Defeating Sexual Sin
I need to address something that’s very heavy on my heart today. This is one of those topics that I don’t really WANT to write about but now more than ever I believe it MUST be covered. Let me just get it out: We’re losing our men to sexual sin. Our men (single and married) struggle to survive from one day to the next, strapped down by the ever-tightening straight jacket of sexual sin. You already know the myriad of issues, from pornography to homosexuality, addictions to strip clubs and prostitution, even incest and pedophilia and other perversions, all of which come straight from the pit of hell. And one of my missions is to help send them back to where they came from without permanently damaging our men. Sadly, the demonic hordes have come for my family on multiple occasions; in fact, we’re dealing with it now. I’m so tired of our family dealing with this same demon. I don’t want to go into specifics but let’s just say that I’m so broken right now that I don’t really know what to do but to write and encourage anyone who will read to take an inventory of their own lives and encourage all the men in their families.
I have a question that needs an answer: Why is it that most of our churches cover up this area of sin so much when our men (and women) are losing this battle? I could share story upon story of “good Christian” men that I know that have been inflicted by the devastation of sexual sin—and every single one attended church on a regular basis, some of them even working in the church. The fact that church was in the equation did not stop sin’s poison dipped talons from latching on to these unsuspecting preys and carrying them to a place they never imagined. If anything, I believe their churches helped them hide out in their sin.
A few years ago, I wrote about this very issue and shared stories about Dove Award winning, song artist Ray Boltz. I don’t know if you remember Mr. Boltz, but he produced some amazing worship music in the late 80s and 90s. Yet, in 2008, Boltz announced that he was going to leave his wife of 30 years and his loving family to pursue unnatural same-sex affairs.
Just a few weeks after I shared about Mr. Boltz, another prominent minister was brought up on allegations of pedophilia with former members of the church’s youth group. And then there are the statistics. I won’t go into too much detail here but you need to know that recent surveys of evangelical pastors revealed that 54% of them had viewed porn in the past year. Hotel chains also report that in-room sex movies sky-rocket whenever there’s a “Christian” conference in town.
Even though this type of disclosure should be appalling to us, many of us just turn our backs to it because we’ve been desensitized to the lack of holiness among Christians for quite some time now. In fact, the hyper-grace churches have all but erased the word holiness out of our vernacular. Apparently, holiness is too “Old Testament” for our day and age. They say we need to get with the program. Maybe we should be more like Carrie Underwood’s pastor and just give in to this demon and allow sexual deviants to work in our churches and even allow same-sex partners to marry in our churches. That’s what he announced he was doing last week. Why fight it anymore? Even those who say they are fighting are losing.
Let’s just say my little writing here is nothing more than conjecture. Let’s pretend you don’t know any pastors that have fallen or husbands that have left their beautiful wives to seek after that which is unnatural. Let’s assume for a moment that the little secret lockout code that you have on your home computer has never been breached and that the men in your life have never envisioned a stranger in a lustful thought that’s propelling them into a harmful addiction that could destroy your family. Maybe you think you and those you love have it altogether. Maybe you think this demon doesn’t know your address. Maybe your man won’t be the one living a double life with multiple extra-marital partners. Maybe your brother won’t be that guy that gets a horrific disease or gets locked away in the pen because of his frequent visits to the Red Light District and sexually delinquent behavior. Maybe your priest won’t be the one to…
Maybe, just maybe, you’ll be one of those “lucky ones” and these sins won’t proliferate into your home. But then again, I highly doubt it. In fact, I’ll say it’s quite impossible really. I will honestly say that of all the men that I know, I don’t know of one who is not or has not struggled with some type of sexual sin. I know the stories first hand. In the church I grew up in, there were at least seventeen different situations of sexual sin that immediately come to mind, and there were only 300 people in the whole church. Then there was Bible College. I can’t begin to tell you the manifold sexual issues that permeated a place that was supposed to be full of God seekers. (I do realize that this is in-your-face language, but sometimes a little shock and awe is necessary to wake us up!)
I don’t only have stories, I can tell you testimonies. That’s right, I too fell prey to the insidious and unrelenting monster of sexual sin. But you know what, me telling you the “what” or even the “why” is not going to get us any closer to conquering these issues. We all know the stories. We all have friends, family, spouses, etc. that are or have dealt with these problems. What we need is the “how.” How do we deal with these problems?
One of the major questions that I had in my own life, and in watching all these “Christian” men fall, was how could a man keep on going to church and never get free from the sexual plague that was ripping apart their lives—myself included. Why did Ray Boltz, who was happily married with children, say that he pleaded with the Lord for 30 years, yet in his pray-filled “desperation” the Lord never took away the craving for same-sex relationships? Why did I watch a close friend (that I grew up in church and went to Bible College with), get married, start a church, and a few months later turn his back on all that he knew was right and go off and live a deviant homosexual lifestyle? Why was I actively involved in the church, yet still fell straight into the enemy’s darkened abyss of sin that almost tore our family apart? Why was freedom unobtainable?
Was it for a lack of superb preaching?
Was it for a lack of more desperate crying?
Was it because the Holy Spirit’s power wasn’t present to heal?
What’s the deal?
If the church is supposed to be God’s institution and the hope of freedom for the world enslaved in sin, why did these men (myself included at one time) repeatedly walk their demon to the altar week-after-week, placing it in front of the proverbial double-barreled shotgun…and then…POW!... the gun goes off but nothing changes?
After a few dozen times dragging my personal “demon” to the plush altar with no results (and seeing my friends and family do the same), I realized that something drastic had to be missing. And it was. It took me too long to recognize that this demon wasn’t going anywhere because he’s all too comfortable in our religious buildings. He’s safe in a place that never gets to the root of our issues. He’s not concerned about a place with no real power. Have you ever seen a grizzly bear run from a bunny rabbit? It doesn’t happen. Bunny rabbits have no power to scare away a bear. In fact, not only is the bear not afraid, he’s perfectly content to make bunny his dinner.
So what’s the key here? Is freedom really obtainable? Is it real, or should we just follow the majority of the church who no longer talk about finding genuine freedom? Should we just roll over and give up? Do we look for a hole to hide in because we believe there’s no real power to confront this bear? Let me write one small sentence:
There is hope.
God’s power to defeat our enemy is real.
But there’s a prime factor we must understand. God’s word says that He will not put you through anything that you can’t defeat. You have to defeat it. That’s not humanism, it’s “reality-ism.” You can yell at the top of your lungs at an altar and God can take that sin out of your life, but if you can’t defeat the temptation the next hour, day, or whenever it comes, it’s going to come back—and possibly much more hungry than it was before.
When God takes any sin from us we must STILL submit our lives to be filled by His Spirit. You can’t just clean up your life; it must be cleaned and then filled with His Spirit (Matthew 12:43-45). We’re a vessel, and we were created to contain God. If we don’t fill up with God, we’re going to be dissatisfied and search for and fill it up with all the perversions and counterfeits of God’s best for us, and this includes sexual sin. It’s like driving a car that was designed to run on premium gasoline. If you fill it up with regular unleaded that car is going to spurt and sputter and possibly not run at all. It won’t run right because it was designed for premium fuel. The same goes for us. I finally realized that the infilling of God’s Holy Spirit was what was missing from my own life. Once I got that power, I realized no bear--no matter how ferocious he seemed--could stand in my way. I was no longer prey for dinner; I was a predator out to make a rug.
And these things happened [in the Old Testament] as examples for us, to stop us from wanting evil things as those people did…We must not take part in sexual sins, as some of them did…The only temptation that has come to you is that which everyone has. But you can trust God, who will not permit you to be tempted more than you can stand. But when you are tempted, he will also give you a way to escape so that you will be able to stand it. I Cor. 10:13
You must return to the Lord your God with your whole being.
This command I give you today is not too hard for you; it is not beyond what you can do. It is not up in heaven. You do not have to ask, "Who will go up to heaven and get it for us so we can obey it and keep it?” Deut. 30:10b-11
So what’s next?
For the Ladies
Realize that if you’re not dealing with these issues now that it is highly probable that at some point you will. There is an old military saying that works well here: Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Ask God for wisdom and discernment for the issues that your husband faces (even if you don’t have a husband yet). It is amazing how the Lord will speak to a spouse about things their mate is dealing with. Second, encouragement is huge. You don’t necessarily want to focus on the sexual desires that men face. Our goal is not to do as the world does and place emphasis on the problems themselves; this only masks the real issue of the heart. If you focus on just the sin problem this can breed resentment and hostility; rather, arm your bow with a sharp arrow, draw back and focus with greater intensity on the targeted solution—Jesus Christ. Simple questions like, “Honey, how is your walk with the Lord right now?” or “What new things is the Lord showing you in the Scriptures?” can speak life into your situation. The goal is to alleviate selfishness (sexual sin is first selfish), deepen the relationship with the Lord and cultivate love for humankind. If the man’s heart is completely abandoned to Christ and others (spouses!) then there is no room for anything else. A vacant heart, or one that is abandoned to self, is susceptible to the enemy’s infiltration and devastation.
For the Men
If you’re a man, pray! If the “demons” haven’t come, they will. But you have the self-control given by the power of the Holy Spirit to defeat any adversary that tries to invade you and your family’s lives (Gal. 5:22-23). You don’t have to succumb. Also, and I mentioned this above for the ladies, DON’T FOCUS ON THE SEXUAL SIN! Sometimes we can give life to something just by allowing it to roll around in that upper room that we call the noggin. Keep this illustration in mind: When a ferociously rabid animal threatens a community there is only two things that the community needs to do. They don’t need to focus on every detail of the animal. They don’t need to know where it was born, how it was raised or even how it got to their community. All these are irrelevant to the final outcome that will be carried out—death. The only things they need to know is, 1) what type of ammo will take this thing out, and 2) where is the heart located? If too small of ammunition is used or if the aim is too high or low the animal might only be injured and then a new problem arises.
This same principle is true for sexual addiction—or any addiction. The ammo that will destroy any enemy is a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and the infilling of God’s Spirit. The Bible says, “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world” (I John 4:4). Your job is to fall in love with Christ (Matt. 22:37-40). Ouch…tough concept for men to grasp, I know. And I can’t tell you how to fall in love. I can only tell you how not to fall in love. I know that if I don’t spend time with my spouse that I will not fall in love with her. I know that by not communicating or taking an interest in the things she enjoys that I will not fall in love. I know that if she wrote a best-selling book and I never took any time to read it that it would be a sign that I didn’t care for her. Get it?
One final element that I have personally discovered that works well in this fight is to remember and recount previous victories. The entire Old Testament was written for our example so we could have faith in a God who loves and cares for us (I Cor. 10:6). Write down and speak openly to others that might be going through your same situation. This not only brings healing (James 5:16) but also builds your faith that if God did it before, He’ll do it again.
Remember, just because you will win a few battles doesn’t mean that the war is over. This is a daily fight and struggle for your heart and mind ( I Cor. 15:31; Rom. 12:1-2). But with the Lord we can be victorious every day of our life (Rom. 8:37)! Submit your life to the Lord to be filled with His Spirit! Finally, be aware that sexual sin not only hurts you but others as well. It is capable of destroying whole families, and it will bring death on some level if it is not dealt with.
Blessed is a man who endures trials, because when he passes the test he will receive the crown of life that He has promised to those who love Him. No one undergoing a trial should say, "I am being tempted by God." For God is not tempted by evil, and He Himself doesn't tempt anyone. But each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desires. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death. James 1:12-15 HCSB
I pray that this helps someone. If you need prayer or help in this area, PLEASE open yourself up to someone and get healing before it destroys you and/or your family.