In 1964, when I was 11, my mom had gone back to work and figured she did not have time to prepare my normal home-cooked breakfast before I headed off to school. American ingenuity saves the day with Carnation Instant Breakfast. Originally a packet of dry powder mixed with milk and that, we were told, would be a substitute for all the nutrition we would need for the morning…and probably twice the sugar.
Today the market is flooded with breakfast substitutes. Everything from drinks to breakfast bars, to nutritional bars, and breakfast squares. And I understand the convenience of it all and the value of saving time, but don’t you just want to sit down for some eggs, pancakes, bacon, and a cup of hot coffee or tea?
Yesterday we began discussing imagining our spiritual life here on earth as living in a home. When we became saved, we entered the front door and we have a home with multiple rooms. And one of the most important room is where Jesus dwells sitting on His throne of Grace. This is where we need to begin our day. This is the room where IT happens. IT being maintaining a strong and deepening relationship with Him.
Over the past 12 years in working with hundreds of men grow in their recovery I have learned we all want a spiritual instant breakfast. We have places to go and people to see and one of the easiest, yet most important event to skip is spending time with the Lord at the beginning and end of our day. Don’t roll your eyes…hear me out.
We all know that a deepening relationship with Jesus and being filled with and being transformed by His Spirit…putting on the full armor of God is essential…even vital for our recovery. However, it is so easy to skip that time and hitting the snooze button as our body cries out for another 5 minutes.
We have become addicted to one of the most addictive behaviors in the world. All we need is 5 minutes in the bathroom with our smartphone and we get the fix our body is craving and escape the stress that is on our mind. And thanks to the internet we have a limitless variety of things to watch and almost all of it is free of charge…but as we know it is not free.
I know you do not want to hear this…but you need to. Finding an accountability group that gives you support weekly is necessary but not enough. Having daily support is great if we would make the most of it and both of those are provided in our Online Support Teams. And yet even those are not enough.
We teach men the biblical truths we all need to practice…how to know your triggers, build guardrails to keep you safe. Plus, exactly what we need to learn about walking in purity as Christian men and women. These are all good and very helpful but also are not enough.
Porn and sex have such a strong pull on us after caving to this addiction for years…we need to move away from the pull of temptation and live close to the pull of the Spirit. We need to grow stronger in our relationship with the Lord of our Life and further away from our lusts.
So, I have some good news and bad news for you. The bad news is that as long as we are living in this body with our powerful flesh, live in a fallen world with porn almost immediately accessible and a virtual adult bookstore between our ears, and have to do battle not with flesh and blood but against demonic forces…we need to move as far away from this battlefield as we can get…while living as close to the Lord and to a community of others where we can be getting the help we need and be growing stronger in the Lord.
We need to stop feeding our lusts for sex and start deepening our love for Christ. Now listen to me carefully…the good news is that this can be done. It takes time and effort on your part but I am an example of what can be changed in the life of someone who does the spiritual work necessary…almost daily…and has seen the transformation of the Spirit helping me to put to death the deeds of the flesh and bearing the fruit of the Spirit.
The problem becomes when we are NOT seeing the change we want to see…quickly. We want a Christian Instant Breakfast we can chug down instead of learning how to spend quality time with our Lord. Jesus made it very clear in John 15…
“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing…”
Pretty simple words are they not? Sounds like an all-or-nothing deal. The word “remain” is the word for “abide” which is what every branch needs to be maintaining. A good example is a fish. A fish abides its life from being in the water…remaining in the water. Take it out and it will flop around on the ground until it dies.
We need to be abiding in Christ
and that does not happen with a Christian Instant Breakfast.
Just as there is no instant recovery from porn…unless God does that miracle in your life …which He is able to do…and if that prayer has gone unanswered does not mean God does not want us to become more holy. It just means that we are going to have to put the time and effort into growing our relationship with Christ. Abiding in Him by making sure we are meeting with Him in the Room Where IT happens. Where our knowledge grows deeper as well as our love for Him.
The resolution that you must grow in purity will be measured in the time you are investing in deepening your relationship with Christ and the strengthening of your bond in a relationship with other like-minded believers.
If you are not committed to doing the daily work…consistently…then do not expect to have the results your soul longs for…walking in freedom from sexual sin. I know that sounds harsh and you probably will keep looking for an Instant Breakfast…but there is no substitute for learning how to spend quality time with the Lord…and then doing it both in the morning and in the evening.
Beginning your day with Christ…and ending your day with Christ will keep you abiding in the Vine and as you do that…the fruit of abiding will begin to grow and will last and the freedom gained will far outweigh the garbage of sexual sin.