Self-Control and Your Sexual Thoughts ~ blog
After working with men who struggle with sexual brokenness for 10 years and having had my own addiction to sex, I know that many of us reach a point where even the slightest temptation seems to be able to lead us to another fall.
The first thing we all need to remember is that temptation is normal. It is going to happen, and it very well may happen every day or even multiple times a day. We see someone in public dressed in a sensual way, or someone on TV or social media and it is like striking a match to charcoal briquettes soaked in lighter fluid and there is a sudden whoosh and our desires are on fire.
When one has become addicted it is like they are always on the hunt. Always looking for the next cheap thrill. Tight fitting clothing, an exposed cleavage, or short skirt become the equivalent of Dr. Pavlov ringing the bell and his dogs began to salivate.
This reality for so many of us can have a serious negative effect on how we feel and if we are going to progress in our own recovery. Today I want to talk about how you can control your thoughts so that when you are confronted with a sexual image of any kind you can begin to learn how to develop self-control and not lose another battle with lust.
As I mentioned yesterday much of the time, we cannot help what we see, but we choose what we look at. Looking at a woman who is sexually attractive to us ignites our desires and those desires immediately begin to work on us … pulling us into a second or third look as we begin to undress them in our mind.
My question is does that have to be the case? Is this true for every person or is it a result of years or even decades of making that same choice over and over again. Do I really have the freedom to see or think something sexual but then deny it and cast it out of my thinking? Do we have a choice when we are being tempted?
Yes, of course, we do. I may not feel like we have a choice and that is directly linked to the reality that we have gone down this path so many times it feels like it is automatic. Notice what Paul tells us in Romans 6:11-14;
“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.”
The Holy Spirit is telling us through Paul that we have a choice of are we going to live our lives dead to sin and alive to God … or alive in sin and suffer the consequences?
In order for this to become a reality in your life you need to do what the verse tells us to do and what Paul also writes in Romans 12:1;
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”
This is where we all need to begin every day. When we offer our bodies to God as a living sacrifice, we are telling Him that we want Him to be in control today. We are to offer
“…every part of yourself…”
to God every day and that includes our minds.
Remember that recovery from sexual brokenness is a PROCESS and not a procedure. It is not something done quickly. We have trained our brains to go from 0 to 100 mph when it comes to sexual thoughts. This pattern has been repeated so many times in our lifetime that we have created a super-highway in our brains and it is going to take time to dismantle it and establish new and good habits when we are being tempted.
So, know this first and foremost … when you are being tempted …
YOU ALWAYS HAVE A CHOICE!!!
You can choose to look away. You can choose to change the channel or turn off the computer and put your phone in your pocket. You can get up off the couch and actually go and do something that has value for you. You can choose to make a good choice instead of another bad choice.
I heard from one of the younger men in our Online Support Teams one night that he was tempted to take out his smartphone and look at some porn, just to have some escape from the pressure he was feeling. But he knew if he took out his phone, he would look at porn.
However, he found himself taking out his phone and turned it on so that it would turn him on. But instead of going online to look at sexual images he went into his photos and looked at images of his wife and family. I think that was brilliant!!!
I am going to continue this tomorrow on our freedom to make good choices and how to develop good habits relative to our thoughts. We are going to learn about our brains “breaking system” and what to do if your brakes are shot.