Do You Need A New Brake Job in Your Brain? ~ blog
We have been talking about the value of self-control and how that seems to go out the window when we are tempted. When we see an image of a person who sexually excites us can we stop the well-established pattern we have burned into our brains of making that person an object of our lusts?
Or more simply put;
How do I stop lusting after so many people?
The issue has a lot to do with developing self-control. However, when we have developed a habit of lusting when we were about 12 years old, have practiced that for years if not decades and perhaps have become addicted to porn and sex is there any hope that this addictive behavior can be changed?
However, it is a very complicated process and depends on a number of factors. The question is not; “Do I have a porn problem?” You know you do and that is why you are reading this email. The real question is
“Why do I have a problem with lust and sexual sin
and what do I need to do to deal with it?”
In our 180 Recovery Program, we very carefully work through the biblical answers to this issue from a spiritual point of view. The Bible teaches us that we are in a battle against this fallen world, our sinful flesh, and demonic forces. We cover the solutions for those issues and can teach you how to deal with each one.
However, it is also a physiological issue … a physical addiction to the drugs our brains release when we are becoming sexually aroused. These drugs exist between our ears and when sensual images or ideas are brought into our brains by our sight of a sensual person, image, or thought … 5 chemicals begin to be released and we have become addicted to them … because they make us feel excited with a rush of testosterone and we greatly anticipate a sexual release that feels so very good.
This is where the ability to exercise self-control becomes extremely important. Are we going to rush into the candy store with the sign that says; “Come on in and everything is free!” Like we have done so many times before or are we going to exercise self-control and head in the other direction?
Here are a couple of things I know for certain.
This moment of temptation is something we really need to learn how to handle. I know the Bible tells us that God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can withstand and with that temptation He will provide a way of escape so that we can stand up under it.
I also know that the Bible tells me to flee youthful lusts and pursue righteousness in 2 Timothy 2:22;
“Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
You might be thinking that is impossible based on your long history of failures. However, I can tell you from my own experience that it is not only possible, but it can be achieved. The ability to exercise self-control, which is a fruit of the Spirit, can be developed and become a very important factor in so many areas of your life.
So, let me get a little scientific with you and let’s learn what those who study addictive behavior and the issue of self-control have learned and what they can teach us. Yes, it is in part a spiritual problem and God gives us spiritual solutions, but it is also a physiological problem and science can teach us what we need to physically do.
There is a part of our brain called the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (RVLPFC). This part of our brain is used in exercising self-control. There is another part of our brain called our amygdala where our instincts are stored. The desire for food and desires for sex are located there. When we are being tempted our amygdala lights up with desire and our RVLPFC takes a vacation.
Have you ever asked yourself after a fall; “Why did I do that?” Or, “What the hell was I thinking?” After you have gotten your fix and had an orgasm and the waves of pleasure pass, your frontal lobes reengage, and you cannot figure out why you would do something you have promised yourself you would not do.
Part of the problem is your brakes are shot. That part of your brain where you have the ability to reason and apply wisdom to life choices is not doing what it should be able to do. Sure, there are many areas where you still see yourself exercising self-control but when it comes to sexual temptation you seem to not have the ability to apply the brakes.
The good news is that this damage can be changed. We can develop the ability to say no to our lusts. We can experience the Holy Spirit giving us the ability to walk in the Spirit and not fulfill the lusts of the flesh … and there are things we can train ourselves to do in the moment of temptation that will begin to renew our brakes in this area.
More on this tomorrow … but for today just realize that this addictive behavior can be changed. You do not have to be a slave to your lusts and can begin to experience God’s power to help you live a more holy life. Start today by asking Him to help you and consider ending your isolation and joining one of our Online Support Teams where men are helping each other walk in purity.