I heard a story recently of a guy who used his work computer, at work (because he was away from his wife) to look at pornography. He wanted to stop but couldn’t and ended up smashing his computer to bits and then telling his employer everything that happened.
He then lost his job and had to explain to his wife what had happened. While I hope he is in the process of experiencing freedom from pornography, I wish he would have reached out for help sooner to avoid what happened.
God is gracious and redemptive, but I imagine there could have been a much more gentle way to break the news to his wife and employer.
A couple of days ago I had you read two passages, one in Matthew & one in Acts. You may be wondering what those stories had to do with regulators.
In the first passage, the disciples attempted to heal a demon-possessed boy but couldn’t.
In the second passage, about 2-3 years later, Peter and John boldly say the words, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”.
Could you imagine the confidence it would take to say that to a lame person asking for money??
What changed in those 2-3 years in the lives of Peter & John?
They had walked & spent time with Jesus.
They mimicked Him and studied His words and every move. Their lives centered around following, listening, and obeying Jesus’s teachings.
Most importantly, they were filled with the Holy Spirit. God was literally guiding their thoughts and words so when they had a choice to make, they were familiar with God’s voice in their lives such that they confidently responded when opportunity arose.
THIS is the shift we need to live a life free of pornography & lust. We need external regulations which limit & restrict our behaviors at certain times & in certain ways. As we mature, spending time with God and listening to His teachings and voice, we get to a point when we can internally regulate & control our behavior, making the best & wisest choice in each situation.
Maturing is a process and takes time, but that’s okay.
But that’s also why this is a multi-faceted journey. You CANNOT simply restrict one area of your life and expect long-term progress toward freedom from pornography & lust. It takes time to re-orient your life in all the areas needed.
That’s why there are STOPs, STARTs, WOEs, and RELATEs.
Thoughts to Pray/Journal:
- How can charting on the behavior curve help you determine when you can transition from external to internal regulators?
- What is the role of the Holy Spirit in helping you regulate behavior?
- Are there areas you kid yourself sometimes & think you can control something on your own but in reality you can’t? What are those areas and why are they particularly challenging for you?