One Brother’s Burgeoning Sexual Freedom

romanceIn response to my recent article in BodyLife on Sexual Struggles on the Relational Journey, I received some wonderful emails from people in the midst of this struggle and from those who are deeply saddened by how our culture has cheapened sexuality in our day and how young people are succumbing to its seductions. It appears it was long overdue to bring this subject into the light of fellowship.

One brother wrote me an extended account of the freedom God is brining into his life and how God used one book in particular to put his finger on the source of sexual bondage in this brother’s life. Even though I know his story and solution will not fit everyone, I think it will be an encouragement to those who struggle to believe that God can get to the root of their bondage and set them free as well. Here are a couple of paragraphs of his email and a link to the rest of his story…

I just read your reply to the young wife and mother whose husband is struggling with pornography. I wanted to share what God’s been showing me and walking me through with this issue. As you know, I’ve been addicted to pornography and habitual masturbation since I was in junior high. I’ve never really understood why it’s been such a strong part of my life until recently.

I’ve been working through a book with two of the men in our group. We’ve been going through Wild at Heart, by John Eldredge. My brother got it for me for my birthday and I looked at the first chapter and put it down because it seemed like another “Christian self-help” book extolling the wonders of the religious system. My wife looked through it and said there was some really good stuff in it. My brother kept asking if I’d read it yet and since it was important to him and my wife said it might be good, I started it.

I started reading it on a flight back home from a business trip and while reading into the third chapter it seemed like God just started speaking to the empty areas of my life. I started crying on the plane and then wrote Jen a five-page letter just sharing my heart with her. I’ve since been meeting with two older brothers that are more like father figures for me, and we’ve all been walking out what it means to be masculine in the heart of God. It seems like almost every week more and more of God’s call for my life is being revealed and understood. The way I view women and especially my wife has changed dramatically as well as the way I parent my children…

You can read the rest of his story here.

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90 Comments
  1. geo April 10, 2005 at 5:00 am

    One of the things that I have learned is this,

    In the middle of my biggest moral or ethical failure I am the righteousness of God in Christ! That one thought has set me free from so much of the bondage of performance religion.

    I heard a story of a man who had a problem with visiting prostitutes and even after coming to know Jesus he still did it once a week with them. So a wise man told him, "look I am not telling you to quit but to remember this one thing at the beginning, in the middle and in the end of your weekly encounter with the prostitute, You ARE the righteousness of God in Christ!

    Now did that cause the guy to quit doing it? No but one year later when he ran into the wise man he told him this story.

    Continued in next comment…………………………..

  2. geo April 10, 2005 at 5:05 am

    After you told me that I began to tell myself that I was the righteousness of God in Christ and you know what happened?

    I still after one year visit prostitutes and pay them for their time once a week. BUT I no longer have sex with them! For the one hour I tell them about the wonderful love of Jesus and that they are the righteousness of God in Christ!

    Now folks I know that is not a message that most christians believe, but I can tell you it IS the message of the gospel that will win the hearts and souls of those hurting and suffering. It is a message that will cause desires of the flesh to subside and fall away. It is the message of Freedom in Christ!

    Peace

  3. geo April 10, 2005 at 8:00 am

    One of the things that I have learned is this,

    In the middle of my biggest moral or ethical failure I am the righteousness of God in Christ! That one thought has set me free from so much of the bondage of performance religion.

    I heard a story of a man who had a problem with visiting prostitutes and even after coming to know Jesus he still did it once a week with them. So a wise man told him, "look I am not telling you to quit but to remember this one thing at the beginning, in the middle and in the end of your weekly encounter with the prostitute, You ARE the righteousness of God in Christ!

    Now did that cause the guy to quit doing it? No but one year later when he ran into the wise man he told him this story.

    Continued in next comment…………………………..

  4. geo April 10, 2005 at 8:05 am

    After you told me that I began to tell myself that I was the righteousness of God in Christ and you know what happened?

    I still after one year visit prostitutes and pay them for their time once a week. BUT I no longer have sex with them! For the one hour I tell them about the wonderful love of Jesus and that they are the righteousness of God in Christ!

    Now folks I know that is not a message that most christians believe, but I can tell you it IS the message of the gospel that will win the hearts and souls of those hurting and suffering. It is a message that will cause desires of the flesh to subside and fall away. It is the message of Freedom in Christ!

    Peace

  5. Jolly Beggar April 10, 2005 at 8:52 am

    I’m not sure what the last feedback was advocating. I would consider it very foolish to suggest a sex addict start try to evangelize the prostitutes he’s in the past had sex with. In the same way, asking a recovering alcoholic to hang out in bars to try and help other alcoholics would be very dangerous for the person in recovery.

    I understand that freedom comes from experiencing God’s love and forgiveness, but an addict/alcoholic (I am both)would need to experience long term freedom before they could willingly submit themselves to the thing that’s held them in bondage. Even then, I would never consider it a wise practice.

  6. Jolly Beggar April 10, 2005 at 11:52 am

    I’m not sure what the last feedback was advocating. I would consider it very foolish to suggest a sex addict start try to evangelize the prostitutes he’s in the past had sex with. In the same way, asking a recovering alcoholic to hang out in bars to try and help other alcoholics would be very dangerous for the person in recovery.

    I understand that freedom comes from experiencing God’s love and forgiveness, but an addict/alcoholic (I am both)would need to experience long term freedom before they could willingly submit themselves to the thing that’s held them in bondage. Even then, I would never consider it a wise practice.

  7. geo April 10, 2005 at 3:50 pm

    Dear Jolly,

    all I was advocating is the Freedom that Christ offers

    Peace

  8. steve April 10, 2005 at 3:59 pm

    Jolly,

    I think what George was saying is that even in the midst of alcoholic addiction, pornography or what ever sin holds us, even if you fail, the message of Christs righteousness imparted to you freely, through the cross, has the greatest power to break the power of that addiction.

  9. Jolly Beggar April 10, 2005 at 5:46 pm

    Steve & George,

    Thanks for the feedback. What and how exactly has Christ’s righteousness been imparted to you? How has God worked out freedom in your lives from the power of addiction and habitual sin?

    It seemed that God used a book to speak to the person who wrote Wayne the letter. What has Father used to speak to you? When I hear "Christ’s righteousness imparted freely through the cross" it just sounds like the typical religious talk you hear in the organized religious system. What are the practical ways those words are worked out in peoples lives.

  10. geo April 10, 2005 at 6:50 pm

    Dear Jolly,

    all I was advocating is the Freedom that Christ offers

    Peace

  11. steve April 10, 2005 at 6:59 pm

    Jolly,

    I think what George was saying is that even in the midst of alcoholic addiction, pornography or what ever sin holds us, even if you fail, the message of Christs righteousness imparted to you freely, through the cross, has the greatest power to break the power of that addiction.

  12. Jolly Beggar April 10, 2005 at 8:46 pm

    Steve & George,

    Thanks for the feedback. What and how exactly has Christ’s righteousness been imparted to you? How has God worked out freedom in your lives from the power of addiction and habitual sin?

    It seemed that God used a book to speak to the person who wrote Wayne the letter. What has Father used to speak to you? When I hear "Christ’s righteousness imparted freely through the cross" it just sounds like the typical religious talk you hear in the organized religious system. What are the practical ways those words are worked out in peoples lives.

  13. geo April 11, 2005 at 3:56 am

    Jolly,

    For 28 years I tried & followed formulas, books, programs & gurus. Some secular but most bible based. I am NOT saying Father will not use those things, but for me all they did was train me to depend on my own works and self righteousness with a little God and scripture thrown in for good measure. And I believe that is what the majority of people will do also, because I am not unique.

    I grew up with an alcoholic father and my parents were divorced finally when I was 14. I myself was told at one time by "professionals" that I was an alcoholic and was told by well meaning but misguided Christian people to never again touch alcohol or you will be consumed again as you were before you quit . I also used and abused every type of drug in the late 60’s & early 70’s. In 1974 I came to know of the Grace of God.

    But soon after that time I began to listen to those who told me I needed to focus on getting rid and free of my "sins". So for the next 28 years I struggled and participated in all and various kinds of recovery and self-help groups. All of them were as I see day’s programs are, based on my performance or upholding some rule or obligation to others, God or myself. I have learned in my life that what we focus the most on is what we end up desiring more and more of. Their may even be a Proverb that says something like that? Anyway for those 28 years that I focused on my faults, sins and shortcomings I prayed daily, read the bible regularly, attended church whenever the doors were open, went to every event and program that was available locally and even traveling out of state in order to sit and listen to those who had the “key to victory”! All the while feeling empty and at various times in the 28 year period slipping back into the old paradigms of alcohol and other things. Being told every time that if I would just, repent and turn back to God every thing would be okay. But if not then the judgment of God would be on my life. Never in any of my so called “failures” did anyone tell me that in the middle of those times I still was the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus and that those failures had NOTHING to do with my eternal destiny. Now you may say that the reason no one said that is because it is not true. But my belief is that Jesus died and redeemed us even in the middle of our GREATEST sin. Paul said it was for Freedom that Christ set you free. He is a Redeemer that even most of us believers cannot comprehend. A Redeemer so great that NOTHING we can do or be will ever make us righteous or unrighteous. It is all about Him and His finished work and nothing to do with me quitting this or studying that. Nothing to do with my daily prayers or lack of prayers. Now please understand I am NOT saying those things are not important.

    What I am saying is that when we falsely believe that quitting this or that or doing this or that brings us closer to the Father then we have believed a lie.

    Once I realized this and quit trying to “clean up my life” an amazing thing happened. Those things which were no longer forbidden began to lose their power over me! Now wait I know that does not make sense to the religious mind but that is exactly what happens when there is no law against doing that thing whatever it was. Guess what? I now have a beer or a glass of wine 3 or 4 times a week! WHAT! Aren’t you afraid Geo that you will become like before when you drank alcohol? No I am not! I no longer focus on the forbidden because for me all things are permissible. And NOTHING I do or don’t do effects my eternal destiny. And that my friend causes me to focus more and more on Jesus and His Finished work of the Cross.

    So Jolly when you say my words sound like “typical religious talk” let me ask for your forgiveness because even though I have come out of the “system” a lot of the ‘SYSTEM” is still deep within me. One thing I cannot do is tell you or anyone else “how to” and I hope I have explained myself well enough here. Although this medium is so limited. I so wish we could sit down face to face and we could share our thoughts in words. But alas this will have to do for now.

    Peace

    Geo

  14. steve April 11, 2005 at 4:29 am

    Jolly,

    One of the most powerful tools to deatroy us is guilt. As long as we can be accused then the power of sin to destroy us is still working in our mind but when we can grasp the fact that Christ took all of our sin and did away with it once and for all time, once and for all sin, for once and for all of us, then we can proclaim, apart from our performance that we are the righteousness of God in Christ. Failure is an inherit trait of a fleshly corrupt body but through Christ, have we all not already put on incorruption. The salvation of our soul, the reneewing of our mind, comes form knowing that Christ put an end to sin. he simply isn’t keeping track of our failures anymore. Religion is always about what we must do but the mystery of God is all about what He has done. It doesn’t matter how many times you fail Jolly, whether it be once every 7 days, 7 times a day or 7 X 70, you are the righteousness of God in Christ because of what He did when He willingly took your and my place and drew all judgment to Himself. God is no longer mad at you or me or anyone because He looked upon the suffering that he took within His own body and was satisfied. Rest in that truth my friend. God didn’t die for righteous people but for sinners and His strength is truly made perfect in our weakness. May the revelation of the fact that all work to please God was accomplished in Christ so that His righteousness could be accomplished in all sinners. May the freedom offered through the finished work of Christ be yours and mine and Georges for ever in our minds and in our hearts. Bless you my friend.

  15. steve April 11, 2005 at 4:33 am

    Just one more thought, Jolly. Even if we were in the 7 x 70 group, as long as anyone tells us that we are still guilty, whether it be preachers or spirits then the true gospel is being diluted by an addition of some measure of law, a deadly mixture.

  16. geo April 11, 2005 at 6:56 am

    Jolly,

    For 28 years I tried & followed formulas, books, programs & gurus. Some secular but most bible based. I am NOT saying Father will not use those things, but for me all they did was train me to depend on my own works and self righteousness with a little God and scripture thrown in for good measure. And I believe that is what the majority of people will do also, because I am not unique.

    I grew up with an alcoholic father and my parents were divorced finally when I was 14. I myself was told at one time by "professionals" that I was an alcoholic and was told by well meaning but misguided Christian people to never again touch alcohol or you will be consumed again as you were before you quit . I also used and abused every type of drug in the late 60’s & early 70’s. In 1974 I came to know of the Grace of God.

    But soon after that time I began to listen to those who told me I needed to focus on getting rid and free of my "sins". So for the next 28 years I struggled and participated in all and various kinds of recovery and self-help groups. All of them were as I see day’s programs are, based on my performance or upholding some rule or obligation to others, God or myself. I have learned in my life that what we focus the most on is what we end up desiring more and more of. Their may even be a Proverb that says something like that? Anyway for those 28 years that I focused on my faults, sins and shortcomings I prayed daily, read the bible regularly, attended church whenever the doors were open, went to every event and program that was available locally and even traveling out of state in order to sit and listen to those who had the “key to victory”! All the while feeling empty and at various times in the 28 year period slipping back into the old paradigms of alcohol and other things. Being told every time that if I would just, repent and turn back to God every thing would be okay. But if not then the judgment of God would be on my life. Never in any of my so called “failures” did anyone tell me that in the middle of those times I still was the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus and that those failures had NOTHING to do with my eternal destiny. Now you may say that the reason no one said that is because it is not true. But my belief is that Jesus died and redeemed us even in the middle of our GREATEST sin. Paul said it was for Freedom that Christ set you free. He is a Redeemer that even most of us believers cannot comprehend. A Redeemer so great that NOTHING we can do or be will ever make us righteous or unrighteous. It is all about Him and His finished work and nothing to do with me quitting this or studying that. Nothing to do with my daily prayers or lack of prayers. Now please understand I am NOT saying those things are not important.

    What I am saying is that when we falsely believe that quitting this or that or doing this or that brings us closer to the Father then we have believed a lie.

    Once I realized this and quit trying to “clean up my life” an amazing thing happened. Those things which were no longer forbidden began to lose their power over me! Now wait I know that does not make sense to the religious mind but that is exactly what happens when there is no law against doing that thing whatever it was. Guess what? I now have a beer or a glass of wine 3 or 4 times a week! WHAT! Aren’t you afraid Geo that you will become like before when you drank alcohol? No I am not! I no longer focus on the forbidden because for me all things are permissible. And NOTHING I do or don’t do effects my eternal destiny. And that my friend causes me to focus more and more on Jesus and His Finished work of the Cross.

    So Jolly when you say my words sound like “typical religious talk” let me ask for your forgiveness because even though I have come out of the “system” a lot of the ‘SYSTEM” is still deep within me. One thing I cannot do is tell you or anyone else “how to” and I hope I have explained myself well enough here. Although this medium is so limited. I so wish we could sit down face to face and we could share our thoughts in words. But alas this will have to do for now.

    Peace

    Geo

  17. steve April 11, 2005 at 7:29 am

    Jolly,

    One of the most powerful tools to deatroy us is guilt. As long as we can be accused then the power of sin to destroy us is still working in our mind but when we can grasp the fact that Christ took all of our sin and did away with it once and for all time, once and for all sin, for once and for all of us, then we can proclaim, apart from our performance that we are the righteousness of God in Christ. Failure is an inherit trait of a fleshly corrupt body but through Christ, have we all not already put on incorruption. The salvation of our soul, the reneewing of our mind, comes form knowing that Christ put an end to sin. he simply isn’t keeping track of our failures anymore. Religion is always about what we must do but the mystery of God is all about what He has done. It doesn’t matter how many times you fail Jolly, whether it be once every 7 days, 7 times a day or 7 X 70, you are the righteousness of God in Christ because of what He did when He willingly took your and my place and drew all judgment to Himself. God is no longer mad at you or me or anyone because He looked upon the suffering that he took within His own body and was satisfied. Rest in that truth my friend. God didn’t die for righteous people but for sinners and His strength is truly made perfect in our weakness. May the revelation of the fact that all work to please God was accomplished in Christ so that His righteousness could be accomplished in all sinners. May the freedom offered through the finished work of Christ be yours and mine and Georges for ever in our minds and in our hearts. Bless you my friend.

  18. steve April 11, 2005 at 7:33 am

    Just one more thought, Jolly. Even if we were in the 7 x 70 group, as long as anyone tells us that we are still guilty, whether it be preachers or spirits then the true gospel is being diluted by an addition of some measure of law, a deadly mixture.

  19. Ray April 11, 2005 at 8:26 am

    Try praying to God with all your heart for help to break the porn habit. Then confess to your wife or your dearest trusted Christian friend of your struggle. Then commit to God, to your wife, or friend of your determination to quit.

    It worked for me for the past 3 years, thanks to all of the above.

  20. geo April 11, 2005 at 9:30 am

    Hey Ray,

    That’s good news!

    The question is what happens at the end of your self determination and commitment? Becausee sooner or later you will be exausted from all that. What then?

    Peace & Freedom

    Geo

  21. Ray April 11, 2005 at 11:26 am

    Try praying to God with all your heart for help to break the porn habit. Then confess to your wife or your dearest trusted Christian friend of your struggle. Then commit to God, to your wife, or friend of your determination to quit.

    It worked for me for the past 3 years, thanks to all of the above.

  22. steve April 11, 2005 at 11:41 am

    One of the things that I loved about Wayne’s book "He Loves Me" was the pointing out that there was NOTHING that I could do to cause God to love me less and there was nothing that I could do to cause Him to love me more. Does that include sin? Does He disgard me when I sin or does He want me to run under His mighty wings of protection and covering to shelter me from those who would accuse me and cast me off? If God isn’t keeping track of sin any more does that include the sins of Ray and Jolly? Or what about the sins of George and Steve. Is there some basis that makes Him still count ours against us but permits yours to be forgiven? Are we all not equal in His eyes? Does Jesus ever live to make intercession for only certain sins or does He intercede for them all. If He forgives the lying, hated filled, covetous bunch who crucified Him will He do less for us?

  23. geo April 11, 2005 at 12:30 pm

    Hey Ray,

    That’s good news!

    The question is what happens at the end of your self determination and commitment? Becausee sooner or later you will be exausted from all that. What then?

    Peace & Freedom

    Geo

  24. steve April 11, 2005 at 2:41 pm

    One of the things that I loved about Wayne’s book "He Loves Me" was the pointing out that there was NOTHING that I could do to cause God to love me less and there was nothing that I could do to cause Him to love me more. Does that include sin? Does He disgard me when I sin or does He want me to run under His mighty wings of protection and covering to shelter me from those who would accuse me and cast me off? If God isn’t keeping track of sin any more does that include the sins of Ray and Jolly? Or what about the sins of George and Steve. Is there some basis that makes Him still count ours against us but permits yours to be forgiven? Are we all not equal in His eyes? Does Jesus ever live to make intercession for only certain sins or does He intercede for them all. If He forgives the lying, hated filled, covetous bunch who crucified Him will He do less for us?

  25. J April 11, 2005 at 3:30 pm

    (Geo stated)

    What I am saying is that when we falsely believe that quitting this or that or doing this or that brings us closer to the Father then we have believed a lie.

    (Steve stated)

    One of the things that I loved about Wayne’s book "He Loves Me" was the pointing out that there was NOTHING that I could do to cause God to love me less and there was nothing that I could do to cause Him to love me more.

    (I am stating)

    Brothers, I agree with both of those comments, but where does trust and obedience fall into place here? I am so glad that this discussion has come up because although I do not struggle with pornography, I have been struggling with living a righteous life, as I think we all do.

    I read two Bible passages today that very much pertain to this discussion. Ezekiel 18:31-32 states, "Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have comitted, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die O House of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies, says the Lord God. Therefore turn and live!" Please take the time and read the entire context of what was written because it involves more than just coming to know the Lord, it also involves obedience.

    If you think that is because this was in the Old Testament times, then what about the other passage I read this morning? Luke 8:11-15 (The parable of the sower) states, "Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, recieve the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temtation fall away. Now the ones that fell among the thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. But the ones that fell on the good ground are thise who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience."

    It makes perfect sense that God does not contradict Himself, because He never changes. I am not trying to blast or point any fingers, because I realize that I would have several pointed at myself as well. I have been struggling with the question of what is true obedience and what is perfect trust? Wayne or anyone else, please feel free to share your thoughts on the underlying issues raised in this blog entry.

    —J

  26. steve April 11, 2005 at 5:09 pm

    There is much in the gospels that Jesus preached that if we take quite literally, leaves all of us with no hope. The law was tough enough to keep but then Jesus tells us that even if we think about breaking it that we are guilty,

    It’s not enough that we do not commit adultery but we are guilty even if the thinking is there.

    It’s not enough that we don’t commit murder but we are guilty even if we hate someone.

    Don’t steal in fact don’t even think about it.

    "Be ye perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect". Oh, that ought to be easy enough.

    What about "if you deny me before men, I’ll deny you before the Father". Did Jesus deny Peter, the one who denied Him three times and even cursed at those who accused him in an attempt to strengthen his denial.

    All of this was preached to the most righteous, religious people ever, before the cross. does it apply to us after the cross? Are we still trying to live up to the same standards that they were using to win God’s favor? How mush leaven does it take????

    It seems to me that Jesus preached in a way to assure that all would see themselves as guilty and without hope under any obligations to be righteous. I think about this.

    For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all. Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!

    (Rom 11:32-33 NASB)

    I’ve been right there with you all, Jolly and Ray and J, struggling to be what it is not in me to be so please understand, I am trying to be argumentative. I can relate to all that you say. I’m just not trying anymore. I’m simply believing that I am righteous because of the cross. There I died. I got what I deserved but nevertheless I live, not by by works of righteousness but by my faith in Him. And if He loves me why shouldn’t I love myself, just as I am, corrupt as this dead body is.

    I’m trying hard to comprehend the love of God and I find that it is very hard to do if I am looking through my need to be righteous.

    That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what [is] the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

    (Eph 3:17-19 KJV)

    The love of Christ passes knowledge. it was man’s quest for the knowledge of how to be righteous that started the whole thing.

    Thanks to all. This is a good discussion.

  27. steve April 11, 2005 at 5:12 pm

    Oops. Sorry guys, I meant I am NOT trying to be argumentative.

  28. J April 11, 2005 at 6:30 pm

    (Geo stated)

    What I am saying is that when we falsely believe that quitting this or that or doing this or that brings us closer to the Father then we have believed a lie.

    (Steve stated)

    One of the things that I loved about Wayne’s book "He Loves Me" was the pointing out that there was NOTHING that I could do to cause God to love me less and there was nothing that I could do to cause Him to love me more.

    (I am stating)

    Brothers, I agree with both of those comments, but where does trust and obedience fall into place here? I am so glad that this discussion has come up because although I do not struggle with pornography, I have been struggling with living a righteous life, as I think we all do.

    I read two Bible passages today that very much pertain to this discussion. Ezekiel 18:31-32 states, "Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have comitted, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die O House of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies, says the Lord God. Therefore turn and live!" Please take the time and read the entire context of what was written because it involves more than just coming to know the Lord, it also involves obedience.

    If you think that is because this was in the Old Testament times, then what about the other passage I read this morning? Luke 8:11-15 (The parable of the sower) states, "Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, recieve the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temtation fall away. Now the ones that fell among the thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. But the ones that fell on the good ground are thise who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience."

    It makes perfect sense that God does not contradict Himself, because He never changes. I am not trying to blast or point any fingers, because I realize that I would have several pointed at myself as well. I have been struggling with the question of what is true obedience and what is perfect trust? Wayne or anyone else, please feel free to share your thoughts on the underlying issues raised in this blog entry.

    —J

  29. steve April 11, 2005 at 8:09 pm

    There is much in the gospels that Jesus preached that if we take quite literally, leaves all of us with no hope. The law was tough enough to keep but then Jesus tells us that even if we think about breaking it that we are guilty,

    It’s not enough that we do not commit adultery but we are guilty even if the thinking is there.

    It’s not enough that we don’t commit murder but we are guilty even if we hate someone.

    Don’t steal in fact don’t even think about it.

    "Be ye perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect". Oh, that ought to be easy enough.

    What about "if you deny me before men, I’ll deny you before the Father". Did Jesus deny Peter, the one who denied Him three times and even cursed at those who accused him in an attempt to strengthen his denial.

    All of this was preached to the most righteous, religious people ever, before the cross. does it apply to us after the cross? Are we still trying to live up to the same standards that they were using to win God’s favor? How mush leaven does it take????

    It seems to me that Jesus preached in a way to assure that all would see themselves as guilty and without hope under any obligations to be righteous. I think about this.

    For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all. Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!

    (Rom 11:32-33 NASB)

    I’ve been right there with you all, Jolly and Ray and J, struggling to be what it is not in me to be so please understand, I am trying to be argumentative. I can relate to all that you say. I’m just not trying anymore. I’m simply believing that I am righteous because of the cross. There I died. I got what I deserved but nevertheless I live, not by by works of righteousness but by my faith in Him. And if He loves me why shouldn’t I love myself, just as I am, corrupt as this dead body is.

    I’m trying hard to comprehend the love of God and I find that it is very hard to do if I am looking through my need to be righteous.

    That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what [is] the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

    (Eph 3:17-19 KJV)

    The love of Christ passes knowledge. it was man’s quest for the knowledge of how to be righteous that started the whole thing.

    Thanks to all. This is a good discussion.

  30. steve April 11, 2005 at 8:12 pm

    Oops. Sorry guys, I meant I am NOT trying to be argumentative.

  31. J April 11, 2005 at 8:17 pm

    Steve,

    Thanks for the in-depth response. I understand what you are saying and even agree with much of it, but I do not agree that I am to love my flesh and the corruptness within. That is simply not Biblical. However, it is Biblical to love the spirit that is in perfectly righteous within myself. While my flesh is sinful, my spirit is without sin, because it is Jesus within my spirit that perfects it.

    Perhaps you understand that, and I have misunderstood what you intended to get across. However, if you desire I can give you many verses in the Bible to back up what I am saying. I understand that sometimes you cannot take literal what has been written. However, I do believe that some things that have been stated are to be taken very literal.

    Do you believe that human flesh is not full of sin and sin is detestable in God’s sight? Of course it is and as a result God does not love our flesh/sin nature. As stated though, it is our spirit through which God looks on in perfection.

    Thanks–J

  32. steve April 11, 2005 at 8:57 pm

    J,

    Sorry, I didn’t understand your last post. I did not say anything about loving our flesh, but neither do I take literal commands such as if your hand offends you cut it off or if your eye offends you pluck it out. God is the one who placed us in these bodies and He is well aware of their limitations.

    You ask if I believe that human flesh is full of sin. Yes our flesh is full of sin but isn’t that what the cross is all about? Consider these verses…

    Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to PUT AWAY SIN by the sacrifice of Himself. (Heb 9:26 NASB)

    God calls the time of Christs sacrifice the consummation of the ages because He dealt with the sin problem at the cross. The old world, under law has passed away, we now live free, because all things ARE become new. with no condemnation, and the knowledge of that changes us, just as it changed the man that George wrote about much earlier. We change our minds about God and instead of running away from Him when we fail, we run to Him. Look, no one here is saying that we should love sin. I am certainly not advocating to sin. I am just saying that the cross put an end to sin and the law keeps bringing it back up before us. We need to see that the law was nailed to the tree. If we are still trying to LIVE UP to laws, mans or Gods we are doomed to live as failures because as soon as law is brought into the picture, condemnation comes along with it.

    Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,

    (Rom 8:1-3 NASB)

    He offered Himself in our place so that we don’t ever have to live condemned again.

    We need to quit keeping track of sin and let it remain buried and focus on the cross and all of it’s benefits.

  33. eddie April 11, 2005 at 9:48 pm

    J

    The conclusion that you leave leads to what I like to call “spiritual schizophrenia” – where we pretend to hate our “sinful” nature as much as God supposedly do, and we drive ourselves insane trying to reconcile our “good” part with the “evil” part that keeps rearing its ugly head – I think you know what I mean.

    But isn’t that exactly what the tree of knowledge of good and evil taught us, to weigh everything in terms of black and white, good and evil, moral and immoral? I think God proved his point 2000 years ago that no flesh can make it through means of its own righteousness, and that it cannot do what God came to fix through his Son. God has no illusions about you, good or bad, and he really doesn’t find sinful ‘humans’ as despicable as religion teaches us he does. To see this wonderful truth in action, just rewind to Jesus with the woman at the well, and many other such occasions when he reached out to “repugnant” sinners. Jesus didn’t run for the hills, hid his face or vomited in the presence of sin (unlike religion) – but instead, he embraced, accepted and loved people right where they were at. And was he not ONE with God, and if he was, then we know that God was there in him during those encounters. I think we have our theology a little screwed up on exactly how squeamish God is in the presence of sinful people.

    Contrary to the methods of religion, he came to tell sinners that they will no longer need to measure their righteousness by their own works, that God accepts them through him, and that he will forgive them their sins and think of it no longer. I think trying to paint a God that supposedly cannot “stand” sin makes him impersonal, incapable of meeting us in the midst of our worst struggles – and it certainly encourages us to live double lives. Major Ian Thomas said it really well: “There is nothing as pathetic as the flesh trying to be holy” – because this is a battle already lost, as aptly documented by Israel’s four thousand year history before the Cross.

    From the perspective of the New Testament, striving to be holy, loving, kind, patient, self controlled (or fill in the verb) means nothing if these attributes are sought as ethical ideals or to fulfill a rule or meet an obligation. They have meaning only insofar as they manifest the new life that is found in Christ by his Spirit. They are descriptions of what real life look like, not prescriptions for how we get life. We will spend the rest of our natural lives trying to “earn” God’s favor as long as we don’t grasp his grace and see ourselves as holy, righteous and without blame without lifting a finger, and might I add, accept and love ourselves as we are at this point of the journey, as God loves us. In the end, only God can reveal this to us, "for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure" (Phil 2:13) – everything else is our self-righteous effort to accomplish what he already finished on the Cross.

    Naturally, this leads to Jolly’s comment of how we make this practical. But I suspect its right around here where we miss the bus, trying to hand out “cookie-cutter” formulas for everyone to follow in order to be released from this burden. What worked for this brother as Wayne wrote about, WILL NOT work for the next person, because only God knows how to meet us where we are at, and only he can speak to us in ways that will make sense to us. But like our forefathers under the law, we would much rather run to a formulas, prescription, methods or at a minimum send someone else up the mountain, instead of seeking God for ourselves. When will his people finally realize that no man need to teach another who God is, but that if we are willing, that God WILL reveal and teach us who he is, and only then, as we behold him, will we become like him. My heart yearns for God’s people to enter this rest, that is only found in knowing him, in his presence when we come to grips with who we are, and allowing him to change us from the inside out.

    much peace and grace

  34. Jolly Beggar April 11, 2005 at 9:52 pm

    Steve & George,

    Thanks for the insight. I understand about trying all sorts of methods, both secular and "spiritual" to find freedom from habitual sin. I’ve paid "professional christian counselors" $100 an hour to tell me that the theology of the church I was attending was toxic and that’s why I was in so much bondage. Another told me to "forget what God thinks about me, what do I think about myself."

    I think the way God walks each individual through their journey with Him is different for everyone. I seem to need very practical, tangible methods to be revealed before I experience freedom.

    During the last few years of my alcoholism, I tried several times to quit. After going to counselors and "professionals" I found the only thing I’d been freed from was my money. I tried AA a few times, but not having any alcoholism in my family, I didn’t know what an alcoholic was, I knew I had a drinking problem, but alcoholics were people who slept in the streets and didn’t have jobs and such.

    I had a couple of two month stints of sobriety and then I’d convince myself I could drink normally again and within a month or two I was back to getting drunk every other day. It was getting worse and worse and I was at risk of losing my job and family. My wife would encourage me to not focus so much on NOT drinking, but focus on trying to find God.

    So that’s what I tried to start doing. I would feverently cry out to God to free me from it. I wasn’t going to "church" then but would read the Bible and other books trying to find freedom. Once, I had a two week period of freedom. When I was tempted to drink, I would cry out to Father to show me his love and save me. It worked for two weeks and then He seemed to shut the door.

    The more I cried out, the worse the cravings got. Needless to say I got drunk and stayed drunk for 6 more weeks. I was convinced God didn’t love me or he’s have freed me from my alcoholism. I fiqured if he didn’t love me, screw it. I’ll just drink until I’m dead. I finally ended up in a 28 day treatment center. When I showed up for treatment, I was at the bottom. Convinced that God hated me or I wouldn’t be where I was. It was God’s failure, not mine. I was in treatment because he failed me. I went to him and he didn’t answer.

    The first few days of treatment consisited of everyone talking about their higher power and how he’s the only one who can save us from alcohol. I was so angry, my God was the reason I WAS in treatment, he couldn’t or wouldn’t save me from it. I finally got sick of hearing about the higher power stuff and talked to a counselor at treatment and shared my two week stint of freedom only to be followed by God failing me. The counselor suggested that maybe God needed to humble me before he could work with me and that’s why he allowed my to end up in treatment. Right then I knew he was right. I wanted God to free me from alcohol, that’s all. I could handle the rest of my life. God, take care of the booze and I’ll take care of the rest. God, wanting all of me, humbled me to the point that I realized step one, I could not manage my own life.

    Looking back, I realize that treatment was one of the best things for me. I have over 17 months of sobriety from the booze but now, I’m facing the sexual addiction which has been the stronger of the two.

    This is getting too long so I’ll stop here and pick up later.

  35. Jolly Beggar April 11, 2005 at 10:09 pm

    Steve,

    I realize now how much guilt played a role in keeping me in bondage. I’d try so hard not to blow it and when I finally did, I’d feel worse than before and medicate myself, either through booze or masturbation.

    I’m experiencing allot more freedom from guilt, but I’m still a long way from experiencing God’s forgiveness and love. I hear and read the words in the Bible and from others about God’s love but until I experience it from his heart to mine, there still just words.

    I’m not trying to sound melodramatic, I’m on a journey and learning and experiencing more each day. I just haven’t reached the point where I believe in my heart of hearts how much Father loves me.

  36. J April 11, 2005 at 11:17 pm

    Steve,

    Thanks for the in-depth response. I understand what you are saying and even agree with much of it, but I do not agree that I am to love my flesh and the corruptness within. That is simply not Biblical. However, it is Biblical to love the spirit that is in perfectly righteous within myself. While my flesh is sinful, my spirit is without sin, because it is Jesus within my spirit that perfects it.

    Perhaps you understand that, and I have misunderstood what you intended to get across. However, if you desire I can give you many verses in the Bible to back up what I am saying. I understand that sometimes you cannot take literal what has been written. However, I do believe that some things that have been stated are to be taken very literal.

    Do you believe that human flesh is not full of sin and sin is detestable in God’s sight? Of course it is and as a result God does not love our flesh/sin nature. As stated though, it is our spirit through which God looks on in perfection.

    Thanks–J

  37. steve April 11, 2005 at 11:57 pm

    J,

    Sorry, I didn’t understand your last post. I did not say anything about loving our flesh, but neither do I take literal commands such as if your hand offends you cut it off or if your eye offends you pluck it out. God is the one who placed us in these bodies and He is well aware of their limitations.

    You ask if I believe that human flesh is full of sin. Yes our flesh is full of sin but isn’t that what the cross is all about? Consider these verses…

    Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to PUT AWAY SIN by the sacrifice of Himself. (Heb 9:26 NASB)

    God calls the time of Christs sacrifice the consummation of the ages because He dealt with the sin problem at the cross. The old world, under law has passed away, we now live free, because all things ARE become new. with no condemnation, and the knowledge of that changes us, just as it changed the man that George wrote about much earlier. We change our minds about God and instead of running away from Him when we fail, we run to Him. Look, no one here is saying that we should love sin. I am certainly not advocating to sin. I am just saying that the cross put an end to sin and the law keeps bringing it back up before us. We need to see that the law was nailed to the tree. If we are still trying to LIVE UP to laws, mans or Gods we are doomed to live as failures because as soon as law is brought into the picture, condemnation comes along with it.

    Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,

    (Rom 8:1-3 NASB)

    He offered Himself in our place so that we don’t ever have to live condemned again.

    We need to quit keeping track of sin and let it remain buried and focus on the cross and all of it’s benefits.

  38. eddie April 12, 2005 at 12:48 am

    J

    The conclusion that you leave leads to what I like to call “spiritual schizophrenia” – where we pretend to hate our “sinful” nature as much as God supposedly do, and we drive ourselves insane trying to reconcile our “good” part with the “evil” part that keeps rearing its ugly head – I think you know what I mean.

    But isn’t that exactly what the tree of knowledge of good and evil taught us, to weigh everything in terms of black and white, good and evil, moral and immoral? I think God proved his point 2000 years ago that no flesh can make it through means of its own righteousness, and that it cannot do what God came to fix through his Son. God has no illusions about you, good or bad, and he really doesn’t find sinful ‘humans’ as despicable as religion teaches us he does. To see this wonderful truth in action, just rewind to Jesus with the woman at the well, and many other such occasions when he reached out to “repugnant” sinners. Jesus didn’t run for the hills, hid his face or vomited in the presence of sin (unlike religion) – but instead, he embraced, accepted and loved people right where they were at. And was he not ONE with God, and if he was, then we know that God was there in him during those encounters. I think we have our theology a little screwed up on exactly how squeamish God is in the presence of sinful people.

    Contrary to the methods of religion, he came to tell sinners that they will no longer need to measure their righteousness by their own works, that God accepts them through him, and that he will forgive them their sins and think of it no longer. I think trying to paint a God that supposedly cannot “stand” sin makes him impersonal, incapable of meeting us in the midst of our worst struggles – and it certainly encourages us to live double lives. Major Ian Thomas said it really well: “There is nothing as pathetic as the flesh trying to be holy” – because this is a battle already lost, as aptly documented by Israel’s four thousand year history before the Cross.

    From the perspective of the New Testament, striving to be holy, loving, kind, patient, self controlled (or fill in the verb) means nothing if these attributes are sought as ethical ideals or to fulfill a rule or meet an obligation. They have meaning only insofar as they manifest the new life that is found in Christ by his Spirit. They are descriptions of what real life look like, not prescriptions for how we get life. We will spend the rest of our natural lives trying to “earn” God’s favor as long as we don’t grasp his grace and see ourselves as holy, righteous and without blame without lifting a finger, and might I add, accept and love ourselves as we are at this point of the journey, as God loves us. In the end, only God can reveal this to us, "for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure" (Phil 2:13) – everything else is our self-righteous effort to accomplish what he already finished on the Cross.

    Naturally, this leads to Jolly’s comment of how we make this practical. But I suspect its right around here where we miss the bus, trying to hand out “cookie-cutter” formulas for everyone to follow in order to be released from this burden. What worked for this brother as Wayne wrote about, WILL NOT work for the next person, because only God knows how to meet us where we are at, and only he can speak to us in ways that will make sense to us. But like our forefathers under the law, we would much rather run to a formulas, prescription, methods or at a minimum send someone else up the mountain, instead of seeking God for ourselves. When will his people finally realize that no man need to teach another who God is, but that if we are willing, that God WILL reveal and teach us who he is, and only then, as we behold him, will we become like him. My heart yearns for God’s people to enter this rest, that is only found in knowing him, in his presence when we come to grips with who we are, and allowing him to change us from the inside out.

    much peace and grace

  39. Jolly Beggar April 12, 2005 at 12:52 am

    Steve & George,

    Thanks for the insight. I understand about trying all sorts of methods, both secular and "spiritual" to find freedom from habitual sin. I’ve paid "professional christian counselors" $100 an hour to tell me that the theology of the church I was attending was toxic and that’s why I was in so much bondage. Another told me to "forget what God thinks about me, what do I think about myself."

    I think the way God walks each individual through their journey with Him is different for everyone. I seem to need very practical, tangible methods to be revealed before I experience freedom.

    During the last few years of my alcoholism, I tried several times to quit. After going to counselors and "professionals" I found the only thing I’d been freed from was my money. I tried AA a few times, but not having any alcoholism in my family, I didn’t know what an alcoholic was, I knew I had a drinking problem, but alcoholics were people who slept in the streets and didn’t have jobs and such.

    I had a couple of two month stints of sobriety and then I’d convince myself I could drink normally again and within a month or two I was back to getting drunk every other day. It was getting worse and worse and I was at risk of losing my job and family. My wife would encourage me to not focus so much on NOT drinking, but focus on trying to find God.

    So that’s what I tried to start doing. I would feverently cry out to God to free me from it. I wasn’t going to "church" then but would read the Bible and other books trying to find freedom. Once, I had a two week period of freedom. When I was tempted to drink, I would cry out to Father to show me his love and save me. It worked for two weeks and then He seemed to shut the door.

    The more I cried out, the worse the cravings got. Needless to say I got drunk and stayed drunk for 6 more weeks. I was convinced God didn’t love me or he’s have freed me from my alcoholism. I fiqured if he didn’t love me, screw it. I’ll just drink until I’m dead. I finally ended up in a 28 day treatment center. When I showed up for treatment, I was at the bottom. Convinced that God hated me or I wouldn’t be where I was. It was God’s failure, not mine. I was in treatment because he failed me. I went to him and he didn’t answer.

    The first few days of treatment consisited of everyone talking about their higher power and how he’s the only one who can save us from alcohol. I was so angry, my God was the reason I WAS in treatment, he couldn’t or wouldn’t save me from it. I finally got sick of hearing about the higher power stuff and talked to a counselor at treatment and shared my two week stint of freedom only to be followed by God failing me. The counselor suggested that maybe God needed to humble me before he could work with me and that’s why he allowed my to end up in treatment. Right then I knew he was right. I wanted God to free me from alcohol, that’s all. I could handle the rest of my life. God, take care of the booze and I’ll take care of the rest. God, wanting all of me, humbled me to the point that I realized step one, I could not manage my own life.

    Looking back, I realize that treatment was one of the best things for me. I have over 17 months of sobriety from the booze but now, I’m facing the sexual addiction which has been the stronger of the two.

    This is getting too long so I’ll stop here and pick up later.

  40. Jolly Beggar April 12, 2005 at 1:09 am

    Steve,

    I realize now how much guilt played a role in keeping me in bondage. I’d try so hard not to blow it and when I finally did, I’d feel worse than before and medicate myself, either through booze or masturbation.

    I’m experiencing allot more freedom from guilt, but I’m still a long way from experiencing God’s forgiveness and love. I hear and read the words in the Bible and from others about God’s love but until I experience it from his heart to mine, there still just words.

    I’m not trying to sound melodramatic, I’m on a journey and learning and experiencing more each day. I just haven’t reached the point where I believe in my heart of hearts how much Father loves me.

  41. geo April 12, 2005 at 3:55 am

    Jolly,

    Please understand that we do know where you are at even if in this medium of blogs does not convey that very well. That freedom from guilt you talk about is not something that someone can show you how to if you know what I mean? Can I ask you a question? Ok I will,

    Jolly, when you have an episode of booze or masterbation when that is done what do you believe Father’s thoughts are of you? Is He mad and disappointed in you? Is He wanting to destroy you with His wrath? Just what does He think of you at that point of failure?

    Peace

    Geo

  42. steve April 12, 2005 at 5:05 am

    Jolly,

    While you are considering George’s question, I just want to say brother that the Christ in me loves the Christ in you. I have felt all those things that you are feeling and I hurt along with you. I just wish to offer a little compassion and encouragement to you bro. You are as special to God as anyone else. After squandering our relationships, He still runs to meet us when we turn back to Him in our anguish. Don’t let guilt and shame rob you of your relationship with Father. It is free. Glad to have you as part of the family bro.

  43. Jolly Beggar April 12, 2005 at 5:38 am

    G,

    A friend has been helping me along this journey and he suggested that after an episode of "acting out", that I ask Father "okay, God, what in me still needs healed? What about your love don’t I understand or believe that’s allowing me to go to sex or booze instead of you".

    I admit, sometimes I do that and allot of the times I’m just apathetic, tired of fighting.

    Over the past month, though, I’ve been experience allot more freedom and the acting out is much less often. I’m slowly learning/believing Fathers love.

    S,

    Thanks for the encouragement.

  44. geo April 12, 2005 at 6:42 am

    That same friend has helped alot of brothers and sisters with that question Jolly! My friend Father’s love NEVER fails us! Please keep in touch. You can email me anytime just click on my name and it will take you to my website and you can contact me there anytime. This journey we are on is totally amazing and Father has so many wonderful things for us to discover as we walk though this life. May I also add that Freedom looks good on you!

    Trust in it! Because Freedom is Jesus and in Him is no condemnation or remembrance of sin. When the Father looks at you Jolly He sees the righteousness of His Son and nothing else.

    Love you man!

    Peace

    Geo

  45. geo April 12, 2005 at 6:55 am

    Jolly,

    Please understand that we do know where you are at even if in this medium of blogs does not convey that very well. That freedom from guilt you talk about is not something that someone can show you how to if you know what I mean? Can I ask you a question? Ok I will,

    Jolly, when you have an episode of booze or masterbation when that is done what do you believe Father’s thoughts are of you? Is He mad and disappointed in you? Is He wanting to destroy you with His wrath? Just what does He think of you at that point of failure?

    Peace

    Geo

  46. steve April 12, 2005 at 8:05 am

    Jolly,

    While you are considering George’s question, I just want to say brother that the Christ in me loves the Christ in you. I have felt all those things that you are feeling and I hurt along with you. I just wish to offer a little compassion and encouragement to you bro. You are as special to God as anyone else. After squandering our relationships, He still runs to meet us when we turn back to Him in our anguish. Don’t let guilt and shame rob you of your relationship with Father. It is free. Glad to have you as part of the family bro.

  47. Jolly Beggar April 12, 2005 at 8:38 am

    G,

    A friend has been helping me along this journey and he suggested that after an episode of "acting out", that I ask Father "okay, God, what in me still needs healed? What about your love don’t I understand or believe that’s allowing me to go to sex or booze instead of you".

    I admit, sometimes I do that and allot of the times I’m just apathetic, tired of fighting.

    Over the past month, though, I’ve been experience allot more freedom and the acting out is much less often. I’m slowly learning/believing Fathers love.

    S,

    Thanks for the encouragement.

  48. geo April 12, 2005 at 9:42 am

    That same friend has helped alot of brothers and sisters with that question Jolly! My friend Father’s love NEVER fails us! Please keep in touch. You can email me anytime just click on my name and it will take you to my website and you can contact me there anytime. This journey we are on is totally amazing and Father has so many wonderful things for us to discover as we walk though this life. May I also add that Freedom looks good on you!

    Trust in it! Because Freedom is Jesus and in Him is no condemnation or remembrance of sin. When the Father looks at you Jolly He sees the righteousness of His Son and nothing else.

    Love you man!

    Peace

    Geo

  49. Steve April 12, 2005 at 9:43 am

    Jolly,

    Many struggle with similar issues and go through cycles of failure and temporary victory. However, as I have, through faith in Christ, refused to let the guilt of failure overwhelm me, I have discovered that the power of the temptation to bind me in addictive behavior has decreased. In weak moments, I may still fail occasionally but I have learned to forgive myself and to trust the blood of Jesus to cleanse me. I am learning how His strength is indeed made perfect in my weakness. It is this wonderful gospel that teaches me that Father isn’t angry with me anymore that make the difference. Having friends that reinforce that message also is a great benefit. As I rest in His finished work, I also find Him healing me in my attitudes and perceptions of myself and others. As far as medicating ourselves, the greatest prescription is the awesome love of God, the Great Physician, to bring healing in every area of our lives. As we see His love we find we can love ourselves and that makes it so much easier to love others.

    This has been a good discussion and I thank Wayne for addressing this issue. May we all more clearly see the glory of God in the loving face of Jesus Christ.

    Here is a neat promise.

    So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. (Rom 5:18-19 NASB)

    Love you all,

    Steve

  50. Steve April 12, 2005 at 12:43 pm

    Jolly,

    Many struggle with similar issues and go through cycles of failure and temporary victory. However, as I have, through faith in Christ, refused to let the guilt of failure overwhelm me, I have discovered that the power of the temptation to bind me in addictive behavior has decreased. In weak moments, I may still fail occasionally but I have learned to forgive myself and to trust the blood of Jesus to cleanse me. I am learning how His strength is indeed made perfect in my weakness. It is this wonderful gospel that teaches me that Father isn’t angry with me anymore that make the difference. Having friends that reinforce that message also is a great benefit. As I rest in His finished work, I also find Him healing me in my attitudes and perceptions of myself and others. As far as medicating ourselves, the greatest prescription is the awesome love of God, the Great Physician, to bring healing in every area of our lives. As we see His love we find we can love ourselves and that makes it so much easier to love others.

    This has been a good discussion and I thank Wayne for addressing this issue. May we all more clearly see the glory of God in the loving face of Jesus Christ.

    Here is a neat promise.

    So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. (Rom 5:18-19 NASB)

    Love you all,

    Steve

  51. J April 12, 2005 at 9:22 pm

    Steve, Eddie, & Jolly:

    Thanks brothers for your insight and experience in the matter of trusting God and his infinite love for all of us. You are right, I simply need to get over it and accept God’s love, even in the midst of myself trying to get in the way, because I could never get in the way of what He gives continuously and freely.

    Eddie, I had a chuckle over what you called “spiritual schizophrenia”. However, I think you are right about that diagnosis. Why is it that so many are tied up in this pattern of thinking? We just need Jesus! Even though I agree with you that indeed that is what is taking place, I know that to truly get out of that way of thinking will be a process. It will take both time and a clearer understanding of just how much Jesus loves me. I hope that we all learn to love as He does.

    Jolly, hang in there. I once had a conversation with a brother as far as why God seems to take away/clean certain problems areas and leaves others still in tact. He stated that he believes that perhaps God leaves certain areas untouched because those areas keep bringing us back to God. Not for self-condemnation, but to draw closer to Him to fill the void that is obviously there in some way shape or form. I think that is what some of the previous entries have also been saying.

    I have realy enjoyed this topic. I believe that God has really talked through many people in this blog entry. Thank you brothers for being my brother and may our Lord and Saviour bless you all to the uttermost!

  52. J April 13, 2005 at 12:22 am

    Steve, Eddie, & Jolly:

    Thanks brothers for your insight and experience in the matter of trusting God and his infinite love for all of us. You are right, I simply need to get over it and accept God’s love, even in the midst of myself trying to get in the way, because I could never get in the way of what He gives continuously and freely.

    Eddie, I had a chuckle over what you called “spiritual schizophrenia”. However, I think you are right about that diagnosis. Why is it that so many are tied up in this pattern of thinking? We just need Jesus! Even though I agree with you that indeed that is what is taking place, I know that to truly get out of that way of thinking will be a process. It will take both time and a clearer understanding of just how much Jesus loves me. I hope that we all learn to love as He does.

    Jolly, hang in there. I once had a conversation with a brother as far as why God seems to take away/clean certain problems areas and leaves others still in tact. He stated that he believes that perhaps God leaves certain areas untouched because those areas keep bringing us back to God. Not for self-condemnation, but to draw closer to Him to fill the void that is obviously there in some way shape or form. I think that is what some of the previous entries have also been saying.

    I have realy enjoyed this topic. I believe that God has really talked through many people in this blog entry. Thank you brothers for being my brother and may our Lord and Saviour bless you all to the uttermost!

  53. Steve April 13, 2005 at 5:03 am

    J,

    Your comment will make my day a little more pleasent. When we have come to see the glories of Christ, in the Father’s plan of redemption, it becomes our purpose to permit that glory to radiate through our lives, our words, our testimony. we relate to Pauls words, "for me to live is Christ". God has already richly blessed us in Christ so may we all continue to grow in His grace and the knowledge of Him. It is good to be under His feet for His feet bring peace. How sweet it is.

  54. Steve April 13, 2005 at 8:03 am

    J,

    Your comment will make my day a little more pleasent. When we have come to see the glories of Christ, in the Father’s plan of redemption, it becomes our purpose to permit that glory to radiate through our lives, our words, our testimony. we relate to Pauls words, "for me to live is Christ". God has already richly blessed us in Christ so may we all continue to grow in His grace and the knowledge of Him. It is good to be under His feet for His feet bring peace. How sweet it is.

  55. Wayne April 13, 2005 at 7:24 pm

    Good on you folks for working your way through this together. I haven’t had time to jump in, but I do appreciate how you all have pursued this topic together, not always seeing eye to eye, but neither turning on each other with arrogance. There are too few examples of this in the body, I’m afraid! I posted some comments on this train of thought in my next blog if you’re interested…

  56. Wayne April 13, 2005 at 10:24 pm

    Good on you folks for working your way through this together. I haven’t had time to jump in, but I do appreciate how you all have pursued this topic together, not always seeing eye to eye, but neither turning on each other with arrogance. There are too few examples of this in the body, I’m afraid! I posted some comments on this train of thought in my next blog if you’re interested…

  57. Dave A. April 14, 2005 at 9:27 am

    All I can say is THANK YOU BROTHERS for sharing as you have in this post. I too have struggled with porn (and being a human as well I’ve struggled with many other things).

    One of the things that I’ve seen taking place in this discussion is FELLOWSHIP in the truest sense of the word. Brother standing with brothers. Do you know how rare this is? I’m sure you do!

    I too would love to sit down in the 3D world with you guys and be able to share Him and His life in us in this ongoing journey of knowing Him!

    I’ll share something that I just received from another brother which seems to tie well with what’s been shared here:

    "If you feel you don’t have your life or work under control, cheer up; you are on the right road. God never intended that you figure it all out. He intended that you trust Jesus Christ, that you be like a wife to a husband named Christ and be totally dependent upon Him. God’s plan was not that you just seek Jesus in an emergency. He wants Christ to be your all in all, your very life. If you have the realization that you are not what you should be, if there are loose ends in your life, then thank the Father. The loose ends are there to bring you to the end of yourself when you can thank the Father that you are married to Christ and that He is your only life. Then you can say with Paul Gal. 2:20…The Father is always working toward this end."

    I’m not sure where that was from. It may be from Wayne’s site. Sounds like that guy!

    Much love to you all. To Him Who is our very Life!

    Dave Aldrich

    Lincoln, RI USA

    aldrich@stebbings.com

  58. Dave A. April 14, 2005 at 11:21 am

    PS – That quote above was from the book, "The Making of a Son," by Warren Litzman.

    Dave

  59. Dave A. April 14, 2005 at 12:27 pm

    All I can say is THANK YOU BROTHERS for sharing as you have in this post. I too have struggled with porn (and being a human as well I’ve struggled with many other things).

    One of the things that I’ve seen taking place in this discussion is FELLOWSHIP in the truest sense of the word. Brother standing with brothers. Do you know how rare this is? I’m sure you do!

    I too would love to sit down in the 3D world with you guys and be able to share Him and His life in us in this ongoing journey of knowing Him!

    I’ll share something that I just received from another brother which seems to tie well with what’s been shared here:

    "If you feel you don’t have your life or work under control, cheer up; you are on the right road. God never intended that you figure it all out. He intended that you trust Jesus Christ, that you be like a wife to a husband named Christ and be totally dependent upon Him. God’s plan was not that you just seek Jesus in an emergency. He wants Christ to be your all in all, your very life. If you have the realization that you are not what you should be, if there are loose ends in your life, then thank the Father. The loose ends are there to bring you to the end of yourself when you can thank the Father that you are married to Christ and that He is your only life. Then you can say with Paul Gal. 2:20…The Father is always working toward this end."

    I’m not sure where that was from. It may be from Wayne’s site. Sounds like that guy!

    Much love to you all. To Him Who is our very Life!

    Dave Aldrich

    Lincoln, RI USA

    aldrich@stebbings.com

  60. Dave A. April 14, 2005 at 2:21 pm

    PS – That quote above was from the book, "The Making of a Son," by Warren Litzman.

    Dave

  61. Jolly Beggar April 14, 2005 at 8:29 pm

    J

    I think I have a great deal more freedom from alcoholism than I do sexual issues because alcoholism is primarily phisological, whereas my sexual struggles are more heart/soul/spirit based.

    I’m not saying that my struggles with accepting God’s love and trusting him don’t play a factor in alcoholism, but from what I learned in treatment, it’s more of a physical addiction, where my porn and masturbation stem from a broken heart and spirit.

    George, you commit about being diagnosed by a "professional" as being alcoholic but now being able to drink normally again sparked a debate between my wife and I.

    She believes that when I accept and believe God’s love and experience freedom from addiction, that I’ll be able to drink normally again. I fiercly fight against that thinking, because I don’t want to go back to where I was when I was drinking a 5th every other day and blacking out.

    My physical body is addicted to alcohol and right now I’m in remission because I haven’t had a drink in 18 months. If I drink again though, the addiction will manifest itself again and down the dark road I go.

    I don’t doubt that God could heal me. It would have to be a physical healing, but I don’t really see why he would. Like J mentioned. If we didn’t struggle, we wouldn’t need God.

    My wife still says I’m limiting God by not allowing myself to believe I could drink again and not struggle with it. I quess I’ll never know because I’m never planning on taking another drink again.

  62. Jolly Beggar April 14, 2005 at 11:29 pm

    J

    I think I have a great deal more freedom from alcoholism than I do sexual issues because alcoholism is primarily phisological, whereas my sexual struggles are more heart/soul/spirit based.

    I’m not saying that my struggles with accepting God’s love and trusting him don’t play a factor in alcoholism, but from what I learned in treatment, it’s more of a physical addiction, where my porn and masturbation stem from a broken heart and spirit.

    George, you commit about being diagnosed by a "professional" as being alcoholic but now being able to drink normally again sparked a debate between my wife and I.

    She believes that when I accept and believe God’s love and experience freedom from addiction, that I’ll be able to drink normally again. I fiercly fight against that thinking, because I don’t want to go back to where I was when I was drinking a 5th every other day and blacking out.

    My physical body is addicted to alcohol and right now I’m in remission because I haven’t had a drink in 18 months. If I drink again though, the addiction will manifest itself again and down the dark road I go.

    I don’t doubt that God could heal me. It would have to be a physical healing, but I don’t really see why he would. Like J mentioned. If we didn’t struggle, we wouldn’t need God.

    My wife still says I’m limiting God by not allowing myself to believe I could drink again and not struggle with it. I quess I’ll never know because I’m never planning on taking another drink again.

  63. Steve April 15, 2005 at 4:09 am

    Jolly,

    I don’t believe that we can limit God in any way. We may limit ourselves in fully experiencing the effects of His work by our own misconception but Father is well able to overcome even this in our lives. You have a good heart my friend because you are honest enough to recognize and seek help in those areas of your life that where you are hurting. There is no one who understands that better than Father and I believe that He has already provided the Way of escape. I pray that the eyes of your understanding may focused only on Jesus. Hang tough friend.

  64. BruceD April 15, 2005 at 5:08 am

    This is a good discussion. Thanks, Wayne, for being the vehicle.

    I am personally seeing life in Christ quite differently these last few years. It seems like the relationship I had with God, based on what the church had taught me all those years, was not truly relationship with God, but more of an allegience to "religion". And what I’ve come to find is that religion can never be satisfied. Its demands are far beyond the abilities any human can meet. The subsequent "falling short" of what I thought God wanted from me, only caused me feel guilt and shame. I couldn’t "measure up" no matter how hard I tried. And I really tried hard. It burnt me out, and nearly pushed me over the edge. Looking back, I really hate that time in my life. I was miserable.

    Guilt and shame brought me down. I thought loving God, meant hating myself. And I did. I could never be "good enough". I could never "believe enough". I could never measure up to a system that demanded my best. I finally gave up in the midst of a growing rage. My heart told me, "if this is what it means to have relationship with God, then I’m not interested. I’m done!"

    Then, having left the church, I explored my options. I knew deep down that I sought God. Not the task-master God of the church, but the real, loving, accepting God I read about in the bible. Well, the trail was long and windy, but He is revealing himself to me in small doses. He is showing me the freedom that floods into my life when I begin to understand the work of the cross, and the power it holds to change lives. And I’m not talking about the "He did, so you must" gospel, but the gospel of perfect peace and full grace.

    So, brothers and sisters, let’s keep our eyes firmly on Jesus an allow him to reveal the depths of the cross. Let’s permit ourselves to live fully in the freedom that his incredible love brings, knowing that we are safe with him. As we learn how perfect his love is, let it wash away the guilt and shame that causes us to lose hope and punish ourselves for not being "good enough". Let us embrace Christ who came to make peace with all creation. Let us rest in the knowledge that his love is pure and complete. Let us lose our guilt-producing fear and lack of trust. Let us be free of all doubt. Let us enjoy life with our creator.

  65. Steve April 15, 2005 at 7:09 am

    Jolly,

    I don’t believe that we can limit God in any way. We may limit ourselves in fully experiencing the effects of His work by our own misconception but Father is well able to overcome even this in our lives. You have a good heart my friend because you are honest enough to recognize and seek help in those areas of your life that where you are hurting. There is no one who understands that better than Father and I believe that He has already provided the Way of escape. I pray that the eyes of your understanding may focused only on Jesus. Hang tough friend.

  66. BruceD April 15, 2005 at 8:08 am

    This is a good discussion. Thanks, Wayne, for being the vehicle.

    I am personally seeing life in Christ quite differently these last few years. It seems like the relationship I had with God, based on what the church had taught me all those years, was not truly relationship with God, but more of an allegience to "religion". And what I’ve come to find is that religion can never be satisfied. Its demands are far beyond the abilities any human can meet. The subsequent "falling short" of what I thought God wanted from me, only caused me feel guilt and shame. I couldn’t "measure up" no matter how hard I tried. And I really tried hard. It burnt me out, and nearly pushed me over the edge. Looking back, I really hate that time in my life. I was miserable.

    Guilt and shame brought me down. I thought loving God, meant hating myself. And I did. I could never be "good enough". I could never "believe enough". I could never measure up to a system that demanded my best. I finally gave up in the midst of a growing rage. My heart told me, "if this is what it means to have relationship with God, then I’m not interested. I’m done!"

    Then, having left the church, I explored my options. I knew deep down that I sought God. Not the task-master God of the church, but the real, loving, accepting God I read about in the bible. Well, the trail was long and windy, but He is revealing himself to me in small doses. He is showing me the freedom that floods into my life when I begin to understand the work of the cross, and the power it holds to change lives. And I’m not talking about the "He did, so you must" gospel, but the gospel of perfect peace and full grace.

    So, brothers and sisters, let’s keep our eyes firmly on Jesus an allow him to reveal the depths of the cross. Let’s permit ourselves to live fully in the freedom that his incredible love brings, knowing that we are safe with him. As we learn how perfect his love is, let it wash away the guilt and shame that causes us to lose hope and punish ourselves for not being "good enough". Let us embrace Christ who came to make peace with all creation. Let us rest in the knowledge that his love is pure and complete. Let us lose our guilt-producing fear and lack of trust. Let us be free of all doubt. Let us enjoy life with our creator.

  67. geo April 15, 2005 at 4:28 pm

    Jolly PLEASE do not misunderstand me. I was not saying what your wife said. I would NEVER advocate you to start drinking again "normallly" whatever that is. Only you and no one else knows what the truth is in that area of your life. Not me or your wife or any A.A. leader can tell you what is truth in that area. Only the Father can answer that question for you or anyone else. I was just relating my experience and in NO WAY meant to put it out their as the rule or norm to follow. You Jolly are loved and treasured by Daddy and even though we have never met face to face I can say that I also love you! Relax bro Jesus has it covered.

    Peace

    Geo

  68. geo April 15, 2005 at 7:28 pm

    Jolly PLEASE do not misunderstand me. I was not saying what your wife said. I would NEVER advocate you to start drinking again "normallly" whatever that is. Only you and no one else knows what the truth is in that area of your life. Not me or your wife or any A.A. leader can tell you what is truth in that area. Only the Father can answer that question for you or anyone else. I was just relating my experience and in NO WAY meant to put it out their as the rule or norm to follow. You Jolly are loved and treasured by Daddy and even though we have never met face to face I can say that I also love you! Relax bro Jesus has it covered.

    Peace

    Geo

  69. Jolly Beggar April 16, 2005 at 9:00 pm

    G,

    I did not misunderstand you. I know you were not advocating that alcoholics return to drinking after experiencing freedom from the addiction. This forum is always the best for digging stuff like this out…let’s all meet in Maui next month and discuss this.

    My wife also read what I wrote and stated that I misunderstood her. What she was trying to say was that…hang on…I’ll let her tell you…..

    I will try and put this into words. I was not trying to get "Jolly" to drink again…far from it. Our family has been to hell and back dealing with his alcoholism and other addictions…. I see these addictions, not just as a behaviour problem that needs to be fixed, or a physical disease, but they are the result of sin warping and twisting, of sin controlling and destroying human beings. I feel that the cross was about freedom, and living in the Father is about freedom. I was trying to tell "Jolly" that even though he hasn’t had a drink for almost a year and a half, to some extent it still has a certain amount of control over him, he sees himself as always being an alcoholic, with the possibility of relapse hanging over his head…I was trying to say that it was possible that God wanted to free him from these addictions,totally, so they aren’t an issue at all. Whether he drinks or not isn’t the issue, but freedom from the addiction’s control over his life. I think on this journey with the Father a person will gradually, sometimes quickly, but in whatever time that the Father sees necessary become free of the sin that holds onto us…isn’t this what the cross is about??

  70. Jolly Beggar April 17, 2005 at 12:00 am

    G,

    I did not misunderstand you. I know you were not advocating that alcoholics return to drinking after experiencing freedom from the addiction. This forum is always the best for digging stuff like this out…let’s all meet in Maui next month and discuss this.

    My wife also read what I wrote and stated that I misunderstood her. What she was trying to say was that…hang on…I’ll let her tell you…..

    I will try and put this into words. I was not trying to get "Jolly" to drink again…far from it. Our family has been to hell and back dealing with his alcoholism and other addictions…. I see these addictions, not just as a behaviour problem that needs to be fixed, or a physical disease, but they are the result of sin warping and twisting, of sin controlling and destroying human beings. I feel that the cross was about freedom, and living in the Father is about freedom. I was trying to tell "Jolly" that even though he hasn’t had a drink for almost a year and a half, to some extent it still has a certain amount of control over him, he sees himself as always being an alcoholic, with the possibility of relapse hanging over his head…I was trying to say that it was possible that God wanted to free him from these addictions,totally, so they aren’t an issue at all. Whether he drinks or not isn’t the issue, but freedom from the addiction’s control over his life. I think on this journey with the Father a person will gradually, sometimes quickly, but in whatever time that the Father sees necessary become free of the sin that holds onto us…isn’t this what the cross is about??

  71. geo April 17, 2005 at 4:14 am

    Dear Mrs. Jolly,

    Yes that is what the cross is all about. Bruce who comments here and who blogs at YBMT (see link on left) helped me to see the fact of freedom in Christ as it related to my drinking. Bruce just asked me a simple question which was, "does Father still heal"? as i explored that over a years time and rested in Father’s Love a funny thing started to happen things that had so called power over me started to lose thier power over me. Now there are still alot of things that have that so called power over me but now instead of being condemed and running away from Father I run to Him knowing that even in the middle of that failure I am the righteousness of God in Christ. That fact has the power to free the captives and will cause people to run to the Father instead of run away from him when they have an episode.

    Peace

    Geo

  72. steve April 17, 2005 at 6:20 am

    Hey Jolly,

    Don’t know if we can make it to Maui, but how about the truck stop at Exit 1 in Pa, I79 North. George, Bruce and I and another bro, Wes, meet there as often as possible. Seriously, where ever you are, we will pray for Father to give you brothers close enough for you to gather with for "in the skin" gatherings. It’s great to get hugs from bros like this but it sounds like you have a pretty cool wife to fellowship with too so hang loose and rest in Christ my friend.

    😉

  73. geo April 17, 2005 at 7:14 am

    Dear Mrs. Jolly,

    Yes that is what the cross is all about. Bruce who comments here and who blogs at YBMT (see link on left) helped me to see the fact of freedom in Christ as it related to my drinking. Bruce just asked me a simple question which was, "does Father still heal"? as i explored that over a years time and rested in Father’s Love a funny thing started to happen things that had so called power over me started to lose thier power over me. Now there are still alot of things that have that so called power over me but now instead of being condemed and running away from Father I run to Him knowing that even in the middle of that failure I am the righteousness of God in Christ. That fact has the power to free the captives and will cause people to run to the Father instead of run away from him when they have an episode.

    Peace

    Geo

  74. Mr Jolly April 17, 2005 at 8:19 am

    Steve,

    I’m in the Norhtwest so making it to PA would take awhile. I travel quite a bit though, if I’m ever close, I’ll let you all know.

    George,

    My wife and I talked some more last night after she posted her comments. The reason relapse seems to loom over my head is that, as an alcoholic, my physical body is sick in addition to my soul and spirit. I relate it to being a diabetic or someone with a food allergy. If a diabetic manages their diet, they don’t go into insulin shock. If someone who’s allergic to strawberries doesn’t eat strawberries, they don’t break out into hives.

    What I learned in treatment was that alcoholics have a defective liver ensyme which prevents thier bodies from breaking down alcohol as rapidly as a non-alcoholic. So, even if I reached a place with Father where whether or not I drank mattered emotionally and spiritually, my body would still be allergic to alcohol and IF I did have a drink for all the right reasons instead of the typical reasons alcoholics drink, the allergic reaction would remanifest itself and I’d possibly go into relapse.

    Mrs Jolly, told me last night that sin affects us in our body, soul, and spirit. If God heals/frees me in soul and spirit, then my body would be healed as well. That’s where I disagreed with her. I don’t doubt God could heal me from alcoholism, but it would have to be a physical healing in addition to freeing me from the emotional and spiritual reasons I drank.

    Sexual addiction, to me, differs from alcoholism in that I’m not sure there’s a physical malady at work in a sex addict. To me, my sex addiction seems to stem from the soul and spirit.

    I’m not trying to cut hairs or be argumenative. Sin is sin and it all destroys no matter where it comes from. It’s just very important to me, probably due to being sober only 18 months, that I never think or believe I can drink again.

  75. steve April 17, 2005 at 9:20 am

    Hey Jolly,

    Don’t know if we can make it to Maui, but how about the truck stop at Exit 1 in Pa, I79 North. George, Bruce and I and another bro, Wes, meet there as often as possible. Seriously, where ever you are, we will pray for Father to give you brothers close enough for you to gather with for "in the skin" gatherings. It’s great to get hugs from bros like this but it sounds like you have a pretty cool wife to fellowship with too so hang loose and rest in Christ my friend.

    😉

  76. Mr Jolly April 17, 2005 at 11:19 am

    Steve,

    I’m in the Norhtwest so making it to PA would take awhile. I travel quite a bit though, if I’m ever close, I’ll let you all know.

    George,

    My wife and I talked some more last night after she posted her comments. The reason relapse seems to loom over my head is that, as an alcoholic, my physical body is sick in addition to my soul and spirit. I relate it to being a diabetic or someone with a food allergy. If a diabetic manages their diet, they don’t go into insulin shock. If someone who’s allergic to strawberries doesn’t eat strawberries, they don’t break out into hives.

    What I learned in treatment was that alcoholics have a defective liver ensyme which prevents thier bodies from breaking down alcohol as rapidly as a non-alcoholic. So, even if I reached a place with Father where whether or not I drank mattered emotionally and spiritually, my body would still be allergic to alcohol and IF I did have a drink for all the right reasons instead of the typical reasons alcoholics drink, the allergic reaction would remanifest itself and I’d possibly go into relapse.

    Mrs Jolly, told me last night that sin affects us in our body, soul, and spirit. If God heals/frees me in soul and spirit, then my body would be healed as well. That’s where I disagreed with her. I don’t doubt God could heal me from alcoholism, but it would have to be a physical healing in addition to freeing me from the emotional and spiritual reasons I drank.

    Sexual addiction, to me, differs from alcoholism in that I’m not sure there’s a physical malady at work in a sex addict. To me, my sex addiction seems to stem from the soul and spirit.

    I’m not trying to cut hairs or be argumenative. Sin is sin and it all destroys no matter where it comes from. It’s just very important to me, probably due to being sober only 18 months, that I never think or believe I can drink again.

  77. BruceD April 17, 2005 at 5:17 pm

    Not trying to be a difficult here, but it seems like you’re saying that alcoholism is more powerful than Christ. And if you are, that’s ok anyway. Christ’s power to save us is far greater than our doubts and our lack of faith. Through the power of the cross, He IS our belief and our faith. Look to Him for all that we lack.

    Look to Him, dear brother.

  78. BruceD April 17, 2005 at 8:17 pm

    Not trying to be a difficult here, but it seems like you’re saying that alcoholism is more powerful than Christ. And if you are, that’s ok anyway. Christ’s power to save us is far greater than our doubts and our lack of faith. Through the power of the cross, He IS our belief and our faith. Look to Him for all that we lack.

    Look to Him, dear brother.

  79. Wayne April 18, 2005 at 11:40 am

    Hi Bruce!

    I didn’t get that at all from Mr. Jolly’s post. He was just saying that the freedom from alcoholism would take a physical healing since there is a physiological component to alcoholism. He’s right about that according to the latest evidence, and I know folks see this differently. I know a few folks who’ve been through treament and it seems Jesus’ healing can take two forms: He can grace them to live free in the face of the physical dependence, or he can heal the disease itself. I’ve seen him do both. I don’t think either of them say that alcohol is more powerful than Christ.

    Mr. Jolly, I think you’re well-advised to trust what Father makes clear to you in this process. One thing I’ve learned about the way Jesus heals is that he does it with great variety and in the way that will most fulfill his glory in us. Jesus may not ever want you to touch another drop of that stuff, or he may free you to enjoy it again without the risk of exploding into alcoholism. Either way he will get the glory in your life as you live deeply in him each day and walk in whatever freedom he makes real in you.

  80. Jolly Beggar April 18, 2005 at 12:00 pm

    I didn’t know how to respond to Bruce without sounding defensive or angry. I don’t think alcoholism is more powerful but it’s sometimes hard to communicate in this forum. Even Mrs. Jolly said that it seems like I’m putting more trust in what I learned at treatment and in AA than I am in Father.

    It’s discouraging to be misunderstood but in my heart and conscience, I believe I’m walking with Father. As he teaches me to trust and love him more, I’m sure my "dependence" on AA and will lessen.

    Being in early recovery, the important thing for me and my family is to stay sober, whether it’s through AA or any other means.

  81. BruceD April 18, 2005 at 12:59 pm

    Yeah, you’re right. That was a knee-jerk reaction, and I apologize.

    Jolly, you should go with whatever plan God has placed in your heart. Trust that He is with you, and is willing to help your through this. His love is so strong, and His compassion is so full… how can we not sense it in our lives? Keep listening for His voice. Know that you are loved… perfectly.

    My love to you too!

  82. Wayne April 18, 2005 at 2:40 pm

    Hi Bruce!

    I didn’t get that at all from Mr. Jolly’s post. He was just saying that the freedom from alcoholism would take a physical healing since there is a physiological component to alcoholism. He’s right about that according to the latest evidence, and I know folks see this differently. I know a few folks who’ve been through treament and it seems Jesus’ healing can take two forms: He can grace them to live free in the face of the physical dependence, or he can heal the disease itself. I’ve seen him do both. I don’t think either of them say that alcohol is more powerful than Christ.

    Mr. Jolly, I think you’re well-advised to trust what Father makes clear to you in this process. One thing I’ve learned about the way Jesus heals is that he does it with great variety and in the way that will most fulfill his glory in us. Jesus may not ever want you to touch another drop of that stuff, or he may free you to enjoy it again without the risk of exploding into alcoholism. Either way he will get the glory in your life as you live deeply in him each day and walk in whatever freedom he makes real in you.

  83. Jolly Beggar April 18, 2005 at 3:00 pm

    I didn’t know how to respond to Bruce without sounding defensive or angry. I don’t think alcoholism is more powerful but it’s sometimes hard to communicate in this forum. Even Mrs. Jolly said that it seems like I’m putting more trust in what I learned at treatment and in AA than I am in Father.

    It’s discouraging to be misunderstood but in my heart and conscience, I believe I’m walking with Father. As he teaches me to trust and love him more, I’m sure my "dependence" on AA and will lessen.

    Being in early recovery, the important thing for me and my family is to stay sober, whether it’s through AA or any other means.

  84. BruceD April 18, 2005 at 3:59 pm

    Yeah, you’re right. That was a knee-jerk reaction, and I apologize.

    Jolly, you should go with whatever plan God has placed in your heart. Trust that He is with you, and is willing to help your through this. His love is so strong, and His compassion is so full… how can we not sense it in our lives? Keep listening for His voice. Know that you are loved… perfectly.

    My love to you too!

  85. J April 18, 2005 at 10:13 pm

    Jolly,

    If in this moment in time you need additional help from associations like AA, then God bless AA.

    I had some serious issues that needed to be dealt with 5 years ago. I tried to deal with them on my own for far too long. I even tried to pray about it time and time again. It may have been a lack of maturity or trust in Father, but all I know is that the counselor helped me figure some things out.

    I agree with you Jolly 100% about the consequences of trusting and loving Jesus. The more we trust and love Him, the more crud in our lives gets straightened out. Amen to that!

    2 Corinthians 2:14 talks about a fragrance of Christ being given off through believers. To some it is a fragrance of death, but to others it is a fragrance of life. Brother, I have gotten a whiff of the fragrance of Christ that you have given off to us all in your transparency and honesty and it is pure life unto life!

    May our Lord and Saviour bless you to the uttermost!!!

  86. J April 19, 2005 at 1:13 am

    Jolly,

    If in this moment in time you need additional help from associations like AA, then God bless AA.

    I had some serious issues that needed to be dealt with 5 years ago. I tried to deal with them on my own for far too long. I even tried to pray about it time and time again. It may have been a lack of maturity or trust in Father, but all I know is that the counselor helped me figure some things out.

    I agree with you Jolly 100% about the consequences of trusting and loving Jesus. The more we trust and love Him, the more crud in our lives gets straightened out. Amen to that!

    2 Corinthians 2:14 talks about a fragrance of Christ being given off through believers. To some it is a fragrance of death, but to others it is a fragrance of life. Brother, I have gotten a whiff of the fragrance of Christ that you have given off to us all in your transparency and honesty and it is pure life unto life!

    May our Lord and Saviour bless you to the uttermost!!!

  87. Eileen April 25, 2005 at 9:05 pm

    A resource for wives of sexual addicts is http://www.newlifepartners.org

    We are a peer group dedicated to giving one another hope. We focus on our relationship with Jesus and realize that we did not cause this, nor can we control it.

    Many women have found it comforting just to have someone to relate to.

  88. Dennis and Eileen Bartig April 25, 2005 at 9:26 pm

    Dear Wayne,

    My husband heard you speak in Waupaca, WI many years ago. He loves to

    receiver the BodyLife newsletter.

    We read your article in the April BodyLife, Sexual Struggles on the

    Relational Journey. We have personally dealt with Sexual Addiction for over

    13 years and have pretty good recovery. (Just celebrated our 28th

    anniversary! YAY God!) All that you say in your article is very good and

    REAL.

    I am a member of a peer group for wives. If you would like to give it a look

    here is the web address. http://www.newlifepartners.org

    You can look around the site and read a lot of helpful information. Wives

    themselves can sign up to be on an email list where we help ourselves and

    each other. Only members can access the members pages, we guard our

    anonymity.

    NLP is truly a ministry of God at the grassroots level. I believe it would

    be an awesome resource for you to recommend to wives like the woman who

    emailed you for help.

    God is good!

    Eileen and Dennis Bartig

  89. Eileen April 26, 2005 at 12:05 am

    A resource for wives of sexual addicts is http://www.newlifepartners.org

    We are a peer group dedicated to giving one another hope. We focus on our relationship with Jesus and realize that we did not cause this, nor can we control it.

    Many women have found it comforting just to have someone to relate to.

  90. Dennis and Eileen Bartig April 26, 2005 at 12:26 am

    Dear Wayne,

    My husband heard you speak in Waupaca, WI many years ago. He loves to

    receiver the BodyLife newsletter.

    We read your article in the April BodyLife, Sexual Struggles on the

    Relational Journey. We have personally dealt with Sexual Addiction for over

    13 years and have pretty good recovery. (Just celebrated our 28th

    anniversary! YAY God!) All that you say in your article is very good and

    REAL.

    I am a member of a peer group for wives. If you would like to give it a look

    here is the web address. http://www.newlifepartners.org

    You can look around the site and read a lot of helpful information. Wives

    themselves can sign up to be on an email list where we help ourselves and

    each other. Only members can access the members pages, we guard our

    anonymity.

    NLP is truly a ministry of God at the grassroots level. I believe it would

    be an awesome resource for you to recommend to wives like the woman who

    emailed you for help.

    God is good!

    Eileen and Dennis Bartig

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