Trusting God in the Battle for Sexual Purity
“Feed your faith and starve your doubts." —Kenneth E. Hagin, Sr.
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." —Proverbs 3:5-6
Insights Gained From The Battle
What does an addiction to pornography say about a guy’s relationship with our Heavenly Father? Could a man’s sexual compulsions be a sign that he doesn’t trust God? Here are some insights and applications we can glean from my recent interview with Irving Woolf, president and founder of Hopewell Counseling in Maple Grove, Minnesota. Not only has Irv served as a church pastor, but he also has helped thousands of men battle for purity through his ministry “Purity Platoon.”
3 Issue of Unbelief
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Sex and sexual urges are, of course, inventions of God Himself, intended both for purposes of procreation and for mutually pleasurable intimacy between husband and wife. So it’s ironic that some men – maybe even most – have a real unbelief issue regarding the very Mastermind of sex.
Where do we go wrong? What leads us to experience and act on these sexual compulsions that violate the boundaries God outlines for us in His Word? For starters:
- Men tend to be among the most untrusting creatures on the planet, Irv notes. They don’t trust their wives, they don’t trust their bosses, and in general, they don’t trust God. They’ve been taught to be self-reliant. Low on money? “I can work overtime; I can work two jobs; I can get my wife to work.” Major decisions? “I don’t need anyone else telling me which house to buy, what car to drive, or who to marry. These are my choices to make and mine alone…”
- Because they don’t trust God, men tend to operate in the realm of unbelief. They say, “Yes, I believe in Jesus Christ – that He died for my sins and rose again and that He’s the Savior of the world. But in the nitty-gritty of life…?”
- Prayer, then, becomes inconsequential, a waste of time. “Why pray if I can do it all myself?” It’s a big reason men often find it difficult to pray. They might shoot up little “arrow prayers” at the dinner table, but when it comes to the broad needs in their lives – or daunting situations looming on the horizon – they keep it to themselves.
A guy’s belief that he can do it all on his own is convicting evidence of unbelief in God. It’s like a deadly poison seeping into our souls, preventing us from seeing that there’s a power greater than us. Our egos are just too big to accept that there’s a great God who wants to help us.
Reaching the End of the Rope
Boldly, stubbornly marching on toward deeper trouble, men harboring sexual addictions too often fail to acknowledge their need for help before inevitable consequences threaten to devastate their lives. Pride, shame, or fear keep them from seeking any counseling. Then they get caught at home or work on a pornographic website. Or they engage in prostitution and get busted by the law. Or the wife says, “I’m calling a lawyer…”
“An awful lot of men are like that,” Irv says. “They’ve reached the end of the rope, and I’m the last straw that they’re going to grasp for. Their unbelief is the root sin underlying their use of pornography, masturbation, and fantasizing. They’re basically saying, ‘I don’t trust God with my sex life; I don’t trust Him that He will allow me to be as sexual as I want to be. My wife certainly doesn’t want to be as sexual as I want to be. So I think I’m going to find an alternative to that.’ And the devil presents them with a path to false intimacy.”
Learning to Be Intimate with God
So how does a man turn from unbelief to trusting God? How does he renew and nurture an authentic relationship with the Father? Here are four steps to initiate the journey:
- Understand that it’s not possible to control everything in life – losing a job, struggling financially, fighting an illness, encountering conflicts at home or elsewhere – none of it is subject to any power we possess.
- Surrender that lack of control to God. Say to Him, “Take over – You’re the one in charge.” Pray hard and pray regularly.
- Turn to God’s Word for answers. Memorize it. “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to Your Word. With my whole heart I seek You; let me not wander from Your commandments! I have stored up Your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against You” (Psalm 119:9-11). Let Scripture crowd out all our garbage.
- Get some help! Be held accountable by other brothers in the Lord. And don’t be too proud to seek Christian counseling – this issue is too important to dismiss or put off.
It won’t be easy. Giving up control is hard to do – in any area of life. It’s a sort of synergistic balancing act. Yes, we are responsible for doing our part – to work, earn an income, provide for our families – but all the while we must trust God in every circumstance and submit to His will for our lives. Feeling “out of control” is when we must remind ourselves that God is in control. We are not God. God is God. And He becomes “our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).
So turn your unbelief into belief. Trust God with the issues you face and the intimacy you need. Turn to Him, trust in Him, and He will set you free.
Vince Miller is a speaker, author, and mentor to men. He is an authentic and transparent leader who loves to communicate to audiences on the topics of mentorship, fathering, leadership and manhood. He has authored 16 books and small group curriculum for men and is the primary content creator of all Resolute materials. Contact Vince Miller here. His newest book is Thirty Virtues That Build A Man.