In this Issue:
** Do You Want to be Free?
** Wives, You Can Make a Difference
** Wives Support Group
** Newsletter Archives
** Mike Genung’s Books
** More Reading
** Final Words
Do You Want to Be Free?
By Mike Genung
A man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, “Do you wish to get well?” The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.”
At first glance, Jesus’ question to this man sounds crazy. After 38 years, who wouldn’t want to be healed? But notice that the man doesn’t answer Jesus with a resounding “Yes!”. He was so completely wrapped around his idea of what healing should look like and his inability to receive it that he doubted whether healing could, or would, ever come.
I can relate.
In my battle for freedom for sexual sin, I was just as confused. Lust had become so much a part of my life that I wondered what would take its place if it were gone. Would God show up? What could He do? Would I be emptier than before? At least, I reasoned in my state of insanity, lust gave me a little measure of comfort, even if it evaporated and triggered misery as soon as every act was over.
The truth is that I was as attached to lust as it was to me. It was both enemy and comfort; sickness and “healing.” It warped my beliefs, confused my walk with God, and seduced me into thinking that I needed it and that God might not be able to set me free.
If Jesus had asked me if I wanted to be set free I might have answered “Yes… well, sort of. If I was honest I might have said “What can you really do?”
My breakthrough to freedom didn’t start until I was 100% committed to releasing lust and all my messed up thinking. When a guy finally goes into no-compromise mode with sexual sin, he’s saying “Yes Jesus, I want to be healed! I don’t want this garbage anymore! Do whatever you need to do to heal me, and fill in the gaps of my life with Your Holy Spirit!”
It took me eight years to come to that point. Some men never make it that far. They waste their lives, hoping God will take lust away from them, or they assume they’ll get a burst of emotion and willpower that enables them to live free from sexual sin and solve all their problems. Not happening. We either want healing or we don’t. We’ll either release the sin that we’ve been holding onto all our lives, or keep holding on to it. God isn’t going to pry it from our hands.
I’ve had a similar struggle with bitterness, maybe even more so than lust. It’s easy to wrap ourselves around our anger, hold it, nurture it, and justify it. “Look what they did to me! I’m not going to forgive them until they come to me on all fours begging for it first!” The problem is that doesn’t always happen; we can continue to wrap ourselves around bitterness, pride, and anger, becoming miserable, ugly people in the process, or we can choose to release it whether the other person asks for forgiveness or not.
Here again, God isn’t going to take our grudges and resentment away from us, we have to let them go.
“Do you want to be free?” Jesus asks.
Do you really want to be free from sexual sin or bitterness, or are you just playing games with God, with every intent of holding on to your sickness?
I’m going to write something that sounds a little crazy, perhaps even unbelievable to those who’ve been in bondage for a while: You can have freedom if you want it. You can have freedom from lust or bitterness if you’re willing to let it go. If you’d have said this when I was knee-deep in sin some years ago, I would have doubted, perhaps even scoffed. I was too wrapped around and blinded by it to see the truth.
You can have freedom from sin, not because you have what it takes inside of you for final deliverance, but because God says He came to set captives free. He wants to deliver us from bondage. The question is not His willingness to heal, but if we really want to be healed, which requires a willingness to irrevocably part ways with the thing we’ve wrapped ourselves around.
The process doesn’t look the same for everyone. Jesus healed the man at the pool by telling him to stand up. Others He touched. One even got a mud bath in the eyes. If you’re looking for a one size fits all program, forget it. We don’t need God with a program, but we do if we realize we need Him to make the internal changes required for healing.
Sometimes we’re in so deep that we must start by asking for the resolve to release the thing we’ve wrapped ourselves around. That’s okay. Then comes prayer for the will to obey God by cutting the thing off and walking away from it. Walking away involves action steps, such as participation in accountability groups, dealing with the root issues that drive lust, learning to serve and value others more than ourselves, and forgiveness.
God doesn’t force healing on us; we have to be willing to surrender that which we’ve attached ourselves to and do what He says. The man at the pool wouldn’t have been healed if he hadn’t stood up when Christ told him to. Clarity and release comes after we take the steps of obedience, not before.
Wives, You Can Make a Difference
We receive emails from wives, many with the same theme: there’s no help available at their church or in the local community. Other women don’t talk about sexual sin or porn in marriage, and they feel alone.
I want to encourage those of you who are in a stable place to consider making yourself available. Go to the women’s ministry director of your church and offer to come alongside other women who are hurting. Talk to your pastor, tell him about the problem, and ask what the church can do to make a difference. Start asking God for divine appointments where He will bring other wives who need help to you. Then follow His leading and share your story where appropriate.
This isn’t for everyone; if you just found out about your husband’s issue with sexual sin now may not be the best time. But if God has done a work in your life, don’t stand on the sidelines. Getting in the game will give purpose to your pain and provide a source of joy.
You do not need to be a counselor to help others. In some ways you may be better qualified than a professional because you’ve lived through iit. All it takes is the willingness to listen (a lot), the transparency to share your story and what God has taught you, the wisdom to point them to Him, and the time to pray for and encourage them. God does the rest.
Just the fact that you can relate to what they’re going through and are willing to listen makes a difference.
Wives Prayer Group
For wives who are hurting from their husband’s porn addiction or adultery, we offer a weekly prayer group for support and encouragement. Women are encouraged to share what they’re going through and receive prayer for ongoing needs. The group is also open to women who are engaged and/or are considering marriage. Our ladies prayer group meets by conference call once a week. If you’d like to be a part, please reply to this newsletter and request more information.
You can read this and previous editions of the Blazing Grace Newsletter online at www.roadtograce.net:
November 2013: When God and His Word Are All You Have
October 2013: To Live the Christian Life to the Fullest Requires…
September 2013: God Shines Through the Cracks
August 2013: How God Brought New Life to My Marriage
July 2013: What Porn is Doing to Us
June 2013: Which One Will You Serve?
May 2013: What Defines You?
April 2013: 15 Principles for Freedom
March 2013: I Believe; Help My Unbelief!
February 2013: Adultery
January 2013: Speak, Lord, Your Servant is Listening
December 2012: Healing the Wounds of Rejection
November 2012: A Look at Grace
October 2012: When Someone Shares their Sin
September 2012: Willpower Doesn’t Work
August 2012: Look Who’s One of the Porn Industry’s Biggest Customers
July 2012: For Those Who are Control Freaks (and Don’t Want to Be)
June 2012: Blazing Grace on a Sunday Morning
Mike Genung’s Books
The Road to Grace; Finding True Freedom from the Bondage of Sexual Addiction is Mike Genung’s book on breaking free from sexual addiction.
Topics covered include:
* Biblical tools for overcoming sexual temptation.
* Healing from shame.
* How to stop a masturbation habit.
* Dealing with the core issues that drive sexual sin.
* Understanding and receiving the love of God in the heart.
* Healing for Wives
* How to restore a marriage that’s been broken by sexual sin and/or adultery.
The Road to Grace is used in support groups, and provides plenty of material for discussion.
100 Days on the Road to Grace; a Devotional for the Sexually Broken, is a new book that just came out last month.
For more information and to purchase, visit www.roadtograce.net
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.
Proverbs 3 5-8
Blazing Grace’s purpose is to minister to the sexually broken, encourage believers to draw closer to God, and encourage the church to effectively deal with the porn epidemic.
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May God’s grace abound to you.
All material copyright 2013 Mike Genung