Pretty strong words. Can you back them up?
As you read this, you’re either thinking – “Okay, Holy Roller, come down off your high horse and quit being so judgmental.” or “Amen!” Alright, there’s a secret society of you that are also responding “Yeah, that’s right… [followed by] I hope he’s not talking about me because if people knew what I do when no one’s around…” If you’re in that third category I pray that this post prompts you to action, because you are afraid. You are a coward.
Some Love for my Fellow Cowards
Today, I’m typing this as a guy who – by the grace of God alone – celebrates 10 years of sobriety from pornography this fall. “Sobriety”, because I was hooked. “Sobriety”, because all of my best efforts to turn away from consuming my Consumer failed. “Sobriety” because I nearly crashed my car a few times because I was daydreaming about when I would get my next “fix”.
Only when I acknowledged my own depravity and separateness from God, embraced my Savior and received the gift of the Holy Spirit could I set down The Ring of Great Power that had become so prrrrrecious to me, yet weighed me down, drained my resources, and delivered nothing but a momentary high followed by a “continual lust for more (Eph. 4.19)”. This was clearly a supernatural occurrence.
His-story No More Mys-stery
To illustrate my point on cowardice, allow me to refer to the guy who helped me wrap my head around my own cowardice. Casey Sanders has been a discipler of men for nearly 15 years now. He’s been married for over 25 years to the same woman. But, he hasn’t always been faithful to her. Years ago, he obeyed scripture and went public with his “habit” after confessing to his wife that he’d spent a decade watching porn in hotel rooms while away on business trips. Scripture teaches “have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them (Eph. 5.11).”
“Coming out” about porn was cathartic obedience and evidence of true repentance, but only the beginning of the journey. As he told his story to the guys from Men Step Up Gwinett:
“As I traveled and made watching raunchy movies and self gratification my habit, I believed that what I was doing was not as bad as other guys who were actually sleeping with women outside of marriage. At times, I even thought my actions were a safeguard from doing something physical with someone else.”
When he finally made this confession to his wife, it led to a much longer interrogation, where out of repentance, he answered with full honesty for the first time.
“She kept asking and I kept answering. At one point she said, ‘I wish you had gone ahead and had a physical affair. What you did was Coward’s Adultery!’ ” Moral of the story: the measure of a man’s bravery is the price he’s willing to pay for the things his heart is set on.
Count the Cost, Measure the Man
As he told me the story, I could argue with him no more than he argued with her that night. If I were really brave, I’d have pursued a real, live woman that would consent to sex at the cost of romance and perhaps even commitment. If I were brave and godly, I’d have pursued a real, godly woman that would consent to sex only at the cost of a lifetime covenant of marriage as God details it and commands it in His word. Instead, I jumped over far lower hurdles that demanded little bravery, boldness, and self-sacrifice than obedience would require [and reward].
Over the years, I’ve been greatly encouraged by God Himself [via the Holy Spirit], truth from His word, and the testimonies of repentant and bold men who have shared the trials God has brought them through on the battlefield of lust. This Friday morning (6:30AM sharp), my friend Michael Leahy will very briefly share his story [at ONE TH1NG, at the Cabernet Steakhouse on Windward and GA-400] with about 100 men with the bravest of hearts who are willing to think out loud about the truth and lies surrounding “The War Within”.
I’ve also posted regarding my interview with Michael here on our blog today. I also encourage you, as you explore this issue to watch Andy Stanley’s second message in the “New Rules for Love, Sex, and Dating” series, linked in that article. Bottom line, we all give our lives to something. It’s time we start doing the difficult stuff instead of settling for the easy fixes. God rewards obedience. Sometimes in the earthly realm, but more importantly in eternity. Consider what price you’re willing to pay as you “take up [your] cross and follow [Him]”.