The young man who rings the bell of the brothel is unconsciously looking for God
Sexual sobriety that focuses solely on the externals is short lived. I know because I spent years floundering in “be a good Christian mode” and focusing on accountability groups and programs, only to fall back into the same wretched sin pattern. I’ve also watched many men do the same. I’m convinced that anyone can break free from sexual sin temporarily. Long term is something else.
The great secret to breaking free from lust is to find what we were really after when we were running the rat cage wheel of sexual insanity. What we’re really starved for, is God.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah; I’ve heard it all before,” some say. “Read your Bible and pray every day; isn’t that what a good Christian’s supposed to do?” Finding God and being filled with His love is not the same as a morning ritual, Bible study, or talking to the Lord.
For years, my focus was on “doing what Christians are supposed to do;” Bible reading and prayer; going to church, and helping others. When I got into a recovery program and counseling, going to support groups, confessing my sins, making amends to those I’d hurt, and healing from past wounds were added to the mix. All good things, but there was one major element missing; no one told me that I was starved for God, and that once I discovered the incredible joy of knowing Him that lust would suddenly become not only worthless, but powerless in my life. Knowing God would provide me with the joy and Holy
Spirit generated fire power to break free from lust for the long term.
After years of failure and frustration, God start putting the idea in front of me that I need to seek Him. This meant dropping my ongoing list of “God please give me’s,” which included freedom from sexual sin, help with situations at work or home, changing my character flaws or those of others, and my needs and wants. It also meant setting aside anything that had to do with ministry, or “doing for God.” My sole focus would be on seeking God until He revealed Himself to me, no matter what or how long it took.
I had gone after women, money, success, sex, the approval of others and other things with gusto, but never God Himself. The Lord started showing me verses that confirmed He wanted me to seek Him:
‘You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
Sow with a view to righteousness, reap in accordance with kindness; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord until He comes to rain righteousness on you.
Up until then, my approach had been to seek God by doing things I thought would please Him; such as serving at the local rescue mission or getting involved in missions. Now I set it all aside and went hard after Him. My prayers went from “please do this for me” to “God, I want to know you; please reveal yourself to me! I’m not going to stop seeking you until I’ve found you!”
Suddenly I was no longer reading the Bible for knowledge or for answers, but to find God. For the first time in my life, Scripture came alive with a power like no other. I couldn’t wait to be with Him. I got excited because I had a sense that God would reveal Himself to me. I didn’t know how or when, but I knew I was on an adventure unlike any other.
Several weeks into my time of intense seeking, the Lord broke into an area of my heart that had been closed off. He revealed that I had bought into lies about who He was in my heart and had never received the truth that He loves me, scars and all. Up until that time I had been a Head Christian; I had plenty of theology packed in my mind, but there were lies in my heart that were blocking the flow of grace. I was empty.
In that moment when the Lord exposed the lies, a valve rotated within, and joy I’d never experienced before suddenly flooded my heart. After 36 years of shame and sin, the light of the truth had finally broken through.
The deep love, joy, and acceptance we’re parched for can only be found in God, not good works, success, money, and certainly not in sexual sin. If you want true, lasting freedom from sexual sin, set your list of requests, wants, and needs aside, and go after the Lord with everything you’ve got.
I think each church should have an annual “Seeking God Weekend” where we close the doors, and encourage all Christians to meet with God alone for 24 hours at a retreat with no TV, teaching, or other distractions.
Can you imagine a country filled with believers who are passionate about their relationship with the Lord above all else, and are submitted to Him for His purposes?
God could change the world through a church like that.
Photo credit: Marina Pissarova