Category Archives: Equipping the Man of God!

Stand With a Brother

stand with a brother

Be Free in Christ is a ministry that was established so Christian men would have a place where they can reach out to one another. Whether for the purpose of confession, asking for advice or prayer, or offering encouragement. It is vital that we let Jesus wash us clean of the filth in our lives, but it is also important that we have some earthly person to turn to who will help us stand when we need help in battling our desires.

First we need to identify the seriousness of lust.  If we consider lust to be like a drug that pulls us in and destroys us from the inside out, it can help shine a light on just how dangerous it can be to our spiritual health. Romans 8:6 – The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

Pastor John Piper writes: Lust Is Psycho-Erotic Euphoria. It is just like power in your body that makes you so pleased by the erotic, by the visual, that you are moving toward it visually with such a force that it starts to nullify moral conviction. It puts you out of touch with all the arguments you had before to be pure and move you into behavior that you are then later going to disapprove of.

It is like drunkenness. Suppose you go to a bar with a buddy … and he wants to drive and go watch a movie downtown while he is drunk. And you say, “You are not driving. I am not going to let you drive.” And you bend his arm behind his back and just throw him in the back seat and grab his key, and since he is your friend, he doesn’t hit you, and you drive him home and throw him in bed.

Is that right? Should we do that? And I think most people would say, “Yeah. Yeah, you should do that. I mean he was drunk. He was going to kill himself.”

We need to attack lust like we would alcoholism or drug addiction. We need to rid our lives of the source of our temptation, whether drink, drug, or porn. Matthew 5:29 – “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out”.

So, along with attacking temptation ourselves (in Jesus’ power) we should surround ourselves with brothers in Christ who will stand alongside us.  And in turn, we need to be there for our brothers to help them in their struggles.

As Pastor Piper adds: we need people in our lives who will break our arm? Not just, as Paul says, “I pummel my own body.” I am saying you should pummel me.

If you are drunk, and you are going to kill yourself, you had better be glad somebody is in your life to throw you in the back seat of a car. And later on when you wake up, you will glad they did. Then you can pray towards some kind of appropriate stance where you obey freely from your heart.

Helping Each other Stand

Having brothers who will try to shake some sense into you is an incredible blessing. We can help to keep each other stay focused and on the right path. Proverbs 27:17 – Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

Accountability, like we find in groups such as Be Free in Christ is a powerful tool in helping us feel like we are not alone, that there are others with similar struggles.

We must not be afraid to admit we cannot overcome on our own. First and foremost we need Jesus.  His grace and His strength are essential in winning the battle over temptation.  Second, having Christians who will allow us to lean on them is vital.

Hebrews 3:13 – Exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

 

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of DesiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books, including A Peculiar Glory.  Quotes attributed to John Piper were taken from his writing that can be found in its entirety at the following link: http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/how-can-we-serve-one-another-in-battling-lust

Battling Lust

God created sex to be enjoyed in the bonds of marriage, between one man and one woman.  Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. – Genesis 2:24

The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. – 1 Corinthians 7:3

Man on the other hand, has taken this beautiful gift and spoiled it by indulging in lustful desires outside of the marriage bed.  Each one of you know how to take a wife for himself in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like heathen who do not know God. – 1 Thessalonians 4:4-5

And by attempting to satisfy our lust outside of the marriage bed, we objectify the other person and we abuse God’s beautiful gift.

Today’s World

The perception of sex has changed dramatically over the last few decades.  Abstaining from sex until marriage, which was once considered normal and honorable, is now seen as strange and prudish.  Sexual promiscuity and pornography are no longer taboo, but commonplace.

But God sees all attempts at feeding sexual desires outside of the marriage bed as adultery.  “You shall not commit adultery. – Exodus 20:14

But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. – Matthew 5:28-29

He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself. – Proverbs 6:32

For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. – Ephesians 5:5

As we can clearly see in these verses from Proverbs, Ephesians and Matthew, the view of the world that sex out of marriage is no big deal does not harmonize with God’s view.  God sees it as destructive and damaging to our relationship with Him.

Fighting the battle against lust is not easy.  Many of us have fed the fires of our desire for years prior to accepting Jesus as Savior and Lord.  Trying to change a pattern of a lifetime is extremely daunting.  In fact, I would say it is impossible to do, at least in our own power.  However, we do not need to accomplish this on our own, but in Jesus’ power.  For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. – Romans 6:14

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – Ephesians 2:10

Battle Plan

Turning to God is the only way to defeat those lustful desires we all have.  A growing relationship with the Lord is the only thing that can ever truly satisfy us.  Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” – John 4:13-14

Additionally, by seeking God in all things, He will ignite our passion for our spouse. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

Can you imagine a marriage that is built on love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control?  What more could we need?

 

BefreeinChrist would like to know what you have found to be helpful in living this out.  Is it the accountability that this or other groups afford, or the encouragement of the scriptures? Perhaps it’s a 12-step group, like Sex Addicts Anonymous.  We have so many tools and weapons at our disposal, that we should avail ourselves to, including the many on this site.  Please send a response HERE.

4 Tips for Beating the Lust Trap

By Mark Dance who is director of LifeWay Pastors.  Prior to LifeWay, Mark pastored churches for 27 years.

We would all like to believe that pastors are above the same sexual temptations and traps that snare other people. Quite the contrary, I believe that ministers are the most strategic of targets on hell’s hit list.

Ministers are rightly expected to preach for sexual fidelity as well as against sexual immorality. We have no shortage of material these days with homosexual and transgender headlines staring at us daily. We are not only supposed to address sexual immorality in our churches, but also in our homes and in our hearts.

I want to share some encouraging ways to help you avoid the lust trap. These are not four easy steps for purity, only time honored strategies that have been learned the hard way. My list is not exhaustive, so please feel free to recommend more in the comments section of this blog.

  1. Holy Spirit > Your Will

Some of you may have thrown in the towel so many times that you are skeptical about another purity strategy. I have a good news/ bad news scenario for you.

Bad News = WE ARE ALL LOSERS.

You have no inherent strength to live and serve in victory. My inner strength is insufficient to avoid the lust trap, much less overcome it.

“Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

Good News = CHRISTIANS ARE FULL OF SUPERNATURAL POWER.

“The weapons of our warfare are not worldly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds…taking every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Cor. 10:4-5).

  1. Recruit Your Spouse as an Ally

God not only expects us to win, He sets us up for success through the awesome gift of marriage. Since most of my readers are ministers, and 98% of ministers are married men – I want to speak to you man to man. You need your wife more than she probably realizes.

There are two sex talks every woman needs. One from her mother, and one from her husband. If the first one makes her sick, the second one will make her mad. Early on in our marriage I told Janet how men really think and she was mad.

For a year.

Seriously.

Marriage was awkward for a year, then awesome for twenty!

Not only has Janet become my greatest ally in the endless war against the world, flesh, and devil – but a terrific coach to other women who do not fully understand the sexaholic they married. A great place to start is 1 Corinthians 7.

The pastor’s closest friend and strongest ally is his spouse, but hopefully she is not the only one.

  1. Walk In Purity & Victory With Other Men

Isolation makes us vulnerable. Godly ministers cannot win the battle for purity alone, as much as we would like to because of its private nature.

Pornography is not just a problem in the clergy, it is an obsession. One poll found that a disturbing 75% of ministers say they have zero accountability systems in place to help them stay pure (Heath Lambert, 10/14).

“Flee from youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart” (2 Tim. 2:22).

  1. Build a Firewall Around Your Life

Before we can lead others, we must first be able to lead ourselves.

“Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock that the Holy Spirit has appointed you to as overseers, to shepherd (pastor) the church of God” (Acts 20:28).

People don’t fall into traps, they walk into them. Here is a better, biblical plan:

“Run from sexual immorality!” (1 Cor. 6:18).

Solomon gives great practical advice to his sons about the dangers of adultery in Proverbs 5-6, which applies to both the literal and virtual versions of it. His double barreled counsel to them was to enjoy their wives and avoid “the forbidden woman.” In a nutshell – she will take your marriage, reputation, fortune, and possibly, your life.

“Keep your way far from her. Don’t go near the door of her house” (Prov. 5:8).

 

This article originally appeared on Lifeway.com on June 18, 2015 and is reprinted with permission from the author.

The Dangerous Mindset of Lust

By Steve Gallagher
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In spite of the fact that sexual sin was widespread under the surface in the Church, it was hardly ever discussed openly in 1986 when I founded Pure Life Ministries. Men who struggled were terrified that if they were discovered they would be ostracized by fellow church members. The fear was legitimate.

Gratefully, this has changed, and today sexual sin is talked about openly. Those who struggle are no longer stigmatized and treated as outcasts as they once were. After all, lust is “Every Man’s Battle.” Indeed, the new catch-phrase in the Church is: “God hates the sin but loves the sinner.”

Yes, much has changed for the good in the past 18 years. And yet, I fear that the pendulum has swung too far in the opposite direction. Could it be that in our attempt to show compassion to those bound up in sin that we have minimized the evil nature of the sin? In our rush to assure fallen men that “God loves the sinner,” have we forgotten that He also “hates the sin?” Are we giving men the wrong message that God really isn’t too concerned about wickedness?

Unlike many today, Jesus spoke of lust in the most sobering and even frightening terms. For instance, we are all familiar with the passage dealing with lust and masturbation in the Sermon on the Mount:

You have heard that it was said, “You shall not commit adultery;” but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell. (Matthew 5:27-30)

Before we blow over these well-known (and to many, worn out) words, we should stop to examine an important term Jesus used in this passage: stumble (Gk. skandalizo). It seems as though Jesus is saying, “If you occasionally have a spiritual lapse, you must sever the cause of it lest you be sent to hell.” How could that be the case? Would Jesus really send a man to hell because he “stumbles” in sin every now and then? Since these words don’t seem to line up with our ideas about God’s grace (“God loves the sinner”), most people tend to think that Jesus really didn’t mean what He said. But I want to say that Jesus made no mistakes in His statements. He said exactly what He meant to say and it is very dangerous to assume otherwise.

One of the reasons these words aren’t taken very seriously by many men today is that the English translation used here is very weak. The Greek term skandalizo is much more alarming than our English term stumble. Perhaps glancing at a couple of other verses where this Greek word is used will give us a better sense of what it really means:

“And in a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away (skandalizo).”  (Mark 4:16-17)

“And at that time many will fall away (skandalizo) and will deliver up one another and hate one another.”  (Matthew 24:10)

In the context of these two passages, we can see that this term refers to spiritual apostasy. But is that really what Jesus is talking about? Isn’t this term also used in a less dramatic way? Yes, and that is precisely the point. The strength of Jesus’ statement about lust and masturbation should be understood in direct correlation to each individual’s situation.

For instance, if we are talking about a godly man who “walks with the Lord,” but then—in a moment of uncharacteristic weakness—succumbs to temptation and lusts or masturbates, but repents and gets back on track, that would rightly be termed “stumbling.” On the other hand, the word stumble would not be the appropriate term to use for the man who regularly indulges in lust or masturbation. His sin is causing him to fall away from the living God.

Many men I have dealt with over the years have deceived themselves about their sin. They like to say that they “struggle” with lust or masturbation, when the truth is that there really isn’t any struggle going on at all: they regularly give over to the passions of their flesh. Peter described men like this in the Church of his day: “They have eyes full of harlotry, insatiable for sin. They beguile and bait and lure away unstable souls. Their hearts are trained in covetousness (lust, greed)… Forsaking the straight road they have gone astray…”  (II Peter 2:14-15 AMP)

This is the sort of man who I believe Jesus is addressing in this passage: men who are habitually sinning. They don’t occasionally slip into the gutter; they live there. It would be very foolish for such men to minimize the gravity of Jesus’ words in this passage. He only used the term hell in a handful of occasions; in this case he used it twice. The implication of His words is unmistakable.

The deception many fall prey to is that since they remain faithful in their church attendance, they can’t be considered as apostates. A backslider is someone who has thrown off all semblances of Christianity and is living in open sin. However, much of the Bible is taken up with the hypocrisy of those who “honor Me with their lips but their hearts are far from Me.”

The context of Jesus’ statements in Matthew 5 revolves around the heart, the inward life. The point Jesus made that is even though a man may not be committing actual fornication the very fact that his heart is full of lust makes him just as guilty as if he were actually practicing it. Thus, it is possible for an individual to fall away from God in his heart even though he still maintains an outward semblance of religion.

The true telling factor of whether a man will face the terrible sentence pronounced by “He who has been given authority to execute judgment,” is not whether or not he is sitting in church every week, but what is going on inside him. Those who have “gone astray” and “fallen away” in their hearts, would do well to drop to their knees and cry out to God for a spirit of repentance. God can restore innocence to every heart that truly desires it – truly cries out to Him for it.

This message was graciously provided by Steve Gallagher, the founder and president of Pure Life Ministries. Be Free in Christ thanks Steve for his dedication to helping men find freedom from sexual sin and the abundant life in God that comes through deep repentance.

© 2013 purelifeministries.org 

Overcoming Temptations (Part 4 of 4)

by Paul Cook

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Examples of Fighting Temptation

These examples are intended to illustrate how the Temptation Response Actions could be employed in everyday situations. These are intended to be as realistic as possible without being a temptation source in themselves. If you find yourself being tempted by our examples, please skip this page and go to the course wrap-up.

Law Firm Lady

Setting: Bob is a senior partner at the Smith & Salmon law firm. He works with an attractive paralegal, Julie, who is single and in her early twenties. Bob’s wife is pregnant with their third child. He is working with Julie on a critical project today that requires frequent interaction with her.

Temptation: As Bob greets Julie that morning, he notices she looks particularly attractive. She smiles as their eyes meet. Out of the corner of his eye he has that 6th sense that Julie’s shirt may be open down one button too far. He feels the draw of his flesh to look down her shirt.

Action: Bob also feels the conviction of the Holy Spirit as he is tempted to look at Julie. His conscience tells him, “You’re happily married, Bob. Remember your wife and kids. Keep your eyes out of trouble and keep moving.” Instead of stopping for a chat with Julie by the coffee station, he decides to say a quick hello and keep moving down the hall toward his office. He doesn’t take the second look at Julie. For the rest of the day, Bob takes the precaution of leaving the office door open when he has to talk with Julie about the project.

Chatroom Charlie:

Setting: As a single mom, Sally is usually so busy with work and the kids that she barely has energy and time for anything else. She often feels alone and trapped and longs for companionship and escape. She recently discovered a Christian internet chatroom that helped her feel less isolated. She figured it could even be a way that God might bring a good man into her life. Tonight Sally is feeling lonely. It’s been a hard work week and the kids have finally gone to sleep. She decides to visit her favorite Christian chat room to see if anything interesting is going on before going to bed. Shortly after logging in, she strikes up a conversation with “Charlie15,” who is apparently married to an overly controlling woman.

Temptation: Charlie seems to be a very caring man who apparently made a poor marriage choice. He seems to genuinely be interested in Sally and she feels sorry for him. Before she realizes it, their e-conversation lasts over an hour. Sally is really drawn to Charlie and seems to share similar interests with him. When Charlie discovers that they are living in the same city, he invites Sally to meet him for coffee.

Action: A few warning flags went up in Sally’s mind when Charlie mentioned his marital problems, but it felt so good to have someone paying her attention that she kept chatting with Charlie. Even so, as she continued to converse with him, that feeling in her gut that something wasn’t right continued. When he suggested that they meet, she knew that this was the moment of decision. She told herself, “This is how marriages are torn apart. To meet with him would be setting up an affair. That’s adultery and I won’t do that.” Sally declines the offer and politely exits the chatroom without giving Charlie her email address or phone number.

Needy Neighbor

Setting: Luke’s next door neighbor, Natalie, is a recent divorcee. Luke is married and has two children. Being a good Christian neighbor that he is, Luke offers to help Natalie with any house repairs that come up. One Saturday afternoon, while Luke’s wife and kids are at a soccer game, Natalie calls for help with a leaky faucet.

Temptation: “Can you come over now?” asks Natalie. Instantly, Luke is aware of the potential compromising situation. Natalie is an attractive woman and has always been very friendly to him. “Lord, please help me,” Luke prays silently, as he searches for the answer to give her. The story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife flashes before Luke’s thoughts. The red danger lights seem to be going off in his conscience.

Action: For a moment, the idea of being alone with Natalie in the master bathroom is quite enticing, but just then a way out seemed to flash into his mind…”Ah…Natalie, if the faucet can wait a few hours, I’d like to wait until Mary gets back with the kids, so I can bring my son John with me. He’s been wanting to help me with those fix-it jobs and I’m sure he’d be helpful with this one.”

Spring Break Girls

Setting: Steve is headed home early from work on a Friday afternoon. It’s been a great week for Steve, as he has achieved the top sales month for the first time at HeadhuntersRus, Inc. It’s a beautiful April day in Florida.

Temptation: As Steve gets on the highway, he notices a carload of college girls in a convertible just ahead returning from the beach. From about a half a mile, he can see flowing hair and bikini tops. In the past, it would have been a no-brainer to speed up for a closer look and maybe impress them with his brand new Porsche. In his mid 40’s and at the top of his game at work, its tempting to try to return to his younger days, when he dated plenty of pretty girls that looked good in bikinis.

Action: Steve reminds himself that any one of those girls could be his daughter. How would he feel if some guy was checking out his daughter? “The truth is, those girls are God’s daughters,” Steve thought. He then remembers the covenant that Job had made with his eyes where he would not lust. Steve, too, had made a similar commitment to God, praying that he would not use his eyes for sin. His first step is to set the cruise control at the speed limit (the Lord had been teaching him driving the speed limit also). As the girls pull away ahead and as other cars zoom past him, he remembers that he hadn’t even thanked God for the successful month he had. He prays, “Lord, please forgive me for even thinking about lusting over those girls. I reaffirm my commitment to honor you with my eyes and thoughts. Thank you, Lord, for the best month I’ve ever had at work! I praise and worship you now.” Steve pops in a praise CD and sings the rest of the way home.

Checking-Out at the Supermarket

Setting: John is a single who is adjusting to post-college life and starting his career. John is committed to waiting for the right girl to marry. In college, he dated many girls, and unfortunately compromised sexually with several of them. During his senior year, he got hooked up with some Christian guys on campus who helped him re-establish boundaries for purity and start walking with Jesus daily. John has found that living as a single can be lonely, especially since he’s not yet found a church singles group to hook up with.

Temptation: For some reason, every time John goes to the corner supermarket, it seems like all the pretty ladies in town are shopping when he’s there. Ever since he committed to sexual purity, it seemed like his attraction to women in general has increased. The lusty magazine covers in the checkout aisles and the pretty girls who work the cash registers are recurring temptations for John whenever he shops. On this particular day as John is headed to checkout, he notices two registers open – one tended by Krystal, an attractive college-age girl who looks to be slightly on the wild side, and the other tended by Mary, a fifty-something, slightly overweight woman. John instantly feels drawn to guide his cart to Krystal and maybe have a friendly chat with her as he checks out. About the same time, he recognizes the familiar flash of skin from the magazine covers near the registers.

Action: John feels the “tugging” of the Holy Spirit on him for the split second that he contemplates where to steer his cart. He knows that something lustful happens when he looks into the eyes of beautiful women, especially those who look risqué. He gets lost in those eyes somehow. While it may not exactly be fantasizing, he knows that it’s probably not a good thing to be doing. He remembers the words for 1 Corinthians 10:13 – that God will provide a way out of a temptation so that we can stand up under it. John recognizes that sweet Mary is his way out, and obediently turns his cart to Mary’s aisle. Once in the aisle, John remembers his memory verse from Romans 6:19 which says to offer our bodies as instruments of righteousness and not for sin. Instead of looking at the magazine rack, John fixes his eyes on the wall behind the cash registers. He thanks God silently for the way out of the temptations and even prays for Mary, whatever her situation in life may be. He then heads home.

(More Temptation Scenarios)

Wrap-up

This study is made available to all who want it, by our friends in ministry www.porn-free.org.

To share constructive feedback with us concerning this study, please contact http://www.porn-free.org/course_feedback.htm . We encourage you to take their other courses as the Lord leads you (see online courses).