EPIKOS CHURCH - REAL PEOPLE. REAL STORIES. AMAZING GOD.
Let's be honest.
Can I be honest with you for a minute? If you're facing an addiction of any kind you're not in a debate or a pillow fight with pornography, lust and sexual sin. You are in a full scale war with an enemy that has thousands of years of experience taking out people just like you. You’re in a fight that you have no business winning and unless you lay it all on the line and fight with everything you have you will not win.
The battle against sexual addiction or even alcohol and drug addictions can be a slow drawn out turf war that lasts the rest of your life. If you let that happen it will cost you opportunities and joys that you’ll never even know you missed until it’s too late. Satan is just as happy to take you out with a headshot from the bluff as he is to keep you strung out like a junkie between two worlds for the rest of your life.
You can't overcome addiction in your own strength.
In your own strength you’re out-manned, out-armed, and out-prepared for the battle that you’re in. It seems so overwhelming because it is overwhelming. If you’re like most men you’ve brought a knife to a nuclear war and you’re experiencing the fallout firsthand.
It's no wonder so many people face this type of addiction, pornography and sex are everywhere today. Whether it is in the triple x form, the soap commercial form, or in the grocery store tabloid rack form it's everywhere you go. It’s really unfair if you think about it.
It’s easy to get angry at God and blame him for all your addictions. You may have asked “How can I be “pure and holy” when I live in the sexual cesspool called earth?”
Everywhere you go sex and temptations are in your face. I know because I live in the same world you do. Don’t you think I’ve ever worshiped God with one eye closed while lusting over the worship leader my open eye? If we aren’t even safe in a church how can we ever hope to win?
The answer is simple but it isn’t easy.
You have to go ugly on this thing. You have to decide that you are going to win and overcome your addiction at all costs. Step one is to fully surrender your life to Jesus. When you do this he births a new spiritual nature in you and fills you with His spirit and the power to overcome your addiction. Ste two, attack your addiction with a vengeance and focus that you haven’t even scratched the surface of yet. You have to be willing to get in the war and fight it with all you have, even if it costs you everything.
Hebrews 12:4 “In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.” English Standard Version (©2001)
You're losing because you haven’t fully committed to overcoming your addiction.
It’s easy to point the finger to the outside challenges of grocery store magazines, television commercials, and overly sexualized worship leaders but when a man in any endeavor has fully committed to winning he’ll no longer accept making excuses for failing.
Victory doesn’t choose its obstacles but it always conquers them as a part of the journey.
I remember one day when I was arguing with God in my frustration about this very topic. I was doing “pretty good” in my battle against lust until I was ambushed while trying to watch “family” shows on TV.
“Well, God now what am I supposed to do? Even when I watch good shows on TV there’s “bad” commercials, and little bits of smut thrown in… how am I supposed to win?” , I said.
I was looking for sympathy and instead God put it right back on me, “Who said you have to watch TV? Don’t you know you’re going to get ambushed when you turn it on? If you knew there were mines in a field and you chose to play in it whose fault would it be if you got blown up?” He was showing me that I didn’t have the commitment it takes to win.
I was like the clueless and careless guy in the book of Proverbs.
Proverbs 7:7-8 “and I have seen among the simple, I have perceived among the youths, a young man lacking sense, passing along the street near her corner, taking the road to her house”, English Standard Version (©2001)
I was playing in fields where I knew there were mines and blaming God when I stepped on one. Something in my heart wanted to enjoy a show, (and maybe deep down wanted to see a little someth’n by accident), more than I wanted to win. What about you, do you really want to win?
You’ve already lost so many times maybe you don’t even believe you can win and maybe you’re right? In fact let’s assume that you really can’t win. Now that we’ve settled that for a moment, tell me this… if you could win, how would you do it?
What steps are you willing to take to recover and overcome your addiction?
Take a minute and think it through. What steps would you take to win if it were possible? What might you do differently than what you do now?
I’m sure that sparked a few ideas on steps you can take that you haven’t been willing to take in the past. When you truly decide you want to win this fight you’ll be willing to take steps you were unwilling to take when you weren’t fighting to win.
What do I know about fighting in the real world? What do I know about struggling against an enemy I can’t beat?
Become the Victor and not the Victim.
My first sexual experience was around the age of five with an older male cousin and I spent the next 20 or so years getting beat down by the same enemy that's after you. I’m not just a writer trying to make a point. I’m a former loser that became a victor, sharing the strategies I’ve used to beat the same enemy you’re facing right now.
By the grace of God I’ve found victory and I’m giving you the blueprint. Winning the battle is simpler than you think but it’s not easy.
It’s not for the faint of heart and it’s definitely not for the undecided. If you choose to finally commit to doing what it takes to get off the fence and win this war you'll overcome your addiction and live in the new life of purpose God has for you.
Luke 14:28 “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?” English Standard Version (©2001)
Fresh Start is hosted 6:30pm Monday nights at Epikos Church in Bend, Oregon.
http://www.epikoscommunity.com/fresh-start---addictions.html Learn more about Fresh Start a group dedicated to recovery and overcoming addiction to life a life of purpose.
Contributed by Andy Elliott in Bend, Oregon