I’ve been struggling with something as of late. In recent months, I’ve been in a funk. No desire to read the Bible. No passion to pray. No sense of intimacy or depth of feeling to my relationship with Christ. In my prayers and preparing to facilitate a men’s 8-week Bible study based on the movie Courageous that starts tomorrow night, two things are occurring:
1. I’ve been praying that God would reveal to me all the sin in my life, so that I can confess it and repent. Whether it’s sin I know of or sin that I’m not aware of, I’ve asked the Lord to help me see it and turn from it…to follow hard after him.
2. The devil has been upping his efforts against me, causing me to question and doubt that I am able to lead other men through the Bible. Specifically, I’ve been struggling with the fear I find in the answer to the question “am I the man worthy of leading other men? I am not qualified or able to do what He’s asking me to do”.
Words today from Jayne Patton, a dear sister in Christ and author behind the Freshly Brewed ministry, challenged me and helped me to better understand what I’ve been grappling with. She posed the question: “What would it look like if you let go of the things that hold you back in your walk with Christ? If you stopped worrying about what your [family] would think of you. If you stopped worrying about what your friends will think of you. Proverbs 29:25 says ‘The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in GOD protects you from that.‘ Fear disables. It disables you from fully experiencing God’s very best. It disables you from experiencing the life He has planned for you. That doesn’t sound very appealing to me…”
It doesn’t sound good to me either, which got me thinking. In preparing to lead this Bible study, the Spirit has been revealing all the varying sins in my life. As each is revealed to me, I begin to pray that God would strengthen me to overcome it…that He would fill me with Himself that there is no room for my sin. And I continue praying for the courage to face my fears. Today, I’m putting into practical application the courage God is giving me…and I’m outing my sin publicly.
It’s a battle I’ve been fighting for over 20 years. I’ve been keeping this secret sin hidden for so long that the habits have become second nature. I’ve shared this with, and have the support of a loving wife…and I have a trusted friend as an accountability partner…a man of God who’s not afraid to call me out when I need it. But it’s not enough. In my humanness and my addiction, I find ways around the accountability. In my preparations for starting this Bible study tomorrow, I believe God is calling me to be Courageous. To take it up a notch. To stand boldly and profess that I am weak, and He is strong. To bring my hidden sin out of the dark and shed the Light upon it.
So here I stand…admitting what I’ve hidden in shame for the majority of my life. I’m putting myself out there in the hopes that I no longer have to live in a tension-filled relationship with my Savior I’m believing that the Light invades the darkness to reveal what is hidden so that it remains hidden no more. Believing that when the Light permeates the darkness, there can be no darkness remaining. Knowing that admitting this publicly provides me even more resolve to overcome it. Knowing that it puts the fear on the table, so that I can move past the fear and be all that God desires of me.
And it’s my hope that through fighting my addiction to pornography here publicly I can not only prevent you, my young children, from making these same mistakes, but that I can be an encouragement to other men in the same struggle. As my sister in Christ offered her encouragement to me today, it’s my goal that God would “sanctify it ALL in order to use it ALL at His discretion and at His direction.” The choice to pursue Jesus with everything is a daily choice. I fail some days. And at the end of the day, I lay my head on the shoulder of the God who forgives. And every morning I wake up with The Lord who wipes clean the stains of my past, filled with the Spirit who is rested and ready to walk with me.
I will address this topic here in much more depth over the course of the next several months, as God leads. In His timing, I will write about what He leads me to reveal. It will be in no particular order. For right now, I’m emotionally exhausted. This note has been a long time in the making…months of prayer and thought has gone into how to share this. I’m winning this battle now, but I know that as I step out to begin walking other men through the Word, that Satan will continue trying to knock me down.
For now, I’m content to open to the world the door to my darkness…to step out in faith and follow Him…to step into the light.