Life Without Porn, Part 2


by Mike Genung

In my last post I said I’d write about the lessons God taught me during my four years in the wilderness.

Here are three major ones:

1. Obedience is a big deal to God.
It may even be one of the most important parts of the Christian life. Early 2007, when I started to burn out, I asked the Lord what I should do. His answer was to focus on writing, which meant to slow down and lighten my load. Instead of obeying, I hit the accelerator and did a conference in Colorado Springs that May (along with other ministry ventures along the way). Soon after that I began a fast downward spiral to a nervous breakdown.

If I’d have just done what God had told me the first time I would have probably saved myself and my family an immense amount of suffering. (As the father-husband goes, so goes the family). Instead, I let my pride drive me full-force into a brick wall.

As I’ve spent more time in God’s word I’ve noticed that there are times when obedience is tied into salvation. Look at these verses:

He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.
John 3:36

And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.
Acts 5:32

And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation.
Hebrews 5:9

In the past I’d always thought salvation was as simple as believe in Jesus, and bingo! You’re in. But verses like this give me pause that God might be after more than just mere belief.

So did the royal spanking I got for disobeying. If we’re serious about our relationship with the Lord, we have to obey Him.

2. We need the fear of the Lord.

When we fear God, obeying Him becomes a lot easier because we dare not risk the consequences, or the loss of blessing. I learned the hard way that when God says to do something, we need to take His word seriously:

But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.
Isaiah 66:2

The American church makes a big deal about the love and grace of God, which is a good thing, but the fear of the Lord can get left out because it’s not “positive and encouraging.” I have a lot more of the fear of the Lord today than I ever did. At the same time I know He’s shown me His love and kindness in wonderful ways that have sustained me and revolutionized my life.

Henry Blackaby wrote that “without the fear of the Lord there is no fear of sin.” A church that doesn’t have the fear of the Lord is one that won’t take the call to holiness seriously; sins like porn won’t be a big deal, after all, God forgives us for everything, right?  But, if our sins weren’t odious to God then Jesus didn’t need to be butchered for them.

We need a more balanced view of God, one that includes the fear of the Lord and His grace.

3. I didn’t know anything about humility.
During my four wilderness years when the Lord exposed the depths of my pride, I learned I that didn’t have a clue of what true humility was about. I thought it was keeping your mouth shut at the right time, being nice to people, and not bragging about yourself.

Those are just the externals. If you really want to know if you’re grasping humility, look at your heart. Mine was pitch black with pride, ambition, wanting to be the one with the answers—and getting the credit for it. When I did something for someone else, there was often at least a little expectation that they’d do something for me in return.

When God stripped me down to nothing, none of that mattered anymore. People, especially my family, became more important. I didn’t see myself as the one with the answers, in fact I didn’t care if people ever came to me for help again. Today it’s a blessing just to be able to point people to God and to be able to use the gifts He’s given me again. I know that God doesn’t need me in ministry, or to do good works for Him. There’s no such thing as an indispensable ministry, church, or individual. God wants my heart and He won’t compete with my pride.

True humility knows and sees that we’re created beings with selfish, sinful bents, and looking to exalt self is one of the stupidest things we can do. Knowing you’re a mess and quoting the theologically correct verse that “there are none righteous” are two different things. There are a lot of proud Christians out there who talk a good game but are miles away from true humility. True humility knows our limitations and the fear of the Lord. True humility seeks God for wisdom and then obeys when He gives the answer. True humility values other people and doesn’t give a rip whether we get a pat on the back. True humility doesn’t care if someone else gets the glory.

True humility is not beating yourself up. That’s just pride in reverse, trying to do God’s work of cleaning yourself up.

True humility sees all of life’s blessings as gifts from God, not something we did or earned because “we’re the chosen ones.”

And, true humility is content with just having a relationship with Jesus, and letting Him be glorified.

To be honest, I don’t understand how anyone can learn true humility without a lot of pain and suffering. Our flesh is too dark, evil, and cunning, and we like what it does for us.

Thank you Lord, for pain.

«
»

Leave a Comment