Sometimes in life, we encounter a shift in our thinking and that shift helps us out immediately and effectively. For example, if I were to tell someone 50 years ago that the day would come when I could have access to almost all the information in the world on a device I could carry in my pocket they would have called me crazy.
However, not only that but I would be able to use the same device to talk to almost anyone else in the world with this device as well as literally see them in real-time…they would never be able to believe that. And yet that is exactly what I can do with my smartphone. Just yesterday I was sitting in my living room in Columbus Ohio and both seeing and talking with my son in Bogota, Columbia.
That is a paradigm shift. Learning something new that shifts the way you think about it. So, with that in mind…how do you think about your addiction to porn and sex? Here are some of the thoughts I used to have about it and myself.
• I am addicted to porn and will be an addict for the rest of my life.
• If anyone or everyone learns of my addiction my life as I know it will be over.
• I am one of only a few Christians who have become addicted to porn.
• I will have to fight this very difficult battle for the rest of my life, and it will not get better.
• The fact that I have become addicted to porn means my life is over.
• It is impossible for me to get better.
Those thoughts, I have discovered, almost all of them were lies. Sure, I had to battle with them on a moment-by-moment and day-by-day manner…but through community with other men and the transformative work of the Holy Spirit I have been and am being changed.
• I am not addicted to porn any longer. Tempted at times with sensual images but porn has become disgusting to me…and I have absolutely no desire to see any of it.
• Thousands of people know of my addiction, and it has opened a door through which I can minister to them.
• 100% of all Christian men must learn to deal with sexual temptation, however, 60% of them are addicted.
• I will not have to fight this battle for the rest of my life. I have learned from the Bible and my experience in community that freedom can be attained and maintained.
• My life did not end with my disclosure to my wife and God has used my battle with porn to teach me perseverance.
• I have become a much better man as the Spirit of God has been transforming me.
So, how can I help you experience a paradigm shift relative to the battle you are having with porn and your sexual brokenness? How about we try thinking a different way about ourselves and how God can use our sexual brokenness to change our lives.
One of the main passages that I have used to give me hope and to shift the way I was thinking about myself, my life, and my recovery is James 1:2-4…
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
The paradigm shift begins to happen when we look at the trial we are going through not as punishment for our sins…but as a test or a trial that God is using to test our faith…and which we are being told to consider it pure joy.
I imagine that almost all Christian men whose porn and sex addiction has been discovered are not able to think of it in that way. We are experiencing pain that sure feels like punishment. Punishment not only from God but from our friends, family, and loved ones. The last thing we want to consider is that this is something we can rejoice over. And stated that way we would be crazy to think in those terms.
However, that is not what the passage is telling us to do. There is no joy that comes from the painful consequences that sexual sin has brought into our lives. We have been damaging ourselves, our spouse, our friends, and family members…and may have lost our job or, as in my case, our career. Nobody should consider the damage of our sin as anything to consider it pure joy. That makes no sense at all…but that is not what the passage says.
What we should consider pure joy is that God will use these painful and devastating results of our sin…to test our faith. OK…that still does not sound right. So, we need to look at it this way…
When I can begin to give thanks to God for the trails I am currently in because God will use this testing of my faith to produce in me perseverance.
And do you know what perseverance does to a person? It makes them stronger. It gives them endurance. It strengthens their faith and gives them the power to handle the difficulties of life. And guess what happens to those who are able to consider these trials as an opportunity to grow stronger and therefore goes through them with the end result of perseverance?
“Let perseverance finish its work
so that you may be mature and complete,
not lacking anything.”
How does that sound??? Becoming mature…and complete…not lacking anything? That is the result everybody in the world wants to have and experience…but the only way for that to happen is by thanking God for the trial He is taking you through and letting these fires of purification do their work.
That my friend is a paradigm shift that will change your life. Stop looking at yourself as some poor pathetic loser who is so weak and unable to get freedom from your sexual addiction… and instead, begin to consider it your opportunity to by faith rejoice at the place God has you in your life and that He will use it to make you a better and stronger man who is becoming mature and complete, so you are not lacking anything.
Sounds impossible does it not? Well, I am here to tell you that it is not impossible. You just need to accept it by faith and change your weeping into rejoicing.