by Dave Brown
Our sexualized culture produces many landmines that can shatter our lives. In the 21st century, technology’s global influence is unparalleled. It is disturbing that while Christians are to be salt and light to a “lost and dying world,” it’s the world that is doing the influencing, and undergirding and empowering the world’s influence are the very forces of hell itself. There is an unholy array of sexual snares for any human being, believer or not. A snare in many cases becomes more than just a passing curiosity or shameful encounter with pornography or some other moral wrong; it becomes enslavement (II Peter 2:19). It becomes an addiction.
Thankfully, God is our “Mighty Fortress” and our Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer and King. As one line of Praise My Soul the King of Heaven says, “Father-like He tends and spares us, well our feeble frame He knows.” By His grace we can overcome these and other sinful patterns as we live lives of “repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). Another verse says that “they overcame him (the devil) by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives, even unto death” (Revelation 12:11). If you are not familiar with John Bunyan’s classic book Pilgrim’s Progress, it is highly recommended. Like Pilgrim, Faithful, and Hopeful, we too need the Lord’s shepherds to guide us. Their names were Knowledge, Experience, Watchful, and Sincere.
From a Christian perspective, overcoming addiction is largely about experiencing an authentic and deepening relationship with God Who through faith in Christ becomes our Heavenly Father (John 1:12, Colossians 2:6-7). After this, though there is a war with our flesh throughout life; the indwelling Holy Spirit enables the defeat of any bondage, sin, oppression, or idolatry as we trust, obey, pray, and persevere in humble fellowship (Hebrews 10:25) with others. The overthrow of addiction is also about facing truth in the “inward being” (Psalm 51:6), and healing pain or trauma from early abuse, deprivation, or neglect. This is often done in a support group as well as individual counseling with a pastor or therapist trained in sexual addiction. The fellowship, discipline, and care of the church are certainly a vital part of one’s healing and discipleship journey.
Again, restoration and “recovery” are not just “behavioral modifications,” though certain compulsive sexual behaviors must stop. It is heart-level transformation and renewing of the mind that is most essential. “If we walk in the light as He is in the light we have fellowship with God and one another, and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin” (I John 1:7). Indeed, in Him we have a hope that will not disappoint (Romans 5:5) as the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit.
Dave Brown serves as pureHOPE’s Director of Counseling and Support. He is a licensed social worker, and earned his M.Div. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and his MSW from Loyola University in Chicago. Dave can be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.