Thoughts on Endurance in Recovery

Dave Boyle

One of the most famous speeches in history occurred at the time of the Second World War. The British troops were discouraged, as the Nazi’s seemed to be making gains every day. Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, stood up to address the English troops one day at a particularly low point of the war and in his raspy voice said, ‘Gentleman, never, ever, ever,””.ever, ”’ever, ”’ever, give up.’ Churchill then sat back down. And we all know the results of the war; the Allied forces came back to defeat the Nazis, and the world was rid of Hitler and his henchmen for good.

But here’s a troubling hypothetical: what if the British troops had given up? What if the Americans had said, ‘this is too hard. I’m not going to take all this time and effort for something that might not work out in the end.’ Where would you be now? Well, you might not be enjoying many of the freedoms that you are currently enjoying.

Given the scenes that have been beamed into our living rooms from Iraq, and the valor of the brave men and women who are over there fighting, I am not about to compare striving for sexual sobriety with the gruesomeness of war. Yet the principle that Prime Minister Churchill wanted to get across to his troops is the very same principle that we need to use in our daily lives to stay pure, and that is endurance.

Don Henley, the drummer for the rock group The Eagles, once told a reporter that one of the reasons for the band’s success is that when the band toured, the repetition of doing the same songs over and over again, night after night, never seemed to bother them, because they loved playing the music. That’s how it must be with us if we are to stay sexually pure. You can look at having a daily quiet time, where you read God’s Word and talk to him, as repetition, or you can look at it as a new and fresh way to connect with God each morning. Going to that recovery group every Friday night–at the same place with the same people–can be repetition, or it can be an exciting challenge to share your victories and help other guys do the same. Going to the therapist’s office each week can be an act of drudgery, or it can be a healing hour where you continue your journey to get to the root of the lust that has been so destructive in your life.

Paul knew a little about perseverance and endurance. In 2 Corinthians 6:4 he says, ‘Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses.’ Later in the same book he talked about those hardships and distresses: ‘I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one (think ‘Passion of the Christ’). Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night on the open sea. I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countryman, in danger from the Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea, and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food’ (2 Corinthians 11:23-27). So I think he is qualified to make the following statement in Hebrews 10:36: ‘You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” So really, endurance isn’t a suggestion, it’s a command. It’s been said that 80 percent of success is just showing up. And if that’s the case, then I say that 80 percent of showing up is endurance. With a web site that gets as many hits as this one, I know that there is at least one guy who is reading this who is ready to chuck his sobriety and go act out. Don’t do it! Endure! Persevere! Pray! Call somebody! Do whatever you have to do to endure in purity. Never, ever, ever, ever, ever give up.

A Necessary Battle

“You have been given the choice between war and dishonor. You have chosen dishonor, and you will have war!” – Winston Churchill to the English Parliament, 1938

After the English Parliament’s 1938 appeasement in Czechoslovakia, Churchill saw the danger of choosing peace, when honor and common sense called for battle. History, of course, would confirm his point: Refusing to fight an honorable battle may afford a temporary peace, but in the long run, it’s a peace too costly. Delaying a necessary battle may well result in devastating, full scale war.

Every man who’s gotten involved in sexual sin makes a decision between battle and dishonor. Somehow as dishonor always seem to look like an easier choice.

Dishonor means making peace with your sin. It means telling yourself that after so many years, it’s become such a part of your life that trying to cut it out would be too traumatic, too uncomfortable. It would mean saying goodbye to a reliable (though destructive) friend, and the battle to abstain from this ‘friend’, with all the temptations and struggles it would involve, seems too demanding. So a dishonorable compromise is reached when a man decides to live in peaceful co-existence with sexual sin.

Tyrants never co-exist peacefully. By nature, they demand increased territory, fewer limitations, more captives. So the sin that a man decides not to go to war against ‘ the pornography, the affair, the commercial sex ‘ soon demands more territory. It begins invading his career, his family, health and reputation. By the time he realizes he has to go to war against it, he’s already relinquished too much ground. Now he finds that what could have been a brief skirmish, if paid attention to early, has become full blown war. He chose dishonor over battle. In the end, he winds up with both.

Every month the Every Man’s Battle staff has the pleasure of meeting men who have chosen an honorable war. They’ve decided that whatever pleasure or meaning they’ve derived from sexual impurity, it is no longer worth the territory they’ve surrendered to it. They’re fighting mad, enlisted, and committed. And if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you are, too.

It’s an honor to join you in the fight.

If you would like more information about Every Man’s Battle, please call 1800-639-5433.