We don’t have to struggle. We don’t have to fight our addiction. You know that- we’ve all made a decision at some point to rebel against our better judgement and give in to temptation. We know there are people out there who don’t fight. Men and women who watch porn, have sex and masturbate and don’t think twice about it. Those who embrace it.
You have to choose the struggle.
You have to choose the struggle.
I think the psalm of reflection you'll see on the right paints a perfect picture of this reality. Read it before continuing on here.
The psalmist trusts in the God of Israel, Yahweh (The God of Israel is now the God that Christians worship. Yahweh is one of His names). This is his opening line. However, it is a rapid dissent into spiritual doubt and uncertainty! The second verse encapsulates the eternal battle of faith and struggle- “But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”
Now, this website doesn’t believe in hating on those who have different beliefs and lifestyles. So don’t hear me saying that those who limitlessly and unashamedly enjoy sexual pleasures that Jesus limits to nil or marriage are wicked and condemned. The psalmist is speaking about faith and obedience to the God of Israel. The wicked and arrogant are the nations who rejected God and waged war against him and his people.
However, when I read this, it resonates with my soul so deeply! So many times, I have felt trapped in this position, with my feet slipping, losing my foothold on my sobriety and freedom- the lure of sexuality dragging me down. I say, “Yes! Of course I trust in God, he is good!" but the eyes of my heart begin to wander...
I see billboards, surf shops, advertisements, TV shows, movies and books that bid me indulge in objectification of bodies, that whisper sweet lies of satisfaction and nil consequence. Wandering out of my little “Christian bubble”, it is normal, heck; even expected, that men and women watch porn,masturbate and have sex with whomever they please with no strings attached. (There are lovers who flee pornography and indulgence, of course, who are not people of faith- check out Fapstronaughts for example!)
Verse four of the psalm cries “they have no struggles!” they say, “How would God know?” they are “always free of care!”
Oh, how true this can feel! Daily, we struggle against our sexual addiction. It can feel never-ending, crushing, it brings an ache to our hearts and bones. Do you feel jealously rising up within you when you see the carefree nature of those around you? when those billboards or magazines tempt you to accept porn as the 'norm'? Those who say "How would God know?!" make it look so appealing to give up the fight. “Well, they don’t care about watching porn! They’re sleeping around! They seem carefree. They’re good people still….”
The psalmist’s words echo my own on some days. “Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and washed my hands in innocence!” “All day long I have been afflicted! And every morning brings new punishments!” The temptation is punishing and chronic. I have wondered if it has been worth it to even try to seek purity of heart and mind. Can’t you just feel the anguish?!
It is here, where we risk losing our foothold completely! Where we may have to hand back our sobriety tokens, re-set the counter, re-install that accountability software again. Sister, it’s not worth it! You know this truth! This is why you are here in this place today. Because every time you have slipped, you have etched deeper into the stone of addiction, and it gets harder. You know it’s worth the fight. Do not be deceived by the giants of our culture and generation. They will come to ruin.
As the psalm comes to an end, the writer rounds off his reflection with praise to God and hope in his presence.“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.” What a beautiful hope! God, not sex, satisfies our souls! God is so much better than porn!
Practically, this piece encourages me to
· Know that Jesus has fulfilled the Old Testament. He has taken the punishment for the “wicked”,“unfaithful” and “arrogant”. All sin on Earth was dealt with at the cross, and at the tomb where he resurrected. Remember that since Jesus took on the weight of sin and shame, we can all be free from that judgement. We must acknowledge our sin and receive his forgiveness however. This is not automatically applied to the universe. Ask Him.
· Pray. Pray to Jesus, the Father, the Holy Spirit to give us strength to fight the addiction. To always give us a way out, and to help us understand that we no longer carry shame.
· Enter the sanctuary of God! To read his truth in the Bible, gather with others and speak truths over each other’s lives. To worship in his presence.
· To remember that the world makes porn look appetizing. But it’s not satisfying. Let us wait for a man who loves us enough to commit in marriage, and enjoy the God-given gift of sex then.
We chose the struggle. Own it. Fight for it. Decide to seek freedom, enter the presence of God and know he is holding your hand tight through the pain and heartbreak. Let Him be your refuge. And be free.
Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart!
…But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
They had no struggles;
Their bodies are healthy and strong.
They are free from common human burdens;
They are not plagued by human ills.
Therefore pride is their necklace;
They clothe themselves in violence.
From their callous hearts comes iniquity,
Their evil imaginations have no limits.
They scoff, and speak with malice,
With arrogance they lay claim to heaven,
And their tongues take possession of the earth.
Therefore their people turn to them
And drink up waters in abundance.
They say “How would God know? Does the Most High know anything?”
This I what the wicked are like- always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.
Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and washed my hands in innocence.
All day long I have been afflicted,
And every morning brings new punishments.
If I had spoken out like that, I would have betrayed your children.
When I tried to understand all this,
It troubled me deeply
Til I entered the sanctuary of God;
Then I understood their final destiny.
Surely you place them on slippery ground;
You cast them down to ruin.
How suddenly they are destroyed!
Completely swept away by terrors!
They are like a dream when one awakes; when you arise, Lord, you will despise them as fantasies.
When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered,
I was senseless and ignorant;
I was a brute beast before you.
Yet I am always with you;
You hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
And afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Those who are far from you will perish;
You destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the sovereign Lord my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds.