Clean Clothes

A devotional thought for today…

Zechariah 3:4

Joshua, standing before the angel, was dressed in dirty clothes. The angel spoke to his attendants, “Get him out of those filthy clothes,” and then said to Joshua, “Look, I’ve stripped you of your sin and dressed you up in clean clothes.

Isaiah 61:10

I will sing for joy in God, explode in praise from deep in my soul! He dressed me up in a suit of salvation, he outfitted me in a robe of righteousness.

It is imperative for us to understand our righteousness. If we don’t understand this foundational principle, we will struggle mightily through the rest of our journey towards sexual integrity. We are righteous. Not by our works, not by our looks, not by our bank accounts, not by our church attendance, not by our charitable donations, not by our behaviors, not by our eloquent prayers. Only by the grace of God in Jesus. You see, in accepting Christ our filthy rags were removed. The stench of sexual sin -past, present and future- was taken away. And it’s not by anything we can do for ourselves. These verses clearly depict our re-dressing being the work of God and the heavenly hosts. We have been robed in righteousness and dressed in clean clothes. When we accept Christ, his righteousness is imputed to us. It’s in us. It’s on us. Nothing can remove it from us. You have to accept that in the middle of your acting out, in the midst of a porn session, in the intoxicating delusion of another encounter with your mistress, God sees you as clean. He looks at you like a groom gazes at his bride on their wedding day. He is grieved by your behavior but infinitely loves your being. You are righteous!

TruthTelling

We all know telling the truth is a biblical imperative. Yet it seems like so many men struggling with sexual integrity issues have amnesia with respect to it. Telling a lie has become second nature to so many of us, we forget what the truth really is. In fact, we’ve become so adept at telling lies that we’ve convinced ourselves of half-truths. Sometimes we’re not even sure what the truth is because we’ve sliced and diced it so many ways. Sexual addicts, especially, live in a world where most things are polarized: either black or white, all or nothing, always and never. Except for the truth. The truth is always gray. Various shades of gray too; sometimes its a lighter shade. “Little white lies”, http://americandigest.org/truthlies.jpgif you will. At other times it is a very dark gray; heinous, harmful lies that cover up the things we’re most ashamed of.

Maybe you’ve never thought of it this way, but we’re close cousins to Satan when we operate like this. He had a knack for skewing the truth. “Did God really say…”, “If you truly are the son of God…”. He would twist things just enough to make the lie believable or truth seem unbelievable. Here are a couple of examples how that goes in real life:

  • MAKING THE LIE BELIEVABLE:  “I didn’t have an affair, I only kissed her”.

Here the adulterer plays on a common cultural idea of infidelity: sex is required to constitute an affair. That is total B.S. The lie in this case is dealing with semantics; what makes it an affair? It may have been an emotional connection; it’s an emotional affair. It may have been hand-holding; it’s a physical affair. It may have been sex: it’s an emotional and very physical affair.

  • MAKING THE TRUTH SEEM UNBELIEVABLE:  “I can’t believe you would accuse me of doing ______!”

This one comes up when a man has acted out sexually in a way he can hardly believe, and his wife has busted him. In fact I’ve seen men busted for porn on the home computer and blame it on their teenage son. I’ve seen a man caught with a mistress and try to deny it right in front of his wife’s face. “I can’t believe you would accuse me of having an affair with my secretary! This was a business lunch. What’s wrong with you that you would think such a horrible thing?”

Both of these examples are outright lies. They do damage to both the liar and the one lied to.

If we’re ever to get free of these issues and/or rebuild a broken relationship we must learn to tell the truth. At all costs. There are 3 people in particular that we have to begin telling the difficult truth to:

1 – Ourselves. If you have trouble dealing in truth with yourself, I urge you to do 2 things. First, write it down. When you are questioned about something or you are being asked for specific details of your life, write down your response. Analyze it on paper, not in your head. Then, second, share that with an accountability partner and ask for feedback. When it’s out of your head, on paper, and in front of someone you trust you are a step closer to the truth.

2 – God. We all lie to God. And we know it. In my life it takes the form of minimization; I’ll downplay what I’ve done thinking maybe He won’t be as disappointed. Newsflash: He knows everything!  When we are partially honest with God we only partially receive His forgiveness and love. We have to be fully, painfully honest with Him before we’ll allow ourselves to receive what He is offering. We can never fully accept acceptance until we’re fully known.

3 – Spouses. The mantra I’ve adopted is this:“I’d rather lose you, than lie to you.” It means I’ll tell the truth even when it hurts. Even if it means I cannot control the outcome or dictate the consequences. She deserves the truth. Period.

If you are still covering something up with lies, even little things, you’ll never find the freedom you’re looking for.

 

Addiction Whac-a-mole

http://www.bhmvending.com/Amusements/Bob%27s%20Space%20Racer/bob%27sspaceracer_whacamole.jpgDo you remember the old ‘whac-a-mole’ arcade games. I don’t know if they are around anymore. It was a frustrating game. You never knew where the next mole would pop up. By the time you could swat one with the big, foam mallet the next one would jolt out on the other side. When one went away another would show up and along the way you would see each one more than once.

So it can be with addictions.

It is very common for someone to get help with one addiction, only to see another one pop up. Sometimes the original one resurfaces again too. I regularly hear people struggling with sexual addiction say they’ve found freedom from drugs and alcohol, but can’t seem to beat this one. The truth is they’ve found a way to switch addictions; they haven’t found freedom. When one unhealthy way of medicating and coping with life is averted a new one pops up. Drugs give way to alcohol. Alcohol gives way to coffee and cigarettes. Sex gives way to food. Food gives way to gym-aholism.  You get the picture. It even happens within sex addiction itself. A guy will give up acting out with prostitutes but will begin going to strip clubs. He’ll give up porn but trade it for sex with his wife. Then she becomes his mistress. He might give up pornographic movies but take up sexual chatrooms. Unfortunately, when we ping-pong through addictions we never actually get the healing we need and long for.

If you find yourself playing addiction whac-a-mole it’s time for real help. It is time to dig in and figure out what you’re running from, why you cope in these ways and what you’re really searching for. It may be time to take more action than just slapping an internet filter on your computer. You may need to plug in with a counselor specialized in dealing with sexual addiction. It might be time to attend the EMB workshop. Maybe you need to confess your addictions to your spouse. Or to Jesus.

Take a step in the right direction today. Walk away from the game. Get out of the arcade.