Was the Apostle Paul a Sex Addict? ~ blog
I will always remember the first time I read Romans 7. It was the summer of 1973. I was a new Christian and working construction for a home builder. His name was Jimmy O’Day and he had a great reputation as a builder. He and his crew of 3 others were all that we would call today rednecks. They were into Country Western music, short haircuts, motorcycles, and pick-up trucks.
Here I was a new Christian who was going to college, a waste of time in their minds, and I had long hair and drove a Volkswagen Beetle. To keep my hair out of my face I work a headband made out of a strip of an old towel. They call me Cochise. And I was the grunt on the job doing everything they did not want to do.
I would come home from work exhausted. I would eat dinner, go to bed and read my Bible until I fell asleep.
One night I was reading Romans 7 and it was one of those moments where the Bible seemed to be illuminated as I read verses 14-25. Here is a portion of that passage which seemed like it was completely directed at me because it was exactly what I was experiencing.
“…but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. … As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.”
That sounds like all of us, right??? We know that God wants us to abstain from sexual immorality. It is what our sinful nature wants us to do but God tells us to not involve ourselves in it because it is highly addictive and destructive.
When we sin sexually, we are hurting ourselves. When being guided by our flesh we are carnivores on the hunt for our next piece of meat. It is difficult to switch this off when we are out in public because we have trained our brain to be looking for someone or the parts of someone to look at and imagine what it would be like to have them sexually. It is all about me. It is pure selfishness and greed. It is the desire to consume instead of giving.
I did not understand what I was doing, and I imagine neither do you. We want to do good, but we end up doing what we hate. We do not do the good we want to do, but the evil we do not want to do – this we keep on doing. Can you relate to that or what … of course we all can?
So, what was the sin that Paul struggled with? The only sin he mentions in this passage is the sin of “coveting” in verse eight. He says that because one of God’s 10 commandments tells us “You shall not covet.” Coveting your neighbor’s house, wife, male servant or female servant. And he writes “…
“But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment,
produced in me every kind of coveting.”
“Every kind of coveting” I have to believe includes lusting after a man’s wife or his servants. Now please notice one thing about this passage in Romans 7. Some cannot imagine Paul struggling with lust, so they say that he is speaking about some theoretical person. But all through the passage, he says me and I clearly talking about himself in this battle. Some say that this was Paul before he became a Christian. And yet, he is speaking in the present tense through the entire passage.
Then he ends with these words;
“What a wretched man I am!”
This is the Apostle Paul right before he is going to write Romans 8, perhaps the greatest chapter in the Bible and he tells us that he is struggling as a wretched man!!!
Listen, my friends. Paul was a Christian man just as we are. Paul had a flesh, lived in a fallen world, and battled against demonic forces. He had the capacity to lust because he tells us twice in this passage;
“As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.” – verse 17
And Again …
“Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it,
but it is sin living in me that does it.” – verse 20
I will go into this further tomorrow, but I want you to realize these things about Paul from his own words. We truly are in Every Man’s Battle. His next words are giving thanks to God for God was delivering him from this sinful battle he was in … and so can we.
I know how disheartening it is when we fail over and over again. However, when we begin to continuously be being filled with and walking in the Holy Spirit we can be being transformed and no longer have to walk in the flesh.