“God shall arise, His enemies shall be scattered; and those who hate Him shall flee before Him!… Oh God, when You went out before Your people, when You marched through the wilderness, the earth quaked, the heavens poured down rain, before God, the One of Sinai, before God, the God of Israel. Rain in abundance, Oh God, You shed abroad; You restored Your inheritance as it languished; Your flock found a dwelling in it; in Your goodness, Oh God, You provide for the needy.” – Psalm 68
There is a wonderful emphasis lately upon SHAME and how to battle those patterns of sin that we feel the most shame around. Any pattern of sin and any occasional sins are a must to battle with the power of the Holy Spirit, truth of God’s Word, and help of God’s other children around us! One pattern of sin I want to discuss again here on this blog is the evil pattern of pornography. It’s so gingerly danced around by so many because let’s face it, it’s shameful. It’s got shame wedged around it at every angle. If you’ve touched it at some point, you hope to never do so again. If you’re currently addicted to it, you hope to get far from it if you’re a follower of our LORD Jesus Christ, and yet you’re addicted! By the very definition of addiction, you’re stuck in a rut. What about the occasional falling to glances and longish thoughts in evil directions?
All hope of course is found in the pages of God’s Word and in an intimate relationship with Jesus Himself through His means of grace for us! It’s easiest to say, and not a game because it is truly a BATTLE. Yet, there is JOY to be encountered in the battle! WATCH THIS VIDEO.
It is shocking, in a good way, to be reminded of simple realities of Jesus being present in every moment of our lives here on earth as His disciples! It puts both caution and reckless joy back into every step! A friend of mine loves to use the phrase, “It robs me of joy!” when speaking of any givings-in around lustful thoughts or action. Every believer, both man and woman, gets temptations to lust on at least a weekly basis, yet the group who seem to fall the most consistently range from teens to 35ish in age, or at least that’s what I’ve noticed in my reading and day-to-day interactions with people around this subject. My deepest hope around this subject actually is quite personal on two fronts at present:
1) I deeply want closer and closer intimacy with Jesus Christ, and therefore I want further and further distance from falling to temptation. I don’t want self-righteous seasons of distance from any form of evil thoughts or action, but I do want purity more and more to mark my life. The longer I go in a given week, month, year, and decade with fewer and fewer memorable fallings to thoughts or actions in this area, the more joy I experience in my personal fellowship with the living Jesus Christ through His various means of grace. So, my longing for increased purity in response to the cross of Jesus Christ is very personal and tied to my desire for deeper JOY IN HIM. I will not tolerate Satan, my flesh, and the world drawing me away from the LIVING GOD and the JOY available in a vulnerable relationship with Him and His children!
2) I deeply want this same longing to grow in my son, Jackson, as he encounters God through me. I will never be a perfect father, but what I want more than anything for him is to know Jesus, and I pray more and more frequently that I would model being a humble child of God who is broken at the foot of the cross, awe-struck by the mercy and grace of our Savior, and simply living in response to this unearned reckless love shown to us as God’s children. All who believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and LORD will experience change and increasing JOY in the LORD.
So, these are my more personal motives in this area. More broadly, I think any who desire to lead God’s children consistently to Jesus as the Fountain of Living Water, struggle with a constant awareness of inadequacy. I’m constantly aware of my lacking character and integrity, maybe partly because, along with you, friends, I’m beholding the Living God daily. Our God is PERFECT IN ALL HIS ATTRIBUTES! He is PERFECTLY HOLY, LOVING, WORTHY OF PRAISE, and then there’s us. If we aren’t looking at our lives through the lens of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we will only experience shame. We will also not have hope for those we encounter day-to-day.
The only reason I’m experiencing an aggressive passion to share the love of our Savior is that I’m experiencing His aggressive passion to show Himself to me through His reckless love, His unimaginably beautiful mercy on my life. This speeds up my heart-rate both in actuality and spiritually. My eyes are open more often to those I meet, and I so want them to know the joy and shameless encounters we can have with the Living God because JESUS DIED FOR OUR SIN!
Please share about the joy you’ve experienced in God purifying you, or reach out if you’d like resources or personal interaction around this subject, friends. Connect with those in your local church who would be appropriate to discuss this with, and experience joy that can’t be taken from you, available amongst God’s people, as we battle our lusts and overcome temptation together.
In His friendship,