One of Satan’s biggest lies when it comes to sexual temptation is that we’re the only one who struggles with it. If we were to share our struggles with trusted Christian friends their mouths would surely drop, gasping in disbelief and disgust at our dirty sin. So we keep our struggle bottled up in shame, struggling in isolation, the spiral of addiction and despair swirling deeper and deeper.
Others lie to themselves, telling themselves their sin isn’t bad enough to have to talk about it and deal with it. They only stumble into porn or lust or fantasy every now and then and they are working on it and will eventually get rid of it on their own strength.
These lies serve to keep us entangled in our sin and will keep the life slowing seeping out of us, true freedom never in hand.
When I first starting sharing about my past addiction to pornography in sermons, I was very hesitant. As I did my sermon prep, I could feel a strong sense of fear and timidity (from Satan). What would people think of me? What if I truly was the only person in this crowd you struggled with this?
Every time I shared my testimony, I mean every time, I’d have at least one Christian in the church send me an email sharing that he was so glad to hear my testimony. Often this would be a spiritual mature, married man with kids who had found himself wrapped in a net of porn addiction and couldn’t find a way out. After enough of these conversations, I began to realize that not only should it not be surprising to hear of a man’s struggle with sexual sin, it would in fact be surprising to find a man who didn’t struggle in this area in some way. And while the amount of women who struggle with porn isn’t as high as men, it is still significant, and the broader arena of sexual and relational temptation is certainly just as applicable to all women as it is to all men.
Yet to this day many churches remain silent on this topic, giving Satan exactly what he wants. And many men remain silent on the topic, allowing fear and pride to reign, rather than freedom and life.
James 5:16 tells us, Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. There is power and healing when we have the courage to tell someone else about our sin. Often we only confess our sins to God but keep it a secret from those around us. While confessing our sin to God is a good thing, he gave us the Church, the very Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27), for a reason. He calls the Church his body because he has uniquely equipped the Church to do his works. We have Jesus in bodily form at our doorstep, yet we remain captive in our sexual sins because we won’t reach out.
Imagine your problem is a nail sticking out of a 2×4 piece of wood. You take the 2×4 to God in prayer, telling him you need him to take care of your problem and hammer it in for you. Meanwhile, he has already provided you with an incredible box full of tools called the Church, along with an instruction manual (the Bible) for how to use the toolbox. Here in this toolbox are brothers and sisters in Christ whom God has equipped to bring you his healing when you open yourself up to them.
It’s actually very powerful to speak our sexual temptations into reality. When they are in our heads, our fantasies make sense to us. When we speak them out loud to another person, their distortion and destruction grow legs. We are forced to hear ourselves describe how twisted our minds really have become. Not so that we can feel shame, but so that we can see how we’ve veered off course and with the help of a brother or sister, can recalibrate our vision to see life and reality and truth again.
Proverbs 27:17 is right on when it says, As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. A piece of iron needs another piece of iron in order for it to be sharpened. What happens when a piece of iron goes it alone? It becomes dull and ineffective.
Have you become dull? Is this dullness fueled by a fear that you’re the only one who struggles with sexual sin? Call Satan’s bluff and speak your temptation into reality. Find a Christian brother or brothers and share your story with them. Speak it into reality. Pray together. Know that God works miracles through prayer. Sharpen one another.
The Church is meant to be a place for broken, bleeding, hurting people. It is meant to be a place of grace, not condemnation (Romans 8:1). Utilize it as such.
Don’t keep walking alone in your pain when healing is only one conversation away.