Tools of Freedom: Biblical Models of Change For those who Battle Sexual Bondage (Part 2)

This is the second part of our 5-part study on battling sexual bondage, written a brother of BeFreeinChrist.  If you would like to review part 1, please click here.

Model #2 – Be Transformed by the Renewing of Your Mind (Romans 12:2)

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.

In my own struggle for sexual purity, this has been a key and crucial step.  My sexual sanity and health seem to be directly correlated to the amount of time I commit to seeking the mind of Christ through his word, not just in the general sense of Bible study, but specifically by using my sexual brokenness as a gridwork or framework to explore, or perhaps re-explore, what God has to say about sin, repentance, love, forgiveness and sanctifying grace.

When this whole approach to Bible study was first suggested to me, I was reluctant to do it.  It seemed sort of fatalistic- that I would be somehow reinforcing my identity as a sexual sinner by filtering all that I read and studied through that particular set of problems.

But as I committed myself to a season of doing precisely that exercise, I made an exciting discovery:  even though I was continually using my brokenness in this one area as a sort of jumping off place for study and meditation, I found it to be sort of a key to unlocking all sorts of areas where the Lord had apparently been just waiting to speak into my life.

For example;

I began seeing, for the first time in my life, what an angry person I can be, and am.  I had sort of this mild-mannered, laid-back peacemaker/negotiator image that I guess I thought  I was projecting.

But down there in my deceptive heart, just like Jeremiah (9:10) said I would, I discovered a virtual cauldron of bitterness, resentment, arrogant self-righteousness and internal violence.  There was a season I went through, where it seemed like I was doing nothing but confessing bitterness and anger, 24:7, around the clock.  And much of that suppressed, “hidden” anger was directed at those I profess to be closest to and love the most- my wife, my kids, my church family and my closest professional colleagues.

I found out that the reason, or at least a major reason, that my anger and resentment had been suppressed and distorted into sexual obsession was that I’m also a very fearful person.  I was not only afraid of being discovered and exposed as a sexual sinner, but of being really known in any significant sort of way.  Very rarely would I let anybody in, even my wife, to the inner chambers of my life.  I had some friends who knew me well enough to know about the sexual difficulties.

But I would never have told you about the anger.  Or the deep sense of being a phony, a failure and a worthless hypocrite.  Or the gnawing fear that I wasn’t a very effective husband and father.

This process of self-discovery is much like pulling back the layers of an onion.  On the outside are the addictive-compulsive sexual behaviors.  On the inside are the real issues of the heart—the anger and fear, the bitterness and hiding, the failure of faith- refusal to submit to God’s rule and depend on Him to meet my real needs.

It is and has been often scary, sometimes incredibly painful, but also an exhilarating adventure.

Before I move on, I should mention that this process of mind-renewal for me at least, has had four essential components:

(1)     Study of Scripture – this should be obvious.

(2)    Reading the Literature on Sexual Addiction – reading up on what Christian counselors and therapists have been learning in their search  for practical and effective answers in this area.  Chances are you can find several good books in this area at you local Christian bookstore.  Or write to New Man for a bibliography.

(3)    Journaling – writing down what I was learning, what I was experiencing and feeling, noting my times of progress and times of failure and trying to analyze the inner environment.

(4)     Counseling and/or personal accountability – meeting with a trusted man with whom I could share my inner life and who could guide me with probing questions.

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