Freedom from sexual sin.
Let me start by stating this isn’t a PG-rated blog. I am about to bring into light something that many people wish they could keep in the dark.
I have been in ministry well over a decade working mostly with young adults.
This put me in a prime place to have many walk into my office and say, “I am addicted.”
It didn’t take long to realize that all those psychology courses in college really helped me to diagnose, but failed to give me strong tools to help people find victory. All the different recovery programs we put to work to fight addiction aren’t bad; I just realized they aren’t enough. Our natural genetic makeup and the world we experience around us plays into our identity, both good and bad. So here is what I have learned so far.
Your recovery program alone probably won’t work. At least not for long…
The desire returns, a weak moment at the wrong location with the wrong people, or when you’re alone, and you end up at step one again.
It’s like climbing a ladder and someone is waiting to kick you just before you make it to the top.
I am not saying programs are all bad. I use a couple programs with people that come into my office. (I will post links below.) The problem is these are only tools, they aren’t the entire solution.
So what is the fix?
I was counseling with a young man a few years ago who wanted to quit looking at pornography because of his deep love for his wife. This actually was powerful motivation… until they fought again. After listening to him wrestle through this dilemma it dawned on me that he was seeking something more than purity.
He was searching for a reason to be pure that satisfied more than this temporary pleasure!
I realized he was searching for something to love that would satisfy MORE than porn. Interesting. Despite his failed attempts at turning off his passionate desires through a recovery program, he was actually attempting to redirect them in an appropriate way.
He just hadn’t found anything that satisfied more than he could satisfy himself… yet.
The writings of Dr. John Piper and Dr. Timothy Keller brought something to my attention that I have since used many times. We find a glimpse of this in the Psalms while King David is confessing his sexual sin with Bathsheba.
“Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. . . . Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.” (Psalm 51:8, 12)
Notice what is and ISN’T happening here. He isn’t asking for accountability or for God to remove all his temptations, or even for sexual restraint. He is asking for deep satisfaction in something else. Something eternal and consistent, something to live for that satisfies more than anything sexual. If you don’t have deep seeded faith this won’t make sense, but those who have experienced, have tasted how good God is know how incomparable satisfaction in Him is. To know you are loved, to know in the deepest part of your heart that you are forgiven, to be washed over by God’s grace and forgiveness and to feel His Presence to your very core… nothing in this temporal, decaying world compares!
So yes, programs do help and accountability is great but…
The journey into and away from sexual obsession will always be miserable and leave you empty unless you have tasted something much more fulfilling.
You don’t fight lust by turning off your desires, but by aiming them in an appropriate Godly way.
The journey often isn’t instant, but now you are in pursuit of something amazing, something worth the fight, something that won’t divorce you, abandon you, or fade away. So to quote a Psalm again, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”
If you struggle with lust begin with this prayer. “God help me to taste and see how good you are! Let my ever-increasing desires be satisfied in an ever-increasing relationship with you.”
With this in mind check out the tools below.
Prevention is the best medicine! Click here to read more
Here are accountability questions. Click here to read more
Here is a message dealing with lust. No doubt your greatest strength is your satisfaction in Jesus. The next half hour could change your life!
I also want to add another resource. My mother who is a child and adolescent counselor and taught psychology at the university level for many years added these thoughts on how this can happen. Honestly it may be the best part of the article!
“1. When the young men walk into your office and say “I am addicted” they are really saying, “I’m poorly imprinted.” Because of the way God created our brains to respond to initial sexual experiences… early or first time sexual encounters create a strong bond, an imprinting, that causes that individual to continue to seek out the target of that imprinting. When following God’s plan, of sex after marriage, it energizes a beautiful bond of oneness. Outside of God’s plan, it is like an out-of-control appetite. Many men are still searching unconsciously for that first sexual image they imprinted into their brains long ago. Like a young bird, imprinting on the mother bird, they keep looking for the object they imprinted upon. As in the case of pornography, it’s most often an illusion. God graciously heals this, but it can take time and a great deal of personal confession (accountability) and decisive personal discipline.
2. When young women get deeply sexualized outside of God’s plan they tend to marginalize the God-given adhesive power of oxytocin, that chemical release God put within them to be able to genuinely bond and tenderly nurture a relationship. Similarly, oxytocin bonds a mother to her young infant. As a result these women do not view sex as a unique, special pathway to intimacy, but rather as a peripheral obligation or socialization activity option. Again, God can reverse this, but it involves a very humble reorientation of heart and an intentional effort to refocus.
I believe “I am addicted” in this sexual reference really means…
“I’m poorly imprinted” or “I’m highly marginalized.”
See the following web resources for some great insights.
This article gives information on the book Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex Is Affecting Our Children, by Doctors Joe McIlhaney and Freda McKissic Bush.
This is the science behind untimely, ungodly exposure to sex.
Additional studies & research results can be found at: http://www.physiciansforlife.org/content/view/1492/36/
Perhaps the easiest to read & interesting discussion on this is done by Mark Gungor at: