Day 2 - The Fight
OVERCOME THE FEAR OF FIGHTING BACK
Freedom can be defined as "personal liberty, as opposed to bondage or slavery."  Mankind was destined to live free, but freedom always comes at a cost. History is riddled with individuals who fought hard, no matter the cost, no matter how long it took, to stand for what was right:
Abraham Lincoln stood against slavery in America, proclaiming in the Emancipation Proclamation, "all persons held as slaves are, and henceforward shall be free." For this stance, Lincoln was murdered.
Malala Yousafzai withstood threats against her life to stand for the right of all people to be educated. She was shot in the head by the Taliban. After surviving this life-threatening injury, Yousafzai is now a global advocate for human rights.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer stood against Hitler and his Nazi regime in Germany, opposing his euthanasia program and persecution of the Jews. In 1945 Bonhoeffer was sentenced to death by hanging.
You are taking a stance against the sexual addictions that have permeated our world. You will face countless battles against these temptations, you will be attacked without warning, you may often stumble, and you may even face these challenges for the rest of your life. Are you up for it? As the men and women mentioned above, you too are facing fearful odds. Your life may not be at risk as was theirs, but your heart, body, mind, and soul are.
Jesus replied, "Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. -John 8:34 (NIV)
I don't believe Jesus said these words to be discouraging but to help us keep things in perspective. When the fall happened, mankind became a slave to sin. The cost of freedom from this slavery was high, but Jesus paid what was due on our behalf.
FEAR OF CHANGE
Moving forward in these lessons will challenge us to change. It will mean admitting we have been enslaved by the lies of a world bent on pleasing only itself. It will mean pursuing the knowledge necessary to shake off those things that have so easily entangled us. It will mean leaning into the grace of God for our victory (despite how long this process lasts). To understand the nature of why, in spite of receiving grace and even a hatred of sin, we continue to sin we ought to understand what takes place on a practical and spiritual level. There are biological, mental, physical, personal, and spiritual reasons why we stumble into sin. When we begin to understand those reasons we equip ourselves with the knowledge of the truth, which comes from the word of God.
In the past when I've been tempted or have stumbled, I didn't feel like a slave. I felt good. My submission to the will of my body seemed to relieve stress and tension in my life. I often read doctors recommending this practice as a way of keeping our bodies sexually balanced. It all seemed normal, like breathing, sleeping, and eating. Like any addiction however, over time the same paths to self-gratification seemed less appealing. I found myself diving deeper and deeper into this desire every time, always searching for the perfect experience, and never quite finding it. As the depth of my struggle grew, so did my guilt. Giving in to this desire was no longer about relieving stress. It became a hateful act, born of loneliness, frustration and anger. My eyes were never satisfied.
Here are some of the things we seek to help bring about change in your life:
- Ridding our lives of obvious things that cause you to stumble and fall (Day 5)
- Gaining honest and authentic fellowship and accountability (Day 8)
- Confessing our shortcomings first and foremost to God and then to our brothers and sisters in Christ (Day 17)
HE WHO OVERCAME OUR WEAKNESS
No matter how strong your drive for freedom, there may come times where you stumble. In these moments, it is absolutely vital to remember that Jesus paid the bill. Two-thousand years ago when he died on the cross, he knew each and every sin you or I would ever commit. He died for them all: past, present, and future. It cannot be overstated - freedom comes through the one who overcame our weaknesses. It is through Christ alone that we can walk a path of freedom. The road ahead is long, it is a battleground for your heart that permeates every area of your life, not just your sexuality. Stay hopeful, no matter how dark the days get, no matter how long the struggle persists, keep fighting. Kick at the darkness until it bleeds light.
Pornography, masturbation, lust, fornication, homosexuality... these are all forms of our desire gone haywire. We trade true fellowship, intimacy, kindness, and love for a fake version. Desire is a powerful thing, it can drive us to do great things. When abused, however, it consumes us. Here are some reminders of what to do in moments of doubt and weakness:
- Stand firm and resist when those temptations come
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. -James 4:7 (NIV)
- Focus your desires in the right way
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. -Matthew 5:6 (ESV)
- Stand firm in the fire of temptation
The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.
Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?”
They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.”
He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”
Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God,come out! Come here!”
So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them. -Daniel 3:22-27 (NIV)
There will be many roadblocks ahead, typically in the form of giving into the same old sin yet again. Sometimes this will slow us down, other times it will stop us dead in our tracks. What's important is that you persevere through each one, never forgetting that God loves the process, just as a good earthly father loves the process of their child growing older and more mature. We, like children, make repetitive mistakes, but God is the ultimate good father, who stays with us until the end, pointing us to the cross and saying, "Yes, I died even for that mistake you just made." Is there escape for the Christian from God's grace and mercy? I submit that there is not.
Day 2 Application
Has fear slowed you down in the past?
How can you fight back against this addiction in your life?
Do you desire to fight back?
Since the last lesson, how have you been with maintaining your sexual purity?