In this last post, we are going to lay out five steps to sexual freedom that should not be obeyed and followed as a checklist, rather, you should begin to let this change your whole worldview and way of life. Remember, we are not about changing behavior, we need to be changed at the very core of who we are before our behavior will permanently change:
Point # 1: You can’t fight sexual sin with religion.
It’s really interesting, that when Jesus was on the earth and He was teaching, He spoke to a religious culture that had a very technical view of what sexual sin was and they had created some categories that basically were loopholes so that they could be sexually immoral, much like us. So Jesus took it right to the mind (or the core of who you are; the seat of your emotions) and said, “I tell you, if anyone looks upon a woman with lustful intent” or “with the desire to lust”, “he’s already committed adultery.”
Sex isn’t just about genitalia and orgasms. It’s not just about being physical with someone else or yourself. It’s about your heart and God’s purposes.So, if in your battle against sexual sin, the passion that you have for Jesus doesn’t become greater than the passion you have to have sex or fulfill your selfish sexual desires, then you’ll always be fighting and never experience victory. Have you ever had a moment like these two men below, when upon encountering the beauty and worth and greatness of who God is, you radically change your surroundings to obtain more of God Himself?
Matthew 13:44-46: 44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
You must encounter God in all His might and beauty and grace and splendor. God’s kingdom is the expulsive power over sin because it is a greater affection.
So here’s a typical scenario within the church. A believer comes to me and is broken and hates his sin and says: “I messed up man. I slept with somebody I shouldn’t have,” or “I fell again. I totally looked at porn on the internet and masturbated and I feel sick and guilty about it.” Then they’ll go straight to religion: “So here’s what I’m gonna do: I’m gonna read the Bible ten times a day, and I’m gonna go to every church service I can find in town. I’m gonna put an internet filter on, and I’m gonna not ever look at another woman the rest of my life. I’m gonna make a covenant with my eyes like Job did,” and on and on goes the lists of what they are gonna do (or at least try)!
Now I do agree that those are helpful things, but apart from Jesus, they really won’t make a difference. So when men tell me stories like these, I basically have to say:
“Let’s go ahead and set up the next appointment, because I’m gonna give you three days and then you’re gonna be right back here crying.” … If you struggle with porn and sexual addiction, who hasn’t been that guy?
Point # 2: Sin grows in the dark.
These suicidal and self-destructive tendencies we have to rebel against God and not worship Him, have a habit of growing like fungus when kept in the dark. So just bringing your sin to the light, and by that I mean sharing your sin with the people you need to and confessing your sin to the Lord and being transparent is vitally important.
1 John 1:5-7: 5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
Confess your sin, repent and turn to Jesus. Get bros to walk with you. Come clean with your pastor, your wife, your friends, and whoever else needs to know. Stop managing your behavior and get your junk out into the light and let Jesus begin to work on your heart. This leads us to the third point.
Point # 3: At the core of sexual sin is a heart that doesn’t trust God.
Sexual sin basically says, “I can’t trust you God to meet my needs. I can’t trust you to provide these needs in the way that you choose, therefore, I’m gonna go outside of your will and provision. You’re just not big enough or good enough to satisfy this part of me. You’re not true to your word God. I can’t trust you to be good. I have these desires and urges in the moment, and I need to go take care of them because I can’t trust you to.”
At the core, this is what a heart that doesn’t trust God says and believes. Instead of worshipping the God who is trustworthy, who knows our every need, you worship sex and the feeling of gratification one gets from it. This is idolatry. You are saying, “I need to worship sex instead of you, God, so that I can fulfill this deep longing in me.”
Point # 4: A heart that doesn’t trust God has an idolatry problem.
Idolatry is the sin behind the sin. For example, you can get someone to stop eating and they’ll start drinking, or they’ll stop drinking and start smoking, or stop smoking, eating, and drinking, and start being proud of their morality and their idol is their obedience.
You can stop looking at porn then lust like crazy over women and treat them in a sinful way. Or you can stop looking at porn and then control relationships in some other self-righteous way in the name of Jesus.
So here’s some helpful insight for you: Good things that get turned into ultimate things are idols. What we don’t want is for you to stop looking at porn because you found another way to satisfy your deep longing. Only God Himself can satisfy the longings of our hearts, even the sexual ones (Psalm 17:15; 63:1-8).
Find out where your insecurity or deep longing comes from and begin giving that to Jesus. For example: You run to porn because you have attachment issues and are afraid to truly be known. So porn is safe to you. You worship porn because it satisfies that deep longing of being accepted without having to expose yourself. At the root of idolatry is a worship problem.
Remember in Genesis where we learned that we were made in the image and likeness of God. This means that in part we were made to worship; and so we ceaselessly pour ourselves out. We give ourselves away – our heart, our mind, our money, our devotion goes somewhere, to someone, to something. Everyone is a worshiper; a slave.
This is the way that God made us and it was a good thing, but we must remember that we were made to pursue God. But because of the fall of man, because of our sin, our worship is now directed toward things or people other than God. The result being that we continue to worship, but we worship wrongly. This means we worshipped our way into sexual sin. If we worshipped our way into sexual sin, then we must worship our way out. Here’s how we can begin to worship our way out.
Point # 5: The good news is, Jesus changes hearts.
If you are able to begin to see that these issues are really heart issues, worship issues, and then understand that the only way to change your heart is only and definitely through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit through the truth and belief of the gospel, then you are on the road to recovery.
Most guys and Christian counselors go straight to behavior modification, and it doesn’t help in the long run. Changing behaviors may work in this world, but they will not stand in eternity. What’s difficult about sexual sin is that it has a unique shame factor to it. It’s just a downward spiral. What happens when you commit sexual sin is you typically withdraw from the things you need the most, namely Jesus, His Word and His people.
Our sin at its core is always an issue of the heart, and the good news is Jesus changes hearts. You can get from one idol to another, but you can’t get from idolatry to freedom unless you meet up with Jesus and begin to worship Him (the pearl of great price). Sexual gratification has your affections and you have to find a greater affection that is more powerful than sex. This is why only Jesus and the power of the indwelling Spirit of God can free you from sexual sin. The only way out of your sex worship is Jesus worship.
We must know and believe the gospel at its core if we are gonna be able to let Jesus free us from our idolatry. God became a man, Jesus. He substituted Himself with you because He is the King and you are not. Jesus died in your place for your sins, and because of His resurrection, He conquers your enemy: Satan, sin, and death. He gives you a reconciled relationship with God so that you will again participate in the love and the joy and the praise and the adoration that the Trinitarian God has within Himself.
To the degree that you believe this and your heart is broken because of what Jesus has done for you, will be the degree by which you have victory over your idols and imprisonment of sexual sin.
What will begin to happen, is you will understand that you are radically accepted by God to the point that when you fall into sin, you won’t punish yourself for days before you run to Jesus and His word. You will get that you don’t have to add to your punishment by not feeling worthy to come to Jesus. Jesus paid it ALL!
Can you add to the atoning sacrifice that Jesus paid on the cross for your sin? The answer is an implied and emphatic NO! Then why do you make yourself suffer and punish yourself when you fall. It’s because you either don’t get the gospel or you don’t believe it. Jesus took it & freed you from having to punish yourself. Jesus paid it ALL!
Now if you get this, you will begin to fall on your face and repent to Jesus before you even choose to sin. This is how we battle sin and walk in victory. Treasure Jesus and the infinitely beautiful and the only worthy King! He is enough!
Men, wage war against your sin/idolatry day after day after day. What in your life do you have to keep working on daily or else you’ll lose it (remember, we are not talking about salvation, but freedom): Marriage, jobs, houses, cars, grades, relationships, sports, etc… What are you laboring over more than your relationship and love for God and His word?
You must labor over this and kill the sin by running to Jesus day after day after day and living a life of transparency and repentance. If you stop looking at porn and you don’t treasure Jesus above all else, you will treasure something else above Him and you will still have a really big problem in your life; or worse yet, you might not even truly know the Lord.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus is the answer. No other! He is the pearl of great price. He is the treasure in the field that you must sell everything for. May we not take the words of Jesus lightly when He says this: “ 34 If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” Mark 8:34-35
Remember, there is a universe of difference between “knowing of God” and “knowing God”. Labor to know God the way you labor to look at porn. Seek His kingdom with the tenacity you seek your own gratification. Then victory will come!
Our Lord Jesus Christ has conquered Satan, sin, and death. 12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:12-15