Spiritual Warfare

Satan is real and his goal is to distract you from walking closely with God.

What Mr. Miyagi Can Teach Us about Overcoming Pornography Addiction

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I am a child of the 80s. And like most boys from that decade, I grew up with a passion for G.I. Joes, Transformers, Legos, and Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books. But if there was one thing that I’m willing to bet every boy from my generation was into, it would have to have been the movie Karate Kid.

One could argue that no movie inspired the boys from my generation more than Karate Kid. The story of an underdog maturing into a mighty warrior awakened something in our young male hearts. My friends and I would tie bandanas around our foreheads and wrap belts around our waists, pretending to be Karate warriors. We would spend hours practicing crane kicks on the playground, imagining we were fighting the evil Cobra-Kai. What it really all came down to, is every one of us boys wanted to learn how to fight just like Daniel-San.

Mr. MiyagiIn the movie, Daniel-San approaches an elderly man from Okinawa named Mr. Miyagi, and asks him to teach him Karate. Mr. Miyagi agrees to train him as long as he does whatever is asked of him without question. Daniel-San agrees, but quickly starts to regret that decision. Instead of being taught how to fight, his time with Mr. Miyagi is spent painting fences, waxing cars, and sanding floors. Daniel-San begins to feel as if Mr. Miyagi is only using him for free labor.

In a moment of frustration, Daniel-San asks Mr. Miyagi why he isn’t teaching him Karate like he promised. Mr. Miyagi responds by telling Daniel-San to show him “wax-the-car.” As Daniel-San performs the same hand motion he has done hundreds of times while waxing the car, Mr. Miyagi throws a punch at him. Instinctively, Daniel-San uses that same hand motion to effectively block the incoming attack. In that moment, Daniel-San realizes that these seemingly unrelated chores he had been doing were actually teaching him how to fight on an instinctive level. Even though Daniel-San didn’t realize it at the time, Mr. Miyagi had been teaching him Karate all along.

In the same way, the truths in this book may appear to be unrelated to your struggle with pornography addiction. Concepts such as understanding who you are in Christ or how God loves you unconditionally will sometimes appear to be no more helpful than learning how to wax a car, tempting you to give up out of frustration. But let me encourage you to keep trusting these truths of Scripture. Trust that Jesus, much like Mr. Miyagi, knows what tactics you need to learn to be prepared for this fight better than you do.

Remember, this battle we fight is real. You really do have an adversary. But instead of scissor-kicks and dragon-punches, his favorite way to attack you is with lies. And the only way to defend against these lies isn’t with power, it’s with truth:

  • When he tells you that your addiction defines you, you block his punch by trusting who God says you are.
  • When he points out that you are the only one dealing with pornography on this level, you dodge his accusation by honestly sharing your struggles with other trusted brothers.
  • When he tries to drop-kick shame directly into your soul, it will glance off without a scratch if you are trusting God’s unconditional love and acceptance of you.
  • When he tries to convince you to accept an invitation back into his dojo through bitterness, you deny him because you trust that your Sensei is taking care of you.
  • When he tells you that your mistakes have made you ineligible for the tournament, you take your spot in the ring proudly, trusting that Jesus believes you are ready because He is the One who signed you up.

If you want to be prepared for this fight, you must paint the fence and wax the car daily. And by that I mean practicing the art of trusting these Biblical truths. The more you practice trusting them, the more they become your automatic response to temptation. Your battles will no longer require you to fight in your own power because your trust in Jesus has already set you free.

That, my friend, is the true and lasting freedom that Christ promises you.

Embrace Him.

Trust Him.

Be free.

This has been an excerpt from my book, 10 Lies Men Believe about Porn, available now wherever books are sold.

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When the Garbage Surfaces (again)

Trash_heapWell, it happened again. Not that I’m surprised. I messed up.

As much as I am tempted to just brush it off as something minor, I still sinned.

And it will happen again.

The Bible makes it clear that every one of us is on a path to sanctification that will continue until the day we are given our new bodies in the next life, which means as long as we are here on Earth, there’s going to be junk that surfaces on occasion. Ideally, these occasions become fewer and fewer with time, but they will never fully go away.

To be honest, I hate this reality. I want to be fully sanctified now. I want to be done with sin. But I can see why God set things up this way. If we no longer struggled with sin, we’d all become self-sufficient, wouldn’t we? We’d forget how much we need a Savior. And man, I desperately need a Savior.

What amazes me the most in this latest stumble though, is the timing of it. At the risk of sounding like a heretic, it feels to me as if God almost “scheduled” me to sin to remind me of the full depth of His Grace in this moment. I’m not fully comfortable saying that’s what happened, but it sure feels like it.

You see, I’m pretty new to this whole recovery ministry thing. I honesty have no idea what I’m doing. But God keeps opening doors and I keep walking through them. That’s all I know how to do. For some reason, even though I’m not perfect, God seems to want to use me to help other men. In the past month, He has allowed me to launch this blog, continue working on writing the book, and even share my story in what could end up being an amazing documentary on pornography. Satan hates all of this. The more of these doors I walk through, the more Satan will try to tear me down or derail me. He wants to sift me like wheat.

I believe that is exactly what is happening right now. The Bible tells us the Devil prowls around like a lion seeking to devour us. It also tells us we are fighting a very real battle against spiritual forces. I’m not an expert on war tactics, but I’ve seen enough guy movies to know the enemy wants to take out Rambo and William Wallace a lot more than the average Joe who wont even pick up his weapon. Now, I’m not saying I’m a spiritual Rambo by any means, but I am without a doubt more of a threat to the plans of the Devil now than I ever have been before. I am venturing into enemy territory to rescue captives, and it will not go unnoticed.

This is one reason why I find the timing of this stumble to be interesting. I can see God working in my life. I see this ministry starting to take root. I also have seen a tendency for me to become prideful because of it.

If I’m being honest, there are moments where I start believing there is something special about me and my particular skill-set when it comes to helping others. The reality though, is any help I could ever offer anyone is only possibly by Christ working through me. So I believe God is humbling me through this, reminding me You cannot do this without me my son. The more I use you in my Kingdom, the more the enemy will attack you. If you let me fight the battle for you, he will not prosper. If you become self-sufficient, he will tear you down before you even realize he is there. 

In God’s mercy, He is teaching me full reliance on Him now, in the infant stages of this ministry, when the stakes are much smaller.

The other reason I wonder if God didn’t “schedule” this stumble is where I am with the book: 10 Lies Men Believe About Porn. I’m about to begin writing the chapter entitled “Lie #5—They Believe their Pornography Habit Separates them from God.” Even though the chapter is focusing specifically on porn, the concept is the same for all sins: We tend to believe God pulls away from us when we sin. We see our sin as a rotting pile of trash that we must clean up before God will allow us to be anywhere near Him. And this is the lie Satan wants us to believe.

It’s a great tactic when you think about it. If, after you sin, you view God as distant, angry, and judgmental, you will never come to Him for help. You will try to fix your sin by yourself, which will never work. On the other hand, if you come to understand the truth of Grace which tells us over and over that God will never pull away from you because of your sin, then there is finally hope for healing and freedom. You see, God isn’t standing on the other side of your trash-pile of sin waiting for you to clean it up. He sent Jesus to your side of the pile to clean it up for you. Jesus is standing right there with His arm around you, reminding you all of your sin has already been paid for at the cross. You are no longer defined by the pile of trash. As for as God is concerned, the pile is no longer even there.

As I sit down to begin writing this chapter about the Grace of God, I am experiencing His Grace as only one who has become painfully aware of their own brokenness can. My most recent affair with sin has reminded me how God’s grace really does cover everything…Thank God. And as I start putting words down on the page, I won’t be beating myself up for being such a failure, but will be experiencing the full depth of God’s Grace and love for me.

How much does He love a sinner like me? Well, he answered that question for me last night. In my moment of brokenness, I turned my iPod to shuffle and God spoke to my heart through the first song that came on:

I don’t know how to explain it
But I know that words will hardly do
Miracles with signs and wonders
Aren’t enough for me to prove to you

Don’t you know I’ve always loved you
Even before there was time
Though you turn away
I’ll tell you still
Don’t you know I’ve always loved you
And I always will

Greater love has not a man
Than the one who gives his life to prove
That he would do anything
And that’s what I’m going to do for you

~Third Day, I’ve Always Loved You~

How have you experienced God’s grace in your life?

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