Help! I’m a Minister With a Lust Problem!

by Jeff Fisher on August 24, 2016

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Lust is a common struggle with almost every guy, ministers included.  It is a common temptation that most guys deal with.  You are not alone!

It should not surprise us that ministers deal with lust, but it does.  We think that our ministers are so close to God that they are somehow “immune” to these types of temptations.

I Cor 10:31 “No temptation has overtaken you, but such as is common to man.”

THE ADDED DIMENSIONS OF MINISTRY
Being a minister does put you in a different “job category” than others.  You are entrusted with the spiritual care of others.  You are to be a mouthpiece for God’s Word.  You have the delicate, big responsibility of helping people with their soul issues.

The job of a minister can also be a job of isolation.  You have a lot of time alone.  You are on top, making decisions and many times, no one is watching.  If you are a small church pastor or church planter you know these feelings.

A minister is also out on the “front lines”.  He is more at risk because he is dealing with eternal matters.  Kinks in the armor will easily be exploited by the enemy.  Attacks to himself and his family come harder.  If there has been an unchecked history of lust, or secrets being hidden, you are incredibly vunerable.

AN ACTION PLAN
You need to get help – Lust problems will derail a minister very quickly.  It is important that you deal with your struggles aggressively, and thoroughly.  No one can do this alone.  NO ONE can do this alone.  Did you get it?  No one can deal with a lust problem alone.

Open your life to others – You can’t work on sin and struggles without talking to someone.  Find another pastor to talk to.  A denominational leader.  A counselor.  Call a ministry’s 800 number.  Email me at porntopurity@gmail.com.  Call someone.

You need to be courageous – It is a fearful thing to share your junk with someone.  You are worried about your reputation, the church, your family.  But telling the truth is the right thing.  You have to do the right thing.  You have to have faith and lean on God and others for help.

Many ministers have struggled with lust and have overcome – I am a minister who has been aggressively dealing with my lust, porn, fantasy, and masturbation problems for the last two years.  God has helped me.  He will help you.  I have met many other ministers who share our same struggles.  There is a deliverance and healing side, but you’ve got to get started.

You can’t keep the secret – Any time you keep a secret, you are living in the dark in that area of your life.  True authenticity is needed.  Walking in the Light.  Living in the truth.  You need to find a safe person to share your secret with.

God can be trusted – We preach all the time for people to trust God with their salvation, with their problems, with their struggles.  Is this any different?  God is still God for us ministers.  God will help you through this when you choose to work on it, and get the right help.  God is stronger than our lust.  He has a plan to help us navigate it.  Trust Him!

A HAND EXTENDED FROM JEFF
I have been there my fellow ministers.  I had a secret lust problem for 20 years.  I hid it and tried to go solo.  It just doesn’t work!  God had to finally pull the plug on me before I did real damage to myself, my family, and the Body of Christ.

Shoot me an email at porntopurity@gmail.com.  I’ll be a prayer support for you.  Many ministers have contacted us already with these struggles.

Go to our resource list on the right side of our blog homepage.  Or here’s a great resource list from our Porn to Purity main site:  CLICK HERE.

Be brave!  Trust God!


jeff@porntopurity.com or @porntopurity on Twitter

Understanding Sexual Sin’s Progressive Impact

by Jeff Fisher on August 22, 2016

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Our Saturday men’s group Is going through the workbook False Love right now.  False Love is written by Brad Hambrick, Pastor of Counseling at The Summit Church in Durham, NC. 

Chapter 2 of False Love has an interesting section on how sexual sin progresses through five stages (pp.26-29).

  1. IMAGE
  2. STORY
  3. RISK
  4. CONQUER
  5. ISOLATION

IMAGE – The sexual addict starts with pictures.  They seem to satisfy his curiosity and sexual desire.  But appetites begin and he starts classifying others.  Some are pretty and sexually arousing, others are not.  We begin to lust and covet.  We also become dissatisfied with the relationships we have.

STORY – Pornography is more than images.  It creates a story or fantasy for us.  The sex addict begins craving sexual scenarios.  Stories might be about being desired, having power over another, or being with a partner who is willing to do whatever he sexually desires.

Some stories are romantic.  There is a struggle to be together, a chase or a rescue.  Some addicts want to be part of a romantic story.

RISK – Eventually, the addict decide to take risks in order to be a part of the story.  Risk adds to the thrill.  The more risks a person takes the bigger the rush.  As a person’s desire increases, so does his willingness to take risks.  Many addicts become addicted to risk.

CONQUER – Sexual sin tells the addict he “must have” what he desires.  Eventually, covetousness turns into a need to take, even by force.  The addict sees sexual encounters as prizes, and people slept with as conquests.  Sexual sin enslaves the addict, but also prompts him to enslave others.

ISOLATION – The addict pursues sexual encounters to meet his needs.  He wants to feel desired, loved, important, needed, or nurtured.  But his accomplishments leave him empty and full of shame.  He will turn more and more inward and shut himself off from reality.  It’s a sear of the conscience that is very deep.

JEFF’S REFLECTIONS

I’ve never seen sin’s progression described this way.  The deeper a person gets into pornography, the more his conscience is seared, the more he devalues others and enslaves his soul.  Pornographic images seem harmless to many, but they open a very dangerous door.

It seems to me we need large doses of truth and reality to stop sexual sin’s progression.  We need God’s Word.  We need to learn there is a real person behind each pornographic image.

I don’t think I realize the impact pornography has had on me, the impressions and shadows that remain in my soul.  I have many stories I still want to experience or make my wife do.  I feel needs at time to be risky and to conquer.  I definitely feel the dissatisfaction in my own sexual life that objectification and image preference has brought.

Book Review: The Road to Grace

by Jeff Fisher on August 20, 2016

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The Road to Grace: Finding True Freedom From the Bondage of Sexual Addiction

My Introduction to Mike Genung was through the Blazing Grace Podcast and their website (www.blazinggrace.org).  Mike is a man who was set free from sexual addiction.  He came on strong, put out some tremendous programming, then stepped out of the limelight for a while.

Before taking a break, he wrote this book full of his story and insights to help you on your journey out of sexual addiction.

QUICK SUMMARY: The Road to Grace shares Mike Genung’s story of sexual addiction:  events from childhood that contributed, how he got hooked, wake-up moments, and how he found victory.  The book is full of Scripture and quotes from authorities in sexual addiction recovery.  The author shares how the 12-step groups were not a long-term solution – believing and accepting the grace of God is the only true way to find victory over sexual addiction.

225 pages, Blazing Grace Publishing

Available at www.roadtograce.net and www.blazinggrace.org

NOT JUST A STORY
The Road to Grace submerges us in many atmospheres of truth.  Mike shares his story.  He talks about the roots of his sexual addiction and how shame and isolation caused his struggles to grow.  As he tells his story he highlights key lessons learned.  He shares from other authorities in the sexual addiction field.  He will often point to Scriptures that helped him in his recovery journey.

The book will take you through a lot of topics:  root causes, childhood wounds, help with masturbation, breaking the lies you’ve believed, and a mini-study of God’s Word on grace.

THE LITTLE BOY ANALOGY
I love the Prologue and the Epilogue in The Road to Grace.  The author uses the analogy of a “Little Boy”, innocent, pure, and unstained by sexual influences slowly becoming exposed and wounded sexually.  The “Little Boy” gets older by never stops being a boy, largely because of his childhood wounds.

It’s striking and very creative.  In a few pages he is able to share key parts of his story and reminds the reader a key recovery insight:  sexual addiction often has its roots in our childhood.

These pages alone might be worth the price of the book for you.

IT’S ALL ABOUT GRACE
The major theme of the book (hence the name) is grace.  It is a thread through the book, but it is also the sole subject of three chapters.  The author believes we don’t know God because we don’t understand His love and grace.  If we did, it would have a massive effect on our sexual addiction and recovery would be long-term.

It’s a bold thesis I don’t disagree with.

ONE BOOK THAT SHOULD BE TWO BOOKS
At times, it felt The Road to Grace was trying to accomplish too much:  telling the author’s story, emphasizing grace, and sharing tips on key recovery subjects.  It’s hard to pull all of it off.  This book would make two really good books, one only on grace, another with the other lessons the author has learned.

But, getting the content of two books for the price of one, that’s not a bad thing, is it?

WHY MANY 12-STEP PROGRAMS DON’T WORK
The author spent eight years in 12-step groups.  The biggest problem is the focus on sobriety.  It doesn’t go deep enough.

“…a man was “sober” if he hadn’t masturbated or had sex with another person outside of marriage…. Even though I’d abstained from porn, masturbation, and sex outside of marriage for a year and a half, there was still a nagging emptiness inside that gnawed at me.” (44)

Another problem is the focus on self-effort.  Even though one of the 12-steps is to focus on a higher power, the fatal tragedy of many groups is their confidence in their own efforts.

“Purity and sobriety are not the same thing,” the author exhorts.  God calls us to strive toward purity which requires deeper work, and a divine renovation.

THE BIGGEST STRENGTH OF THIS BOOK
The amount of Scripture and spiritual direction you get from this book is fantastic.  It was obvious to me that the author spent a huge amount of time seeking God through His Word.  He wanted to know how to recover deeply from sexual sin and He got a heart full of God in the process.

The Road to Grace shows us that finding true freedom from the bondage of sexual addiction comes only from an intimate relationship with God.


Read Jeff’s Book Review of The Road to Grace – HERE

6 Reasons We Should Tell Our Wives About Our Sexual Struggles (Tues)

The Blessings of Masturbation & The Other Side of the Coin (Wed)

Big Recovery Tip:  Connect With the Grace of God (Thurs)

Tips For Wives of Sexual Addicts (Fri)

CONTACT
jeff@porntopurity.com

@porntopurity on Twitter

I (Jeff) am a regular blogger on www.XXXchurch.com.  Sometimes they use content from our Porn to Purity site for their blogs.  Other times I have opportunities to write fresh articles directly for the site.  For the last several weeks, I and several other bloggers have been writing on group of key questions:

1.  Why am I Looking at Porn?
2.  Why can’t I stop my sexual behaviors?
3.  What’s wrong with me?  Why do I feel so bad?
4.  What can I do to stop my sexual behaviors?
5.  Now that I’ve started my purity journey, what’s next?

 

WHAT DO I DO TO STOP?

Alternate Title:  “Why Han Solo and the Lone Ranger Could Never Get the Help They Needed”

So you’re struggling with pornography and acting out sexually and you want to get out.  Like many of us, you have probably tried many times to stop and been met with failure and frustration.  You wonder “Why is this so hard?”, “Why can’t I stop?”, “What’s the key to stopping?”

There is no magic key to stopping, but guaranteed, you’re going to have to do something new.

SOLO AIN’T WORKING
Our first attempts to stop our sexual behaviors are solo.  We try to stop on our own.  We try to control it.  We make new commitments and vows to ourselves and to the Lord.  We ask forgiveness, repent, rededicate our life, surrender to the ministry… whatever.

It ain’t working is it?  Let’s face it, we have a lot of experience at “what not to do”. Something different has to happen.

Here’s the secret:  you can’t break free from pornography and your sexual struggles alone.

I wish it were not true, but our problem is too big for us.  Our sexual struggles have rooted into multiple levels of our life.  They are impossible for us to understand, diagnose and treat on our own.  Plus, our real problems are heart problems – that’s God’s territory.

We need a partnership with God and with skilled, caring people to help us break free.

 

HANG OUT IN GALATIANS AND JAMES FIRST
There are two verses we should spend some time with when it comes to stopping our sexual habits:

Galatians 6:1,2 (NIV)–  Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.  Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

James 5:16 (NIV) – Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

We don’t like to share our junk.  Hey, who does?  But God’s Word is very clear that:

1.  If you are trapped in sin, you need to get around spiritual men who can help you.

2.  The goal is restoration and helping you get healthy.

3.  The only way we can be healed from our struggles is through confessing to others.  God, yes, but James tells us specifically to confess to others.  God works some of his healing through others.

4.  You cannot do this alone.  You need skilled help, support, discipleship and friends who will walk with you in this battle.

BUT I’M NOT COMFORTABLE AROUND OTHER PEOPLE
If you have spent the last 5, 10, 20 years in isolation and hiding your sexual sins, of course you’re not going to feel comfortable around others.  Like most sexual strugglers, you are very immature when it comes to relationships, going to others for help, sharing your struggles, and working on the stuff inside you.

You have to figure out how serious you are about getting well.  It’s not going to happen solo.  It’s not going to happen if you keep doing what you’re doing.  You have to learn to lean on God and others in a new way.

God has designed us for “one another”.  We need each other.  We are designed to love and connect.  God said in Genesis “it’s not good for man to be alone.”  He wasn’t just talking about getting married.  He was talking about our need for “one another”.  There are so many “one another” passages in the Bible, I can’t list them all.

Possibly the biggest lesson you can learn in your sexual purity journey is how to begin connecting with others in a healthy way.

START VIRTUAL, BUT MOVE TOWARD FACE-TO-FACE
www.XXXchurch.com is a place you can begin connecting with others and finding help.  Start there.  Get involved in the forums.  Reach out.

But the real help comes when you move toward face-to-face relationships.  A virtual friend and a virtual Body of Christ is great.  It’s a start.  It’s better than nothing.  But you need real people you can talk with and have coffee with.  You need real friends, ministers, counselors, accountability partners, & support group members who can walk with you.

Take a step of faith today, and reach out to “one another”.

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FEEDBACK
jeff@porntopurity.com or @porntopurity on Twitter

Jeff Fisher authors the blog www.porntopurity.com with his wife Marsha.  They have been in recovery for the last 4 years and have seen God transform them and their marriage during this difficult process.  Jeff podcasts regularly on the “Top Tips For Sexual Purity Podcast” (available through I-Tunes).

 

 

 

How to Deal With Your Loneliness

by Jeff Fisher on August 18, 2016

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Loneliness is a big issue for many who are struggling with sexual purity.  Sexual sin is usually done in private and isolation.  We withdraw from healthy relationships and embrace porn.  We long for emotional connectedness and intimacy, but we turn to masturbation and nothing satisfying to show for it.

Loneliness is part of what’s going on beneath the surface.  It could be one of our core issues.  Deep inside, we are lonely and we’re seeking for something meaningful to meet our need.

It makes sense that we can be isolated from people and feel lonely.  But isn’t it strange that we can still be around people and feel lonely.  Just because we have friends doesn’t mean we are having our needs met.

Some of our relationships might be very sexual.  We could be having a lot of sex, but still feel empty.  Why is that?

It’s because there are deeper needs that we have that we’re not addressing:

1.  Deep need for God – This is the first and primary need we have – to know our Maker.  We long for Him like nothing else.  What would it be like to know God deeply?  How satisfying would it be if you had a one-on-one friendship with God?

2.  Deep need for intimacy – Let me say right away, that intimacy is not about sex.  It’s about having a deep connection to people.  The best definition I’ve heard is that intimacy is “knowing somebody and being known by that person” How would it feel if someone really knew you?  Maybe scary?  How would it feel to deeply know someone and have a genuine relationship with them?

3.  Deep need for caring relationships – We have so many superficial relationships.  We can small talk to death at work, at the bar, at the party, at school.  It just doesn’t meet our deep need.  What would it be like it you had a person in your life who really cared about you?  A person who called you and came to visit just because they cared.  A person who went out of their way to show you attention and to show love.

4.  Deep need for importance, to be valued – Also at the heart of lonliness the desire for someone on to value you.  We long for someone to say that we’re important, that we’re a good person, that we’re doing a good job, that we’re a hard worker, that their life is better because we are alive.  What would it be like to hear those things from someone?

5.  Deep need to be comforted – Many of us have hurts from our past, or even now.  We are wounded, and we have a deep need for someone to say “I’m sorry.”  “I know what you’re going through.”  “I know you’re hurt.”  How would it feel to have someone say that to you and to really mean it?

As I think about these things, my own heart needs rise to the surface.  I feel lonely more than I would like to.  I have this deep unsettledness sometimes.  I can feel this hurt that comes with being lonely.  I’ve been in recovery for several years, and am still working though this one.

For a lot of guys, this stuff might sound pretty mushy and wimpy.  Too emotional for you?  Too touchy feeling?  I understand.  I was one of those guys.  But recovery is making me realize how immature I was emotionally and relationally.  I have a lot of friendships, but no body knew the real me.  I didn’t have people around me that I thought were save enough to share the real me.  I didn’t have people around that I thought could handle the real me.  So I stayed very private.

But now I have people who know me, accept me, love me, and walk through the mud with me.  I still feel this loneliness at times, but here are some things that have been helping me work on my lonliness and I think might help you:

1.   Be Intentional – Connections and friendships don’t happen automatically.  Sometimes we can get pretty angry wondering why others don’t seem to care or connect with us.  I’ve found that if I want to develop friendships, I usually have to take the first step.  Honestly, the other guy I reach out to is usually glad that I did.  Keep being intentional.

2.  Take risks – To build friendships you have to share things from yourself.  You take a risk when you share about your struggles, but I think it’s a necessary risk.  When you stick your neck out and break the ice on something deeper, many people will follow suit.  And if they do back off, at least you know where the current limits of that relationship are.  Keep taking risks.

3.  Take small, new steps – If you’re not the person who is used to healthy relationships, you have to do it one small step at a time.  Don’t try to manufacture a deep connection with someone in one sitting.  Do it one coffee cup at a time.

4.  Follow up – It’s good that you break the ice, but there has to be followup when it comes to relationships.  This is another place I think it’s important to take some initiative, at least at first.  Get their email address, give them a call, send them a text.  Keep the connection going.

5.  One less isolation step – This goes along with the small steps, but it might help for you to think along the lines of one step toward friendships and connectedness with a real person is one step away from your old isolated, private life.  That may seem scary, but we probably know that we can’t stay isolated and succeed in recovery.

6.  Be reminded of God’s presence – I think it’s important to encourage you that you are not alone.  God is there.  His is “near to the brokenhearted, and comes to the help of those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:7).   God’s presence is enough through His Holy Spirit to help us with our loneliness, but He does not leave us there.  God extends his care through others.

One last thing.  Connecting with others who have sexual struggles is made easier by finding a support group.   Support groups are safe environments where you can begin sharing common struggles.  In a support group you have a head start toward good connections.


jeff@porntopurity.com

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** This blog comes from the script for Episode 091 of the Top Tips For Sexual Purity Podcast.  You can listen to the episode here

TOP TIPS FOR SEXUAL PURITY –  EPISODE 091 (7:02)
Click here to download or listen to the show

Subscribe to Top Tips For Sexual Purity on I-Tunes

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2016 Purity – Build Your Support Team

August 14, 2016

Support, Structure, Strategy and Spiritual Life. Those are the 4 S’s of purity. I share in my book some great tips and action steps on how to build each of these four areas.  Let me give you a taste of the support chapter.  Your support team needs to fill up with three types of people: […]

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2016 Purity – Exercising Your “No” Muscle

August 12, 2016

Go to the Purity Gym.  That’s the title of chapter 5 from my book.  It’s about building strength and self-discipline in your purity journey.  If you want to have sexual purity for the long haul, you have to learn to say “No”. PRACTICE SAYING “NO” TO UNGODLINESS Saying “No” flies in the face of the […]

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2016 Purity – Build Your Internet Defense

August 10, 2016

We’re still talking about defense today.  You have to  deal with your Internet and devices if you are going to have a strong sexual purity strategy.  INTERNET DEFENSE Let’s look at several lines of defense for your Internet.  Here are two big ones. #1:  CONTENT FILTERS – This is the security software that prevents bad stuff from coming […]

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2016 Purity -Clean House

August 8, 2016

An important part of your purity DEFENSE is cleaning house. Read through this scripture slowly…     “…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”  Hebrews 12:1-2 Throw off… Eliminate… Get […]

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2016 Purity – Let’s Talk Offense!

August 6, 2016

Your Sexual Purity STRATEGY is made up of Defense and Offense.  If you want to know how your purity journey is doing, the defense/offense is a pretty good indicator.     Defense keeps the bad stuff out (or at least slows it down).  It keeps you from being overrun by triggers, temptations and attacks of […]

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2016 Purity – Let’s Talk Defense

August 4, 2016

Your Sexual Purity STRATEGY is made up of Defense and Offense.  If you want to know how your purity journey is doing, the defense/offense is a pretty good indicator.  We’ll talk about offense later. Here are some basics from my book on Defense.  I break them down more in the book and give you some […]

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