“For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” ~ Romans 7:19
Read the following passage: Romans 7:14-25
Addiction: the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming.
In his book, “Live Second”, Doug Bender defines what is at the heart of all of us. “But there is something damaged and twisted in the heart of all of us, something that still rebels against God and his ways. That brokenness or twisted drive is sin, a force that pushes all of us toward destructive habits and compels all of us to do that which we hate.” This is why we can all say, “I am addicted to …” We all have or had something in our life that compelled us to partake, even though we knew it was wrong and would drive a wedge in our relationship with God. Sin can be our quicksand, or it can be our catapult. We will sink ever so slowly into its trap, that before we know it we’re up to our neck in sin. Or, we’re going to get launched with full force that the damage from it will be incomprehensible.
At one time in my life, I was addicted to pornography. For me, it started back in high school. I was given the opportunity to look at pornographic magazines. At that moment, I was catapulted into sexual sin that would last for years. There was no amount of magazines, videos, or websites that seemed to fulfill my lustful desire. I had to have more and more. In high school (prior to our family having internet access), I rode my bike to the local liquor stores to peruse the magazine rack. I would also find myself watching the old scrambled cable channels for the chance of seeing something. When the internet became a viable option, I fell even deeper and deeper into this sin. I let it consume me. It became all I thought about. It was all I wanted. I was truly enslaved to this habit that had destroyed my view of women, and more importantly, destroyed my relationship with God.
Pornography, sexual sin, or lust, whatever you want to call it has absolutely no place in life, and especially in the life of a follower of Christ. It is psychologically damaging and is not easily forgotten. This sin even crept its way in to my marriage. One of the most embarrassing and heart-breaking moments for me is when my wife found out what I had been looking at on the computer. The disappointment, shame, and brokenness that I caused my wife is something that I will never forget. It caused me so much pain to know how much I hurt my wife. I committed at that moment to never allow that sin to have any place in my life, ever again!
So how did I claim victory over this sin? First, I had to admit I had a deep, troubling problem with lust (even now, it’s very difficult to write about and expose this for all to see). I had to, once again, fall on my knees before the Lord and repent. I prayed for strength of heart and the will to overcome this sin. I love what a fellow brother in the Lord stated in regards to dealing with lust and sexual sin. “I realized that I don’t have to be this person anymore; I can choose to do what is right, and a Power lives in me that gives me the strength and wherewithal to resist the thing that holds me captive. I can choose to be a slave to what is right…to WHO is right!” (read Chris Bishop’s blog post entitled, “Slave“). I further committed to surround myself with God-fearing men who would keep me accountable. The best and most efficient way I’ve found to rid any sin from one’s life is to stop trying to stop sinning. That is simply a recipe for failure. We are sinful…period (Romans 3:23). The idea is to fill your life so much with God’s Word and other things honoring to Him, that there is no room for anything else! Don’t leave room in your heart and mind for sin (Psalm 119:11, 1 Thessalonians 4:1-4,7).
“Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness…But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~ Romans 6:16-18, 22-23 (ESV)
“The mark of the follower of Jesus, of one who lives Second, is not perfection (though that will come in the end); it is the fight, the struggle to turn the tides of our desires toward the Maker of our souls.” (Doug Bender)
All I want now, is more of Jesus! I strive to be addicted to His love and allow it to overflow my heart. By the mercies, abundant grace, and forgiveness of my Heavenly Father, I no longer am enslaved to that sin. He has set me free to live in righteousness. He is all I need, now and forever! And by the way, the strength and unity I now share with my wife is so amazing. She is my rock, my best friend, and by far, thee most beautiful thing I have ever seen!
I Am Addicted. I Am Second.
*Learn more about Living Second: I Am Second
*Doug Bender’s new book, “Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First“