Weekly Web (W)roundup

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Each week, I round up the best resources, articles, and videos I find that are relevant to finding freedom from porn addiction. Please note that by posting a link here it does not mean I agree with everything in the linked article. It just means I found it interesting enough to share.


Relevant Magazine: How the Church Should Talk About Sex

“There are no lack of posts these days about how the Church has misled entire generations when it comes to sex. It is a stark example of the best of intentions gone wrong. What began as a reaction to an increasingly sex-obsessed culture has unraveled into an avoidance of the obvious (at best) or a guilt-laden, shame filled diatribe (at worst).”

ERLC.com: Satan’s Strategy to Destroy Your Marriage Before it Begins

“What had gone wrong? How had Satan slipped into this young couple’s marriage? As we unpacked some of their history, I discovered that he hadn’t sabotaged them on their honeymoon or in the early months of figuring out married life. Instead, he’d begun his work before they even made it to the altar.”

The Gospel CoalitionHelp, I Married the Wrong Person

“When marriage gets difficult, or our kids are ungrateful, it’s easy to look at the past and think, I made the wrong decision. I married the wrong person. Let me assure you: you didn’t.”

XXXChurch: Is There Really a Difference Between Slip-Ups and Relapses?

“A man who joined our X3LA group about two years ago decided on his own to have a new approach to his sobriety dates. I write ‘dates’ and not ‘date’ because this man was frequently resetting his sobriety date as he returned repeatedly to pornography.”

Lecrae: Runners

In Christ, You are Holy, Royal, and Chosen

You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light
(1 Peter 2:9).

Who You are In Christ

Imagine you’re at your wedding standing across from the woman you love. The pastor is saying something about forever…rich or poor…better or worse… But if you’re honest, it’s all a blur. Your mind is fixated on the beauty in front of you.

You know you love this woman, and you decided long before this moment that you want to spend your life with her, so whatever you agree to at this point is just confirmation of what you already know in your heart.

The important thing to recognize though, is this ceremony is the moment when you will finally become her husband.

For those of you who have been there, did you have any idea how to be a husband on the day of your wedding? Did you fully understand what you were agreeing to when you made those vows?

Nope. None of us did.

But that didn’t change the fact that you still became a husband the moment you said “I do.” It just means you now get to spend the rest of your life figuring out what being a husband looks like.

That’s the thing about identity. You often become something long before you know how to actually be that something.

 

You often become something
long before you know how to
actually be that something.

 

The moment you put your faith in Christ you became a royal priest. You became holy. You are now possessed by God in the same way a husband and wife possess one another.

Do you know how to be a priest? Do you know how to be holy? Probably not completely. But the more you trust that God has already made those descriptors true of you, the more you will learn how to live according to that truth.

You are already a priest. Now you can learn how to live as one.

You are already holy. Now you get to learn how to walk in holiness.

You are already God’s possession, and not even death can separate the two of you.

And as a result, “you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.”


This has been a repost from the archives.

10 Lies Men Believe about Porn Preview

Smart Quote: Douglas Adams

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” —Douglas Adams

Thoughts on this quote? Feel free to discuss them in the comments below.

If Jesus Promises Me Freedom, Why Does My Life Feel Out-of-Control?

10 Lies Men Believe about PornThis post has been adapted from the chapter, “Lie #7: God Can Set Others Free from Pornography Addiction, but Not Me,” in my new book, 10 Lies Men Believe about PornThis post is part 6 in an 8-week series on life-changing faith. If you would like to begin at part 1, you can do that here.

Doesn’t it sound strange to say that it’s a good thing to be dependent? Obviously, that assertion depends on the object of your dependence. Being dependent on alcohol is a big problem, but being dependent on Christ frees you from trying to maintain control, which will keep you from experiencing God’s rest and peace.

In order to fully trust God, though, you need to trust that He knows how to run your life better than you do. But more than that, you must submit to His leading and depend on Him for guidance. If you’re still trying to be the one in the driver’s seat, only seeing God as your co-pilot, it shows you don’t really believe He can lead you. You are still trusting in your own ability to drive.

Bob George has the perfect illustration to help us understand this concept:

Picture yourself in one of those old drivers-education cars. If you remember, these cars had two steering wheels, two gas pedals, two brakes, and so forth. Pretend you’re in one seat, and the Lord is in the other. He says to you, “My child, I have great plans for you. I will reveal Myself to you, shower you with My love and acceptance, set you free by renewing your mind with My truth, and conform you to My image as we go through life together. All you have to do is enjoy the ride and let Me drive. But notice that in front of you is your own set of driving controls. You have the capability and freedom of grabbing the steering wheel and taking things into your own hands. Only one of us can drive at a time, and the choice is yours. If you take control, I will take My hands off. I promise that, whatever you choose, I will never leave you or forsake you. But isn’t it far better to allow Me to drive? I love you. I have all wisdom, all power, and I am committed to your ultimate good. I ask you to trust Me, but you are always free to choose.”

You will always have the ability to seize control and call the shots in your own life. But if you trust that God knows everything—including the future—and is guiding you in a way that will lead you to what is best for you, why would you ever want to take over? If you knew everything He knew, wouldn’t you choose to do the exact same things He is asking you to do?

This can be really hard to wrap your brain around, especially when it comes to our sin. Because sometimes, even if you are trusting in Christ alone to set you free from your sin, you still sin. Why would God, who has all the power to make it so you never sin again, allow you the freedom to still sin on occasion? How can that be what’s best for you?

Look at what Paul had to say about a similar struggle in his life:

I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:7–10).

thornsWe don’t know for sure what the thorn in Paul’s flesh really was. Some people think it was a painful physical illness. Some say it was his continual struggle with a particular sin, like what we see him talking about at the end of Romans 8. What we do know for sure is that its source was demonic, yet God still used it for Paul’s good.

Paul pleaded multiple times for God to take this thorn away. But for some reason, God kept saying no. God knew that if He healed His servant from this particular struggle, he would become proud. With the thorn remaining, Paul had a constant reminder of his need for God’s power to overcome his weaknesses. It kept him from ever thinking he had “arrived” or becoming self-sufficient. By trusting that God was working for His good even if He didn’t answer his prayer in the way he was hoping for, Paul was able to recognize God’s grace and power at work in his life and respond with thankfulness.

•••

I’m going to tell you something that may surprise you, being that I’m writing a book on overcoming pornography addiction. About once or twice a year, I still lose the battle. It’s my thorn in the flesh. I’ve asked God to free me from this completely, and His answer is still “Not yet.”

And I’m okay with that.

I know myself well enough to know that if I never sinned again, I would quickly forget what the struggle was like. I would become boastful and full of pride. I would lose any compassion or understanding for the men I’m trying to help and would dish out arrogant lectures about how they just need to try harder to be perfect like me.

That guy scares me.

Now, I’m not saying it’s okay to sin. I hate the fact that I don’t have this 100 percent nailed yet. I know God has promised to complete His work in me, but I also understand it won’t be finished until the day that Christ returns. Which means even though I’m getting better, I will never be perfect. At least not until I get to heaven. Even if God does bring me to a point where I never lose another battle with porn again, I’ll just struggle with something else.

So for now, I’ll trust that God has me on His schedule for sanctification, not mine. Maybe next time I’ll go a full year, and then two, and then five…But for reasons only He fully knows, He thinks once or twice a year is the best spot for me at this point.

A Little Clarification…

Some of you are completely freaking out right now about what you just read. I get that. I was in the same camp for many years. But understand me here. I’m not justifying my sin. There is nothing I would like more than to be rid of this completely. But if the apostle Paul, who is undoubtedly near the top of the Bible Hall of Fame, couldn’t reach a point of sinless perfection in this life, how can we ever expect to? Paul trusted God’s grace to cover his lack of perfection, so we can as well.

If perfection isn’t a possibility for you (and if you’re being honest with yourself, you know it’s the truth), then what do you do with your inevitable slipups? You can hide them, but that will lead to isolation. You can justify them, but that will harden your heart. You can try harder to overcome them, but that will keep you focused on the fulfilling the law rather than trusting grace. Any of those roads will cause you to miss Jesus.

Think it over. Does God’s grace really cover the sin that still surfaces in your life? And there is nothing wrong with asking Him to show you why He is allowing your thorn to remain. I trust that He will give you an answer, but it’s up to you whether you trust it or not.

Continue to Part 7: If Following Jesus is about Relationship, Why does He Seem so Distant?

10 Lies Men Believe about Porn Preview

Weekly Web (W)roundup

weekly_roundup-img-640x290

Each week, I round up the best resources, articles, and videos I find that are relevant to finding freedom from porn addiction. Please note that by posting a link here it does not mean I agree with everything in the linked article. It just means I found it interesting enough to share.


The Gospel Coalition: God Has Changed You And is Changing You

“Would you be more likely to say ‘God is changing me’ or ‘God has changed me’? Many Christians are comfortable saying the former, but some of us might hesitate to say the latter: ‘God has changed me.’ We are much more likely to say, ‘I have a lot more changing to do. I’m a work in progress. I haven’t yet arrived.’”

XXXChurch: 5 Things You May Not Know About Boundaries

“Boundaries are a good and healthy way to help families function – why would limiting access to pornography be any different? We set up boundaries to help keep porn out of our home. We have internet filters and accountability software, we screen our movies ahead of time, we keep our computers out in the open, and we don’t allow our children on the internet unsupervised.”

Christians in Context: All the Law and the Prophets…in a Piece of Fruit

“We’re all familiar with the story. In fact, if you grew up in the church, you’re probably so familiar with the story that there’s no surprise, no suspense left in it. But Genesis 3 is an epic drama. The fate of the entire human race hanging in the balance as good and evil are paraded across this cosmic stage. It was Shakespearean before Shakespearean was cool.”

Covenant Eyes: Building Trust Despite His Relapses—Hope for Wives of Porn Addicts

“This is a story I hear a lot from women: ‘My husband just can’t seem to kick the habit. We’ve been in this fight for years now. Whenever he gets caught, he seems to feel really badly about it. He’ll do all the right things. He seems really open about it. He’ll confess to me and others, he’ll block all the sites he’s used, he’ll go to counseling. But a few weeks or months later, he’s back in it again. I just don’t know what to do any more.’”

Imagine Dragons: Demons

In Christ, You Have Full Access to God

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most (Hebrews 4:16).

Who You are In Christ

As a child of God, you have full access to God whenever you want. You can come before God and ask Him to help you with your struggles, give you His strength to make it through a difficult circumstance, or even give you His wisdom in a specific situation.

You can come before Him and ask Him anything.

Not only that, God actually wants you to come before Him with your needs and desires. He honestly cares about whatever is on your mind:

Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you (1 Peter 5:7).

Think of it this way: How hard is it to be granted an audience with the president of the United States? Apparently, there isn’t even a clear path laid out for the average citizen to meet the president. The closest I could find was a page on the presidential website allowing you to enter a drawing to hopefully win an invitation to a dinner with him—but it expired four years ago. That leaves me the option of performing some amazing act of heroism that will gain me national attention, or winning the Super Bowl (I think those guys usually get a White House invitation).

But what if the president was my dad?

Do the president’s kids need to enter a contest to win dinner with their daddy? Nope. They can walk into the Oval Office and hang out with him pretty much whenever they want.

As a child of God, you’ve got the same level of access to Him as the president’s kids have to their dad. 

So come before God and let Him know what’s on your heart. He won’t reject you or push you away. He will accept you fully as His son, showering you with His unending mercy and grace.


This has been a repost from the archives.

10 Lies Men Believe about Porn Preview

Smart Quote: John Eldredge

“We need Jesus like we need oxygen. Like we need water. Like the branch needs the vine. Jesus is not merely a figure for devotions. He is the missing essence of your existence. Whether we know it or not, we are desperate for Jesus.” —John Eldredge

Thoughts on this quote? Feel free to discuss them in the comments below.

If Jesus Promises Me Peace, Why is My Life so Hard?

10 Lies Men Believe about PornThis post has been adapted from the chapter, “Lie #7: God Can Set Others Free from Pornography Addiction, but Not Me,” in my new book, 10 Lies Men Believe about PornThis post is part 5 in an 8-week series on life-changing faith. If you would like to begin at part 1, you can do that here.

The harder things get in life, the more we need to trust in the faithfulness of Jesus. If you choose to trust Him—even in the midst of trials—you will see Him come through every time. This is how trials can actually breed trust. They give you an opportunity to experience God’s rescuing you.

Trials give you an opportunity
to experience God’s rescuing you.
 

 

The verse I have had to remind myself to trust time and time again when life gets hard is Romans 8:28:

We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them (Romans 8:28).

5659474729_f81c48eb48_zThis verse doesn’t say that all things are good, or that God will make all things good. It also doesn’t say He will never allow anything bad to happen. What it does say is that He will cause all things—even the bad things—to produce good results in the lives of those who have trusted in Him.

But do you honestly believe that? When something blows up in your life, do you trust that He is using it for your ultimate good? Again, what does your behavior expose about your true belief?

Imagine you just got caught looking at porn on your computer at work and got fired. What is your response? Chances are, your first response will be fear and worry. What will you tell your wife? What if everybody finds out why you were fired? How will you pay the bills? Will you ever find another job?

It may feel natural to respond this way, but it will not lead you to peace.

But what if you choose to believe that God is able to use all things for your good, even a terrible situation such as this? By looking for ways He is using the situation for your good, you might see it as Him deciding it’s time for your sin to come into the light where it can be dealt with. That would actually be a good thing—I personally know of half a dozen men who got caught looking at porn at work, and this became the first step on their journey to freedom. Maybe God knew you needed to find a new job because He had something better for you and knew you would never leave on your own. Perhaps He knew your flirtations with the secretary were likely to grow into something more sinister and chose to remove you from the temptation. It could be many different things.

The truth is, even if you don’t trust this verse, God would still be working behind the scenes in this difficult situation to use it for your good. Not trusting Him and choosing to worry—or worse yet, struggling to control the situation—wouldn’t necessarily change the outcome, but it would rob you of His peace. Which is why trusting that He really is working in your best interest is key to experiencing His peace in your life.

 •••

In my own journey, there are many areas in my life where I need to trust God’s leading instead of following whatever feels right to me at that moment. The biggest example is probably the decision to remain committed to my former wife.

God has made it clear to me through a variety of ways that He wants me to leave the door open for the possibility of reconciliation. All throughout Scripture I see Him restoring and re-creating what is broken rather than creating something altogether new. I hear the command to love my wife as Christ loved the church, and He has continued to love the church even as they have rejected Him over and over. Ultimately, God has put His unconditional love in my heart for her—which means my love for her is not conditional on her returning any love to me.

If I am being honest, though, there are many days I am tempted to listen to my friends when they tell me it’s time to move on. Sometimes, when I find myself becoming interested in a girl, my mind starts to wander into what-if situations. I begin to justify in my mind reasons why it would make more sense for me to start dating again. After all, what happens if my wife remains single for ten years and then marries someone else? At that point, I’ll be old(er) and bald(er) and won’t be able to find a spouse even if I wanted to.

But God never promised that my wife and I would get back together—He only asked me to wait for her. For all I know, the good in my life He is orchestrating through this time of waiting may be something completely different than the restoration of our marriage.

Perhaps He knew I would not have had the time to write this book if I had been dating. Maybe His purpose is for my singleness to be an example to other men of how much pornography can cost them. Maybe He knows I wouldn’t have been able to serve Him as well if I’d been in a relationship right now. I just don’t know.

What I do know is, even if He doesn’t bring us back together, He’s doing something good through my waiting. So I’ll keep pursuing my former wife until Jesus stops pursuing me (which is always). And trusting Him in this area allows me to respond with thankfulness rather than worrying about my life.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand (Philippians 4:6–7).

Instead of worrying about whether or not I’ll to be single for the rest of my life, I can leave it all in God’s hands, remember the ways He has taken care of me, and trust He will continue to lead me down the best path for my life.

And trusting Him for that gives me peace.

Continue to Part 6: If Jesus Promises Me Freedom, Why Does My Life Feel Out-of-Control?

10 Lies Men Believe about Porn Preview

Weekly Web (W)roundup

weekly_roundup-img-640x290

Each week, I roundup the best resources, articles, and videos I find that are relevant to finding freedom from porn addiction. Please note that by posting a link here it does not mean I agree with everything in the linked article. It just means I found it interesting enough to share.


Christianity Today: Act Like Men, part 3—Men Treat Women with Respect

“…the men who regularly download and trade nude photos of celebrities do not understand what it truly means to be a man. They are pro-exploitation whether they realize it or not. Exploiting a woman’s image is still exploitation—even if she sends it to you to keep you from looking at (other) porn.”

Covenant Eyes: The Apostle Paul’s Secret to Fighting Sexual Sin

“Hugh Hefner didn’t invent sexual sin. It is a problem that has been around since our ancestors walked east of Eden, and it will be around until the new Jerusalem descends upon us. The good news is that the Bible promises that we can experience foretastes of that coming freedom in the here and now. But how? “

XXXChurch: Are You In Love With a Person or Just With Sex?

“It might be a mere coincidence (although I seriously doubt it), but I have yet to counsel a couple who waited until marriage to have sex with each other. Not one. “

Spiritual Friendship: Thinking One More Time About “Identity” and “Behavior”

“What I was asking myself today, though, was—once again—why the ‘traditional view of marriage’ provokes so much anger in our culture.”

Fight the New Drug: The History of Pornography & The New Anti-Porn Movement

Can You Get an Intimacy Do-Over?

Can-You-Get-an-Intimacy-Do-Over-BlogWhen Craig [of xxxchurch.com] asked me to write a follow-up to Dave Willis’s recent post, 7 Intimacy Killers in Marriage, I immediately agreed. After all, I was guilty of many of the intimacy killers Dave talked about. These killers not only destroyed the intimacy between my wife and me, but they ended up contributing to the destruction of our marriage as well.

But once I began to write, I realized I’d already shared a lot of those details in my recent post, 3 Ways Porn Destroyed Sex in My Marriage. I knew my story was still relevant to this discussion, but I didn’t want to sound like a broken record.

Then it hit me. Instead of focusing on how my mistakes had caused so much harm in the past, I could share how learning to avoid them has benefited my current relationship.

You see, I’ve been given a do-over when it comes to intimacy.

If you’ve read my book, 10 Lies Men Believe about Porn, you already know that I’d been waiting for my former wife in hopes of reconciliation. What you probably don’t know, however, is that God had another plan. Just last summer, she married a great guy, closing the door on our reconciliation but opening the door for me to date again.

Read the rest of this post on xxxChurch.com

10 Lies Men Believe about Porn Preview