Every month at the Every Man’s Battle workshop someone will come up to me and say, “I’m so glad I attended this weekend”. My response to them is usually something like, “Great! Showing up is half the battle”! It is so true on so many fronts in our lives and on our personal recovery journeys.
It is true in a sense that you have to be present at the workshop to benefit from it. Literally thousands of men contact the ministry in search of hope and help in their struggle for sexual purity, yet only a fraction actually attend the workshop. The rest of those men usually flounder and stumble through their journey. They hope re-reading the book Every Man’s Battle, or some other book, or praying harder or reading more Scripture will solve the problem. But it rarely does. Showing up at the EMB workshop is half the battle. You won’t be equipped to fight the good fight if you don’t show up for basic training.
It is also true of our walk with God. Showing up is half the battle. Many of us, especially in our addictions/struggles, feel like we might as well give up on God, because it seems like He has given up on us. Maybe you’re like me and you’ve prayed a million times for God to take this issue away and it seems like He is silent. The thing you have to remember is that while God may be silent, He is not far away, and the next prayer might just be the one you see Him answer. That’s what happened to me. After having strong suicidal thoughts and thankfully not acting on them there came a day when God showed up. He answered- in an almost audible way- and everything changed from that moment on. Granted, it didn’t change the way I would have chosen (He led my wife to clues to bust me), but it changed. So my encouragement to you is to show up; stay in the Word, keep praying, keep pressing into Him.
Showing up is also a huge part of our recovery journey. What does it mean to show up on our journey? It means to consistently do the right things you already know to do. There are a number of tools that most men already understand how to use, they just don’t apply them. Simple things. Maybe your issue is internet porn and you know you should rearrange your office so your monitor is visible to passers-by. Maybe it is strip clubs and you know you should develop a habit of taking a different route home from work instead of driving by them. Maybe you are having an affair and you know you need to tell someone. Take the next step and do the right thing – now, while you’re having a moment of clarity.
Ultimately, we have to be willing to actively fight the battle rather than passively react to it. We have to show up.
If you haven’t already attended, I hope you’ll show up at the next EMB workshop.
Remember the story of the prophet Jonah? God called him to warn the people of Ninevah to repent or face destruction. But Jonah would’ve rather died than obey God’s command. Jonah didn’t want the Ninevites to repent and receive God’s forgiveness. Instead he wanted God to destroy them. So, instead of going to Ninevah, he boarded a ship headed in the opposite direction.
Do you remember what happened next? Jonah ended up in the belly of a great fish.
It’s difficult to begin the process of forgiveness once bitterness has set in. Only after God put Jonah in this dark place did Jonah surrender and beg God to preserve his life. Then God redirected Jonah’s course. Even then, Jonah wasn’t happy when the people of Ninevah responded to his message and repented.
Are you like Jonah, tempted to drag your feet when he calls you to do something? Maybe you even pout when life doesn’t go as you’d like it to. Are you possessed with the desire for revenge to the point of destroying your own life? Bitterness will destroy your peace, take away your joy, and impede your spiritual growth.
But God is patient with you, just as he was with Jonah. Instead of running from God and trying to avoid the pain of spiritual growth, you need to run to God, who is in control and who is trustworthy. He will walk with you all the way, step after painful step.