Anonymous asked: I have a friend struggling with lust and masturbation. He is a Christian and is aware that it is a sin but he told me he sometimes couldn’t help it. What could be a good and practical solution for this?
Unka Glen answered: Ah, the friend, yes. How about this for a solution: put it off until later.
Oh, but we have to attack the obvious, visible sins first, because they’re more important, and then deal with the sins of our interior thought-life later, because they have less of an impact on our walk. Sounds dumb when I say it out loud, but it made sense a few seconds ago, huh?
I recently used an analogy, where I said this process of dealing with the sin in our lives, is like cleaning a house. You simply can’t clean all parts of the house at once. You start in one place, and work your way to another. However, the ORDER you place on the sins you want to attack is of paramount importance.
Let’s look at the usual order of sins Christians want to deal with:
- Lack of being nice/polite
- Bad church attendance
- Lack of reading Bible
Again, it doesn’t look right when you actually write it down and look at it, huh? Now, let’s look at a smarter list:
- Lack of discernment
Looks much better right? Okay, now I’m gonna show you the magic part… Let’s start with #1, guilt. Step numero uno in your walk is accepting forgiveness. If you haven’t done that, forget about Bible knowledge, and all the rest. If you haven’t fully accepted God’s forgiveness, you’re not a babe in Christ, you’re still a zygote.
Nothing wrong with that though, all we have to do is make accepting forgiveness and rejecting the emotions of guilt our top priority. We do that by living with a simple truth: yes, I am guilty, BUT I am forgiven.
Now, here’s the good part.
If I accept this forgiveness, what happens when I get to #2 on my list (shame)? Why am I living in shame if I’m forgiven? Suddenly that makes no sense. It’s hard for shame to even stick to me, if I fully embrace that I’m forgiven.
Then what about #3 (fear)? What do I have to be afraid of? God already knew I was going to commit this sin, and He already made a way for me to be forgiven, I’ve accepted this way, and so what new development is there for me to be fearful of?
This way of forgiveness involved the Son of God being tortured and killed for my sins. In the light of that, it’s hard, looking at item #4 (pride), to think of myself as anything other than a totally depraved sinner who is nonetheless totally loved by God. Pride just can’t take root in a mindset like that.
So by the time you look at item #5 (lack of discernment), you realize that if you tried to have discernment, while also wallowing in guilt, cringing in shame, cowering in fear, and somehow trying to build up your own self-image… well, you can see how truly difficult it would be to get ANY discernment.
The same goes with porn, or any other bad habits we have. If you order things wrong, you’re looking at accomplishing the near impossible, mostly in your own strength (or as often happens, swapping out one addiction for another).
If you order things right, you can build this amazing momentum, where the wisdom and strength you develop to deal with today’s struggle, will help you conquer all the other struggles you’ll have for the rest of your life.