It Stings a Little When I Eat the Word

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“My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.” – Proverbs 4:20-27

I’m sitting here tonight eating a snack before bed, and my mouth is sore. When I bit it last night, I really bit it hard. It’s hard to chew without feeling pain, and putting any food in my mouth aggravates the pain even more…like putting salt in an open wound. Even putting the nourishing food I need for survival in my mouth right now hurts. (Okay, so I could live without this cookie, but you get the point) 🙂

And so it is with our sin. When we fall back into the habits of addiction, regardless of what that addiction is, a scar is left. Each time we sin, our relationship with God is damaged…our fellowship with Him is broken. And a scar remains. The emotional and psychological damage we bring upon ourselves when we are sexually immoral can be devastating and long lasting.

So much so that even when we turn from our sin toward God…to feed our hearts, souls and minds the nourishment they require, the Word of God…it stings. It stings when we get back into the Word. As the Spirit leads us through the Word, He convicts us of our wrongdoing and sinful nature…and that’s not always an easy pill to swallow. We need the Word, but the sore that’s left from our sin takes time to heal…that healing can only come through fellowship with Jesus, and repentance from the cause of the pain.

“The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, ‘The two will become one flesh.’ But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit. Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” – 1 Cor 6:12-20.

We must turn and run from what tempts us. In running from our sin, we are running toward the Son. In running from the darkness, we are running toward the Light. We can only head one direction at a time. Whichever direction we are facing, our bodies will follow. What our eyes are fixed upon is where we will head.

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” – 2 Cor 4:18



I Bit My Cheek

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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.


My Step Into the Light


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.