Wednesday, December 30, 2015 | Written by Luke Gilkerson
Episode 170Audio Player
|Wings Of Freedom Ministry||
Trafficked into Porn
Wednesday, December 30, 2015 | Written by Luke Gilkerson
Episode 170Audio Player
love Christmas time. It’s magical. I love decorating the tree, putting up lights, and buying (as well as getting) presents. I love to say “Merry Christmas” to clerks at the store.
“‘Tis the season to be jolly!”
But where expectations run high, so do disappointments. For many, the holidays usher in stress, worry, and loneliness.
For most, Christmas and New Years are about being with family. We forget about the dysfunctional past and envision the merry times ahead. But the prancing and dancing quickly fade away as old familiar tensions and rivalries return. Family gatherings can soon turn to stress.
We worry about finances, whether we got the right gift, and how much time off we can spare. Christmas can be a time where comparisons run rampant: Each picture or message on Facebook paints a perfect season filled with perfect lives. You wonder and worry, “Why can’t that be me!”
For the single or separated, loneliness is magnified during the holidays. Watching couples exchange presents or kiss under the mistletoe fuels the grief of being alone.
Stress. Worry. Loneliness. They’re a big part of the holiday season. But the real problem is that these three things are also the three greatest triggers to look at porn. In the midst of the most wonderful time of the year, these triggers will sneak up and catch you off-guard like the ghosts of Christmas who visited Ebenezer Scrooge at midnight. But rather than warning you to repent and change, these triggers invite you to hide and escape into a fantasy world that drains the spirit from your soul.
Around Christmas, you’ll face increased temptation to drift into fantasy—to pretend you have a life different from your own; one where you can write the script filled with perfect presents and jubilant joy. Unfortunately, when you give yourself permission to escape the harshness of reality (i.e. life isn’t picture-perfect; you weren’t born into a Hallmark family) that’s when the temptation to feed the lust monster takes over.
The good news is you’ve been warned that the three ghosts of Christmas temptation will be visiting—not just one night, but all season long. Armed with that knowledge, you have a chance to be vigilant: Create a game plan for victory over the lures of lust and porn.
Here are some holiday tips:
Get Our Latest News
End Pornography and Sexual Exploitation
Friday, December 18, 2015 | Written by Ron DeHaas
There is a battle in our generation: a battle against pornography and other forms of sexual exploitation. As President and CEO of Covenant Eyes, I invite you to join with me in this battle.
Please support the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.
The NCSE in Washington D.C. is key player in working against this public health crisis of Internet pornography and sexual exploitation. The NCSE has had tremendous success this year, and I look forward to their success coming in the year.
One of the main things they have coming in the near future is their Dirty Dozen List. They identify 12 entities that contribute to pornography and sexual exploitation. They publish that list and through a variety of channels, including a very significant press conference, they educate the public about these organizations that are contributing to problem.
This initiative has had tremendous success. For instance, Google Play was on the Dirty Dozen List a couple of years ago. Google responded by recognizing that pornography is damaging and made it no longer available on Google Play. They met with representatives from Covenant Eyes and NCSE, and the next day after that meeting, all pornography was gone from Google Play.
Will you join with me please in working against this issue of Internet pornography and sexual exploitation by supporting the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.
Defeat Lust & Pornography
The Fast Track to Freedom
Monday, December 14, 2015 | Written by Jon Snyder
I have a small favor to ask of you reading this: would you kindly donate a vital organ to me?
Most of you reading probably just laughed out loud, “A small favor? Right. Who does this guy think he is?” Don’t feel bad – I’m not as selfless as Jesus; and I probably wouldn’t lay down my life for a stranger either.
But could you lay down your life for, say, your son or daughter? For most of us that isn’t even a question. I wouldn’t have to think twice if one of my children needed a heart transplant. I’d cut open my own chest and hand my heart to the doctor if need be.
What’s the point? Simply this: your love leveldictates your capacity for sacrifice. Your commitment to God and to keeping His word will never and can never exceed your love level.
John the Beloved said it this way, “If anyone is able to keep God’s word, truly the love of God has been perfected in him” (1 John 2:5).
Did you get that? Your ability to keep God’s word isn’t linked to your willpower or to your spirituality or to any other thing. Rather, your ability to keep God’s word is inseparably linked to your love level. We fail at keeping God’s word, not because we don’t mean well, not because we didn’t try our hardest, but because our love level initially can’t sustain the commitment level of God’s Word.
Backwards LoveJohn later gives us a “thermometer” to take our love temperature – “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). Too many Christians read this passage backwards or with a skewed view of love. They think, “Ok, if I want to love God, then I have to keep His commandments.” No. That’s backwards. Love comes first. Obedience comes second. Never the other way around. Really, that passage is consistent with the first passage we read and is essentially saying that if you don’t love God, you can’t keep His commandments.
If you try this whole “Christianity thing” any other way than love-first, you have a scenario where you can try and try and try again, but eventually you will fall. Sin-free living is the by-product of a heart filled with love, not the means to a heart filled with love. But for most of us, loving God is an obligation – a Christian duty – that is evinced in how well we get our act together.
John gives us the benchmark: if there is obligation, if there is burden and effort and grit and sweat in the process of keeping the commandments, then your love level isn’t where it needs to be. If stopping porn is this huge sacrifice that you think is really “slaying the big one for God”, this is evidence that there’s a major love wound in your heart crying out. And the good news is that God wants to heal it! God’s plan isn’t that you perfect the flesh so that you can love or be loved – it is that you perfect love – then the flesh won’t be an insurmountable burden.
If you are struggling with the flesh, you don’t have a flesh problem, or a lust problem or a porn problem- you have a love problem.
Love Changes ThingsWhen I came to the point where I had to be free from lust, my wife and I committed ourselves to praying daily and to “falling forward.” If I would fall, I would get on my face and cry out for answers, “Father, where did I go wrong? Where was the open door?” For roughly three years I’d run to God, and the wisdom He would put on my heart was rooted in His love for me, which I quickly and foolishly brushed aside, “Yeah, yeah, God. I know you love me, just show me how to stop looking at porn.”
After three years, it finally got through my thick skull: I didn’t know God loved me – at least not in my heart or any meaningful way that manifested change in me. I knew God loved me intellectually. I knew the theology that God loved me. But I had no experience of it or revelation of these facts in my heart. Having the knowledge of God’s love is very different from actually having God’s love.
The truth was I felt so dirty and unlovable that I was unable to receive God’s love. I remember when I first read John 15:9 and 17:23, “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you… that they may know that You have sent Me and have loved them as you have loved me.” Jesus loves me as much as the Father loves Him?! The Father loves me as much as He loves Jesus?! This much love available to me seemed impossible!
Maybe that is where you are as you read this. Maybe the notion God loves you as much as He loves Jesus seems unfathomable. But the first step is to stop fighting with what God says and simply take God’s word at its face value and say, “Ok. Sin, imperfections, lumps, warts and all, God loves me enough to send Jesus to die in my place. What’s more? He didn’t stop and never will stop loving me this radically! God loves little old me enough that if it were possible, He’d do it all over again with no regrets.”
God loves you so much that the Bible says He sings, rejoices and dances over you (Zeph. 3:17). God thinks you are worthy to be celebrated. He’ll brag about you to all the angels if you’ll let Him. Can you let Him?
Fixing Your PrioritiesGod isn’t waiting for you to get it all right before He loves you. He isn’t waiting for some perfect future version of you to be proud of. He perfected you in Christ. He’s proud of you today.
Believe it or not, God’s first desire and priority isn’t that you stop sinning. Yes, He wants you to stop sinning. But how we achieve that, the Bible makes it clear: is through the outworking of God’s love in us.
You can’t stop sinning by trying to stop sinning. It just doesn’t work that way. There are too many Christians whose entire focus of faith has become to stop sinning rather than to start loving. It is time to put our priorities back in line with God’s and find that everything then falls into place.
Think about it: God is love. He created us to be loved and to be lovers. This was “Plan A” for mankind. He designed love to be at the center of relationships – both human and divine. God doesn’t want a “relationship” with you that exists apart from love. So He created this God-life to only work through love. If you could manage to stop sinning in your own human willpower, it wouldn’t make you a lover of God – it would make you a Pharisee. Your life, your calling, your relationship with God, your victory over sin –all these things are designed to operate when love is fueling them.
Get this: stopping sin doesn’t get you more of God’s love – getting more of God’s love stops sin. We have had it backwards for too long. We’ve made the secondary thing the main thing, and the main thing the secondary thing. The reason I was stuck in sin after reading all the “right books”, after going to counseling, after using filters and cyber-sitters, after going to groups and having accountability is because none of those things filled or fixed the love wounds in my heart.
The Fast Track of LoveWhen I finally “got it” and realized my sin was rooted in a love-lack, it was like God pulled me out of the mental quicksand I had been stuck in. God began doing more in my heart in mere days than had happened in years before.
Satan tempts us to think that getting God’s love is some insurmountable thing – or that it will take years. That’s a lie. Remember: God is love. Because of who He is, He loves loving. He’s been waiting to flood your heart with love since He first conceived your existence. There is a tidal wave of love ready to overtake you and change your life.
As Scripture says,”God is able to do exceedingly and abundantly above all that we ask or imagine according to the power that works in us” (Eph. 3:20). What is the power this verse is referring to? What is the power that enables God to exceed our expectations and wildest imaginations?
Paul answers these questions three verses earlier: being rooted and grounded in love (Eph. 3:17). Love is the power of God. Love is the “nitrous boost” that accelerates your momentum in God. Getting rooted in love gives God the ability to do more in you and do it more quickly than you could have ever imagined. Love is a fast track.
Men come to our ministry or to a Mighty Man Small Group jaded from the same long, discouraging process I had gone through. They hear they need to change their pursuit and they get discouraged thinking this will add years to their journey or undo years of what they’ve learned. Nothing could be further from the truth.
A revelation of God’s love accomplishes more in weeks than years of man’s effort. Love makes everything else work. This foundation of love gives men both the desire and the emotional capacity to finally overcome lust because they have something deeper and more powerful to draw from than the pull of lust. Love is an anchor that keeps the storms of temptation from rocking your vessel.
If you have been pursuing freedom through knowledge or self-will or ten steps or any other means without also coming into the fullness of what your heart is crying out for, the answer is simple: make love your first pursuit and build on that strong foundation.
If you would like more teaching about laying this foundation in love, you may want to read our book, “The Mighty Man Manual.” It helps lay a powerful foundation that, simply, makes everything else work. Visit www.mightymanministries.com for more information.
Pornography is a problem. Chuck Swindoll says, “Pornography is the greatest cancer in the church today.” I believe it. The more I counsel people on a regular basis, the more I see the harmful effects of pornography in the church today.
It’s Trapping Many PeopleA study recently conducted by the Barna Group in the US showed that 63% of men, ages 18 to 30, view pornography several times a week. Think about that. More than HALF of the young men you see everyday look at porn multiple times a week.
Between March 1999-2001, Alexa Research examined ten of the leading search engines, and the #1 search was “sex” with “porn” being ranked #4. This is especially true of men. Studies show men are 543% more likely to look at porn than females (that wasn’t a typo: 543%).
Porn is all around. Many in the church are enslaved by it, and there seems to be no way out.
A statement I hear time and time again from those I counsel is, “When the desire comes, I feel that I have to look at porn.” Maybe you have experienced this yourself or have heard someone make a statement quite like it.
So, is porn just inevitable for the Christian man or woman?
There Is Hope“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him“ (Eph. 1:3-4).
As Christians, God not only chose us to be His before the foundation of the world, but He chose us to “be holy and blameless before him.” Wow! What a wonderful truth. God has called you and I to holiness.
So here is the question: Does God command ends without providing means? By no means! “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who has called us to his own glory and excellence” (2 Pet. 1:3).
You know what this means? There is hope.
Christ took your sin on the cross and rose from the dead to show He has power over sin and death. By placing your faith in Christ, there is hope. Through the Gospel (good news) and the Holy Spirit in you, you never have to look at pornography again.
Understanding the TrapAfter understanding the powerful resources God has given you through the Gospel to say no to pornography, you must now move toward an understanding of WHY you desire to look at porn.
When you desire to look at porn, it is because you take pleasure in porn more than you take pleasure in God and His glory. This is always the case.
It was C.S. Lewis who said, “Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak.” But yet, “We are far too easily pleased [with other things].”
Our minds need to be renewed by God’s Word (Rom. 12:2). We need to meditate on and memorize Scripture so we can fight the temptation to look at porn with God’s truth (Ps. 119:11, Ps. 1).
Practical Tips to Avoid the Porn TrapEvery time you look at porn it is because you have the access, the time and the desire for it. Removing the access and time you have for porn right now will help you as you work on erasing your desire for it. The great hope we have as Christians is that through the power of the Gospel, you can get to a place in your life where you have access to porn, but no desire for it. Here are three steps to take:
1. Take radical measures to cut off all access to porn.
I highly recommend Covenant Eyes for this. Covenant Eyes is an accountability program with an optional web content filter. It tracks every website you visit and sends a Detailed Browsing Log to the person you choose as your Accountability Partner. I have it on every device I own!
2. Find a spiritually mature person of the same-sex to walk with you through this.
Find someone and open your heart to them. Tell them your struggles. Pray with them. Meet with them often. Remember, “The one isolates himself seeks his own desire and breaks out against all sound judgment” (Prov. 18:1).
3. Serve others.
If you are not already, become a member at a local church. Serve people there. Get involved and use the gifts God has given you to serve His church. Do it often. This will fill up your schedule and deplete the alone time you would have to be tempted by porn.
Once again, understand the power you have in the Gospel. God is for you in this battle. And remember, if He is for you, who could ever be against you? (Rom. 8:31).
Every time I found out about Craig using porn, I either found it on the computer or I caught him in the act. All the while, whenever I asked him about his temptations or actions, he denied engaging it.
Except for one time.
Though his confession was painful to hear, it paled in comparison with the rage and sense of betrayal I felt when I caught him trying to hide it from me.
Lies are never better than the truth.
Why confess?We often tell our children it is always better if they confess to us first before we find out about something they did wrong. And this goes for adults too.
Anytime we harbor secret sin, it has the power to eat away at us and damage our relationships. Sin without confession always seems to beget more sin. We must keep up the lie lest we risk exposing the truth.
Even lies from long ago tend to bubble up to the surface. A few months ago, Craig and I met with a couple struggling with porn addiction. The wife had an affair twenty years ago. She ended it, confessed the sin to God, and went about her marriage, never considering to tell her husband. God prompted her to confess this to her husband 20 years later. And do you know what this led to? Him confessing his porn addiction to her.
Neither confession was easy to hear or forgive, but both confessions bore fruit. Her authenticity freed him to reveal himself as imperfect. His confession brought a current problem to light so he could get help and eventually receive love and support from his spouse.
Marriages weren’t designed so individual people could solve their individual problems. Marriages were designed so two people could help refine and love each other like Jesus helps and refines us.
Are you addicted to porn? Do you need some help? Do you need to bring your problems to the light so you don’t have to live a lie anymore? It’s exhausting, isn’t it?
Tips to confess your porn addiction to your spouse:Pray first. In your time with God, pray He will give you the words to say to your spouse and ears for he or she to respond to your confession. Ask God to prepare her heart for what she is about to learn. Ask the Holy Spirit to be present with both of you during this and subsequent conversations. Pray for protection against the enemy coming in to do more damage to your relationship.
Choose your timing wisely. Sometimes when we need to confess something to someone, we want to sneak it in when there’s not much time so the conversation will be over as fast as possible. Don’t drop a bomb and then expect to move on to your next activity. When you confess, make sure you have the time to allow both of you to talk and process as you need in a safe place.
Think about your partner when she hears this news and have options for her to process as she needs. Will she need a quiet space alone to think? If so, plan to give her the space. Take the kids off her hands for awhile – whatever she needs in order to be able to cope with this news. Is your husband an external processor? If so, be prepared to hear the myriad of emotions that comes with a confession of betrayal. Allow him to speak about how he feels: betrayed, angry, confused, hurt, etc.
Don’t expect forgiveness right away. Yes, we are supposed to forgive one another because we are all sinners and God always forgives us when we ask. Allow for your spouse to be human and know it might take some time for her to come to a place where she forgives you. Also be aware he might verbally say, “I forgive you” but his actions might not match up with that right away.
There are stages of grief (and your spouse isgrieving the loss of the marriage as he knew it to be), so expect waves of differing emotions as you walk through this together. Your spouse may also try to figure out what did wrong to cause this, so reassure her this is about you and not her.
Have a plan or be willing to make a plan. If you know what you need in order to find freedom from your addiction, let your spouse know how you are actively breaking your addiction. If you are at a total loss for what your next steps should be, enlist the help of a trusted friend, pastor, or counselor.
Be open to what your spouse might suggest as helpful things as well. Though things like Internet filters are not cures for pornography, having them installed on your electronic devices might help her feel more at ease. Be willing to talk about it as much as your spouse needs to discuss it. Every idea your spouse has may not be beneficial, but it’s important you hear her heart behind her suggestions and take the ones God leads you to consider.
Keep praying. Pray together. Pray individually. Pray for yourself and for your spouse. The enemy has many entrances to both the addicted and the spouse, but the power of prayer and the Word of God are strong weapons to keep Satan out and love in.
After you confess, you might doubt you did the right thing. But know this: Truth is always better than a lie. In order for your marriage to be whole, you and your spouse need to be real with each other, learn how to best support each other and be mutually invested in each other’s healing and recovery, whether it’s porn or any other thing in the way of a loving, strong, healthy marriage.
“The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us. We have no one to blame but the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lust. Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin! Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer” (James 1:14-15, MSG).
Controlling the Body and MindOften times sexual immorality is thought of as a physical act and rightfully so. It indeed deals with our physical being. However, 1 Thessalonians 4:3–7 says, “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable” (NIV, emphasis added).
While this scripture makes reference to controlling your body, leading us to think sexual immorality is solely a physical act, we are also told to learn how to control our bodies. To learn would suggest a cognitive act is actually in force when conquering sexual immorality. This must mean the war on sexual immorality is a psychological battle just as much as a physical battle.
Where It All BeginsI’d say sexual immorality happens long before you buy that magazine, go to that website or lie in bed with that person. It happens first as a mental thought. I’d say the mind is the soil that turns seeds of sexual immorality into a blooming act of sinful nature.
Look at it like this, when you plant an apple seed – you end up with an apple tree. So then wouldn’t the principal remain that when you plant a sexually driven seed into your mind, you end up with sexually impure actions?
That is why it is of utmost importance that we continually guard our minds and thoughts. Of course it is impossible to keep unrighteous thoughts from popping into your mind 100% of the time, but there is a vast difference between a thought crossing your mind and dwelling on a thought in your mind.
The Authority Lies With YouThe line between being a victor over sexual immorality and being a victim to sexual immorality is what you do when impure thoughts enter your mind. Do you control them or do they control you?
Scripture shows us the great authority we have over our own minds, “…we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5, NIV). Immediately when an impure thought crosses your mind, you should take control of it by praying and asking God to help you remove the thought trying to take root in your mind.
Going back to our analogy of seeds, the longer you allow a seed to develop roots – the deeper they go and the more they produce. If we meditate on the thoughts of lust too long, chances are the thought will grow and bring life to the ensuing action of sin