Listen to the Podcast:
How fear can trigger lust and what to do about it, how true humility is woven into the recovery process (not false humility which focuses on the self), and our need for rest of soul is discussed, along with more on Christians and porn in the news.
This radio program is PG-13. Parents strongly cautioned – some material may be inappropriate for children under the age of 13.
Jesus’s mission was to comfort those who mourn, bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim liberty to captives, and open prison doors for those who are bound. For those who want more than status quo Christianity has to offer, Blazing Grace Radio begins now. And here is your host, Mike Genung.
MIKE GENUNG, HOST, BLAZING GRACE RADIO:
Hey, Mike Genung here, and welcome back to Blazing Grace Radio. Coming to you from Phoenix, Arizona, on a beautiful, sunny day. I saw a video recently that apparently had gotten millions of views and really made me just want to cry. In the video, there are a couple of women in a popular – well, it’s Bath and Body Works, I believe it was – a popular store, and they got in a fight throwing things and throwing punches. It got so bad that the store manager, who was a guy, had to intervene because when one of the female employees of the store came in to try and step in between the two women, she started throwing haymakers at the female clerk. It was a disaster and screaming and kicking them out of the store, and as I watched it, it just grieved me because it shows how far gone that we’ve gone as a culture and we’ve thrown everything out the window with just common respect.
There’s no more simple disagreements. Even in Christian circles. Somebody says something that somebody doesn’t agree with, and then it’s easy for people to get offended and just start throwing insults. You see this all over social media. It just made me want to break down and cry because we’ve lost so much and we’re in such a dark period right now.
I’m going to read several news articles that just came out recently. Here’s the first one: The longtime treasure of a Mount Pleasant Church was arrested this week after admitting to state troopers he stole at least $150,000 from Church coffers and spent a large portion of the money on a pornographic website, according to court records. That’s the thing about pornography: it always takes us where we never think we will go. I’m sure that man, when he got started into this, when he got hooked on porn, he didn’t think, “You know what, one day I’m going to get in so deep that I’m going to steal a six figure amount from a Church and then blow it all on porn and then have what I did exposed basically to the world”. These days, you can find anything on the Internet. So the shame for this guy must be horrible, and I’m sure he’s been evicted from his Church and he may be going to jail.
Here’s another one. Bail has been set at $250,000 for a 44 year-old man who was an assistant preacher at a Pakoda church and has been charged in county court with child pornography. He was also a teacher’s aide at an academy in another city. This is something… child pornography – and I’ve talked about before – is very dark. With pornography, you just don’t know what you’re going to get exposed to when you’re out there in those places and on those sites. Some of them, I mean, this is a demonic product… porn. So when the Enemy is going to have baits out there to take people into even darker places, I’m sure a guy didn’t just wake up one day and say, “I think I’m really going to get hooked in that stuff”… to that level to where he’s looking at children.
There’s another article that just came out: a Lancaster County youth pastor is charged with possession and distribution of child pornography. The pastor of Student Ministries at a Baptist church was arrested recently in a Pennsylvania court. We’re seeing this, too. I had to get involved with the FBI just several weeks ago where there was somebody who came to us and they made a disclosure. Of course, that’s a felony to be in possession of that kind of pornography. So I called the FBI myself and had to report it and leave it them with what they wanted to do. But this stuff is so insidious and dark.
The point here, why am I bringing this out? To keep our focus on the evil that has crept its way – maybe even flooded its way – into the Church. There are a lot of people in bondage. There are a lot of people who are crying out for help with this stuff. As we’ve talked about before, the surveys are showing that two thirds of Christian men and 30% of Christian women are viewing pornography, with women being the fastest-growing segment of those who are looking at it. There are people who are in your Church pews and mine who are in bondage to this stuff. Hopefully, they’ve not gone to that far with the illegal pornography. But some very well may have. Some have crossed gender lines who didn’t think they would have. Sometimes what happens when you get chemically addicted to something like this, and the brain wants more and bigger for the next hit, some guys who are looking at only – only, that’s not exactly a good word – but only pornography with women. Then they want more and bigger and they cross over and they start looking at pornography that has men in it. So this thing will destroy lives, and is destroying lives, and inside and out of the Church the world is just winking at it.
In another news article, Reddit CEO doubles down on allowing porn after… he was accused of allowing… basically child-level pornography, incest, types like that on their website. Then the article reads, “Although antiporn advocates have accused Reddit of normalizing and showing incest and non-consensually recorded images, the online platform CEO Steve Huffman says he will take the difficult decision of allowing pornography because sex is universal”. I guess I should make a correction here. It wasn’t child pornography, but it was incest and pornography nonetheless.
“Asked if hosting pornographic content and Reddit whatever change, the Reddit CEO responded, “Sex is universal. Unlike many topics on Reddit, sex is one of those topics that often not well served online or offline. So we’re just going to have a free-for-all and who knows who’s really filtering that stuff.” But Reddit, which is a massive site with all sorts of social forums, this is another big, massive trap. Going back to the idea that porn is now normalized, porn is now as American as apple pie. There’s nothing wrong with it in the eyes of the world. For those who say there’s something wrong with it, we’re infringing on their liberty or their First Amendment rights.
Speaking of which, another heartbreaking news article was that Larry Flint, the publisher of Hustler, passed away in his late seventies. Whenever I read an obituary, what my mind mainly goes to is: “Where is this guy spending eternity and where is he now?” Supposedly he turned to Christianity, I don’t know, 30 years ago, but then he stuck with what he was doing with Hustler. I cannot see the man’s heart, but the outward evidence is not good. He gave his life to the Lord based on his actions. If he’s in an eternity apart from God, he’s in a place of eternal torment and suffering, and there are no second chances. That’s just a horrible place to be in, a horrible thought.
There is so much at stake with this whole sexual realm. That’s what I’m getting at. It is capturing people. It is holding them in bondage. This is happening every single week. The articles I read you at the very beginning – those happen all the time. Those articles are the men who got arrested in churches. Those three who, for the most part, were in leadership positions, some with youth… that’s happening every single week. Men are getting arrested in America who are attending churches, and they’re in bondage. They probably got trapped to such an extent that they didn’t feel like they could reach out, and then they didn’t stop going until the bottom fell out of their life and then they were destroyed.
We have to understand that we cannot continue to hold back on this stuff, and we have to understand that the outside world now is so much influenced by the demonic realm with this stuff. It’s flooding into our country, and it’s flooded into the Church. So there has to be equipping. We have to open this issue up big time, full force, and then show people the way out.
So on that note, for the rest of this segment, what I’m going to do is get back into what some of those equipping pieces look like. About, I think, a month ago, I did some shows on Action Steps to Freedom. Action Steps is our men’s eight week course for guys. What it is, is usually the group sizes are four to six. We run these courses and they’re by phone, and we have people sign up from literally all over the world who participate. I think we just had a guy sign up recently who’s from Estonia, which is across the way from Finland in Europe, and we’ve had men participate from Australia, in Europe and Canada.
But what it is, is every week the men who participate are given four to five assignments. We pair them up into groups of two, and then they have to call their support and prayer partner once a day, every day,for the purpose of staying out of isolation because the stronghold of isolation has to be broken. You can’t just go to one support group a week and expect that to really take hold like it needs to. So this is for men who are really serious about change. This is for men who want to go all the way, and they want to be equipped on what it’s about to break free from porn addiction, sex addiction, adultery, sexting, or whatever they’re in bondage to.
The course lasts for eight weeks. They’re getting four to five assignments to work every week. Some of those assignments they work with the spouse, because it’s easy to go to a support group and maybe get some abstinence. But where the real hardcore test is how the man is treating his wife. So if he’s treating her with kindness, if he’s treating her with patience, if when she’s crying or expressing her anger or her fears, if he’s patiently listening to her instead of getting defensive, or trying to shut her down or say questions, or say things like “How much longer it’s going to take for you to get over this?”… When a man is doing when this man is treating his wife like that in love, that’s a real good outward sign that he’s changing, because the true change has to come from the heart. Truthfully, anybody can get a period of abstinence from “white knuckling” it. But then usually what happens? It’s somewhere along the line, if there hasn’t been true heart change, what will happen is the guy will end up falling, and maybe he’ll fall multiple times before he sees. I need more than just to not look at porn. I need to get to the root issues that are driving this stuff.
So the first four weeks of the course I talked about in previous shows, and there’s a lot in there about equipping you with the biblical tools and how to be an overcomer from this perspective, of what to do with lust’s temptations, how to draw closer to your relationship with the Lord. There are assignments. The very first week the man has to share his entire sexual history with both his accountability partner, who’s working the course with him, and his spouse. The key one is the spouse, because the marriage cannot begin to heal until everything is laid out on the table. So one mistake a lot of men make is that they’ll share a little piece of what they’ve done, and then wait two or three months, or maybe weeks, and share another little piece, and they drag it out months. Some guys even drag it out for years. All the while, it’s impossible for your wife to heal. It’s impossible for the marriage to heal because what you’re basically doing is just keeping salt in her wound. Then when you’re hiding that stuff continually, you’re still keeping yourself in isolation to an extent, and lying and hiding and deceiving all that has to be broken up.
But what I’m going to get into for the rest of the show is more of the second half of the course, the second weeks, five through eight, some of those assignments. One of those assignments has to do with humility. Humility can be easily understood. Humility is not doing a “Poor, poor pitiful me”, and “Look at how wretched I am”. There does have to be an acceptance of the fact that we are broken. I am broken, and I will live in my brokenness, because that’s the only way you can really come to rely on the power of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. If you don’t understand the fact that you’re broken, and as Oswald Chambers says, “We’re all fatally flawed”, then at some level, you’re going to be living out of the flesh. So there is a balance here that we want to understand. I’ve clarity and that we’re broken. But humility often plays on in actions. So it takes humility for a man to go to his wife and say, “I’m so sorry for the way I’ve treated you”. It takes humility for a man to go into a support group and say, “I screwed up last week, masturbating to pornography”. These are the kind of action steps to put self and put pride to death. And that is true humility. It refuses to exalt the self or to do things from distorted motives or to look good in front of other people.
Another thing I want to get into is fear. Fear can be a lust trigger. What do I mean by that? So let’s say you’re walking through your day and a lust thought enters your mind. Maybe it’s a picture of something you’ve seen before, but you’re not running after that thought and embracing it, and you’re not blowing it up in a sexual fantasy. It comes and it passes through your mind. But what – and this is part of the spiritual battle – what the Enemy does is he’ll come in and he’ll say, “Did you see that? You thought that that was you, you just stumbled into lust. You just sinned. You just fell into temptation”. Then if you don’t have clarity on what’s going on and what’s of you and what’s not… I see this all the time with guys where they’re just tormented because they think they’ve mentally fallen into temptation when they haven’t.
So these ** [engagements] **, you have to remember, go back to the truth. Were you running after the thoughts? Were you creating sexual fantasy? Were you expanding on them? If you were doing that, then, yeah, you got some issues with lust there. But if it was like a butterfly floating through your head and you didn’t go get a net and chase it, that’s not sin. That’s just either a random thought, maybe the Enemy threw that in there, or the way our brain chemistry works, you don’t know what’s going to come up. So we don’t go chasing after those thoughts, we let them go. We don’t try and suppress them; trying to suppress them makes them multiply. We just turn and connect.
As I’ve talked about before, and when I mentioned, fear can produce lust. Fear is like an open door or it’s like a grip that the Enemy can get. So once you start falling into fear, which you can call unrighteous or unjustified fear, the Enemy can then just start throwing all sorts of thoughts in your mind that you’ve fallen. “Look what you’ve done. You’ve gone this far. You might as well just give in”. So you have to understand on the truth of, “No, I did not give in. I did not want to give in. It was just a butterfly thought. I didn’t have any intention or want or desire to even go there. And I’m not going to fall into your trap of fear and condemnation again”. So you need to be aware and be discerning and remember to walk with God saying, “Okay, Lord, what are these thoughts? What’s going on here? Give me wisdom on what this is”, and don’t react and knee-jerk in fear just because the wrong type of thoughts go through your mind.
This applies not just to fear, but just about anything. I mean, you can apply this to pride. The Enemy can insert pride thoughts into your brain like, “Hey, look at how great I am”. And then now you’ve got a choice to make. Are you going to feed on that and say, “Yeah, I’m a superstar”, and then, “Woe is me” if I do that? Because once I do that, then I pretty much grieve the Holy Spirit. Or sometimes, the Enemy, will throw that pride in, and we just, “No, I am not great. God is the one who’s great. I am broken. I need him every moment. I would check that I will not fall for that garbage, because God is the one who’s great and he’s the only one who’s great”. So be aware of what kind of temptations or what kind of thoughts that you’re getting hit with, and be aware that not every single thought comes from you or from the intents of your heart.
Another issue that I keep seeing repeatedly over and over again is rest. I keep seeing that God’s people are just worn out, burned out, even to the point where their nervous systems are jacked up. Sometimes even the Church… we propagate this with the, “You need to get busy for God” message, and be out doing, doing, doing, doing. That’s been going on for millennia. Look at the story of Mary and Martha, where Martha and Mary were in their home and Martha is preparing dinner madly. Apparently she was running around a lot, spinning her wheels, and Martha complains to Jesus, because Mary’s just sitting there listening to the Lord, and she goes to Jesus, “God, don’t you care that Mary’s just listening to you, and she’s not helping me for the meal?”, and Jesus gives Martha a very kind and tender rebuke, that “Martha, Martha, you’re just too wound up about too many things. Mary’s got it right. She’s putting the relationship with me first”. And we’re finding that a lot of people do not know what rest is.
When I talk about rest, I’m not talking about taking a nap, and I’m surely not talking about taking a vacation, because half the time we come back from vacations, we’re more tired than we went. We really didn’t have rest of soul, and that’s what I’m referring to: rest of soul. Where you come to a place where you’ve set everything else aside, and you’re in silence with God, and “God, I just want to know you right now. I just want to rest with you. I want to enjoy your presence. Would you fill me with your Holy Spirit?” and you enjoy him and you enjoy his peace and his comfort, and you do that.
I do that once a week, at least maybe once or twice a week. I try to do that at least for an hour in the mornings, usually Saturday and Sunday, just having extended time of rest with him. Some of you need to learn how to say no and clear your schedule a little bit more. I went to the desert alone a couple of weeks ago because I was needing some rest with him alone. That time was so refreshing and recharged my batteries and He quieted my soul, and that’s where I experience that rest, that rest of soul.
We end up discipling a lot of men and women on how to find rest with the Lord. Part of that is surrender, letting him have his way in you, letting them teach you and ministering to you, walking at his pace, not striving, not trying to force life, rest. I know a lot of you need to hear that right now. It’s okay to rest. Our culture screams at us, “We got to keep busy, busy, busy” and keep checking your phone, checking your text, check your email and at night time after about 6:00, the best thing you can do is start shutting all that down and let yourself unwind.
So thank you for joining this week. It’s great to have you along with us and we’ll look forward to seeing you next week.
Blazing Grace is a non-profit, international Ministry for the sexually broken and the spouse. Please visit email@example.com for information on Mike Genung’s books, groups counseling or to have Mike speak at your organization. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our office in Chandler, Arizona at (719) 888-5144. Again, visit us at blazinggrace.org, email us at email@example.com, or call the office at (719) 888-5144.