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Sex Addiction, Bible Studies
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation;
and uphold me with thy free spirit. Psalm 51:12
Autumn floods me with childhood memories of locusts inhabiting our farm and caterpillars on twigs, kept on mason jars, just waiting to become monarch butterflies.
And, with that flooding, often comes the tinged bittersweet feelings that accompany a childhood innocence of long ago.
I recently caught a funny post on the internet. It read: "Memories: Ouch!"
They say humor is humor because it is unflinching truth. And that certainly was the case with this post.
I recently saw one of those cute dog posts on the internet, saying the following:
"So, you're telling me you have a whole box of treats but I only get one?"
After I stopped giggling, I squirmed a bit. For who was I to laugh at this dog? I have often dealt with that particular thought myself.
And it's further complicated by the reality I am reward-oriented.
As I've tried, over the course of my childhood, adolescence and adult years to constructively deal with that fact, let's face it, all too often, the bright shiny rewards are just too tempting.
But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. James 1:14-15
Most of the time, like our little canine friend here, I've looked to consume an entire box or bag of something instead of eating one cracker, chip or cookie. Indeed, my attitude...
"So, you're telling me you have a whole box of treats but I only get one?"
And, more times than I care to count, I've looked to other things, instead of God, to satisfy me and be my substitute. And yes, that's even while being a Christian.
I know- shocking!
But, before you hyperventilate, please keep in mind, you, my friend, are mortal also.
For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. Psalms 103:14
Rewards on the brain.. are you guilty of this? C'mon, be honest.
And yes, unfortunately, for many of us challenged by addictions, compulsions and disorders, these elusive things are far too desirable to ignore. Ideally, we would focus on our true, meaningful rewards, as connected to our loving God.
After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, "Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward." Genesis 15:1
Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:24
Ideally, we would concentrate on this, appreciating, thanking Him for it, being satisfied and peaceful about the entire thing. But hey, c'mon, we're dusty, remember?
So, this is more like it...
God has been teaching me His way concerning heart health. The condition of my physical heart mirrored the state of my spiritual heart. Through a physical and spiritual heart catheterization He exposed blockages, which left untreated, would be my certain physical and spiritual demise. He exposed areas of my heart that were still wounded and thus divided. I suspect I am not alone in this process.
According to the parable of the sower, Jesus teaches that It is from our hearts that we gain all spiritual guidance and understanding.
"But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop" Luke 8:15 NIV.
"All valid spiritual direction comes to us through our heart-the seat of true knowing and our "eyes and ears" in the spirit. If we discern the "will of God" it is through our heart. Knowing our true identity and destiny is achieved through our hearts as well." "Living from the Heart Jesus Gave You", pg.67, published by Shepherd's House, Inc. revised version 2000.
As a direct result of these remaining heart blockages, I was no longer able to fully hear, retain, or re-produce a good crop from the word that had been so wonderfully planted in my heart for decades. The ability to correctly discern, know and understand Papa's will or my true identity and destiny as Papa's beloved son were being robbed from me. In this state, my capacity for joy was weakened. Of course my loved ones were profoundly affected by my heart disease as well (which of course there has been profound mercy and the amazing grace of forgiveness).
When your heart has blockages, your core identity becomes at best skewed and can even lose touch with reality. You are less able to live from the new heart Jesus gave you as your birthright. You even can end up not behaving or acting like who you truly are-an adopted child of God. Probably the most devastating part of this condition is being blocked from enjoying Christ in your heart. He-of course, will never leave us or forsake us-but our intimacy with Him can be diminished.
I am being so transparent about this in hopes to impart the courage for you to ask Papa to search your heart and know truth in your inner most parts, as King David did. This is why he was "called a man after God's own heart."
The single goal of heart healing is to
I recently came across a little gem about the ego and the soul.
It's quite profound. It states things like:
"Ego looks outward. Soul looks inward."
"Ego sees lack. Soul sees abundance."
According to one definition of the word, soul is comprised of the mind, the will and the emotions. So, it stands to reason soul would be quite vulnerable to disease. Indeed, there is a battle going on.
And, let's get real -- a large part of that battle involves the toxic pride factor.
Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 1 John 2:16
And that pride rubs shoulders with rebellious foolishness.
The fool hath said in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. Psalms 14:1
And yes, that goes for even us Christians.
It's not about being a good little boy or girl in the pews on Sunday. Instead, it has everything to do with the very real, very rebellious, prideful and diseased thoughts which have ensnared us in affliction. Saying "no" when we should say "yes."
As is echoed in the "Ego Versus Soul" post...
"Ego rejects God. Soul embraces God."
And, while we may nod our heads in agreement with that statement, do we really examine any rebelliousness lurking in our tricky hearts?
After all, we're not above being deceived...
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9
For, once upon a time, there was a certain rebel who let some audacious, prideful attitudes rip.
And he said unto them, "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven." Luke 10:18
I came across a humorous post on the internet:
"Someone's therapist knows all about you."
It made me laugh… and think. I thought back to many therapy sessions I engaged in, talking about certain individuals and their impact of my life, disorder and state of mind. I talked about my mother, my dad and my childhood bullies. Believe me, I had A LOT to say. So, yes, even though my therapist never met them, she knew all about these people.
But this humorous post touched on something bigger. It wasn't just about the acquired knowledge a therapist gained when his/her patient ranted about their issues. It had to do with God - the ultimate therapist-and His role in our lives as we struggle, hurt and encounter recovery.
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12>
Cue the heart, therefore:
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23
For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he... Proverbs 23:7
But this heart issue is not a passive thing, ignored by God. Quite the contrary, in fact.
"…the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
In other words…
When I was in kindergarten, I took dance class, with emphasis on ballet and tap. At least once a week, I attended these classes, held in Mrs. Taylor's basement. My strongest memories were the gigantic black bow pinning the back of her bun hairstyle and the 45 records we were given to practice our routines. I especially remember "Alley Cat" and "Practice, Practice, Practice." I spent hours in my tap shoes, striving for improvement on a square piece of plywood. After a while, I grew to dislike that song immensely. "Practice," after all, was tedious, boring and frustrating.
Little did I know, however, so often, would life be as well.
According to the famous myth, the character of Sisyphus was condemned to an eternity of hard labor. For a crime against the gods, his assignment was to roll a great boulder to the top of a hill. Each time he completed this task, requiring tremendous effort, reaching the summit, the boulder rolled back downhill again.
Tedious, boring and frustrating...
I recently came across this famous Margaret Thatcher quote:
"Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
"And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it."
Matthew 7:24-27 speaks to everyone who is in recovery. At one time or another, we all have built our houses on sand. That sand could be alcohol, riches, drugs, sex, food, another person, gambling, anger, abuse, depression, the list is endless. And just like sand, these God-substitutes slip through our fingers, leaving no trace as we desperately grasp at them looking for something firm to cling to. None of these sand-gods provide a firm foundation. Only God Almighty provides a foundation that is unshakable. No matter how bad things get, God is always there. He never fails. Yes, at times we may feel He is distant, but that is a FEELING. The reality is that He is always present and He holds you firmly in His grip, if you let Him.
We're in the middle of cold and flu season; sickness abounds.
And, it's at this time of year, I think about healing. It's one thing to be flu-ridden, queasy, achy, possessing a high fever and wish to be well.
However, it's another thing if we struggle with addictions and compulsions; they are also referred to as "disease." With that situation, we're often conflicted at best and resistant and unhealthy at worst. What is our response to the question, "Do you want to get well?"
Hey, even Jesus asked the question.
From that magical moment of birth, we all set out on a life consuming quest to satisfy an unquenchable thirst for fulfillment. It was then that we filled our little lungs with air; oh, what an overwhelming experience that must of been! In fact, we loved it so much that we have never intentionally stopped doing it.
Then came our need for nourishment and comfort, which in turn triggered a God inspired train reaction of magical events We instantly learned a beautiful reality, which was that the inhaled air (filled with oxygen) in our lungs not only insured a healthy body, but we could use the exhaled (void of oxygen) air to stimulate our little vocal cords and have our needs met. David the great Psalmist of Israel was so right on when he pinned this revelation of his God and maker:
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully made; Wonderful are your works, my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:14
You see, it only took a mere whimper and our world stood at our command. Mom would come running into the room and filled our empty tummies or some one would answer the call and have our soiled diapers changed, and to add icing on the cake, the louder we cried, the higher people jumped. It seemed that life couldn't get any better.
THE WORLD WAS OUR STAGE
Then it did get better; can you remember your adolescence years? You know, the year when mom & dad were placed on the back burner and now it was all about that prince charming/goddess who sat next to you in class. Wow, if I could just get her to notice me and maybe fall madly in love (our limited knowledge of it) with me. Then this unquenchable thirst would be filled and for a season it did just that. But sadly, some one ended up with their first broken heart and OUCH, it sure did hurt.
What produces or gives your heart sustained and real Hope? Can you do anything that produces Hope?
But I need something more! I've tried everything and nothing helps. I am at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Romans 7:17a and 24, The Message
Before we can get a hopeful answer to this predicament, we first have to arrive at the door of giving up! Just like Paul; who remember, had a religious pedigree as long and as impressive as the State of Texas is wide-we must exhaust all of our personal resources.