Remember always that we are broken in our nature, but perfected and free in Christ.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us of all unrighteousness. ” (1 Jn 1:9)
My name is matthew and I’ve been a member of FIC for several years. In that time, I came to see that I was also under the power of p and m, though I claimed to be Christian. God’s grace to me moved my heart, when I considered how much I had taken him for granted. God has blessed FIC to be a place of God’s word (the web resources are great!! There are also substantial archives of material, many of which might “pop out” to you if you look at the yahoo groups web page) and also a place of openness, honesty, frankness and healing.
From my limited point of view, I think you’ve already taken the first step–acknowledging your spiritual poverty and the effects of sin on your life and others. This is the work of the Holy Spirit, brother. And you know very clearly where to go–it’s just a matter of depending on God’s grace.
For now, I would recommend you make a print version of what you just wrote, and keep it in your proven men workbook. From time to time, I was so amazed at emails that I had written, at my frankness about sin and about where I needed to be–that when I looked back at it, I found so much direction by the grace of God! I hope you can read your own email a few times to yourself prayerfully this week.
I feel like getting to know your pastor, and asking his advice, would also be an excellent way to start. Just tell him briefly about your spiritual need, and ask if there are any groups or programs you might join or help out with. You don’t always need to break into the p and m discussion– just let him or other servants in the church know that you need some extra help. If he’s a good pastor, he and his staff will know well that “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak,” and they will know how to strengthen you. There may be others in your situation as well.
Any other advice from me, would be to go to FIC’s website, download their version of Psalm 119 (or print it off from Biblegateway. com or any other bible site) and read half of it every day! I did this for several months, myself, though a few days skipped here and there, and I tell you, it changed my world perspective. I just kept the printed out version in my planner or backpack, and instead of surfing the net in a break, I would go read that and pray that God would make those beautiful words true in my heart. The FIC website has a page about reading Psalm 119, and I just followed it. But God really blessed it. Very often, I used it as an excuse to not start my m habit, because I hadn’t finished my reading goal yet. Even if I couldn’t overcome my sin, I would still struggle to at least read God’s word and put him first in my heart, if even for a moment. That had power and still has power for me today.
I’m glad you emailed. I have been struggling for a long time now, but I can honestly say it has been about a year since I gave in to P and M, and over 2 years since I quit my p and m cycle. Winning that battle wasn’t the end, however, it was only the beginning. Though it was one of my weaknesses, after God gave me that victory (and it took a long time, for me) I can begin to face the bigger spiritual challenges in life, like family, faith, and living for God’s glory in this world. Now I often mess up in life, but I can always remember the victory God has given me (and all of us) in Jesus.
From your email I can see you are ready to start, so I just wanted to encourage you. May god bless your walk!
Yours in Christ,