Listen to the Podcast:
Mike gets into the intense spiritual battle we’re in, a recent survey on youth in the church, and the 5 Non-Negotiables for finding freedom from porn addiction.
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 broken hearted, 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. Glad to have you along. For those of you who might be listening in for the first time and wondering who is Blazing Grace? We are a Ministry to persons who struggle with porn addiction, sex addiction, adultery… and we put equal emphasis on the wife’s recovery. So we minister to men, women, teens, youth. We have people who come to us for help at every age, from age ten all the way up to age 80. So sex and porn addiction in the Church have reached every age group. So we help everyone. We do counseling for teens…
Usually what happens is a couple comes to us for help, and probably the average age of a couple coming to us for help is in their forties, fifties, sometimes sixties. They can get up there in their seventies, too, because normally what happens is a guy doesn’t tell his wife about his porn problem until he’s well into his marriage, even into his forties. Later their marriage blows up and then they start looking for help. Maybe he doesn’t want to get help for a while, and then the marriage gets worse. So then eventually they come to us, and then when we have marriages coming to us in crisis, basically – which I love, because I love being on the front lines and fighting for God’s people and seeing change and growth and restoration.
So one brief announcement. Here in Chandler, Arizona, we have a Men’s Group, a Blazing Grace Men’s Group, going. They meet Monday nights at 6:30. Gene and Bo lead that group, and they’ve been on the show several times, Bo was on it several weeks ago. This is a man’s group for men who want to recover from porn addiction, adultery, sex addiction. Now we have a new Wives’ Group, Blazing Grace Wives Group. It’s actually led by Jean’s wife at a separate location. This is for wives whose husbands struggle with porn addiction. They meet at a separate location, also Monday nights at 6:30. So if you’re interested in participating, getting help in one of those groups, then send us an email or contact us, go to blazinggrace.org and we’ll hook you up with them.
Also for those of you outside of Arizona – or outside of Phoenix, I should say – we have our phone groups, prayer groups – by phone, by Zoom – prayer groups for free. So feel free to participate, especially in the prayer groups, because every single believer should be participating in a prayer group these days, especially in the dark times that we’re in.
And wow, spiritual warfare. Being on a front-line Ministry like this, I get my share of spiritual warfare, and the last 24 hours have been up there. Last night – or yesterday – I was talking to a woman on the phone who I’ll be interviewing next week, and I started talking to her. A minute into the call all of a sudden the phones went down, called her back, phone disconnected again. Then I told her after the second time, “Wow, somebody really doesn’t want me or wants this phone call to happen”. I slept horrible last night. One of those nights you don’t sleep well and some praying off and on. And then this morning I go into the office and just like chaos. Not from our team in the office, but just from things going outside the office that was coming at us. So it was chaos and stress leading up to the moment that I left to drive here to the studio. So it’s game on.
It’s been game on for decades, actually, with the spiritual battle against the Church. And we are a Church at war. So the question always has to be, “Are we acting like a Church at war? Are we acting like a Church that is in a country that has lost significant ground and the Enemy is taking more ground day-by-day? Are we equipping people to be overcomers? Are we talking openly about the issues that people are struggling with?” And that’s one of the things we endeavor to do at this show, is open up wide the issues and the areas where people are struggling with, and in bondage to.
So today, I’ve already started to touch on spiritual warfare, and a big key to that is prayer. And I texted a buddy of mine and said, hey, “I’m taping today, would you pray for me?” And prayer is a big deal. But also knowing who you are in Christ. I am God’s Son, and so we are his beloved Sons and Daughters. You have to understand and believe in your identity in Christ. Prayer is big. Identity in Christ is big. And sometimes perseverance is a big deal. So some of these spiritual battles… aren’t always over in just a minute after you say a prayer. Sometimes they can go on hours, or even a day or so, and then just on and off. That’s because that can be because there’s something God wants to do. The Enemy sees what’s coming down the pike, and he wants to do everything he can to throw you off. So perseverance, sometimes you just got to stand there and let the storm blow by. You keep going. You keep fighting and you keep resisting. Submit to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Each of you who are a believer in Jesus Christ, you have the Holy Spirit of the living God in you. You have more power than you realize. Prayer is your most powerful weapon. Right there alongside that is the word of God, knowing the truth, knowing the truth of what he says in scripture is about you, and about the spiritual battle, and then what our role is to be as believers. It’s not to be comfortable Christians sitting on the sidelines, who go into Church Sunday morning, take in the show or the performance, and then go home, and then nothing changes, and we continue to lose ground. That is not equipping people and challenging people for the battle ahead.
So today I’ll be talking about three areas, three key areas that I believe that if we as a Church were to delve into, we would have an enormous impact.
The first one is spiritual warfare, like I just mentioned. I know that’s not a positive or encouraging topic, but believe me, your home is not safe from spiritual attack or the Enemy coming against your kids and flipping them, getting them exposed to pornography, or whatever it is. So you have to realize our homes are not spiritual safe zones all the time. They can be with prayer, and we pray a lot at home, but there’s still times when the Enemy gets in and he messes with and causes strife. We have to realize our homes, our churches and our families are in an intense spiritual battle.
So I’m talking about spiritual warfare, youth and sex. Those are the three areas we really need to be punching in on these days. Let me hit all three today. So I have in front of me a survey from the General Social Survey that was posted recently, actually in 2021. They have a survey of the religious affiliation of youth, 18-35 year olds – millenials. And in 1980, 80% identified as Christians, 18-35 year olds. Think about that. That’s a pretty high number. Fast forward to 2021, and the number dropped like a lead balloon to 48%. That’s a huge chunk gone of youth that no longer identify as Christians. At the same time, in 1988, those who had no affiliation with any kind of religion, they were at 7%. Today, the none’s are at 45%. So we are losing our youth, and I’ve had guests on who have spoken to that. They see that 80% of our youth are walking away from the Church by their early 20s for various reasons.
My question is, “Why aren’t we talking about this from the pulpit on Sunday morning?” We should be warning parents, “Hey, 80%! That means if you got four kids, like I do, you got a high probability that, unless significant things change, three of your kids might walk away from God by the time they’re in their early 20s!” Why aren’t we talking about this openly Sunday morning? Man, we should be, like, pulling out all stops, and we should be talking about this Sunday morning and saying, Parents, you cannot play games with your walk with God. Your kids are watching you. They’re watching your relationship with the Lord, your prayer life. And Dads, if you’re viewing pornography, which – stats show that two thirds of Christian men are viewing porn – that’s not exactly going to be a good example for youth either. They can smell a phony. Our kids are pretty sharp.
We have to start talking about this opening from the pulpit that we have lost. We are losing, and have lost, wide segments of our youth in the Church, and the video monitors, and the other things… We’re not equipping them and sticking into their lives in the areas they’re struggling with and getting wiped out with. So spiritual warfare is intense with teenagers. The Enemy is trying to take them out before they even hit their 20s. Suicide is the number two cause of death with teens today. The number one cause of death with our youth is accidental death, like a car accident or something like that. So where does suicide come from? That’s from losing hope that’s buying into a lie, that there is no hope. We’ve got to start fighting for our youth and quit hiding from this stuff.
I mean, yeah, okay, we’re in the middle of our Bible study, our verse five study of first Corinthians, blah, blah. That’s not that that’s a bad thing, but how much longer are we going to watch the youth exit out the back door while we do nothing? I’ve talked openly that we’ve been looking for a Church here locally, and I have not heard this mentioned from a single Church, from the pulpit, once. Not only in Arizona but also in Colorado where we lived. Why is it we’re not talking about the reality of what’s going on here and that we need to have some significant changes? Most importantly, we got to be on our knees praying, and I’m going to keep screaming from the rafters that we need to become houses of prayer.
Prayer is our most powerful weapon. The early Church began with seven days of prayer, and after seven days of prayer, Peter did his first message – which you can read in minutes – and 3000 people came to Christ. But our churches, most of them are not houses of prayer. I mean, I’m talking about like 95%. I can’t even find a Church that spends time in prayer here locally. That’s not the way it should be when we’re given the model of a Church that’s devoted to fellowship, prayer, and the Word. We do one out of three, we do the Word, and we do the worship band.
Prayer is critical right now. We need to be praying and tearing down the heavens for our youth, for those who are in bondage to sin. We’ve got to be equipping our youth in these areas. We’ve got to be speaking them to them openly about the sexual issues that many are getting in bondage to. I can say this because we’re having more and more teens coming to us for help who are addicted to pornography. When was the last time you had anybody from the pulpit talk about youth being addicted to porn? Let alone adults addicted to porn? Which… those numbers are up at the two thirds of men viewing porn numbers. But sexting is blowing up. And yes, Mom and Dad, that’s your sweet little Jimmy and your sweet little Karen. We got to start opening this stuff up. We got to stop backing down from it. We got to start talking openly that something is going wrong here, and we’re not ministering to people where they’re struggling.
So for the rest of this show, I’m talking about sex and pornography, as you’ve heard me, in the context of the Five Non-Negotiables that a man must do if he wants freedom from pornography. So there’s no negotiating with these things. If you’re in bondage to porn, you’ve got to do them. There’s a lot more to this than just, “Hey, show me not how to look at pictures”.
So first off, James 5:16, “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power, as it is working”. You must meet with another man or group for the purpose of accountability, support, encouragement and prayer once a week, every week, for the rest of your life. That doesn’t mean you have to go to a support group for the rest of your life, but isolation must be rooted out from your life. Most Christians – I’m talking 80% plus – are isolated, which is why there’s such an epidemic of pornography in the Church.
When COVID hit in 2020 and everybody was forced into isolation and lockdowns, our requests for help just shot right through the roof, which shows us the problems we have with dealing with being alone in silence and isolation, and what our true coping mechanisms are. You have to be connected with another brother once a week, and this goes just as much for women. Ladies, you got to be connected with another sister, too. We have to remove isolation from the Church. Acts 2:42, “They were devoted to fellowship”. We’re not devoted to fellowship… A performance-driven service is not enough. So what that means is we break people up into small groups of two or three. We have them share, we have them pray for each other, and you would make an enormous impact on believers today.
Next, the second of the Five Non-Negotiables. You must make and execute an action plan to remove all the stumbling blocks of temptation that are under your control. In Matthew 5 we’re taught,
“If your right hand caused you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better that you lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell”. Jesus is talking to everyone. He’s talking to believers. He’s talking to everyone. So you can’t just say, “Well, that’s just for non-believers”. No, he’s talking to everyone. Some people have this attitude like, “Well, God, would you take it away from me?” Meanwhile, guys are binging on their phone every day, or whatever it is, once a week… No, he puts the responsibility on cutting off the summing blocks in our hands. This is a principle that goes across the board.
Whether it’s struggling with porn, or lust, or masturbation, or pride, or arrogance, or overeating, or drugs, or alcohol, or whatever it is, we are responsible for cutting off the stumbling blocks of sin under our control.
So if you have Netflix or something at home and it’s a stumbling block, turn it off. Or Apple TV, or whatever it is. Put an app on your phone that has the function that will send an accountability report to your wife, or a buddy, or both. From where I sit, the porn-blocking feature is okay, but I have never heard of a guy who could not get around the porn-blocking feature when he wanted to. It’s like a challenge, and it really doesn’t take much. I’m not going to give you any hints here, so you must cut off the stumbling blocks under your control. No more playing games with sin. That doesn’t mean we don’t grapple with it. That doesn’t mean we’re going to live a perfect life. That’s not happening this side of eternity. But we have to start going after the areas that are taking us down.
Then, on a weekly or a bi-weekly basis, husbands: make and keep an appointment with your wife where she can ask you any questions she wants. This has several purposes. One, for accountability in the marriage, but also to rebuild trust, because trust is rebuilt by our actions. The big mistake a lot of guys make is they don’t want to tell their wives anything, and then she starts battling with fear and insecurity so that flares her up. So when you do this where you meet together once every one to two weeks, that resolves that issue, but also it relieves the pressure of her to want to keep asking, “Hey, how are you doing? How are you doing? How are you doing?”
So when you have a weekly or a bi-weekly appointment, you’re rebuilding trust in your marriage, but you’re also taking up humility because it takes humility to answer those questions. When she looks you in the eye and says, “Hey, how are you doing with porn and masturbation?” And you know you have to answer those questions. It will help you because the next time you’re tempted, you will think long and hard about, “Man, I’m going to have to tell her next week, I don’t really want to do that”. You see what I’m saying here? It’s going to make you think twice before you go jumping off the cliff. It rebuilds trust, which is a big deal. Trust is the cornerstone of every relationship. It is the cornerstone of marriage. If you don’t have trust, you don’t have a relationship. So this is a critical piece. When she asks those questions, do not get defensive, and whatever you do, do not lie, which is the Fourth Non-Negotiable, which is: all lying and hiding must stop.
So no matter what your wife asked you from this day forward, do not lie. If she looks at you and says, “Hey, did you masturbate yesterday?” and you did, do not lie. I’ve heard a lot of wives say that the lying hurts them more than what the husband did. A lot of guys are blind to this fact, but this goes back to trust being the cornerstone of marriage and of every relationship: do not lie. Own up to it. That way, then you can both move forward. But the thing is, our wives just look at us and they know when we’re lying. I mean, they got that 6th sense thing going.
Every once in a while my wife will look at me, “Are you okay?” and I’m having had a bad day or whatever. “No no no, I’m fine”. It’s not that I did porn or anything, but I just had a rough day. I didn’t want to talk about it. She gives me that look that looked like, “You’re full of it”. And I’m like, “All right, no, I’m not okay. I didn’t have the best day. I just don’t want to talk about it”. But when it comes to asking those questions about how you’re doing with lust, do not lie. You will keep your marriage broken and torn apart if you lie. That has to be removed; no matter what she asked, do not lie. Leviticus, 19:11. Simple. One of the Ten Commandments: do not lie.
And then the Fifth Non-Negotiable is: you must work to resolve the heart issues that are driving your sex addiction, or your porn addiction, or whatever it is. Because this is not as simple as having a little bit of accountability and going to a group. There are always core root issues from the heart that drive sexual sin and pornography, and what those are usually is lies. I don’t care who I’m working with – man, woman – after I spent time with them, there’s always a package of somewhere between eight and ten lies that get exposed that we ended up praying through breaking and renouncing. Those lies are what drive the sexual sin, and until those lies are broken, until that bondage is broken, then the chances are sky high that you will stay in bondage to this stuff.
A lot of guys, let’s face it, a lot of us came from fathers who were not emotionally engaged, or involved, or knew how to be. Most men grew up in homes – and I’m talking Christian homes, too – where dad was just checked out. He just did his job, did his thing, came home, went to bed, and that’s about all we got from them. In extreme cases, there was physical abuse or beatings. So you have to be willing to go there and face your heart, and face the heart wounds, and face the things that are taking you down. That’s where the healing comes from, and that’s where the light and the sunshine begins to shine in from the Holy spirit, the love, and the joy, and the peace come from, and the hope come from both for you and your wife.
So hey, if you’re hurting and you want help, don’t mess around. Contact us, participate in one of our groups. Eight week course for men, ten week course for wives. There’s my books and I want to challenge you, keep challenging you. Work with us and let’s set up a conference to make a difference. Thanks and we’ll see you next time.
Blazing Grace is a nonprofit international Ministry for the sexually broken and the spouse. Please visit us at blazinggrace.org 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.