God probably won’t deliver you from sexual sin.

At least, not the way we traditionally think of deliverance. I’ve talked to literally thousands of men about this issue and have only heard 2 people say they talked to 2 people who have been delivered from sexual sin. And I don’t know if I believe them. I think God does deliver people from sexual addiction; however, I don’t believe He does it at a single point in time. Rather, it seems like God delivers men from sexual addiction by means of a process that takes a substantial amount of time.

A lot of us want deliverance on the spot. We think if God is to deliver us from sexual sin then we will never have another lustful thought and never again be tempted to act out sexually. That’s false. Temptation is and always will be real to us. And the likelihood that we’ll be tempted sexually is very high. Not only because Satan knows there is a chink in our armor, but also because we’ve trained our brains to sexualize emotion and to skew what sexual intimacy is about. We’ve taught ourselves how to use our sexuality to cope with life.

We have to work our recovery like it depends on us and trust that it depends on God. We can hope for miraculous deliverance but we have to work diligently as if it were never going to happen. Almost every time I talk to someone who has slipped after an extended period of sobriety a few things become evident. 1 – they’ve dropped regular accountability & community, 2 – they’ve stopped being intentional about dealing with their emotions and needs, and 3 – they have become loose with managing their boundaries and triggers.

I encourage you to be proactive and intentional about working your recovery plan. Don’t wait for God to deliver you at some moment in time. He in fact may be delivering you over a period of time via your recovery journey. Remember, when we boil this whole thing down we’re really on a journey of becoming more like Christ. That doesn’t happen in an instant.

13 thoughts on “Deliverance

  1. God can instantly deliver anyone from anything instantly
    I do agree he usually works with us over time to help us
    Change . God knows us better than we know ourselves,
    Paul got knocked on his butt on the road to Damascus.
    God saved Paul a little different than most, but He did!
    Be bold and ask God to fill you with his Spirit ,then thank
    Him. God just might surprise you

  2. Hi Jason,
    Thank you for the article. I have been in recovery since I rededicated my life to Christ in 1982. Most of that time was spent floundering around on my own trying to let my relationship with Christ be my only source of help (without any help from a support group or even any one person I felt I could trust). In 1988 I hit a low point in my life, I was very discouraged and wanted answers. I called a radio call in ministry and talked to one of their counselors and for the first time actually admitted to someone my struggle. I wish I could say that I had a major victory that day, but that is not the case. I still didn’t have a support group or accountability partner. I couldn’t afford a counselor and couldn’t afford to go to a support group out of town and didn’t know where or how to find one even if I did. I finally feel just now that I have found a support group in a couple of other men in the Celebrate Recovery 12 step group we just started. I started having my best victory about 7 years ago when I came to our current church. But I had a momentary slip about 5 or 6 months ago. I still struggle with fantasizing and masturbation though. My wife has stuck with me through all this time. We were married in 1984. Almost 27 years now. Our relationship is pretty good, but I know it could be better. I am considering going to the next every man’s battleworkshop. I really want to take my recovery to the next level. My wife and I started our Celebrate Recovery 2 years ago and I know I need to take it to the next level. Mostly for our marriage, but also for our CR people and for my relationship with our Lord. I don’t want to go and see him without knowing that I can stand before him and know that I did EVERYTHING I could to become and do everything that he wants for me to become and do. I appreciate your comments about being proactive and intentional in our recoveries. And you are absolutely right about how we end up slipping. That is exactly right about how we slip. Except that I never really had regular accountability and support to begin with. I did have some help from a christian counselor with dealing with my emotional needs. And that was huge for me. But I want to take it to the highest level possible. I just signed up for the newsletter and your article was the first one sent to me and it was very encouraging and challenging and inspiring. I am almost positive now that I am going to the May 18th workshop in Seattle. I am pretty sure that that is what God wants me to do. It has been pretty frustrating since starting Celebrate Recovery at our church because I haven’t felt I was able to be totally and completely honest with anyone about where I am in my recovery. But last week, we had a new guy come to CR and he told me of his struggle. He came to our step study this last tuesday (we have one men’s group) and he and one other man in our group and I immediately connected. Mostly I have felt like I couldn’t be totally honest in our groups because I am the ministry leader. But I am realizing that I need that more than anything else. We only have two groups in our CR. A men’s and a women’s group. We don’t have any issue specific groups yet. I am praying for more of these, especially an SA group. I am very encouraged we will be able to get one going soon with the addition of this new man. He has already signed up for the Seattle workshop and now myself and the other man are seriously considering it also. I believe this will be a major step for us all and it will equip us to take our recoveries to the next level and also help us to help each other and many others down the road.

  3. Sadly, the only thing our pastors know to tell our youth/adults struggling with pornography is that if you read your Bible and pray more then God will deliver you. A local mega-church pastor said that this works 1% of the time of the men he councils.

    Changing habits is hard work. God honors the timeless priniciple which he established of sowing & reaping. “What a man sows in the mind he shall reap in habit”

    Reading the Bible and praying are two vital tools(of many) that can be utilized in habit change. I recommend them as well as some additional tools.

    Keep in mind that each person has a unique addiction which requires a unique set of tools. Some tools will be more effective depending on the individual.

  4. Dear Jason,

    Sometimes when I listen to the radio show New Life on 9.70 in Atlanta I feel that married men are being vilified. Yes as men we are responsible for our sexual behavior however at the same time 1 Cor 7-1-40 specifically addresses how both spouses are to act in marriage. And how one can effect the other. For instance my wife completely shuts me out sexually. We’ve been married for 16 years and the sex has dwindled down to maybe once every 60 days.

    I treat her well and I stay in shape. I’m always complimenting her and she says that the lack of sex has nothing to do with me. That’s no consolation when you’re burning in passion while “being married.” We’ve had several talks and I have asked her many times to go see someone. That has not helped. ( By the way we are both Christians)

    My question to you is what is a married man suppose to do with his passion in this situation? How is he suppose to get a release? Sex has so many benefits within marriage but once again what is a man suppose to do if his “only” wife doesn’t engage with him? Not that an affair or pornography is the answer however I don’t see how “Every man’s Battle” can help a wife want and desire her husband.

    Another question, why did God allow men in the bible to have several wives? Were king David and Solomon “sex addicts?” Do we dare go there especially after God called David a man after His own heart? God never condemned polygamy. God punished David for taking another man’s wife and then killing him. God did say that He hates divorce but never said that about a man having more than one wife. “Why did God contribute to David’s sexual addiction if that’s what it was?”

    Now I’m not saying that I believe polygamy is for now however when I’m lonely in the bed with a cold wife I wish that I had another sexual outlet like some of the men in the bible. I’ve never been to Every man’s battle but I’m pretty confident that the program cannot show a young married man how to live in a marriage without sex.

    Another thing, what about married women reading romantic novels? How’s that different from a man viewing pornography? Many married women have replaced their husband’s with a good novel filled with erotic quotes.

    In closing my point is it’s not just the men.


    • Eric,

      Yes, 1 Cor 7-1-40 addressees how both spouses are to act in marriage…so does Ephesians 5:22-33, as well as 1 Peter 3:1-7. All good texts, and this is not an attack merely a heart check…you say you treat her well, but do you ‘love her as Christ loved the church’? Are you laying down you life for her? Just asking.

      I would say that instead of asking her to go see someone, you as the husband and head of your ‘little c’ church, take the initiative, make an appointment with a pastor and his wife at your church to talk to them about what’s going on. (And if no one in leadership is willing to talk with you guys about these things that’s a whole nother issue…) From the outside it seems like asking her to go see someone sounds like you are asking her to go and do something by herself to get ‘fixed’. I am suggesting doing this together and going through it with her.

      And yes, she is there to be your helpmate, but what do you do with your unspent passions…pray. That is all. Your body i snot your own to do with as you please, you have given it to her in the COVENANT of marriage. Ephesians 5:25 is not a suggestion, it is a command.

      And as far as polygamy…
      and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:5-6 ESV)

      The bible says his WIFE, not his wives; and the TWO shall become one flesh…pretty clear that it doesn’t say the three of them shall become one flesh.

      Oh, and on the subject of women reading romantic novels, yes it is like men viewing pornography. It is creating false intimacy and it is not creating ‘oneness’. Which is the whole point of sex, and life really, in a Christian marriage…to glorify God, to be his image bearer. A husband and wife have the opportunity to image the community of God in their marriage.

      I know it is frustrating, and you feel like you shouldn’t have to struggle with this because you are married and feel like you should have access to your wife, but we as christian men are called to lead and suffer well for God’s glory and our holiness…not always our happiness. I will be praying for you bro.

    • Hey Eric,

      First, I want to affirm your frustration. I know plenty of men who are in your situation. It is never easy. But to address a few of your points. We can’t control what our wives do. We can only control what we as husbands do. My advice would be similar to Dave’s, continue to be the the biblical example of a Godly husband.

      Two, I don’t want to assume, but my guess is that if you are on this website you have or are currently struggling with sexual integrity of some sort. If that is the case, our actions have done much dammage to our wives. Their healing, just like ours, takes much time. The least we owe them is patience. At least you are getting intimacy. I know many men who are not getting any.

      Finally, regardless of how hard it is, there is NO EXCUSE to act out. I can understand all the triggers and contributing factors. But I believe in taking full ownership for OUR actions. We got ourselves into this mess, now with the power of Christ, we must have Him fill a space that belonged to Him but we gave to Sexual Addiction.

      I pray that you focus on Christ the deliverer.

  5. Thanks, Grace, for those powerful words of advice.

    I am starting to see my own struggle as part of God’s long plan for me. I have struggled with sexual integrity for years and am now realizing that a Christian perspective (I’m a Catholic Christian) could greatly aid my recovery. I have a lot of experience in 12 step programs, but haven’t ever quite tackled my addiction to pornography with an explicitly Christian perspective. Although I look at porn a lot less than some of my friends, I’m quite sensitive to it and never think it’s a good idea, yet I continually visit the same websites I’ve visited for years. It’s good to keep a “long haul” perspective.

    The idea of practicing virtue as the key to happiness has long escaped me, but I think I’m warming up to it now. God bless, and many thanks for your help.

  6. As I have been reading through many of the comments, I know that I to need serious help. I deal with the demon of sexual immortality. I need help, so I am reaching out. I have a young son and I want to do what’s right by him and the rest of my family I want to be lead him down the right path and don’t want him to struggle as I am now.


  7. i am 55 and struggle with sex addiction ,i have for most of my life.i am a believer i have done alot of things in the past ,sex with many women,adultery and more.i pray for deliverance and get know i wait on GOD or do i have to do something also,this life of addiction is so depressing i want to be free. i can not afford to get help.what do i do LORD please help me

  8. For those who are struggling and don’t know what to do, there is answer for you. Praying and bible reading are good things, but God has a different plan for men who struggle with sexual addiction

    Sexual addiction is for the most part an issue of intimacy and relationship. If we struggle with sexual addiction, it means that somewhere along the way our ability to have intimacy with another person, or have relationship with another person (guys, gals, friends, spouses) has been damaged to some degree. God built us for relationship, and for intimacy, and both of these things require other people to be involved for them to even be possible. I can’t have a relationship if another person is not involved, I can’t have intimacy unless there is someone else to be intimate with

    However, when trauma enters our lives sometimes it becomes way to scary to get involved in either of these. For me, it was my father. I never made him happy, he consistantly yelled at me when I didn’t preform to his liking, and he very rarely had the ability to show me real love. This left a void that had to be filled. Without getting it from my parents, and to scared to actually engage in it with someone else (because I thought they would be another version of my dad) I began trying to find intimacy and relationship without having to involve other people. This combined with my “coming of age” teenage years led in large part to sexual addiction.

    So sexual addiction, in many cases, is a person trying to achieve intimacy and relationship without having to involve another person. However, sexual addiction creates false and fake versions of these, that aren’t really intimacy and relationship at all. It just leaves us empty again in the end.

    Another component to all this is that sexual addiction is a way for those who have been abused (I was abused emotionally, and mentally) to seek comfort. However, that comfort that I so longed for and found in sexual addiction became a drug.

    So, there are two things that recovering from sexual addiction has to address (amongst others depending on your specific case)
    1. Realizing that intimacy and relationship are really what you are searching for, that they require another person,
    and you have to relearn or learn for the first time how to involve those other people in the proccess.
    2. Sexual addiction is like a drug, because it accesses those pleasure hormones in the body, and has often been
    used as the only way we know to cope with our past. If your sexual addiction is a way to escape dealing with
    the extreme hurt of past events, then those past events have to be reconciled and dealt with. This is extremely

    Even if God zapped away sexual addiction, we still have the pain of the past, and the need to learn how to involve others in building intimacy and relationship. These are some of the reasons why God doesn’t zap us and everything is okay

    Let me tell you all, I am going through this process and it really sucks, and is a lot of hard work.

    These are just some of the things I have learned through this process so far, and I hope it helps you guys.

  9. I saw a comment made by the pastor of a sex ministry, he said God laid it on his heart that if he never was delivered from his sex addiction he would end up in hell. I thought that our salvation was based on our faith in Christ, not deliverance from addiction. I feel like it is being taught that if a person struggles with sex addiction as compared to say gossip the sex addicted person has to earn their salvation in comparison.

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