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** Are you having less sex with your spouse or stopped having sex with your spouse because you are looking at pornography?
** Are unhealthy emotions overtaking your thoughts and controlling the outcome of your actions?
** Have you tried to quit looking at porn but can’t?
If you answered yes to any one of these then you are addicted. Anytime we are addicted to something it means we are under its control and have become a slave to it. Does being addicted to porn mean you are a bad person? Not necessarily.
What it means is that you have a sexual temptation that you desire more than you desire the goodness of self brought on by God. You are allowing the sin to overwrite the natural goodness of your character. Satan is pulling at your flesh to look at porn, while principles and mores are put on hold somewhere in your mind.
Bad people remain in their addiction all the while getting worse spiritually and emotionally. Bad people don’t even try to come out of their addiction but rather revel in it and eventually get worse in their sinful behavior. Bad people don’t know they are lost, they believe they are following the right path already. Bad people are literally holding hands with Satan.
Some of you might be playing a game of tug and war because your conscience is having a difficult time dealing with your actions. This is the flesh (physical and emotional feelings) fighting with the spiritual aspects of your nature. The spiritual aspect of self knows right from wrong. Which way are you tugging? Did you fall into temptation again?
Emotions play a big role in our life. They are active and alive twenty-four hours a day, even in our dreams. Emotions literally tell us what to do with our marriage, family, job, career, self, and how we love others. If we don’t control the course that our emotions run, we might be heading down the road towards destruction.
Are you allowing emotions to control your life?
When was the last time you got angry? What do you do when your friend turns their back on you? What do you do when your spouse disrespects you? What do you do when your children continue to misbehave?
I recently caught a documentary on sex symbol Bettie Page. In it, the withdrawn, elderly phenomenon recounted her entire life, including her racy photographs and films which catered to bondage, nudity and fetish culture.
According to Ms. Page's commentary, she initially tried the conventional methods first. However, the well- known Ford modeling agency rejected her. Founder Eileen Ford, herself, flat out told Bette she was too short and "too hippy."
So, Bettie turned to the more controversial avenue, which subsequently launched her into being the pop culture icon she is today.
And, due to her influence, there are numerous photos flooding the internet, with captions including, "Today, we'd call her fat."
It's makes for a strong body image message. Indeed, looking at her image, what is our response? Do we think she's fat?
Likewise, there's the legendary sex symbol, Marilyn Monroe. She was reportedly a size 12 or 14. Some even speculate she was a size 16!
Again, when we see her, when we are faced with her numbers, what's our first reaction?
Distortion. It's a major factor which drives disorder, compulsion and addiction.
And, for those of us recovering from disordered eating and negative body image issues, a crucial centerpiece of our distortion is the scale.
We are ruled by it. We step on it daily, sometimes even several times a day. I know I did, at my worst. We feel defeat or victory, depends upon what the numbers say.
And likewise, in response to this scale obsession, we've also heard many a platitude about how "Your weight is not your worth" and "You're more than a number."
It is easier heard than believed or lived.
Nevertheless, our thoughts determine the quality of our lives.
Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 declares that God's will for us is that we
[p]ray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks.
To pray unceasingly does not mean spending twenty-four hours daily in prayer. >b>Rather, it means being open continually to God, sharing our thoughts and hopes with Him in mental prayer, and so on. It means, as we face a problem, praying, in a sentence, "Lord, help me with this problem"; or, "Give me patience as I talk with this trying person"; or, "Thank you for seeing me through that mess," and similar prayers.
O. Hallesby years ago wrote, "We cannot breathe in the early morning in such a way that it will be sufficient until noon. Likewise, we cannot pray in the morning so as to suffice until noon."
Continual sentence prayers are simply Christian breathing. They keep us alive and strong.
“I hate Valentine’s Day. I’m divorced, and I don’t have a boyfriend.” Jenny had stopped me in the parking lot of the gym to lament her situation.
“At one time, I also dreaded Valentine’s Day but not anymore.”
Jenny raised her brows and said, “What changed?”
“Let me share with you what my mentors taught me. If I want flowers and candy, I buy them.”
She raised her brows again but said nothing.
“I don’t want to be in a restaurant at dinnertime on Valentine’s Day, but I can go out to breakfast and lunch or order dinner to go.
That made Jenny smile. I told her about the times I scheduled a massage or bought a new outfit on sale. She nodded.
"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.
But the men who had gone up with him said, "We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us." So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, "The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size. "There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight." Numbers 13:31-33
Here was the land of milk and honey right before them yet the few men who went with Caleb were intimidated by it. They looked for excuses: "The inhabitants are stronger than us." "We are too weak." "The land eats people up!" "They are giants, we are insects!"
How many of us have seen recovery as a land promise, of milk and honey yet been so intimidated that we would not venture into it. "My addiction (dysfunction or illness) is too strong." "I am too weak." "Recovery will destroy who I am!" "I am too insignificant to even think about recovery!"
We see people around us who are not drinking/drugging, over eating, gambling, indulging in sex and porn and they are HAPPY! Others have overcome mental and physical illness. They are living fulfilled and renewed lives. We want it yet ... something makes us afraid--we see giants before us. Great obstacles between us and recovery.
There has been much discussion in the past decades about people needing to love themselves. It is an unnecessary discussion. We do love ourselves. It is part of the flesh nature. We may not love the situation we’re in, but the fact is that we wouldn’t even have the conversation if we didn’t, by our very nature, love ourselves.
To get wisdom is to love oneself;
to keep understanding is to prosper. Proverbs 19:8 NRSV
Satan, who is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44), tries to convince us that we need to spend more time focusing on loving ourselves. We need to focus on ourselves, to spend our time and resources getting for ourselves. We need to defend ourselves and get all that we deserve... for ourselves.
Proverbs tells us that, if we truly love ourselves, we will first look to getting wisdom. That having wisdom is how we will prosper. And what is wisdom? Wisdom is God Himself.
In other words, if we truly love ourselves, we will do exactly the opposite of what feels comfortable. We will sacrifice, turn our backs on our own needs, and throw ourselves on the love and protection of our Heavenly Father Who is infinitely better suited to take care of us than we ourselves.
We are deluged with pictures of parties, frivolity, and laughter... in commercials and advertisements. Everyone seems so happy! And all because they bought ___________ (fill in the blank). In other words, they had money. And because of the money, they had friends.
Wealth brings many friends,
but the poor are left friendless. Proverbs19:4 NRSV
Proverbs confirms it. Money brings friends. But what kind of friends? More importantly, what will happen to those friends when the money disappears?
Some friends play at friendship but a true friend sticks closer than one's nearest kin. Proverbs 18:24 NRSV
A person who is my friend because I have the money to entertain them or to give them isn't really my friend.
A friend loves at all times. Proverbs 17:17 NRSV
If someone is truly my friend, she will be there even during the hard times.
But this proverb is more than just about friends. It's about money and how we desire it in order to change and control our lives. We think that with money life will be easier; things will be better. We might even be more popular. The Lord Jesus talked about money: