One pastor’s journey through sex addiction.
T.C. Ryan
It was a warm spring day, but I was depressed beyond depressed. It is difficult to describe how empty I felt. I was cycling in the shadows again—lapsing into lust and compulsive sexual behavior.I had not used Internet pornography since installing a software monitoring program on my computer. But when you’re depressed and despondent, when you are desperately craving the buzz of stimulation of the old wiring, you stop thinking clearly and resort to default behaviors. I knew of a park where men sometimes gathered in the afternoon, and one of the things they did was swap porn. I went there, met a fellow and got a magazine. For some time I’d been taking antidepressants, and one of the side effects was that it made sexual arousal nearly impossible. But porn could at least spark a buzz. Addiction is a disease of the brain, and I was just looking for a buzz in my head. I left my car and walked down a desolate pathway.

I sat on a log, the warm spring sunshine bathing me and the wind coming up as a storm was approaching from the distance. Normally I love being outside in moments like this, but not this day. I was beyond hope.

“God in heaven,” I remember praying, “I cannot believe after everything I’ve done and all the grace you’ve shown me, I’m here in this place, just cycling and cycling and cycling. I can’t stand this life anymore. I don’t care what you want from me—anything, anything. I don’t care what you do with me, but you have to do something. Please.” No answer.

Engulfed in my self-loathing and shame, I made my way back to my car.

A police cruiser pulled up and after being questioned about what I was doing in the park, I was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor for lewd and lascivious behavior. I spent the next 26 hours in jail.

My life was over.

Addicted and at War

For many years, I used sexual behavior as my “drug.” But my problem wasn’t just sex. Any recovering addict learns that our behavior is not our real problem. Compulsive behaviors are merely the symptoms of something deeper.

I was a husband, father, and pastor. I had served on Young Life staff, earned two degrees from seminary, and twice served as the moderator of our regional church body. I believed what I preached. Never in my journey did I rationalize or excuse my involvement with porn. Never did I think it was okay for me to have this hidden life. I never considered it okay.

Though I knew my sexual behavior was inexcusable, I felt powerless to stop. No matter how hard I tried, no matter what I tried, no matter how much I prayed, I returned to my compulsive behaviors.

The addictive element is that brief sense of euphoria I experienced during the short-term gratification, which offered relief and distraction from my overarching emptiness. This intoxicating combination of relief and exhilaration caused my brain to demand more. To stabilize a sense of well-being in my system, I became dependent on a habit that made me feel guilty and ashamed.

My addiction and my faith went to war, and my soul was the battlefield.

How was it a battlefield? Because I knew my private life was incompatible with what I believed and what I represented. My situation was intolerable to me. Yet I could find no way to change my behavior.

The context I was living in gave me the message that some issues we do not discuss; we handle them on our own.

I felt very guilty. I think it was appropriate, healthy guilt. My faith offered me for-giveness, but I continued to engage in behaviors I could not understand or stop. And my faith context had no help to offer me.

I felt very alone in my struggle, that loneliness fed my compulsive desires, and the guilt increased my shame, and the shame fed the loneliness. It was a constant cycle of self-loathing.

First Efforts to Get Help

The church Pam and I had planted was three years old, we had four children, and I was exhausted, scared, guilty, and ashamed. I told my wife that I thought I should probably go to a counselor for my anger. She readily agreed, which tells you how bad my struggle with anger was.

There wasn’t money in our monthly budget for counseling fees, but I gulped hard and kept an appointment I’d made with a reputable Christian counselor in our city.

I was fully honest with him about my struggles, including my sexual issues. I was terribly anxious about what his reaction would be. But this therapist was just whom I needed, showing no discomfort with or disapproval of what I shared about myself. He was sensitive and he was accepting. He asked a lot of questions, and I did a lot of honest answering.

At the end of the first session, he said that it was clear to him I was struggling with depression, that there was probably a lot about my childhood we needed to discuss, and he suggested I read Out of the Shadows by Patrick Carnes. I began to learn what I was dealing with.

My next step was to tell Pam about my hidden life. I’ll never know how much pain I caused her then, or since, but it was necessary. She was deeply hurt, but instead of rejecting me, she sought to understand what I was struggling with. She saw my counselor and read the Carnes book. And she read two articles from Leadership Journal, “The War Within: An Anatomy of Lust” and “The War Within Continues.” She was grateful for these as they were instrumental in giving her hope.

Over the next few years, I learned a great deal about compulsion, about addiction, about recovery, and all of it in the context of a rigorous and authentic spirituality. For most of us in genuine recovery, we have to confront the daunting, accusing question: how did I ever end up here? I had to go back and learn a lot about myself, my history.

Coping by Dissociation

Given the home I was raised in, I did what a bazillion other kids have done in similarly abusive situations: I learned to dissociate.

I learned how to unplug the pain and craziness in my little world by emotionally separating myself. I learned to break away from insane and mercurial threats by doing four things. I could disappear. Hide. Just be somewhere else. I could deceive. “No, Mommy, I don’t know anything about that.” “No, Mommy, that’s not what they said.”

The third thing I learned was that I could eat to feel better sometimes. Putting things like cookies in my mouth made me feel better inside whenever my external reality made me feel awful. I was now well on my way to a lifestyle of mood alteration. It worked, even if it wasn’t healthy.

What I could not have known or understood then, but have since learned, was that in dissociating, I was set up for becoming a sexually compulsive person.

These three behaviors paled in comparison to what I found next.

When I entered adolescence, I discovered the most intoxicating and destructive dissociative technique of all: lust and masturbation. I didn’t know then what I know now: that sexual arousal begins a dopamine drip in the brain that culminates in a chemical blowout with orgasm.

Since I wasn’t socially secure or popular with other kids, all my sexual acting out was in isolation. I cultivated a fantasy world where I was in charge, where I was always the one desired, the one taken care of. I became dependent on dopamine and adrenaline.

By the time I was leaving adolescence for adulthood, I was an addict. I had no idea I was an addict. But the four skills I’d acquired to handle my life were not left behind in my high-school locker. I headed off to college with next to no ability to handle my emotions in healthy ways, but with excellently honed skills in disappearing, deceiving, using food for mood elevation, and using lust and eventually porn to keep myself moving forward.

Where Compulsion Leads

Those who are not addicted to sex understandably assume that the addict experiences enjoyment from the sexual activity, but this is not the case. There is excitement, but as the compulsive life progresses, there is hardly any good feeling for the addict—only a mind-numbing, compulsive urge to seek relief and escape.

The demand for enough stimuli to satisfy escalates. What once sufficed no longer does. Lust always demands more from the person who uses it and never delivers the desired joy.

Unless you’ve been caught in this sort of compulsive vise, it’s hard to understand why a person can’t simply see how self-destructive this behavior is and just change it.

But the nature of addiction is that the chemicals released in the brain during addictive behavior reinforce the patterns of the addictive cycle. The chemically nurtured, feeling part of the brain is repeatedly strengthened and quickly develops the ability to overrule the reasoning part of the brain.

Sexual addiction is a person’s use of sex to alter moods that progresses to the point where they are unable to control their use of sex, suffer consequences, and are behaving contrary to their will and desire. It becomes a substitute for healthy relating, it takes over a person’s will, and it’s pathological—that is, it’s destructive.

Add to this the inward shame and dissonance a person feels, with the intuited message, “If anyone knew who I really was, they would despise me,” and you can see why compulsive people hide. They don’t like who they are, they’ve lost control, they’re ashamed, and they’re afraid.

So, what does the addict need? Something greater than reasoning, something stronger than self-will, and something more interventive than messages to make different choices. The addict needs truth and community, support and love, and the healthy reintegration of their life. And I say this with all humility and love: way too often, the church is the last place an addict can find those things.

Long Road to Recovery

Later, as I worked through therapy, I began to recognize several predictable triggers that made me much more vulnerable to obsessive searching for escape through sex. High stress was one trigger that caused me vulnerability. Another was boredom. A third was opportunity: did my life circumstances provide opportunities where it would be easy to find porn and engage in sexualized thinking?

Whenever I used sexual images and behaving, a period of deep despair, self-recrimination, and disgust invariably followed, then a sincere prayer of begging God for forgiveness and help. It was legitimate guilt and searing shame. Half my life went to secret behaviors, the other half to public living. That’s why I was so tired. I needed my “drugs” to prop me up to perform. It’s a sure way to destroy a life slowly.

This sort of life requires a person to learn to compartmentalize his beliefs and behaviors. Otherwise, the hypocrisy of repeatedly engaging in such behavior is intolerable.

Most compulsives begin building walls early in life and usually for very good reasons. Early on we become aware of the threat of pain and damage others will do to us—we know this is true because they already have done us damage and caused us pain—and the only way to protect ourselves is to learn to put our vulnerability out of their reach. So we build walls.

Slowly and unevenly, I began to tear down my walls. I confided in a good friend. I told my wife about my struggle. I began to reach out to others in recovery. I began to learn about the addiction cycle. I took responsibility for the choices I had made, the consequences I had earned. I learned how shame, self-condemnation, and hiding increased my misery, deepening my need for relief and reinforcing the cycle.

Change Requires More than Insight

For me, understanding was never enough to break the strength of this self-reinforcing cycle. I desperately wanted to change, but simply understanding my enemy within was not enough.

I worked long and hard at my recovery before experiencing the sustained sobriety and growing serenity I longed for. To overcome my intimacy woundedness, I focused on my interpersonal relationships. I had two sponsors and worked with two therapists. I attended sex-addiction recovery groups, and I began a confidential group for clergy.

I discovered how important being part of a healthy community is for genuine life change.

Further, I saw that recovery from addiction—or any of the compulsions we struggle with—is a subcategory of spiritual transformation. Recovery is spiritual in nature. Christian spiritual practices are necessary tools for recovery.

The goal isn’t a stunning turnaround in behavior or to attain the approval of others. The goal is the genuine integration of God’s presence and ways with a person’s values and behaviors. That integration results in the healing of our soul and life, so that we are increasingly able to reconnect with our self, with our Creator, and with others.

That’s transformation!

It happened for me only after being arrested and resigning from the church Pam and I planted and love. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

God is bigger than our hearts, more holy and merciful than we could ever know. No matter how far down we’ve gone, recovery is possible. No matter how bleak and alone we feel, there is hope. Today I’m living a life that I had lost hope could ever be mine.

As I’ve ardently pursued this life of dropping shame and cultivating serenity, of partnering with the Spirit and practicing mindfulness, of growing my commitment to being in healthy community and dealing with my difficulties as they are, my progress has not been even. But it’s been noticeable. My life in my head is much different today than it was six years ago. My possibilities for usefulness to others are greater than ever before. My relationships are richer and my marriage healthier and more satisfying than ever.

Above all, my experience of the presence of God in worship and in daily life is keener, sharper, and more gratifying. The depth of passion and the wonder of presence I experience now are considerable. He is more. He requires more. And he gives more.

One of the most important things I’ve learned is that I was not and I am not alone. There are thousands of other clergy with this struggle, and hundreds of thousands of well-intentioned Christians who struggle with guilt, shame, and fear—all hiding their secret lives.

I know they can find healing and freedom. In most cases they do not have to leave ministry to do so. But we cannot possibly do this alone, hiding in isolation. We need help. We need community.

T.C. Ryan author of Ashamed No More (IVP, 2012) is a speaker, pastor, and retreat leader.


http://porntopurity.com/blog/2013/08/24/how-bad-do-you-want-to-heal-from-your-addiction/

When your world falls apart and you are confronted with your sexual sin, you have to decide:  “How serious am I about getting well?”  This is not a one-time decision, but a series of decisions.  You can decide if you want to take no action, or radical action.

Here’s a list of some recovery strategies we adopt.  Where are you on the scale?

“NO CHANGE” STRATEGIES

  • I don’t need to work on it.  I’ll be fine.
  • I got found out, but there’s no need for me to change.
  • I’m a guy, and guys look at porn.  Nothing wrong with this.
  • It’s not my fault.  I wouldn’t be like this if my wife wasn’t like she was.
  • My situation is hopeless, I might as well binge and be happy.

 “MY POWER”, SECULAR STRATEGIES

  • I’ll just “white-knuckle” it.
  • I need to punish myself when I act out.  Consequences.
  • I just need to stop my behavior.
  • I’ll read a couple of books and blogs for help.
  • I’ll sign up for an online course to help me be pure.
  • I’ll deal with this privately, but not publically.

“MY POWER”, SPIRITUAL STRATEGIES

  • I need to pray more and read the Bible.
  • I need to memorize the works of C.S. Lewis and Jonathan Edwards.
  • I need make stronger vows and commitments to God.

“I NEED OTHERS” STRATEGIES

  • I’ll talk to my pastor
  • I’ll go see a counselor
  • I’ll visit the men’s group at my church
  • I need some accountability

RADICAL STRATEGIES

  • I’m going to come clean with my wife, and humbly seek her help.
  • I’m going to join a sexual support group
  • I’m going to get some intensive counseling
  • I’m going to a live-in program (or rehab)

Think about where you are on this recovery continuum.  Not everyone needs to go to a live-in program, but if we are not changing anything at all we are in a bad place.  We are worse off than we think.  Those that are doing well in sexual addiction recovery, are turning to others for help, and taking some extreme steps to get as much help as they can.


In studies of more than 2,000 school-aged children, Dr. Amanda Rose of the University of Missouri has discovered boys and girls are fundamentally different when it comes to talking about their feelings. While girls love nothing more than to yap at length about what’s bothering them, boys tend to keep quiet — and not because they’re embarrassed; they just see it as a waste of time. “For years, popular psychologists have insisted boys and men would like to talk about their problems, but are held back by fears of embarrassment or appearing weak,” Rose says in a statement. “However, when we asked young people how talking about their problems would make them feel, boys didn’t express angst or distress about discussing problems any more than girls. Instead, boys’ responses suggest they just don’t see talking about problems to be a particularly useful activity.” That’s fine for school-aged boys, but what about men who know better? Rose suggests their early aversion to talking about their feelings is something they carry with them into manhood: “Men may be more likely to think talking about problems will make the problems feel bigger and engaging in different activities will take their minds off of the problem. Men may just not be coming from the same place as their partners.” So if they’re not gushing about their problems to their friends and family like we do, how do men cope with their feelings? By keeping busy with activities that keep their mind off things, says Rose. Maybe this explains why your man spends so much time in his shop/garage/man cave. It’s something positive men might be onto — it seems many of us women might actually be over-talking our feelings and making ourselves kind of crazy in the process. Females who talk their problems out too often are in danger of engaging in “excessive problem talk,” which causes stress and anxiety. It’s a classic case of completely obsessing over something that’s not that big of deal and then inevitably blowing it out of proportion. No matter what, though, communication is key to any relationship and sharing feelings with your spouse, family and friends is usually a positive thing. Just remember to be respectful of other communication styles. By Martha Edwards http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/09/06/men-talking-relationships_n_950218.html

“Don’t allow your mind to tell your heart what to do.  The mind gives up easily. - Paulo Coelho


by Craig Gross of XXX Church

I don’t read fiction. Ever. I haven’t since high school, and even in high school, I opted for the Cliff’s Notes. When Fifty Shades of Grey came out, I heard about it (and have even commented on it over the years) but never opened the book. I never even skimmed it. I have friends who have and have filled me in.

I thought it was a fantasy book about a guy with some crazy desires for some violent sex. I was blown away to learn it sold 100 million copies, and when the movie grossed $260 million worldwide this weekend, I became even more fascinated.

So I went to see the movie. I went with my wife, to the noon showing at the mall by our house. It was packed. I can’t believe how many people were seeing this movie on a Wednesday afternoon.

So what’d I think?
I didn’t hate the movie.
I did hate Christian Grey.

I didn’t walk out or picket, but I watched the whole movie because I wanted to better understand why this has resonated with so many. Why is Christian Grey someone that women are cheering on and fantasizing about? Why does my own mother at 66 years old connect with this story and feel like she “missed out” on something in her sex life.

As I write this, the movie finished two hours ago, and I’m still upset over what I just saw. Not some young woman being tied up, but Christian Grey himself. Let me explain.

Christian Grey was born to a prostitute/crack addict and put up for adoption.
Christian Grey was sexually abused by an older lady from the ages of 15 to 21.
Christian Grey was introduced to BDSM and forced to be a “submissive” for a number of years.
Christian Grey is very successful, rich, and powerful in his job.
Christian Grey has everything he needs and more, but deep down inside you can tell is not happy or fulfilled.
Christian Grey is used to getting what he wants and no one tells him no.
Christian Grey has had over 15 sexual partners that we know of.
Christian Grey does not “make love,” he “f*cks… hard.”
Christian Grey does not like to be touched.
Christian Grey gives things to get sex.
Christian Grey is abusive, controlling, dominant, and invasive.
Aside from his looks, money, and power, Christian Grey is the worst boyfriend imaginable.

Anastasia Steele is a virgin.
Anastasia Steele is infatuated with Christian Grey.
Anastasia Steele enjoys being pursued.
Anastasia Steele obviously is uncomfortable with the sexual experiences Christian Grey is wanting.
Anastasia Steele is constantly pushed to give in to the sexual requests of Christian Grey
Anastasia Steele is given more things in order to submit to Christian Grey’s sexual requests.
Anastasia Steele desires a relationship but gives sex hoping to get the relationship.

So, for those who have not read the book or watched the movie, you’re up to speed so far. Christian has a “contract” he tries to get Ana to sign, a contract that explains what she will and won’t do sexually and what she is and is not allowed to do outside the bedroom. In exchange for the signing the contract, she can move into the house and get all the benefits of being with Mr. Grey.

I get from the movie that Anastasia is not interested in sex so much as she is Christian Grey, and I think that is pretty normal for most women I meet that are pursuing men. (The famous saying, after all, is that men give love to get sex and women give sex to get love.) But in this movie, Christian is not willing to negotiate. He is not willing to show love or be attached. In fact, Anastasia is not even allowed to sleep in the same room or bed with him. She really is just his sex slave. She won’t sign the contract and at one point he gets so desperate he offers, “If you sign this, I will give you one night out a week as a couple. We will got out to dinner and go see a movie like boyfriends and girlfriends do.

Enough about the movie. Here are some takeaways and things I am left not understanding.

- Marriage only works when both sides give and both sides take, and sex is the same way. Men and women have needs and desires, and marriage and the marriage bed is a place to have those fulfilled. If you are with someone and they don’t take into consideration your needs and only demand things from you, then get the heck out of that relationship if you’re dating. If you’re married, then head to a counselor.

- Most people who abuse others were abused as children. The best available research suggest that 75% or more of those who commit acts of sexual or physical abuse against others were themselves abused as children. Christian Grey was abused as a child, a horrendous act that he never got over or dealt with or talked with anyone about. This has led him to some serious walls that have gone up in his life. and the only way he knows how to deal with it is to abuse someone else. He has done this to over 15 women and will continue. I heard this story was about sex, but this story at its core is about a broken man and his inability to love and be loved. How do people reading this book or watching this movie not see this? This is not a love story. This is not even an erotic story.  This is a story of broken people continuing a cycle of dysfunction in their lives rather than dealing with their issues.

- The Bible says I have the right to do anything, but not everything is beneficial. I am not against being playful or doing things to spice up things in your bedroom, but the question I always have is why? Why do you think you need that? If both people agree to try different things in the bedroom, I am all for that. Christian Grey, on the other hand, is dealing with his pain by inflicting pain onto someone else who is visibility uncomfortable with it. He has trouble at work one day, so he sends Anastasia to the “play room” to take out his frustrations on her. If your partner is asking you to do something or try something new in the bedroom, my advice to you would be to ask why. The reason behind the ask is the deeper issue than the act itself. In a lot of cases it might just be a fun thing – or it might be a case like Christian Grey where he wants to avoid dealing with his own pain.

- “Why don’t you try things my way?” Christian never wants to try things Anastasia’s way. I think that would be a better movie, but he insists she does what he wants. If you are in a relationship and your partner makes demands and pressures you to do things you don’t want to do, then say NO.

Many people won’t understand this, but because I’ve seen the inner workings of the adult industry, this movie didn’t turn me on – it made me mad.  The sex shown in the movie is violent and not love-making, and I don’t understand how 100 million people can read this book and think there is anything sexy about Mr. Christian Grey. If he was broke, ugly, and had a hard drive of porn instead of a “playroom” in his house, every women reading this would be freaked out enough to stay away from him forever. The books and movie have painted a sick disturbed man as a sex symbol that many, many women have gone crazy over.

So I leave even more confused.

Why? Why does my 66-year-old mom feel she missed out? Why is this unhealthy domination held up as an ideal? Why do so many men and women still not realize the greatest sex you can possibly have is by learning how to serve one another, discovering how to give to your partner and receive from them as well?

If you haven’t seen the movie or read the books, don’t. Instead of wasting that time examining this unhealthy dynamic, spend those hours talking with your spouse about sex. Talk about what you desire, what you think is missing. What your history with sex was. How you missed or messed up or abused sex prior to marriage. Talk about your expectations for sex and whether they’re being met or not. Don’t know how to start those conversations? We have a course called bestsexlifenow.com; watch the first video for free, and I assure you it will lead to so many productive conversations. Maybe even fifty of them. God Bless,

Craig@xxxchurch.com
 View this blog on our site!

Craig Gross
P.O. Box 50048
Pasadena, CA, 91115


When men and women speak, the human brain processes the sounds of those voices differently, Britain’s Mirror and Agence France Presse report of a new study from the U.K.’s University of Sheffield. While most of us actually hear female voices more clearly, men’s brains hear women’s voices first as music. But it’s not music. It’s someone giving them a honey-do list. So the brain goes into overdrive trying to analyze what is being said. Bottom line: Men have to work harder deciphering what women are saying because they use the auditory part of the brain that processes music, not human voices. Men’s brains are not designed to listen to women’s voices. It’s not the pitch of the woman’s voice, but rather the vibration and number of sound waves that cause the problem, notes Discovery News. But guys have no trouble at all hearing each other because men use a much simpler brain mechanism at the back of the brain to decipher another man’s voice and recognize it as speech. “The female voice is actually more complex than the male voice, due to differences in the size and shape of the vocal cords and larynx between men and women, and also due to women having greater natural ‘melody’ in their voices. This causes a more complex range of sound frequencies than in a male voice,” lead researcher Michael Hunter told The Mirror. “When men hear a male voice they process it in the ‘mind’s eye.’ This is the part of the brain where people compare their experiences to themselves, so the man is comparing his own voice to the new voice.” Here’s a really bizarre side effect: These findings help explain why people who suffer hallucinations usually hear male voices. It’s just too hard for the brain to create a false feminine voice as accurately as it can create a false masculine voice.  The research findings were published in the journal NeuroImage.

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” - Stephen R. Covey


We will be meeting under the gazebo in the Grand Lakes subdivision this coming Saturday, February 28th instead of at The Fellowship.  This will be an informal meeting focused more on Food, Fun, and Fellowship which is a very big part of our recovery.  Please plan to join us for some hamburgers, hotdogs, and whatever else we decide to grill!  If you have something you would liked grilled, then please bring that as well.

Time: 10:15 am – 12:30 pm
Location: Gazebo at Grand Lakes subdivision – S. Lakebluff Cir, Katy, TX 77494
From The Fellowship, take Peek Road South to Fry Road and turn West (right).  Proceed past HWY 99 (Grand Parkway), past the Home Depot, Denny’s, and McDonald’s.  Turn Northeast (right) on Grand Trace Lane and proceed to South Lakebluff Circle.  The gazebo is at the center of the circle.

Please bring some sort of chair for you to sit on!  If you have any questions please inquire with ExecutiveCommittee@Castimonia.org.

 


http://prevailingwordministries.wordpress.com/2013/11/18/overcoming-lust-in-the-church-at-home-are-you-the-gate-keeper-of-your-heart/

You’ve repented. Asked the Lord for forgiveness. However, you find yourself doing the same thing over again. You just can’t get past remorse to really mean that you no longer have a desire to lust in your heart and to live holy before God.

You’ve find yourself opening that door to lust again, and again.

Lusting after her or him, or both.

We all go through moments of temptation but what we do in the temptation determines our victory or defeat.

James said to “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials…”

It’s not joyful when you fail.

Lately, I’ve seen some things that were definite signs of the enemy attempting to lure me back into “habits, patterns, and cycles” of lusting after the flesh. To get the victory is one thing. To maintain the victory is another.

When you are watching TV, the commercials are more provocatively explicit than at any other time in history. Cute commercials are a thing of the past. Money and sex, sex and money are forever seamlessly connected.

Actually, men no longer watch commercials for the sake of the product. It’s the window dressing” of the commercial that gets his attention.

Car commercials are full of these things. Ask the average semi honest man and he will tell you that he is not really interested in the car. He was interested in that hot babe in or walking around the car.

This is called, “Substitute porn.”

It’s the same with the news. No man really watches the news for the content. The ladies dress like they are going to pick up a man. So the man feels right at home in his own home, being seduced by the weather lady as she seductively walks to the green screen.

Wearing a hot dress in stilettos.

Every morning, on cue, the TV comes on because he is mesmerized by her seduction.

Even in the pulpit, we know of a few well known female TV preachers that would preach in their stilettos, strutting their stuff as they preach.

But that’s not all.

One well known female preacher would sexually and provocatively bend over and fall to her knees as if to pray. Brothers in the audience weren’t caught up in the moment of the worship or prayer. The house of worship, in some places, has become a showcase for the red carpet.

Reality shows are the same thing. The story plots are not all that interesting. The female that is wearing nothing is what a man is interested. All of these things are precursors to Internet porn, chat rooms, sexting, and other forms of “acting out” sexually.

As we all know, men are “visual effects” minded.

Women, at least some of them that are sexually provocative will wear anything that will get a man’s attention. It doesn’t matter if the man is married any more. A desperate for attention woman will go for it regardless of the man’s marital status.

The house of worship is no different. To a woman desperate for a man’s attention, she really don’t care if the presence of God is in the house. The same goes for a sexually crazed man. The presence of the Lord could be thick in the house but all it takes is for one sexually immoral woman to walk by, and the deal is done.

And because there is lust in the heart of a man, she doesn’t have to wear something sexually provocative. The lust in his heart is so strong that he can’t help but sin with his heart and eyes.

Proverbs 20:27 says, “Hell and destruction are never full, so the eyes of a man are never satisfied.”

In the 21st Century, lust is everywhere. Inside the house of worship and outside the house of worship. When a man refuses to discipline his heart and mind, it is a matter of time before he will act out the lusts of his flesh and mind.

There has to be an effort to turn the eyes from these things. In more radical cases, shut off the TV or not watch TV at all because the traps of the enemy are deliberately set for every man.

Jesus said this in Matthew 5:29-30.

“If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.

And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.”

The writer of Hebrews 12:4 said…“You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.”

What are you willing to do to cut yourself from the habits, patterns, and cycles that are intended to keep you in the bondage of lust?

I am not advocating taking a knife and going for it.

I didn’t say this.

What the Lord Jesus is demanding is…..what are we willing to do that is completely radical to avoid sin?

To what lengths are we willing to go to keep from sinning? If you find yourself falling into the trap of lust over and over again like a revolving door, then you haven’t done enough.

You didn’t take it to a level of a complete cut off.

Like on Sunday’s after service. We go home to watch the sports.

You know that they will have the cheerleaders in the background. Commercial breaks, nothing but sexually immoral women. Sunday night, you watch some R rated movie with soft porn.

According to XXXChurch, Sunday is the busiest day of the week to watch porn.

We really do not understand how we are being set up, but like sheep to the slaughter, we are suckered into these things every week and we wonder why we are spiritually dull. We also wonder why the Lord seems far from us. We vainly attempt to make up for it in emotionalism and euphoric hype.

As long as we feel good, God must be alright with me.

We go for the quick remorse kind of false repentance, hoping that the Lord would “understand.”

Far from the case.

God never endorse sin and the false way we repent. Because our hearts condemn us, we feel guilty and we want to either suppress that conviction or gloss it over with some type of appeasement so that we won’t feel as bad.

When lust is allowed to have a home in our hearts, it is an impediment to His presence.

1 John 3:20-22 says…

“For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.”

How do we know that our hearts condemn us?

Paul said in Romans 8:1….

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.”

If you are walking in the flesh, to fulfill the lusts of the flesh and the mind, your heart will condemn you. So the rest of the verse in 1 John 3 tells us….“if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God…”

How do you know that you have confidence toward God?

Paul said, “…men everywhere, lifting up hands without wrath or doubting.”

When you lift your hands in praise to God, do you doubt your right standing and right relationship with God? Is there a question about your moral walk before God? Do you have confidence that God will not tell you that you are a hypocrite?

Confidence towards God tells us that there is no question about your current relationship with the Lord. That darkness doesn’t have a foothold, nor stronghold within you.

Jesus said this in Matthew 6:22-23…..

“The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness.”

Are you the gatekeeper of your heart?

Proverbs 4:23 says…

“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”

Your eyes is the gate but your spirit man or heart is the gatekeeper.

What you watch will get into your spirit man. Once it gets inside your spirit man, evidently, it fills your entire body. What we watch, we meditate. What we meditate on, we eventually will make, according to Romans 13:14 “…provision to fulfill its lusts.”

So we have to defend the gate.

Psalm 101:3-4 says,

“I will set nothing wicked before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not cling to me. A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will not know wickedness.”

Who is the “I will?”

That’s your heart. You must take a knife, spiritually speaking, and cut off anything that will take you down the path to sin against God.

Psalm 141:4-5 says….

“Do not incline my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men who work iniquity; and do not let me eat of their delicacies. Let the righteous strike me; it shall be a kindness. And let him rebuke me; it shall be as excellent oil; let my head not refuse it. For still my prayer is against the deeds of the wicked.”

Do not bend your ear to wicked things. Commercials have certain songs that are very seductive. When that sound comes, it is an attention grabber. It serves as a signal that your favorite seducer is coming on. You have to do the right thing. Gatekeepers never let the enemy walk through the front gate.

But first, there has to be a clearing out of the heart.

The Lord has placed in His Word things that we need to apply in order for lust to never overcome us.

Psalm 119:9-11 says….

“How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.”

Sadly, the translation from Hebrew to English gives the impression that “might not” sounds like the Word and the person that is supposed to walk int he Word might not be successful. No one is perfect, do not misunderstand me. However, when we’ve developed a strong walk in the Word of God, the “might not” has the potential to turn into a “will not.”

“Your Word have I hidden in my heart that I will not sin against you.”

How you hide the Word and what you do with that Word determines your victory.

James 1:21-25 says….

“Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.

But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”

The Lord gave you a good head start in your initial deliverance. Now it is time to see it through by doing the Word.

It’s called.

Obedience!!!