God country I witnessed for the first time in my life the gift of tongues and interpretation in full display.  Growing up a Nazarene I had never seen this gift.  I didn’t believe it was still in operation.  But churches in Cleveland, Tennessee proved otherwise.  Why is the gift of tongues a dominant gift in the Church of God but rarely if ever heard in the Church of the Nazarene?  Maybe because people growing up in the CoG have faith that this is a gift for them.

Why do so many preacher’s kids grow up to become pastors themselves?  Maybe because they saw their imperfect parent rising to the call and had faith that maybe they could, too?

Maybe miracles happen where people come to expect and believe that they will.

This may seem like I’m stating the obvious, but what we believe about ourselves comes to pass.   If you and I believe we can do something, than we will, or at the very least, we will die trying.   And if you and I believe we can’t do something, we won’t, nor will we try.

When I was floundering in my sexual addiction there were numerous things I believed wrongly, but two are pertinent to this post:

  1. What I’m experiencing isn’t sin, but addiction.
  2.  I’ll always be an addict

The turning point for me in my life was when I came to my senses and saw how my behavior was not due to me being an addict but due to me being a sinner.   I was a slave to sin.

The distinction is an important one, I believe.    My experience has been such that when I saw myself primarily as an addict, I did so to my detriment.   My identity as an addict put a veil between myself and a miracle working God, causing me to place my trust in a program to provide at best a daily reprieve from my addictive behavior.

But when I saw myself as a sinner, a person who has become addicted to sinning in a particular way, there was a seismic shift in my spirit.   Naming my condition rightly opened up the door for the Holy Spirit to minister to that condition.  It tore the veil separating myself from God and helped me to see that there is indeed a remedy for sin – the blood of Christ – and that in his grace and mercy he has provided wonderful tools (such as the steps, a group of brothers, a sponsor, and most importantly, his Word) to enable me to walk in the Spirit rather than the flesh, one day at a time.

There is so much brokenness in our world today.  So much that is outside of God’s intended design for us.  I see it in my own heart.  I see it in my family. I see it in our churches.   And the world cannot be healed or saved when the church is sick.  I believe God is aching to heal us of our brokenness, that this has always been the case, yet we are so often unaware or unwilling.   Jesus is calling out to us still, like a mother hen, longing to bring us under his wings.  But so often we reject the message, and the messenger (Luke 13:34).

Whether the issue be pornography, divorce, homosexuality, greed, lust, anger, racism, etc., it is becoming increasingly difficult to tell the difference between the church and the world.   And this is to be expected.  For when the body of Christ ceases to name these things (and more) as sin, it ceases to avail herself to the One who died to destroy the work of sin (1 John 3:8).    We see so little victory over these sins because we do not believe victory is possible. 

It is imperative that we get our thinking – our hearts – right and aligned with the Spirit of Truth if we are to experience the joy and freedom Christ purchased for us with his blood.   It is imperative we do this for the sake of our mission to the world which has not seen, nor has it heard, nor has it entered into their hearts what God has prepared for those who love him (1 Cor. 2:9).

May it be said of all of us one day that we left it all on the court, and within our midst, Jesus did many miracles.

Obedience is the goal, not victory

For much of my adult life I was striving for the wrong goal when it came to dealing with my addiction or my walk with God.   My goal was victory.  Freedom.   My goal was to be free from the thing(s) wreaking havoc on my spiritual, emotional and physical life and that of others.

I can’t begin to count the number of times I prayed for victory over my addiction to pornography.   I prayed, and prayed, and prayed, crying out to God to deliver me from my desires.   I thought that being a good Christian meant that I am to have faith that God could heal me.   I thought I was to “stop trying and start trusting” in God for the victory.   If I did not wake up and feel “free” than it must be because I hadn’t prayed enough or had enough faith.

Maybe you are reading this and feel the same way today.  You want freedom from whatever is controlling you.  You long for – pray for – victory.

It’s not a bad goal.   But I’m convinced it’s not the right goal.

It wasn’t until I learned that God had already answered my prayers and it was now my responsibility to live into those prayers that I began to get some traction in my daily walk with God.   It was when I learned that my goal isn’t victory but obedience that I started to find the freedom for which I had been praying.

Victory is a by-product of obedience.   We will never know the former without the latter. 

Obedience isn’t a word we talk about much.   It means “submission to another’s authority.”   Obedience flies in the face of our natural inclination to put our desires – our flesh – first.

It’s surprising we do not talk about obedience much when Scripture talks about it all the time.   Whether this is because the Reformation did such a bang up job at deterring us from anything that smells of “works righteousness” or because we naturally hate obeying is anyone’s guess.   Whichever our reason, until we take responsibility and “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” we will continue to be lukewarm in our Christian walk.

Here are just a few of many directives Scripture gives us which place the onus on us to get to work.  There is that which the Holy Spirit enables us to do (we don’t do this alone or by our own might) but there is much that we are responsible to do.

For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live (Rom. 8:13).

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature (Col. 3:5)

Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us (Heb. 12:1)

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7)

Make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him (2 Peter 3:14)

If you love me, obey my commandments (John 14:15)

Notice the action words/phrases giving us responsibility:  put to death; throw off; run; submit yourselves; resist; make every effort; obey.

Whenever I feel defeated it is always a result of me being disobedient.   Whenever I feel victorious is always a result of being obedient.

Perhaps it would do us well to stop counting days that we are sober and instead ask ourselves at the end of each day, “Was I obedient today?  Where was I disobedient?   How can I be more obedient tomorrow?”    When we make our goal obedience, victory is sure to follow.

I want to close with some words by Jerry Bridges from his classic, and highly recommended book, The Pursuit of Holiness.

It is time for us Christians to face up to our responsibility for holiness. Too often we say we are “defeated” by this or that sin.  No, we are not defeated, we are simply disobedient!  It might be good if we stopped using the terms “victory” and “defeat” to describe our progress in holiness. rather we should use the terms “obedience” and “disobedience.” When I say I am defeated by some sin, I am unconsciously slipping out from under my responsibility. I am saying something outside of me has defeated me. But when I say I am disobedient, that places the responsibility for my sin squarely on me.  We may, in fact, be defeated, but the reason we are defeated is because we have chosen to disobey. We have chosen to entertain lustful thoughts, or to harbor resentment, or to shade the truth a little.

We need to brace ourselves up and to realize that we are responsible for our thoughts, attitudes, and actions. We need to reckon on the fact that we died to sin’s reign, that it no longer has any dominion over us, that God has united us with the risen Christ in all His power, and has given us the Holy Spirit to work in us. Only as we accept our responsibility and appropriate God’s provisions will we make any progress in our pursuit of holiness (80-81).

 

Dear Heterosexual: You are not forgotten

It’s been just over a week since the United Methodist General Conference voted on whether or not same sex marriage and LGBT clergy will be allowed in the UMC.

The fact that this issue has so captivated mainstream thought and life, and has been the key issue of debate every quadrennium in the UMC is quite impressive. Why?  Because according to a Gallup poll in 2018, only 4.5% of Americans self-identify as gay, lesbian or bi-sexual.   In this study, 95.5% of Americans identified themselves as straight.   What is so impressive is how the sex lives of 4 out of every 100 people has so captivated our consciousness, both within and without the Christian community.

It got me thinking:  What about the other 95% of us?  It can feel as though we have been forgotten.   It can feel as though our struggles and our sins are of little consequence.  With the spotlight so intensely focused on what 5% of the population is doing behind closed doors it’s easy to minimize or even justify our own struggles.

With 95% of Americans uninterested in marrying someone of the same sex it seems strange that nearly 100% of our conversations about sex have little to do with what all of us, gay or straight, are struggling with, such as….

Pornography

I wish we discussed this in the church more than we discuss homosexuality.   I wish this were seen for what it is – the epidemic destroying our lives – and our church leadership took it every bit as seriously if not more than homosexuality.   While we obsess over the 5%, consider these statistics regarding pornography

The porn industry generates 13 billion dollars in revenue in the US alone.
1 in 5 mobile searches are for pornography
69% of the internet pay-per-view market is pornography
51% of pastors say pornography is a real temptation
64% of Christian men and 15% of Christian women say they watch porn at least once a month
71% of teens hide online behavior from their parents
9 out of 10 boys and 6 out of 10 girls are exposed to pornography before age 18
Average age of first exposure: 12
68% of young adult men and 18% of young adult women use porn weekly.
This sin, legal to view and purchase everywhere, affects every one of us.  The struggle is real, and it is destroying more families and lives than gay marriage ever will.  Our nation’s legalization of gay marriage pales in comparison to the overwhelming acceptance of pornography in our culture and our failure to address it.

Premarital Sex

Even before pornography began to flourish with the advent of the Internet, virtually everyone was having sex outside of marriage.  A study published by the USA Today in 2006 showed that 9 in 10 women born in the 1940’s had premarital sex.  The median age in 2003 of those having sex for the first time was 17.  Of those interviewed in 2002, 95% said they had sex before marriage.

According to one study, 61 percent of Christians said they would have sex before marriage. Fifty-six percent said that it’s appropriate to move in with someone after dating for a time between six months and two years.

While everyone is talking about who 5% of our population is now allowed to marry, the church has often failed to offer to the struggling rest of us a healthy, positive view of sex and why God intends it to be reserved for marriage. We have failed to offer a positive, affirming, theologically rooted understanding of singleness and celibacy.  We do not teach well what it means to have a body created in God’s image to be used for God’s purposes in unique ways as a single person or as a married couple.   (Read my review of the excellent book, Faithful: A Theology of Sex. Better yet, get the book!).

Sexting

While our Church directs her focus on who can and cannot get married or be ordained, our youth are floundering as we turn blind eyes and hearts to their struggle.   Sexting, which is sending sexually explicit material through mobile devices, is a growing phenomenon among both youth and adults.  40% of all teenagers have sent and received sexual material through their phones.  You can read more stats here, and this CNN article suggests that over 60% of youth are using apps on their phones to send sexually suggestive material.  It’s worth checking out, parents, to learn ways to safeguard your kid’s online behavior.

I know firsthand the reality of these struggles, and know all too well the pain they bring to bear on all of one’s relationships.  Even more, I know the guilt and shame surrounding these behaviors and I know how easy it is to minimize and justify these things because they are done in secret.  Because so few will admit they struggle in these areas, and because the church spends so much time talking about the 5% rather than the other 95%, it’s no wonder there is so much confusion in our churches regarding sex ( and given our negligence here, it’s no wonder we struggle to speak the truth in love when it comes to the important matter of homosexuality, gender confusion, and more).

The church, when operating as she ought, is a hospital for the broken.  She is to be the place where sinners like you and I, the 100% of us, can be real about our struggles without fear of being shamed or judged so that we might discover the transforming power of grace at work in each of our lives, healing our brokenness and restoring our communion with God and each other.  And yes, that includes our sexual brokenness.

This is not to say the church has nothing to say about marriage, or shouldn’t address the 5% of our population, but it is to say that as we look at the landscape of sexuality around us, we must admit we are deeply broken and in desperate need of healing.   As I read Scripture, it says that judgment begins in the church, not upon those outside (1 Cor. 5:12).  Perhaps the most faithful and God-honoring thing we can do at such a time as this is to look within ourselves and bring to the cross our own struggles and sexual brokenness.   Perhaps the best thing we can do as a church, particularly this day as we enter into the penitent season of Lent, is to beat our chests and cry out, “Have mercy on me, Oh Lord, a sinner” (Luke 18:13).

My hope and prayer for the church is that we are offering places of healing for all people, no matter what their struggle.  I don’t want to see us become so fixated on one sin that we forget that we are all sexually broken.  We all need healing.  We all need to have our minds renewed.  We all need to lay our sexual selves down at the altar and offer our bodies to God as living sacrifices (Rom. 12:1-2).   We all must remember that our bodies our not our own, but have been bought with a price, and we are to therefore honor God with how we use them.

The one way in which “all means all,” (a refrain often used by those fighting for affirmation and acceptance), is truly accurate is in the sense that we are all broken and are all in need of a Savior who not only can forgive us, but can transform our desires into holy affections, pleasing to God and for the glory of His name.

So, to the 95% of us out there who are struggling, please know you are not forgotten amid the cacophony of voices, both gleeful and despairing, over the results of General Conference.  And you are far from being alone.  I hope you’ll seek out a church this Lent to offer up your own struggle to the lover of your soul, and find a brother or sister to walk alongside you as you both recommit to surrendering your bodies, and what you do with them, to the God who made you.

You find what you focus on

My kids and I play a game when in the car called Skittle Punch Bug.  It’s a game where you get a point for being the first to spot a yellow car and shout out, “Skittle!” or two points if you first spot the coveted yellow VW Bug.    One day while we were playing, one of my boys remarked that there seems to be more yellow cars around when we play Skittle than when we don’t.   To which my wife replied,

That’s because you are looking for them.  You tend to find what you focus on.

We tend to find what we focus on.  I’ve been chewing on this for the past week while I have been reading through the Gospel of John along with two other books:  When I Saw Him by Roy Hession and Living in Victory by Steve Gallagher.

John 5 contains one of the greatest questions in all of literature.   It’s the story of the paralytic man who for 38 years has suffered beside a pool called Bethesda, hoping to one day get a chance to bathe in it and thus be healed of his paralysis.   Jesus sees him and asks him the glorious question:  Do you want to be well? 

Those of us who have long suffered under the paralysis of addiction will yearn to say yes to such a question but will quickly qualify what “well” must mean.   Surely, we will insist, it can’t mean cured.  Surely, we insist, it can’t mean free.  We want that, to be sure, but experience has taught us that it’s not for us and we will settle for simple maintenance.   I’ll settle for just not being miserable every day.   The bar is very low for us addicts, isn’t it?

The truth, however, is that things like curing, freeing, saving, etc are the very things Jesus is most interested in doing for us.  He doesn’t come to us offering a maintenance plan to make my life and yours less miserable than it has been.  He comes offering life, and life abundantly!   (And in case you were wondering, the Greek word for “well” in John 5:6 means “restored, whole, sound, healthy.”   Sounds better than “not miserable,” right?)

Jesus is in the business of making us new, not better.

The books by Hession and Gallagher, which I mentioned above, echo this theme of being made whole, or new, by Jesus.    When we see Jesus for whom he really is, and when we see ourselves as we really are, we can live the sort of life God desires for all of us.  So what does that mean?

First, seeing ourselves as we really are.   I need to see myself in relation to a holy God.   There is for a me a profound shift in the atmosphere, so it would seem, when I call my habitual behavior what God calls it: sin.   When I entertain lustful thoughts, look at porn, focus more on my desires than on God and others, I am not walking in the Spirit but in my flesh.   God calls this sin.   And of course, we can become enslaved to sin.   Essentially that is what addiction is – enslavement to sin.

Agreeing with God that my primary issue is a sin issue opens the door to receive good news, because God is a master at dealing with sin.   Jesus died on a cross to deliver us from sin.   Seeing Jesus for whom he really is means I see him as my Healer, my Deliverer, my Savior.   Jesus came to destroy the work of the devil (1 John 3:8), promises that in Christ, sin shall no longer be our master (Rom. 6:12-14), declares that whomever the Son sets free they are truly free (John 8:36) and that in him we are new creations (2 Cor. 5:17).

I’ve discovered that I find what I focus on.  There are times when I veer off track and focus too much on my “disease” and on my “program” that I forget that what I am really fighting against is sin, and this fight I do not fight alone, but with Christ who has already conquered all.    When I remember that my battle is not with flesh and blood but “against spiritual forces of evil” (Eph. 6:12), then I have reason to hope that I can live victoriously because I have a victorious Savior.

It all comes down to what I am focused upon.   Where is your focus?