I’m sure at some point, everyone’s done it at least once. On the way home last night, I was minding my own business, just enjoying my strawberry shake, when it happened. The inside of my cheek got in the way…and I accidentally bit it. I don’t do it often, but when I do, it hurts…bad. Sometimes for only a brief moment or two…other times, longer. In the moments following that bite, there’s not much you can do but sit there and wince as you suck it up and wait for the pain to subside. After a minute or so…the pain gone, with just the uncomfortable sore in my mouth…I continued drinking my shake. And though aware of the sore in my mouth, I soon bit it again…which hurt worse than the first bite!
Which got me thinking…living with an addiction to pornography (or any addiction for that matter) is a lot like that. It’s been so long since I’ve bitten my cheek, I can’t remember that far back. I don’t set out to bite my cheek, because I’m not into the whole causing myself pain thing. Likewise, we can be doing really well with our addiction, winning battle after battle for months on end. We can be in the Word regularly, talking with God daily, and staying in close fellowship with Him. And all of a sudden, with no warning at all, Satan strikes!
A seemingly innocent picture here. A tempting commercial there. An attractive woman looks our way. An overheard comment at work. And before we know it, one thing leads to another…one glance leads to a second glance…a third…fourth. One comment leads to a discussion, which fills our minds with thoughts that entice us. Those thoughts become overpowering, and we forget to cloak ourselves in the Word. As we slowly slip down a path we didn’t set out to be on, we’ve fallen prey to Satan’s attack and before we know it…bitten ourselves. We didn’t set out to cause ourselves this pain, but here we are…immersed in pain and guilt for having done this to ourselves.
And like the sore in our mouth after biting our cheek is protruding…making it easier to bite again and again, so it is with addiction. It’s in the aftermath of our sin, that the devil ramps up his efforts, making it easier to repeat the sin again and again and again. He uses that first opening to continue his onslaught against us. And as we struggle through feelings of guilt, shame and unworthiness, it becomes easier and easier to allow him to keep pushing that door farther and farther open. And before we know it, he’s made his way back into our heart and our life.
“In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.” – Jude 1:7
“As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
Fortunately, we have a Savior who loves us enough to forgive us. All that is required of us is to seek forgiveness and repent. To repent does not simply mean to feel sorry…it’s defined in the dictionary as “to feel such sorrow for sin or fault as to be disposed to change one’s life for the better“. Not just to feel sorrow, but to feel such sorrow that we turn away from the cause of the sin…and not just to turn away from it…but to turn and run! When we’re running from something (sin) or someone (Satan), we’re also running to something (holiness) and someone (Jesus).
Lord, may I continue running toward you and continue to leave the sins of my past behind me! I’m on a path toward you now, and I long to stay on this path. I long for the riches of your kingdom…for the fellowship with you that you desire with me. Lord, continue to strengthen me in my walk and clothe me in your Spirit…that I might be cloaked in righteousness and faithfulness. Help me to secure the armor of the your Holy Word around me that there would be no hole for the enemy to penetrate me. Fill me with your Spirit, that I would have the wisdom to stay on this path you have set me upon, veering from the constant onslaught of the path the enemy desires I follow. Father God, thank you for your forgiveness, and thank you for the wisdom you show me daily. I am unworthy to be called your child, and yet you find me worthy of love.