CONQUERING STRONGHOLDS CHALLENGE 9
25: Network Support
While I write this section, I’m actively serving as a mentor to a warrior engaged in a battle to break free from the chains of pornography. We’ve never met, and only know each other through my Brick Breakers Men’s Ministry site.
Regardless, he’s a wounded warrior who reached out for my help. We text daily and through his honesty and openness, I’ve seen more about the realities of sexual bondage than I ever saw in my own. I’m not saying his is worse than mine, but that we are all victims of satan’s lie in this war for our spiritual independence. Helping other brothers is an opportunity to see more of yourself through them. While winning my battle with sexual bondage, I focused on me and my freedom. While mentoring my warrior brother, I see his battles from a bird’s eye view. It’s a sobering observation to witness the totality of consequences for pursuing his compulsion.
Networking is an important element in gaining and maintaining your freedom from sexual bondage. It’s like house plans before you ever break ground. Laying a foundation that not only supports the structure and framework, but will sustain against all types of stress and strain is vital for your success. Mentors, Christian counseling, family, spouse support, technology accountability software, self-assessments, new peers if needed, proper work environment and anything that sets your stage for winning and remaining free is vital for you to overcome sexual bondage. How do you know what you’ll need? That’s where mentors come into play. They’ve been through the battles that you’re going to enter, and they’ve won. Nothing they tell you is theory. It’s all practical experiences that share information about mistakes and victories.
While mentors are a vital component of the network, you must include the other resources mentioned above and any others you identify along the way. The truth is, you can half-heartedly stumble through a minefield and when the explosions tear at your soul, you can roll around in the muck a little longer, or you can gird your loin cloth, set your armor and claim the victory over satan’s prize tactic; sexual bondage. This verse is encouraging, so please take the time to pray and meditate over it.
The Armor of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
26: Glimpse of Freedom
I want to share a story of success so that you may know it is both possible, and yours to claim. Carl was another warrior who came to me for help with his sexual bondage. It had consumed all of his adult life, and at 43 years old, he didn’t see the possibility or the use of trying anymore. Who doesn’t love a good war story where the good guy wins! I’m going to give you a spoiler alert just in case, but Carl wins the fight. Sorry, I just couldn’t resist. But he put in the work and came out on top. These are a few of his milestones that got him there and keeps him there.
We cannot fight lust with our flesh. It’s a spiritual battle that’s out of our control. Once we accept that and understand the desperate nature of our position, we come more close to God and His saving grace. Carl also came to understand that he had to drop his miserable attempts at deception. While he thought he’d become pretty good at covering his tracks, the truth was he was an embarrassment to himself and his family. He confessed to justifying his struggles with porn on occasions wasn’t that harmful because it helped relieve stress. It was more deception and he finally made the choice that there could be no place in God’s grace for porn.
Carl came to know that the more he closed himself off from his family, the more he felt the cruel desire for lust. Satan wants to isolate you from supporting people who love you. He wins once you trust him to give you validation through sexual bondage and pornography. Hiding our sin only enforces them. Confession frees you from them.
Carl, like most of us are doers and fixers. Relying on others is a sign of weakness. But, in the supernatural realm of sexual bondage, relying on God’s strength was Carl’s only option to find and maintain freedom. Only by surrendering his fantasy and carnal thoughts to Christ was he able to establish and uphold a holy standard of sexual purity.
Carl was blessed with a taste of freedom, and while he basked in Christ’s light, he committed to remain free. While God set him free, Carl knew he had to remain on guard against his own pride.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8
Warrior, the keys to Carl’s success are that he remained humble about his victory. He knew the dangers of pride, so he remained close to Christ. He consistently pursued the Holy Spirit for guidance, was obedient to Hos prompting, made sure he didn’t squirrel himself into situations of being alone or isolated, and made sure he stayed active in small groups at church or service projects were service to others was placed above sexual satisfaction of self.
God allows us glimpses of brilliance to stir our spiritual imagination and encourage us to pursue His wonderful will for our lives. Once you experience a taste of freedom, it should be hard to return to the bondage. But I know that in reality that although the shackles have been removed, it may be harder to flee than expected.
The mighty elephant, once subdued, remains tethered by a mere rope around it’s leg attached to a small peg in the ground. It’s only the perception of bondage that we struggle with, because the reality is we were set free when Jesus went to the cross. Enjoy everlasting freedom from sexual bondage.
27: Personal Commitment
Warriors, are you still living a life outside God’s spiritual A,B,C’s; Accountability, Boundaries, & Consequences? It’s time to make a lasting personal commitment to reclaiming your life. These three simple principles can and will change your life. But, you must be willing to actively participate in gaining and maintaining your freedom.
Have you ever wondered why your life continues to be one struggle after the next? No matter how hard or bad you want to change, you don’t. It’s true that the path to hell is paved with good intentions. Intending to do something like break free from sexual bondage doesn’t bring healing or change. It only brings more hurt and failure. The true healing comes when intentions stop and actions begin. Warriors, we’re naturally resistant to limitations. We like to explore, push and look beyond. While these can be great characteristics for innovations and improvements throughout history, they have also caused us great problems when we either didn’t know where the limits were or we just refused to stop.
Resistance to standards and aggression to conquer cannot be what solely drives our life. Everyone needs structure. If we want true, eternal life-winning change, we need to be accountable, respect established boundaries and understand that there are serious consequences to our actions. My pastor, Joshua Melancon once told me,
“God isn’t going to wink at your indiscretions anymore.”
That simple sentence pierced my spirit. I’d always assumed God would forgive me because I was a good guy. There comes a point where being a good guy and having good intentions doesn’t cut it.
A, B, C
Warriors, please take time to pray about these A-B-C’s and if you truly want to stop asking, “Why me?” and start living a strong, active life for Christ that’s free of the shame of sexual sin, then put them into practice.
Remember, fences are built to protect what’s on the inside, and not to limit how far you can achieve in this life. Don’t hesitate to construct the boundaries that protect you from porn and sexual invasions.