What’s in Your Hand?

Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘What is that in your hand?’ ‘A staff,’ he replied. God said, ‘Throw it on the ground.'” – Exodus 4:2 (NIV)

I know what you’re thinking.

You’re wondering what some obscure Old Testament verse has to do with recovery, and particularly recovery in the sexual integrity realm. Well, as we look at it a little more closely, I think you’ll see it has a lot to do with it.

At this point in his life, Moses was a shepherd, and the shepherd’s staff would have been one of the most useful tools he possessed. So first and foremost, it represented his identity. Every shepherd had one, it was the thing that identified them from other people with other occupations. Secondly, it represented his source of income. It was the thing that kept the sheep in line, and that kept them from wandering off or getting into dangerous situations. It was the thing that enabled him to do his job, and earn a living. And thirdly, it represented his influence on other people, as we see later when he uses it to, through God’s power, part the Red Sea. In short, the staff represented the very essence of Moses.

Give me your whole life,
Who you are!
What you do!
How you act!

So when God tells Moses to throw it down on the ground, it’s not just to perform some fancy trick with a snake, it’s a way of saying, ‘I want you to give me your whole life, who you are, what you do, and how you act. I want you to throw it down before me and let me have it, and let me make you into the man I want you to be.’ What’s your identity? Is it the good father and husband at church, but the one who flirts with and can’t keep his eyes off the secretaries at work? God wants you to throw down that which identifies you with sexual impurity; let Him have it, and let Him change you.

Or how about your source of income? Are you in a job that pays well but is adding to your internet pornography struggle that you can’t seem to get a handle on? Afraid to step out in faith that God has a better job somewhere that will boost your recovery rather than hinder it? God wants you to throw it down, let Him have it and let Him change you.

Or how about your sphere of influence? Do you have leadership gifts that you know God has blessed you with, but you can’t seem to break that addiction to prostitutes or massage parlors? You know you could be a good influence over many people, but right now your gifts are just being wasted? God wants you to throw it down, let Him have it and let Him change you.

Throwing down sexual sin
requires one thing:
submission to God.

Throwing down sexual sin requires one thing: submission to God. It requires saying, ‘God, you know best, and I’m going to give it to you.’ And the best way to ‘give it to God’ is to follow the action plan that Joe gave you at Every Man’s Battle. It requires spending time in God’s Word and in prayer. It requires having an accountability relationship, and a support group of other strugglers. It requires meeting with a spiritual mentor for guidance, and it may require seeing a professional Christian counselor to get at some of the deep-seated wounds that you haven’t felt comfortable dealing with.

Most of all it requires saying, ‘God, everything I am and have is yours, and I throw it down before you, and give it to you.’ Then you’re ready to be sexually pure, and ready to be used in a mighty way by God.

To find a Christian counselor or coach in your area, just call 1-800-NEW-LIFE.

Dave Boyle

Fresh Start

hand&treeSeptember is just around the corner, and for many people September means a new start, a fresh start. Students, from kindergarten to graduate school are preparing to begin a new year of classes which will equip them to be successful in life. In churches around the country, September means a new start; pastors starting a new series, Sunday School classes starting new curriculum, and men’s ministries starting new topics of discussion. How about you? Do you feel the need for a fresh start right now?

Let’s look at a couple of areas where a new and fresh start might be just the thing that you need to get you out of the ‘dog days of August.’

How about a fresh start in your relationship with God? Are you spending time with Him each day, in His Word and in prayer? There is no way to have a relationship with someone, anyone, if you don’t spend time with them. The first point of Joe’s after-care action plan is to have a quiet time, even if it’s only about 10 or 15 minutes, with the Lord each day. You really don’t have the desire to do that? My encouragement would be to do it anyway. My guess is that your desire will come around after awhile. C.S. Lewis said, “it’s easier to act your way into a feeling than it is to feel your way into an action.” If you wait till you feel like having a quiet time you may never do it. Just go ahead and start your plan of 10-15 minutes a day with the Lord and watch Him work on your feelings. The quiet time with the Lord is the first and most important way to get, or continue on the road to sexual sobriety and purity. Remember that you can do everything through the One who strengthens you.

How about a fresh start in your relationships with your wife, or other significant relationships? This is the perfect time to suggest to your wife that you sit and read ‘Every Woman’s Marriage‘ together. After she’s picked herself up off the floor from fainting, suggest a night that you can sit together and read, and experience some emotional and spiritual closeness. This fall can be the perfect opportunity for you to initiate that emotional connectedness that you’ve been missing in your relationship. That connectedness is one thing that will help you in your quest to get victory over the hurtful, inappropriate connectedness that you may have been trying to get through pornography. You’re not married? How about a fresh start with your friends, or family? How about reaching out to that buddy who you know would make a great accountability partner? How about making a fresh start with that son or daughter that you’ve hurt in the past with your actions and haven’t talked to in awhile. God’s forgiveness has felt fresh and new to you since Every Man’s Battle, so let’s pass it on to others. Come on, let’s make a fresh start in September. It’ll take a little work, but it will be worth it.

How’s Your Plan Working?

For some of you reading this, Every Man’s Battle is still a fresh experience; you’re still on the mountain top, and your recovery is exciting. For others who may be a year or two removed from an EMB workshop, things have drifted back to the routine, and some of the ‘warm fuzzies’ of the workshop have faded. Whichever group you find yourself in, one thing is for sure: for your recovery to be successful and meaningful, it will be extremely important to stick to the action plan that you developed at EMB.

One of the hardest parts about sticking to the action plan, is that sometimes it gets a little mundane, a little routine. I can still picture Joe, in sweatshirt and jeans, flexing his muscles while reminding us that as guys, we’re more ‘hero’ oriented than ‘routine’ oriented. ‘Give me a burning house and a baby, and I’ll show you what a hero I can be,’ he’d say. ‘But ask me to take out the trash or get up 15 minutes earlier to put on coffee for my wife? C’mon, that’s a little boring.’ Yet that’s what recovery is all about, doing the mundane, doing the routine, and doing it consistently.

What’s the action plan that I am talking about? Well, by way of a little refresher, let’s go over the things that Joe and the EMB staff want us to do after we leave EMB. I am not going to go into the detail that Joe does, but I’ll hit the highlights. One of the things is to make sure to get an accountability partner and an accountability group. Find someone who isn’t afraid to ask you the tough questions, and who will see through if you’re trying to manipulate. This person does not have to be in recovery from sexual addiction themselves, although that is helpful, but they do need to be available, and willing to meet with you on a weekly basis; and they do need to be honest with you and demand honesty from you. If you’re married, it’s important that this person have full access to your wife, and can call her about anything that is going on in your life that is inappropriate.

Another part of the plan is for you to be seeing your pastor, or someone in leadership at your church. This will help you stay spiritually focused. And speaking of staying spiritually focused, starting off your day with some prayer and Bible reading is the best way to let your Heavenly Father know you’re grateful for all of the gifts He has given you.

Recovery is all about: doing the mundane, doing the routine, doing it consistently!

In all of the follow up calls I’ve done with EMB alumni, I have never once had a guy who was struggling or who had relapsed tell me that he was closely following his action plan. On the flip side, most of the guys who are doing well are doing most or all of their action plan. How are you doing with your follow up plan? If you don’t have a church home, call New Life–we may have a referral for a church in your area. And if you’re not spending any time with the Lord during the day, carve out 15 minutes today to do that. They may not sound like the most exciting things in the world, but it’s the ordinary things in life that we do consistently that keep us in recovery.