A Blessed Future

Steve Arterburn

The Bible tells us that all have sinned and gone their own way.  No matter how far you’ve gone in the wrong direction, however, when you turn around God always welcomes you back.  Are you living beyond your means?  Have you given in to the world of internet pornography?  Maybe you’re failing your wife and kids, crushing them with your anger or solitude.  Is your free time filled with television or video games?

God is ready to welcome you back.  His arms are open, and his promises are sure–he will transform your worst failures into a blessed future, if you’ll ask him to.

There is hope for you.  God is gracious and will forgive you, no matter what you’ve done or failed to do.  He will even turn your past around and create a new life’a life of hope, peace, and ongoing relationship with him. But you have to take the first step. It’s a paradox of our faith: seek God and He will find you! Whether it’s the first time you’ve sought Him or you have strayed over and over, He’s there with His arms wide open!

The Great Accelerator of Sexual Addiction

Darren Lowman

The Internet’s ‘triple A’ ‘ “access, affordability, and anonymity” (Cooper) has allowed pornography to escalate in ways thought impossible. Men struggling with sexual sin/acting out are finding that they can explore their every fantasy in complete privacy and utter anonymity. Long gone are the days of sheepishly sliding into the corner liquor store to purchase a sleazy magazine. At a cost of less than 50 bucks a month, a DSL connection provides millions of pages of pornography. Before internet access, thirty dollars would buy a single steamy porn magazine or video.

It has become so easy to destroy one’s life.

Internet pornography has changed the way addiction counselors assess compulsive sexual problems. Generally, it takes 2 years or more for an addiction to become established. In other words, counselors want to see a pattern of maladaptive behavior over a long period of time before naming a problem addictive.

The Internet, however, has significantly reduced the time it takes to become “hooked” and for the destructive nature of this disorder to become realized. This is why Dr. Patrick Carnes, known as the grandfather of sexual addiction, states that “the Internet has become the great accelerator of the addictive process.” Internet porn, also known as the crack cocaine of sex addiction (Al Cooper), can grab a hold of a man or women in less than 60 days. Men attending Every Man’s Battle conferences are known to express the pivotal Impact internet porn has had on their lives. It is often a great accelerator of their addiction or it is the beginning point.

What makes the Internet such a risky proposition? Why should men remain vigilant in their stand against the evil lurking inside the computer screen? The internet, unlike any other medium, offers rapid fire information. Not to mention the 1,000 new pornographic web sites that enter the super highway daily. The brains circuits are quickly overloaded and require more and more stimulation in order to maintain or increase the “high”. The pleasure seeker is driven to explore the next image, surprise, or fantasy with no end to this search.

Carnes writes about one such individual in his book, Clinical Management of Sex Addiction:

Robert sat in his attorney’s office wondering how things had gotten so out of control. It was only six months ago that he discovered pornography online and now he was being charged with possession of child pornography. He was at a loss for words when his wife asked why this happened. What could he tell his own children about the fantasy life that he developed online? Robert remembers discovering the illicit pornography and then his life becomes a blur as his addiction spirals out of control and into a world he never thought he would enter. The next thing he remembers is being arrested at his home and his computer being taken away as if it were a weapon from a crime scene. As his attorney entered the room, Robert realizes how much worse things could have become if he had continued to progress in his cyber sex addiction.

Additionally, the World Wide Web is turning some not only into sex addicts but into sex offenders. Many would have never gone down such a road if it weren’t for access to the Internet. Such a case was reported by Natalie Pona, a staff reporter for the San Jose Marital & Sexuality Center:

This is new for forensic psychologists, said Dr. Al Cooper, a California based therapist and author of Sex and the Internet: A Guidebook for Clinicians. What were finding is a lot of these people have no history of sexual problems’. And we believe they would not have had problems without the Internet. Take the case of the 21 year old Winnipeg man who allegedly lured a teen from her home. He allegedly gave her marijuana then videotaped himself sexually assaulting her, said Stonewall RCMP Sgt. Gerry Thomas. The attack was interrupted by a passing RCMP officer. The man didn’t have criminal record.

Certainly, this type of situation is an exception and should not be understood any other way. However, men are generally unaware that engaging in cyber sex accelerates an established sex addiction and can lead them places thought impossible. Additionally, it leads many to sexual compulsion that, without the Internet, would never have developed such a problem

Most would agree the internet has changed the way we all do life.
There are many, many up sides to the Internet. However, access, availability and affordability have allowed the ignorant pastor, father, husband, employee, etc to get caught in its evil web before ever knowing how devastating it may prove to be.

Men who have been successful at rooting sexual addiction from their life have taken extreme measures to ensure the Internet doesn’t “take them down”. For example, many have removed their Internet (or computer all together) connection. When the internet is unavoidable in the work place, these men maintain accountability, meeting with others on a regular basis ensuring that their sexual behavior is “an open book.” Men in recovery must be aware of just how vulnerable they may be to losing all that matters to them, in part, because of the great accelerator of sexual addiction’. the Internet.

Are you viewing Internet pornography? See Every Man’s Battle for help.
For an Internet Filter see, Every Home Protected.

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