Pop-Quiz

Steve Arterburn

Okay, guys, it’s time for a Pop-Quiz. Are you ready? When an e-mail with an obviously suggestive subject appears on your computer screen, what’s your instant reaction?

 

  • Do you feel a tug and wonder, ‘Should I open this?’
  • Or is it a non-event, and with a simple click you delete the message without a hint of struggle?

If you still believe that you have the right to choose your behavior, which means you’re feeling that tug and asking: ‘Should I open this?’ You’re opening yourself to Satan’s influence. And men, he’d absolutely love to influence you and take hold of your heart and mind.

He cajoles and lies. He’ll have you thinking about minimizing the risk and how to hide what you see so you don’t notice your heart slipping ever so subtly down the slope of lust. If you don’t look out, by the time he’s finished with you, you’ll respond with: ‘Yes, I should look at it; I can handle it.’

Therein lies the power of temptation, guys. But temptation loses its power if you don’t give it the chance to even get its foot in the door. Let God’s Holy Spirit into your heart and your mind. Spend time in God’s Word and with other Christian men. If you do, you experience the transforming of your mind, affection and appetites.

Know Your Weaknesses

Steve Arterburn

 

 

We all have inherent weaknesses that make us vulnerable to particular kinds of sin, don’t we? That means something that’s a snare for one man may be completely harmless for another. But one thing we all have in common is that we each must accept responsibility for ourselves. That means you need to guard against anything that exploits our weaknesses and provides a situation where it will be easy for you to stumble into sin. 

 

It’s a mistake to think that temptation only exists outside of us. Problems happen when things outside of us stir up and stimulate dispositions already resident within us. James 1:14-16 says, ‘Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. So don’t be misled.’

 

Men, part of taking responsibility for your own sinful desires means you need to identify and avoid locations, situations, or people that trigger temptation. It’s not always easy. Often such things seem innocent enough, and sometimes they’re things in which we find comfort’or escape.

 

But as difficult as this may be, it’s essential that you know yourself and your weaknesses well enough to know what is dangerous, what is harmful, and what is simply a waste of your time and energy. You’ll avoid a lot of grief and pain simply by avoiding those things that provide the opportunity and occasion to stumble.

Fighting Temptation

When your world collapses under the weight of sexual addiction and you find yourself hopeless and helpless, you WANT to change. You want to crawl out of the hole of destruction that you have created for yourself. Your marriage is in jeopardy, your family may turn against you, and your career may be on the line. You are definitely motivated to change.

Initially, you have success, but as time goes on you begin to waiver. You may have a ‘slip’ and act out. You may stick to your commitment, but the temptation may seem overwhelming. Actually, this is completely normal and expected. Without a miraculous intervention by God, you will struggle with this addiction day in and day out. You will be tempted and you must be prepared for this temptation. The more you have prepared yourself beforehand, the more likely you are to withstand this temptation.

1) Accountability- This one is a no-brainer. But it needs to be a specific type of accountability to be effective. A group of guys meeting together for a bible study is not the type of accountability a sex addict needs. A sex addict needs to be surrounded by other men who struggle with sexual temptation. If you are asking your accountability partner if he has kept his quiet time this week and he is asking you how many times you masturbated last week, you are not in an accountability relationship that will be effective long term. In general, sex addicts know how other sex addicts think, act, and lie. They will be able to relate with you and call you on the carpet when you are being deceptive. Having this type of accountability in place will often make addicts think twice before they act out because they want to avoid the embarrassment of revealing their slip.

2) Plan Ahead- Too many times guys will look back in hindsight and see what they did wrong. However, they will not connect the dots and look for patterns and trends in how they act out. For example, it is very common for sex addicts to act out on business trips and weekends when their spouses are out of town. Rarely do these instances happen unexpectedly. In fact, most of the time, these trips are planned well in advance and the addict finds himself fantasizing about what he will be doing during these trips. When you go on a business trip by yourself take a picture of your family and immediately tape it on the television. This is to remind you that you are NOT single. You have a family that loves you and is waiting for you back home. You need to go to the front desk and cancel all pay per view options. If basic cable is a stumbling block, unhook the cable cord to the television and turn it in to the front desk. Have your wife or accountability partner call you late at night on the hotel phone to insure that you are in your room.

3) If your wife is going out of town, you need to have every minute of every day planned out. The enemy of the sex addict has large blocks of time with nothing to do and no one around. This is a recipe for disaster. Plan a round of golf with some friends, fix the back fence, clean out the garage, it really doesn’t matter. Just come up with a list of projects that will occupy your mind and that you can be held accountable for when your spouse returns.

4) Internet filter- There is absolutely no excuse for a sex addict who looks at pornography on the internet to not have some sort of internet filter. There are many different options at different financial costs. There are a million excuses not to install one, but they are all shallow. If you don’t like the one that you used last, then install a new one and leave it on until you find a new one.

5) Read- You should always have a book about recovery in your reading rotation. New Life Ministries has a virtual library of books about sexual addiction and there are countless other resources available. In order to stay sharp and focused, you should always be in the middle of a book on recovery. As long as you are constantly going through these books, you have a greater chance of not letting down your guard and falling prey to temptation.

Temptation is NOT a sin. Every addict has faced temptation and you are not alone. Be smart, and be wise and use these tools. Do not face these trials alone and do not get blindsided by this temptation. This battle can be won and you can be victorious in your recovery.

For additional help on this topic see Every Man’s Battle and our Resources for Men.

Bryan Atkinson