The real issue you've got...

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Anonymous asked: So, Unka Glen I’m a young lady 20 years of age. I’ve abstained from sex all my life. Since a young age I’ve been giving into sexual sin with myself. It’s been years since I’ve done that, but just recently I’ve been giving in to the temptations again. My problem is, I want to stop. It’s hard, and I’ve been praying, so what more can I do? [edited for length]

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Unka Glen answered: There is no technique to quitting. You just quit. The technique comes in STAYING quitted. And that may be at the heart of the problem here. That is, you may be thinking, if I do this activity, I am bad, if I stop doing it, I am good, and if I’m good, then what is there to think and pray and strategize about?

So let’s start with Matthew 25:14-30, where Jesus told a parable about a man going on a journey, who gives a lot of money to one servant, a bit of money to another, and a smaller amount to a third servant. When the man returned from his journey he “came and settled accounts with them”. In other words, he asked the servants one simple question:

What did you do with what I gave you?

Nobody asked how many sins the servants committed, after all, if they were working hard to make a big impact with the resources they were given, they were probably too busy to get into too much trouble. Indeed, when it comes to how we view sin, there are two types of Christian out there:

Type 1 believer: I will do as much good as I can do, and along the way, I will work to eliminate the wrongness that might hinder me from getting that good done.

Type 2 believer: I will do as little wrong as I can do, thus I will BE good, and along the way, I will do whatever good things I have the energy, attention, and focus to get done.

As Jesus goes on with the parable, the first two servants, like this type 1 believer, do amazing good things with what they were given, and the master says, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” and “Enter into the joy of your master!” The third servant buried what he was given. He didn’t accomplish anything particularly good, but he at least made sure he didn’t do anything wrong with it, just like that type two believer.

The master called this servant “lazy”, and “miserably evil”.

A lot of young Christians I talk to seem to think of themselves as basically squared away and relatively sin-free, and this porn/lust thing is just one awful and painful reminder that they occasionally still lose control and do bad things. After all, as you say, you’re 20, and you’ve abstained from sex all your life, and it’s been years since you gave in to this particular sin, so to your way of thinking, you ought to be able to beat this as well. 

But you aren’t basically squared away, nobody, no matter how convincing their act may be, is basically squared away. We’re all sinners, and we’re all a LONG way from perfect.

In fact, let me ask you this: is there a chance that all this focus on this one “taboo” issue, with all the worry and guilt and shame, and trying to deal with it, has actually stolen your attention away from something else, from some other good thing God wants you to be focused on doing?

Is there a chance that the real wrongness here is in the response as much as the activity itself? Is there a chance that this is all about a distraction, designed to steal your focus away from the lost and hurting people around you, and to steal your focus away from God’s great desire to comfort you and spend time with you?

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My life should work constantly against my own will and always with God’s.
—  A midnight thought.
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