Encouragement From Guys In The Trenches

The Sex Spiral: Trigger 12 - Hopelessness Part 4

Over the past seven weeks we have learned that we really do have a choice when it comes to lust. We’ve learned that we really can…be not only forgiven, but also free from the sin of pornography. We have listened to a 13 week teaching series that I taught to a class here in Phoenix last fall. It’s called “The Sex Spiral: Forgiven and Free from pornography. The Sex Spiral is a set of awareness triggers -NOT steps. Let me explain the difference…

The steps in a twelve-step program are used as guiding principles that outline a course of action. Triggers inside the Sex Spiral on the other hand, these explain the location as to where you are right now in the habit, bondage or addiction to pornography. Triggers are immediate feedback, Steps on the other hand are long range goals that you wish to accomplish. Steps are similar to looking at the face on your watch so that you can tell the time, while Triggers are all the little gears and motors that you can’t see yet. Triggers allow us to take the watch apart to see how it operates. It answers the question, “Why?”

The bondage to pornography is a series of predictable habits that we have created for ourselves. The bad news is that we don’t realize it, the good news is that as you listen, review and start applying this material to your own lives…you (By God’s grace) will break free from the bondage of porn. Jesus Christ did not die for your sin and rise from the dead for your to remain an addicted Christian! When we know where we are, then we can become less emotional and make better decisions that are based in reality and not fantasy. When we realize where we are, then we can make decisions to exit this road to nowhere and make a turn that leads to hope.

Today, we’re going to hear feedback from the men who took this class. We have a lot to learn from these guys…men who are in the very trenches of their own Sex Spiral. Men from all ages, and all backgrounds. Men who are single, married, divorced and who are on the verge of divorce. Men who have been in bondage to pornography for decades, men who have had affairs along with every other sexual sin you can think of. Men who own local businesses, who deliver mail, who do your taxes. Men who protect your community and preach at your Churches. That’s right. Christian men who love the Lord and struggle with the sin of lust.

Everyone is certainly at different stages on this journey toward recovery and purity. And there is a delicate dance between truth and grace when it comes to dealing with people in your recovery groups. That’s why this Sex Spiral material is so critical to understand. My suggestion is to use this worksheet as a timeline for the last time you sinned. As you think and review about what happened – and how you gave into your lust….you’ll see the different triggers on the worksheet and all you have to do is literally write one or two keywords down at each trigger. THEN, take this worksheet and go over exactly what happened with a trusted friend or group partner. When we continue to do this, we’ll start to see patterns…and when you see patterns then you’re able to concisely and willfully make changes when temptation arises.

How Porn Almost Killed Me

The Sex Spiral: Trigger 12: Hopelessness - Part One

Back on January 2, we started this teaching series called the Sex Spiral: Forgiven and Free From Pornography. It’s a series that I taught to a men’s group here in Phoenix last fall. The Sex Spiral is a set of awareness triggers that explain the location as to where you are in the habit, bondage or addiction to pornography.

Make no doubt about it, pornography is a series of predictable habits that we have created for ourselves. The bad news is that we don’t realize it, the good news is that as you listen, review and start applying this material to your own lives….you (By God’s grace) will break free from the bondage of porn. Jesus Christ did not die for your sin and rise from the dead for your to remain an addicted Christian!

Today we are at the last trigger inside the Sex Spiral. It’s called Hopelessness. Obviously, it’s a horrible place to be, and I pray that you never have to go there. Unfortunately, I did and today you’ll hear part of my personal story. A story of how the bondage to pornography almost literally killed me.

There is power in stories, and that’s why I’m sharing mine with you. I pray that you learn a lot from it, and that you don’t choose to make the same mistakes that I did.

Our guilt without a solution leads to hopelessness. The choice to not trust leads to hopelessness. Man, this is is so big! Something must be done with our guilt and shame. I can either choose to trust in myself and my own abilities or I can trust in God.

If I choose to continue trusting in me, I will eventually lose hope. If there is no solution to my guilt, we end up just trading one addiction for another. The ironic thing here in doing so, is that we actually believe that we’re getting better because we’re moving away from the original addiction, but were not. The reason that we’re not is because we haven’t found THE solution that’s found in Jesus Christ.

Now I’m not talking about salvation – the accepting of Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. I’m talking about being free from the bondage and being free in Christ.

Galatians 5:1It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.

Are you free in Christ? Are you free enough to give your phone, email account and browsing history to your spouse if your married or a close friend? Or is there something that they would find that would cause great shame in your life.

It doesn’t have to be that way. It just doesn’t. You can choose to protect yourself and your family from any more shame.

How Our Past Controls Our Future

The Sex Spiral: Trigger 11 - Anger: Part Four

Today we are going to hear the last teaching message on the subject of anger, and we’re going to touch on something called unresolved anger.

It’s exactly what it sounds like.  This type of anger has to do with something that is unresolved in our life.  Maybe there’s a situation that is unsettled. Maybe there’s something or someone in your life that troubles you and unnerves you.  Just the the thought of it scares, irritates and ultimately controls you with anger. These are all signs of unresolved anger.

This podcast is part four of four and comes from a teaching series titled The Sex Spiral: Forgiven and Free From Pornography. For those of you who are new to the podcast, The Sex Spiral is a set of awareness triggers that explain the location as to where you are in the habit, bondage or addiction to pornography.  Make no doubt about it, pornography is a series of predictable habits that we have created for ourselves.  The bad news is that we don’t realize it, the good news is that as you listen, review and start applying this material to your own lives….you (By God’s grace) will break free from the bondage of porn.  Jesus Christ did not die for your sin and rise from the dead for your to remain an addicted Christian!

In today’s podcast we’ll discuss.

  1. How righteous anger is a defense for God and others.
  2. How unrighteous anger stems from someone or something is in the way of my unreached goal or plan.
  3. How we must acknowledge and understand that there is a difference between being angry and unresolved anger.

How exactly do we stop being angry?  Well the first thing is to determine what you’re angry about.  Is this righteous or unrighteous anger?  In other words, is this something that Jesus Himself would be angry about?  Or is this something that only involves you?

Secondly, we must identify the cause of the anger.  Am I angry out of Hurt, Injustice, Fear, or Frustration.

Once I identify the type and cause of my anger then I can start to get my emotions in check.  This is easier said then done I know, and if you need to count down from ten, take a few deep breaths, maybe walk around the block….do whatever you need to do so that you don’t lose control.

We talk a lot about being aware in the Sex Spiral.  Are you aware of your emotions, your tone, your words?  Most of us are not.  But once you start becoming aware, then once again you can – by God’s grace – begin to change these sinful behaviors.

Blaming God

(For My Desire To Look At Pornography)

Think about this…we blame the very people we say we love. These are the people that we are willing to give our lives for and yet we continually blame them for our behavior.

Yesterday I mentioned how we blame God for things that happen in our lives – especially when it comes to habitual sin like pornography. We say things like,

Well, if God really loved me, He wouldn’t let me be tempted. He would take all these temptations and all this sin from me, but since He doesn’t all my problems are really His fault because He refuses to help me.

Wow, sound familiar? Kind of sounds like what happened with Adam, Eve and Satan in the Garden of Eden in Genesis Chapter 3, doesn’t it? We haven’t come very far since the beginning of humanity have we?

In today’s podcast we’ll discuss:

  1. How blame is the precursor to anger.
  2. How blame effected Moses and turned him passive aggressive towards the Israelites.
  3. An interesting insight as to why Moses was not able to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land.

It’s Not My Fault!

Blame is this idea that I’m going to hold you responsible… usually for something that I did. It’s rarely a good thing when this happens, correct? Think about it, what happens when I blame you for a certain behavior?

Basically, I don’t want to take responsibility for it. I don’t want to admit that I’ve done something wrong, that I’ve made a mistake or that I’ve done something immoral. So the easy thing to do is for me to deflect all wrong doing to someone else. Usually someone that I love and care for deeply. Remember, the conversation between God, Adam, Eve and Satan in Genesis 3? It’s called The Fall. Yeah, that didn’t go so well did it? We’ll, we are going to learn from them along with some other folks – what they did right, what they did wrong, and most importantly…how we can apply those experiences to our lives personally.

In today’s podcast we’ll discuss:

  1. How someone will always be blamed as you move through the trigger of Justification.
  2. How someone is going to be the victim of my sin without exception.
  3. How when you commit a moral crime – the law demands justice.

My Reasons For Blaming You

Have you ever listed the actual reasons that you blame someone else for your porn use?

Have you ever considered that blaming yourself is a from of blame in itself? It’s an interesting exercise (quite absurd really) because when we do this, we start to realize the lengths that we go to – the hoops that we are willing to jump through – to avoid responsibility. It’s crazy isn’t it? How much harder we’ll work to avoid the truth about ourselves rather than taking a step forward and coming clean.

In today’s podcast we’ll discuss:

  1. The choices that we have when it comes to blame.
  2. How blaming yourself is still a way to avoid responsibility.
  3. The difference between repenting from the process of sin and apologizing for the act.

Why Words Matter

There is life and death in our tongues. Words matter.

Today we finish our conversation on what’s called Trigger #9 Justification. This is part three of three and comes from the larger teaching series titled “The Sex Spiral: Forgiven and Free from Pornography.”

In today’s podcast we’ll discuss.

  1. How the tongue is never fully tamed.
  2. How blessings and cursing come from the same mouth
  3. The seriousness of using God’s Word out of context so that you can continue in our sin.

Why Do We Always Have An Excuse?

Have you ever noticed that when we deal with the subject of pornography, there always seems to be an excuse?

If you are the spouse of someone entangled with porn you know exactly what I’m talking about. He always has an answer doesn’t he? And if you are in recovery from porn, today’s podcast will continue to show you the great lengths we as addicts will go to cover up our sin.

In today’s podcast we’ll discuss:

  1. The difference between justification and rationalization.
  2. The three things we do when we justify our behavior.
  3. How we can actually choose to stop justifying our behavior.

Lessons Learned From Bill Clinton & Monica Lewinsky

The Sex Spiral Series: Trigger 9 - Justification Part 1

I want to say one thing to the American people, I want you to listen to me, I’m going to say this again.  I did not have sexual relations with that woman – Miss. Lewinsky.

Bill Clinton Monica Lewinsky

Do you remember the drama that unfolded during President Clinton’s scandal with white house intern Monica Lewinsky? I’m guessing you do if you’re over the age of 40. And even if you don’t, we are going to learn from the drama of that historic timeframe in Bill Clinton’s presidency.

Today we continue our teaching series titled “The Sex Spiral: Forgiven and Free from Pornography”, and we are going to focus on the excuses that we give to ourselves and to others. In this trigger and stage, we justify what we just did. In other words we try to convince other people how acting out in sin – looking at pornography – is a good idea.

I’m praying for those of us who have been stuck in Sex Spiral that we begin to see how ridiculous our excuses really are.  For us to realize that we are so isolated and so alone when we think this stuff up, that we actually talk ourselves into believing these lies.

If you’ve been stuck in the spiral for some time, maybe you’re beginning to realize that no buys it anymore.  After time, not even you will believe it.  Maybe your a spouse who thinks that you are losing your mind with the excuses and all the things that don’t make sense.  You’re not losing your mind – you have no idea how many wives tell me that – the reality is that your husband can’t keep his story straight so he continues to make it up as he goes, blaming you all the way through it.  In fact, it’s really scary how good he is at it.  But it won’t last long.  His foundation is built on shifting sand and his world will come crumbling down around him.

In fact, let me recommend a book for all of you on the other side of sexual sin or any kind of addiction.  It’s called “Smoke & Mirrors: The Magical World of Chemical Dependency” by Dorothy Marie England.  It will show you all the games that we as addicts play.

And we play games because we think we’re in control, but the reality is that we’re just isolated and alone.  Did you know that it only takes one Godly friend to change your life.  Now, notice I said “Godly” friend….not some knucklehead that encourages you to keep doing what you’re doing.  Just one “Godly” man if you are a man and a Godly woman if you are woman.  Don’t fool yourself into thinking it can work the other way.

Proverbs 13:20 – Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.

Proverbs 17:17 – A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Do you have a friend that will speak truth in love when you get all sideways?  Do you have someone who will love you that much, to get in your face and call you out?  If you don’t, I want to encourage you to go out of your way to be a friend. Most of us don’t because we don’t know how to be a friend to someone else. Porn makes us anti social.

A key way to start new friendships is to start serving at your Church.  Get involved and watch what God does.  Simply ask the pastor what he needs help with and do it.  Something as simple as being a greeter and handing out bulletins will work miracles in your life.

To download the worksheet that goes with this lesson click the button below.

Moving Toward Restoration

The Sex Spiral Series: Trigger 8 - Relational Withdraw Part 3

Today we wrap our series on relational withdraw. This is podcast 3 of 3, and we are going to touch on something that I consider a life changing truth today .

In today’s podcast we’ll discuss.

  1. How false repentance produces a false hope of change.
  2. How true repentance is facing those who have been affected by my sin and accepting full responsibility for the upcoming consequences.
  3. How compulsive and unrepentant people say they’re sorry.

To download the worksheet that goes with this lesson click the button below.