Strive For Holiness and Deal with Your Reality

 In Daily Encouragement

One of the reasons it is so difficult to have a long and successful recovery is that we enter it hoping for perfection.  Sometimes, the pressure to be perfect and to not allow there to be “even a hint of sexual immorality” in our lives set us up for failure.  Where does that come from?

Paul does say in Ephesians 5:3 …

“But among you, there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.”

Peter, in his letter, does quote Leviticus 11:44 …

“I am the LORD your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.”

Holiness is always a good thing, and God wants us to experience purity because it would be good for us to live holy lives.  But does He demand holiness?  Are you kidding me?  He is the omniscient God who knows all things, and He knew every sin we would ever commit and choose us despite that.  He wants us to live holy lives, but He knows what a struggle that will be for us.

If you are married, there is another factor demanding perfection.  We have vowed that we would forsake all others and keep ourselves only for our loved one.  Really?  Do you believe that there has ever been a married man who has never entertained a lustful thought toward any other woman?  Never lusted after any other woman? 

So, can we set the idea of perfection off the table? And could we in our sexual brokenness be farther from that kind of reality when we look at our past?  Please grasp this truth …

Recovery is Making Progress Not Maintaining Perfection

Having said that, let’s zoom in a little closer because we have just declared that all things are not black and white in recovery.  There are some gray areas in this discussion. 

In my recovery, there were some absolutes on which the future of my marriage existed.  Absolutely no sexual contact with any other person and no contact with anyone I had been involved with.  If I were contacted by a woman with whom I committed adultery, I would immediately cut that contact off and tell my wife.  That happened about four times, and each time I did exactly what I was supposed to do.

In fact, to help my wife and help renew her trust, I ever switched phones with her for several days and never had a password on my phone or computer.  Then, I got a new cell phone number, and that was the end of that.

However, the battle comes down to the gray areas of sexual sin.  At what point does an observation become lust?  Is the first look free and the second look sin?  How do I deal with the things that pop up when I am watching TV or see by accident online?

That is what we will be dealing with this week.  The concept is not how do we maintain perfection … because I promise you that will not be your reality.  Set that as your goal and demand it of yourself and you will constantly be getting up and falling again.  Then the abstinence violation effect kicks in, and you give up.

Yes, our goal is holiness but our reality is that every day we need the Grace of God.  Let’s learn this week how to apply that Grace when we have slips and even falls so that we do not have a failure and can continue this journey of becoming more holy.

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