DipSea

There is a race that starts in San Anselmo, California, tracks over the north bay-area’s most famous hill, Mount Tamalpais, and finishes at Stinson Beach (about 7.1 miles). For over 90 years this race has been in existence and known to be one of the most challenging hill races on the west coast. The DipSea Race has a long history of respect and it is an honor to be invited to participate in the race.

The course begins in the small town at sea level, just below 671 stairs. From the top of the stairs a runner will then proceed to climb and climb and climb to just over 1300 feet above sea level. In the accent, there are numerous hill challenges to conquer. Some of those hill challenges have been given the most daunting and haunting names (such as Cardiac, Windy hill, Suicide etc’). Then after the long push upward the decent is seemingly a welcomed process. But, as in the accent, the decent has numerous names (such as Insult) that would cause a reasonably sane person to reconsider or avoid such complexity overall.

For eight months I have been training to run this race. And two months ago I applied, hoping to be invited. Yes, training began long before I even applied to be in it. The race will contain about 1300 racers, of which only about 500 are invitation spots. The other spots are for those who ran the race last year and received a significant time qualifying them to race again.

I have thought about entering the DipSea race for over eight years and now see that the last eight months of training to possibly participate in the race has been a spiritual journey for me too.

Running a good race is beyond ‘pacing yourself.’ It truly is about appropriate physical training and mental conditioning. As referred to earlier, the names of the challenging spots on the course are for a reason. One would be a fool not to look into the course and see why these multiple areas are referred as ‘the valley of shadow of death.’

It has been my experience in life that there are many opportunities to participate in races. For example, job opportunities, church activities, and leadership positions are all types of races. But in my training and process of life I have found it profitable to first recognize whether or not I was at all emotionally and spiritually fit to perform such a task. To take an opportunity that would have life implications towards others without considering my true grounding status can lead to disasters not only for myself but my family and those whom I would serve. So I find it wise to ask, Can I take that hill? And once I get to the top of the hill, can I come down the other side with the same endurance? The honor to be asked to participate in a life race is ego-boosting; however, if I have not done prep-work to increase strength in areas that need attention, such as sexual integrity, then I risk damage in a variety of ways.

When I enter any race if I have not prepared and primed myself physically and mentally for what is before me I will become a hindrance for those who are racing along side me. I must even prepare myself for future ministry so that if and when a potential situation occurs I can approach it grounded and in the best possible shape to discern what decision needs to be made.

Entering the race to heal from sexual addiction is about training and conditioning. There are hills that will pose challenges to work through but they are definitely ones that can be conquered. And yes there are names for some of the challenging hills and valleys that can cause a runner to turn away and not face the opportunity for success. But once through those challenges, you can come out a stronger and grounded man of God.

All the training for the last few months may seem to be a waste if not accepted. However, at this point it is no longer about being accepted, but being prepared for it. And if accepted into the race the next task is to perform strong enough to be automatically brought back to try the hills next year. Irregardless, a large degree of the training and conditioning over the last eight months has made me stronger and more confident in a variety of areas.

Join the race; you don’t have to face that hill of your sexual addiction alone. And if you think you can do that race alone, you are heading for some results that will not play out well. Consider attending Every Man’s Battle as a start to your training for sexual integrity. At the EMB conference you will be challenged and you will have the opportunity to become cognitively, emotionally, and spiritually fit to take that race on.

Also see our Resources for Men.

Martin Fierro

Century Of Change

Stephen Arterburn

Only a hundred years ago, the majority of American boys worked with their fathers from a very young age. They’d spend hours each day together, and in the process, be trained and ushered into manhood by him. Dad would teach his boys about weather, agriculture, and commerce as they worked the land together. He’d use farm animals to teach them about life, growth, and death’including the details of sex, reproduction, birth and infant care. And because dad usually worked at or very near home, his sons would get ample opportunity to learn from him how to be a husband and father. Dad would be the boys’ primary mentor, guide, counselor, and friend. And when they grew into young men, he’d accept them as partners in the family business.

Now fast-forward a century. Most fathers leave home early each morning and don’t return until six or seven at night. If young boys spend any significant time with a parent at all, it’s usually with mom, not dad. Apart from school, most of what today’s young boys learn about life, work, and people comes from her instruction and example or from the schools and his peers. As a result, boys are substantially deprived of fatherly instruction, guidance, counsel, and friendship. They’ll soon grow to be men, but their limited interaction with dad provides them little understanding of what it actually means to be a man.

Therefore, I encourage you to counter this trend by doing everything in your power to actively father your son!

Ongoing Disclosure

In our society of instant communication–cell phones, text messaging, etc.–we have lost the significance and meaning of words. We rarely think about the significance of the words we use to get our message across. This was not always the case. In earlier writings throughout history men labored to be exact in their choice of words so as to be clear in their meaning and intent of their message. An example is seen in the words of the Constitution of the United States of America. The words had to be exact and precise in order for the document to endure as the foundation of a country and society. If this is true of a man made document for a country, how much more meaningful are the Words used in the Bible.

In the Word of God, the Holy Scriptures, when God speaks through the Prophets and Apostles the very words He uses are packed with meaning and significance. In light of using and understanding the words we choose, I want to address the importance of ‘ongoing disclosure’ and its significance for us today.

Let’s first examine the meaning of the word disclosure.

1. To uncover; to open; to remove a cover from, and lay open to view.
2. To discover; to lay open to view; to bring to light.
3. To reveal by words; to tell; to utter; as, to disclose the thoughts of the heart.
4. To make known; to show in any manner.
5. To open; to hatch.

American Dictionary of the English Language, Noah Webster 1828

Now why would it be important to disclose the thoughts of the heart? Why is it important to live an open life before others? Why can’t some things just remain hidden in the heart?

To answer these questions lets begin by taking a look at the beginning of time (from Genesis ch. 2).

When God spoke into existence all of creation, He made a declaration that it was ‘good.’ What God calls good means excellent ‘ perfect ‘ without flaw! (see Jesus’ conversation about the word ‘good’ with the young man in Mark 10:17 ‘ 18). Yet when He came to the creation of man, He chose not to speak him into existence but said ‘Let us make man in Our image, in Our likeness.’ He took dirt and ‘formed’ man out of it. He ‘breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and he became a living being.’ Wow!

What did this man, Adam, have? God planted a garden and put the man in it. Adam had a ‘good’ place to live. ‘Good’ food to eat. ‘Good’ water to drink. There were four rivers listed running through this garden. This was no acid rain ‘ in fact there was no rain at all at that time. There was no pollution in the water or poison needed to spray for insects on the plants. All food was ‘good’ for the man. Remember, ‘good’ means perfect.

What else did the man have? He had ‘good’ companionship. He talked openly with God. God gave him instructions on how to live in the garden. Apparently it was the custom for God to walk with Adam. He was not afraid.

In fact the only thing that God said of Adam that was ‘not good’ was that he was alone. After naming all the animals, Adam discovered that none would ‘fit.’ Then God took Adam’s rib and ‘fashioned’ (literally the word ‘built’) Eve and brought her to Adam.

There was a perfect relationship between God and man and between Adam and Eve. They apparently walked together in the evening in the garden. Everything was open between them. There was nothing to hide, not emotionally, not mentally, not physically. Everything was ‘good’ in Eden.

Then the temptation and the fall. They ate the forbidden fruit. Their eyes were opened and they saw nakedness! Their first natural (fallen nature) response was to cover and hide. They sewed fig leaves and made loin coverings. They tried to cover themselves from each other. There was no one else around except the animals. Then they heard God walking through the garden for the evening stroll. They now had fear for the first time. Their new natural response was to hide, to close themselves from God and from each other.

When we sin it is no different today than it was with Adam and Eve. We go underground. We bury our actions and thoughts hoping desperately that no one will find us out. Where are your hiding places? In the computer room or into password protected files and places of access that no one must ever go but you? Perhaps it is on the phone with a phone actress? (look up the word actress). Maybe it is a certain area of town or another town when you are traveling.

God did not leave Adam and Eve hiding. He sought them out. He called them out; they were guilty and had to face the consequences i.e. death, cast out of the garden (see Gen 3). What was true for them is certainly true for us. The ‘wages of sin is death’ (Rom.6:23). If I face the penalty of death, we are going to hide! We want life. God intends for us to have life, so much so that He gave His only begotten Son to die in our place. The life that God would have for us is a life open to Him and to others without fear. The debt has been paid in full by Jesus Christ. If your faith and trust is in Him, the debt is paid. You have been declared not guilty and set free. Free to run the race set before you, laying aside every encumbrance (Heb. 12:1) and sin that entangles you.

Secrecy is one of the major factors that keep us in bondage to our sins. Exposing our sins to one who is a trust worthy companion, accountability partner or group keeps us from hiding and covering up with deceit and lies.

Consider if God made us in His image what characteristics should be incorporated in our lives.

John 14: 21 Jesus said:

”and he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him, and will disclose Myself to him.’

Jesus indicates clearly that it is His purpose and desire to be known personally and intimately. Love my Father, I will love him and will disclose Myself to him. Wow! Jesus wants us to have an intimate relationship with Him, to know all about Him. In effect He tells us that He will reveal things previously hidden from your knowledge about Him. This is not just a New Testament concept. God from the beginning of time had a purpose to declare His glory to us. Consider the following from Psalm 19:

‘The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
Day to day pours forth speech,
And night to night reveals knowledge.’

God through His creation declares His glory. He desires for you to know Him.

For us to experience the freedom of walking with Him and with others without fear we must live a life of ongoing disclosure. God reveals His glory to everyone in His creation. But when Jesus was talking about disclosing Himself it was only to those who love His Father in Heaven. Thus it is prudent to disclose your life to those who will love and support you. If you don’t have anyone who you could trust, perhaps meet with a trusted pastor or counselor.

Remember covering and hiding were the original and natural responses of sin. To live freely is to know that we were all dead in our trespasses and sins and were by nature children of wrath (Eph. 2), BUT GOD! being rich in mercy, made us ALIVE!

Being alive is not to live a life of secrecy and bondage under cover. We were intended to be like Him, for His glory.

For more help on this subject, please see Every Man’s Battle.
For more helpful resources for men click here.

Craig Boden