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If you have been engaged in repetitive masturbation with pornography on the internet, this reading is especially for you. You have tried to stop many times only to face returning again and again. It's an addiction. An addiction is an unwanted habit that is out of your control. It takes over before you can do anything to stop it. But now you're disgusted and ashamed about yourself, you've become more secretive in hiding this from others, and discouraged or even depressed about it. And if you are a biblically faithful Christian, you also are feeling sinful and guilty before God. How do you begin to get even a little self-control over this habit? You will find in this writing some ideas, concepts and especially some very practical things to do to begin getting control. All you have to bring to this is a real desire and committment to follow what you are asked to do. Frankly, if you can't gain some selfcontrol by using this material, you're only other alternative is to get into some private therapy program, maybe even a residential program at some facility for sexual addicts. Here's a prayer I'd like you to say each day:
Father God! Lord Jesus Christ! In your Spirit I come to you to seek your help. I feel out-of-control, helpless, unable to exercise the will or even the desire to change. I need your power and strength. I need your Spirit to lift me up from this pit, to motivate me, inspire me, and change my hard heart into a receptive and willing heart. All I can pray is this written prayer right now, because I am unable to find my own words to speak to you. That's how weak I am. That's how distant I feel from you. Help me Father of mercy and compassion! Father of forgiveness and understanding! Father of lovingkindness and perseverence! Father so faithful, who knows what we are made of! Help me Lord Jesus! Shepherd, I need you to come and find me, a lost
one. Good Physician, I need to be healed, for I am broken. Savior, I need to be saved for I have sinned. Seek me, heal me, save me! Holy Spirit of power and might, of love and and light and life, restore my heart. Psalm 51:10-12 - Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right, persevering, and steadfast spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence and take not Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit. Amen.
You Begin by Cleaning House!
Take as many of these practical and specific steps as you can as soon as possible. • Get rid of all saved internet pornography, do it rapidly, without hesitation, do it now. Clean your computer of all pornography. If you need to, download a program like "Content Purity" which will clean your computer of pornography. • Videos • Saved urls, porn sites, telephone numbers, IM addresses, etc. • Pictures • All of your search histories, temp files, all those porn words typed in. • Consider putting a block on your computer for pornography • Start thinking about an Accountability person in whom you can confide your addiction. If you want to make Dr Will (Dr Bill) your accountability person, this means a committment to ongoing reporting of your behavior. • If you have associations who are sources of temptation to you, begin to plan to diminish or end those relationships. • "Windows": by "Windows" I'm referring to the time of day or circumstances that are the usual times when you get into masturbation and pornography. Is there a pattern? Do you usually get into porn and masturbation late at night? early morning? after work? weekend only? What is your Window? NOW, that's the Window you must close. Close it! Change your
• • •
internet time.! Set rules for yourself like "I am not allowed to use the internet between 12 noon and 4pm." Consider moving your computer to a public part of the room, if that is feasible. Consider letting someone else share your computer. Consider someone else checking your computer for porn. What else comes to mind which you can do to diminish your use of the computer for masturbation and pornography?
The Four Steps! Key to Selfcontrol!
OK, you have considered or will do those things above. That's just the beginning. Now it's time to deal with you, with what happens in you and how you need to work on yourself to gain control over addictive masturbation and pornography. You need to gain an inner awareness of your mental-emotional functioning which will put you in charge of your internal life; your thoughts, feelings and experiences. You need to be able to think more rationally about things, take charge of unexpected feelings, and gain control over impulsive behavior. We want to help you gain the abiliy for Selfobservation > self-objectivity > self-discipline > self-control. Let's say you have a temptation about wanting to see a naked person. You quickly turn to the internet consuming time finding the images or videos you want, and you masturbate to climax. How can you deal with that situation more positively? We want you to learn these FOUR STEPS in dealing with temptation to sexual sin. We think these will make the difference for you in gaining control.
(1) Stop (2) Stand back (3) Speak (4)Distract
You have a thought about a naked person just as you sit
down before your computer. You STOP and observe, "I'm having a sexual thought!"(self-observation). You might say "STOP" inside your head, or even out loud, and forcefully, "STOP, STOP, STOP NOW". Go ahead, practice it right now! Having observed that you are having a sexual thought or inclination, you STAND BACK from yourself and say, "Hey, I better be careful! This could be trouble for me! This is a situation that causes me trouble. Come on now, I know this is a trap for me!" (self-obectivity) Now comes a very important step, you SPEAK to yourself about why engaging in pornography and masturbation is self-destructive and sinful. (self-discipline) What good reasons do you have to not go any further and stop right now? You must come up with your own list, you must actually make a list (start doing it now) and keep it on you or near the computer. You should have a list of at least FIVE reasons why you don't want to engage in sexual behavior.Here's a typical list which might help! The list usually includes God, others, your own self-image, self-esteem, etc. 1.(GOD) It will mess up my relationship to my Father God. I want to stay in fellowship with Him and not quench the Spirit. God loves me and I will not jeopardize that love. If I give in to this temptation I'll feel like I've backslidden once again, and I know how bad that makes me feel. 2.(OTHERS) What if my wife, my kids, my church family knew that I was watching pornography? Look into their faces; go ahead, look into their faces! What will that make you feel like? Shame, shame, shame, devastated, rotten! 3.(SELF) I know I'm going to feel rotten and discouraged and disgusted with myself if I do it! I will hit another miserable low in my life. 4.(SELF) I know my self-esteem will plummit again and I will get depressed.
5.(SELF) I don't want to feel like a hypocrite, a phony and a jerk! 6."I know I can do all things with the help of God" 7."No temptation has seized me that's any different than all people go through. And God is faithful; he will not let me be tempted beyond what I can manage; so that when I am tempted, he will also provide a way out so that I can stand up to it." 8."Help me Lord Jesus Christ, by your cross, your blood, your Holy Spirit; help me!" Now you DISTRACT yourself (self-control). You get busy with what you are supposed to be doing at the computer. Or, if the temptation continues, you get up, turn off the computer, and get involved in something else, talk to someone, sing a hymn, dance, etc. Distraction is very important with sexual temptations because with sexual arousal comes a bodily bio-chemical hormonal change which does not shut down unless your mental-emotional attention is invested in something else which steals your attention away from your sexual images and bodily sensations. You see the real things behind sexual addition is the whole psychological-emotionalchemical "high" which you get prior to, and culminating in "orgasm".
Renewing Your Four Vitalizing Relationships as a Substitute for Sexual Addiction
GOD, Others, Self and Work All the above things in "Cleaning House" and "The Four Steps"
are the most practical and immediate things you must do and practice. But there is something else underlying the tendency to get into sexual addictive behavior. It has to do with the quality of your FOUR critical relationships in life. All people strive to be happy in life. That goes without saying! We all try to arrange our lives so that we feel stable, content and well. We try to arrange both our outer environment and our inner environment in such a way that we have a sense of outer-inner equilibrium, balance, stability. We all want to feel alive, useful, productive, loved and worthwhile (to name just a few). But at times the challenges, choices and changes of life disturb that equilibrium and we then work to resolve things and return once again to a state of happiness and stability. I call this seeking after happiness and stability the state of feeling vitalized; of feeling fully alive and well, content and worthwhile, useful and productive, loved and appreciated by others, loved and cared for and close to God. Jesus came to bring abundant life which begins with a renewed relationship to God. The SAM (Sexually Addictive Man) also seeks to be vitalized but has learned a pattern of using sex as a primary source of being vitalized. This obsession-compulsion with sex is immature, unfulfilling, and destructive to life relationships, to self , and to his relationship with God. He is very vulnerable to returning to a sexual outlet for a sense of vitalized feeling. This is when he engages in pseudo-vitalizing sex. Being authentically and maturely vitalized seems to be related to our satisfaction in four areas: our relationship to our Self, to God, to some Others, and to our Work. These are the sources of true vitalization and contentment in life which God has provided. "Love God, love your neighbor, as you love yourself!" Without realizing just where their happiness and contentment is coming from, most people, after some self-examination, would tell you they are happy when these four areas are fulfilling and satisfying. Conversely, when there is dissatisfaction in one or more
of these areas, you can be sure you are not feeling fully vitalized. Think about this for yourself! The SAM who is effectively eliminating sexual addiction is at the same time replacing it with improvement, renewal and development of these four vitalizing life relationships. What signs will you see in yourself if you are making progress? 1. You are settling the underlying emotional, psychological, social issues related to the development of sexual addiction. 2. You are becoming increasingly more self-integrated, selfaccepting, at peace with yourself and emotionally mature. 3. You are becoming predominantly free from obsessive sexual interests, pursuits or behavior. 4. You are growing as a person and as a Christian. You are forming and renewing healthy, wholesome relationships with others, God, yourself and your work. 1.With GOD - What's your relationship to God like? Do you know God as your caring, protecting, providing Father who loves you. Do you know Jesus as the teacher of spiritual wisdom, your healer, your deliverer, your good Physician and good Shepherd? Do you know the presence and Voice of God's Spirit in you, who brings you Counsel, Correction, Conviction, Comfort, Conversion, Confession, Cleansing, Consoling, Convincing, Communion with God, and Conforms you to the image of Jesus Christ? Is there prayer, Bible study and meditation, Christian fellowship in a church, service to others, and some form of witnessing to others of your faith? All these describe the life of a fervent, faithful, filial child of God whose relationship to God is vital and alive.
2.With OTHERS - Can you say, "I have good, intimate, rewarding, responsible relationships with some people I am very close to, and I have friends, associates and companions as well. I enjoy people and have fellowship with the family of God. My relationships are all meaningful, responsible and resolved." Is there some leftover work to do in person or in your heart with a person living or dead? Is there need for more intimacy with your spouse, forgiveness with a family member, responsibility for your children? Most people have someone in their past or present family life who they must reconcile with or resolve the relationship. It may be a parent, a sibling, or a friend. First, your Family! It is our belief and conviction that sexual compulsions begin in the family and from early experiences with peers. Many times painful or shameful sexual experiences, which attacked self-esteem and sexual security have been suppressed, forgotten, repressed and sent to the unconscious burial ground of our lives. They need to be gently recalled by the Holy Spirit so that they may be healed and integrated into our lives rather than left as
unresolved obstacles or as broken threads in the garment of personality. You can aid this healing process by beginning to recall both specific troublesome memories of events ( not always sexual) as well as feelings, impressions and experiences which occurred in your family, with your peers, and in your development. Work with these sentences as a way to begin: I recall once when my father…. I recall how my mother…. I remember my sister…. I remember my brother……. I had a friend with whom… In childhood I often felt… In elementary school… In middle school… In high school…. I remember this one experience especially when.... I sexually exploited .... I was sexually exploited by....... When Ron began to gather his past together, stimulated by the above questions, the Spirit led him to recall some emotionally charged feelings, events and memories. “I recall once when my father hit me because I tried to stand up for myself. He didn't mean to hit me as hard as he did and I went flying against the wall. He never apologized for that. And after that incident I told myself I would never forgive him. I know now that I couldn't identify with my father as a male which left me with some unfinished sexual identity issues. On top of it, I recall how my mother would bribe me into doing things I didn't want to do at home. I began to feel that women were bossy and mean. In childhood I often felt like "crap!" In elementary school, I'd rather not remember it. In middle school it was a total humiliation. This is when kids started making fun of me because I wasn't as sexually sophisticated as they were. In high school I tried so hard to
be "normal" it makes me want to cry. I lived such a secret life of sexual confusion right through high school. I began to masturbate frequently and found a place where I could get pornographic material. But no one had any idea that I had an intense, obsessive interest in sexual things" Is there anyone in your immediate family or family of origin with whom you know in your heart you need to resolve certain feelings or address certain wounded events or experiences? Who? How will you do it? When? Next, your Friends!Do you have friends? Is there anyone among your friends with whom you know in your heart you need to resolve certain feelings or address certain wounded events or experiences? Who? How will you do it? When? Last, your Companions! Is there anyone among companions at work or church with whom you know in your heart you need to resolve certain feelings or address certain wounded events or experiences? Are there people you could reach out to? Are there people you avoid? Who? How will you do it? When? 3.With SELF
Click on Body-Soul-Spirit First, your Body! How do you feel and what do you think of your body; both past and present? How does God see your body? 1 Cor 6:18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. 19Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. What about body weight, exercise, diet and general health? Next, your Soul! Your soul may be thought of as your selfimage and selfesteem. Are they is acceptable to you? Can you say; "I don't spend a lot of energy on having to defend myself." Take this SelfEsteem Questionnaire! Self-esteem is the way you feel about yourself. Self-Image is the way you think about yourself. How you feel about yourself (Self-Esteem) is that deep, underlying sense of how significant, confident, and worthwhile you feel about yourself and is more important to your emotional well-being than your selfimage (how others see you and you think of yourself). Self- esteem is the basis of your faith in yourself, hope in yourself, and love of
yourself. When your self-faith, self-hope, and self-love are threatened or inadequate, you begin to relate to all of life with insecurity, and this is a setup for addictive behavior. Low Self-Esteem (LSE), correctly understood, is the first stage of all life-dominating and emotional problems. It arises from some form of dysfunctional family upbringing or inadequate social and psychological development. LSE results in an inability to accept oneself (one's SELF) emotionally. It reflects an inability to be in touch with oneself emotionally or to be self-rejecting in some way because when we are children, feelings equal myself. Having one's emotions and feelings acknowledged, understood, accepted, and responded to gives the young child an adequate and acceptable SELF or Self-Esteem. Not having his feelings acknowledged or accepted by others or himself establishes a rift or inner separation. This all emerges from some form of dysfunctionality in the family environment. It has been said that the three rules of a dysfunctional family are, "Don't feel, don't talk about your feelings, don't trust others or your feelings." In such a family low self-esteem is formed; a root condition for Christians struggling with sexual addictiveness. Low self-esteem is formed in childhood as a result of negative situations the child experiences such as the following. You might want to check, underline or mark the ones that apply to you: • • Receiving an inordinate amount of criticism • • Failing to receive affection, support, respect, and/or encouragement • • Being constantly teased, picked on, or laughed at • • Being the target of verbal, physical, sexual, or emotional abuse • • Receiving overly strict, cruel, or age-inappropriate punishment • • Being expected to be the emotional support for the parent • • Being ridiculed for thoughts, perceptions, or performance • • Having parents consistently take the side of others against the
child • • Being shamed when alone or in front of others • • Being neglected because parents are too busy or emotionally unavailable • • Having their feelings be consistently ignored and discounted • • Being negatively compared to other siblings or other children in the community • • Being threatened with abandonment • • Being abandoned and/or unwanted • • Not being allowed to participate in school activities, play with neighbors and friends, or do normal things other kids do. • • Being blamed for the parent's current problems • • Being told "You were a mistake!" • • Being treated as an adult with expectations beyond the child's capabilities. • • Not being taught appropriate social skills • • Not being encouraged in school and other personal endeavors • • Being ill as a child and unable to participate in normal activities Self-esteem is a sense of how I feel about myself, my worth, my significance, my lovableness, my adequacy. When an adequate sense of self-esteem is not achieved, low self-esteem results. Renewing an acceptance of one's self is an important step in maturity and the resolution of sexual compulsiveness. Last, your Spirit or Heart! I am in touch with my ideals, morals, values and God the Holy Spirit. Can I hear the Spirit voice of Jesus speak in my heart. Am I remaining sensitive and alive and receptive to His voice? In 1 Cor 2: 6 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8None of the rulers of this age
understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him"[b]— 10but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. 4.With WORK - I am engaged in Work for a living which I find meaningful and rewarding beyond just it’s monetary value. I also have Avocations or hobbies, interests that please me. And, importantly, I also have a Vocation or ministry as a Christian who serves others in some way. First, your Work! Do you have a job for livelihood which is financially adequate, rewarding, interesting and fulfilling? Every person must find some fulfillment in what they do for a living. What you do for a living is called WORK. We have discovered that some SAMs are not feeling fulfilled and happy in their work. This is a phenomenon which we have observed over and over again! It is that so many are career dissatisfied, delayed or diverted. What do we mean? We simply mean that for some reason or reasons, many SAMs have never found the work in life which brings them true fulfillment. They are dissatisfied with what they are doing, or they have delayed doing what they think would be more fulfilling, or they have been diverted to do a work which they simply fell into or gravitated toward for some reason. Why? Was it because they were so preoccupied with their sexuality issues? Was it because they could not find role models of
their same gender to whom they could turn for career interests? Many are doing work which is displeasing to them. They are unfulfilled in their work. Others have often used so much emotional energy on their emotional growth that they were unable to invest in their careers appropriately. What about yourself? Are you doing the work which satisfies you? Next, your Vocation! Have you discovered your spiritual gifts and are you engaged in some ministry ot service which benefits the members of the Body of Christ? There is more to a man’s productiveness than work. There is Vocation. Vocation means “calling”. Vocation has to do with the fact that all saved Christians are called by God in one way or another to serve His kingdom. There are no exceptions to this! If you are a Christian, you are called "unto good works". Vocation for the Christian is work for God's kingdom. Every Christian man and woman, and especially overcomers, should seek and understand what is their "calling" or vocation. It will bless you and help you gain perspective on yourself and how God is working in your life. Paul says in Ephesians 2:10, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Take hold of this truth: God ordained certain good works wherein we would walk. Not only did He ordain them before the world was created. Before every good work which we perform, He gave us the power and desire so that His eternal counsel would be fulfilled in the smallest detail. We should thank him for giving us that which we could not even want to receive. We owe Him thanks for all of our salvation as well as for all of our natural possessions and talents. We are, indeed, saved by grace, not by our works, but have been called to perform works for God's kingdom. It was Martin Luther who made the statement, "We are justified by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone." What he meant was that true faith will always demonstrate
itself by good works. James, the brother of Jesus, and the leader of the First Church of Jerusalem said... James 2:26 26 “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds (or works) is dead.” So, works of service and ministry have a real place in the life of a person who has been given salvation. In reality, works or good deeds, prove that salvation has really come to a person. We have been prepared for the Master's use. That is one of the main reasons why God hasn't transported you and me to heaven yet. We've still got a job to do for Him, on earth. In a world that is so needy, we could get overwhelmed by all the good that needs to be done. But we don't have to be overwhelmed. We just have to make ourselves available and God will show us through His Spirit in us, what he wants us to do. Last, your Avocation! Every balanced person needs some talent, skill, pastime or hobby in which they can invest a lot of their enjoyment, not for profit. What's yours? Even the man who is highly satisfied with his work needs something more. He at least one avocation. Avocations are the spontaneous or planned interests, activities, recreations and hobbies that are mostly play and enjoyment. It is always healthy for SAMs to develop avocations in order to counteract their usual seriousness, morbidness, and overconcentration on self. Avocations give a balance to a man’s productive, creative life needs. All work and no play, makes you a dull person. Avocational interests, hobbies and pastimes bring lightness and joy into a person’s life. They allow him to channel “passion” into wholesome, healthy areas. One man says, “I am part of a group of dedicated individuals that care for a special place in the history of my home town. It’s our local Civil War cemetery. Many of our founding families and their sons are buried here and they have many stories to tell.” Another says, “I am a Ham radio operator. Since 9/11, we have all started to think more seriously about possible terrorism attacks. Should such attacks occur, Ham radio operators could be of great
assistance throughout the world during emergencies. Today, with our dependence on electricity to communicate, amateur radio has become even more important.” Other leisure-time endeavors are hands-on activities, such as gardening, bowling, woodworking, coin collecting, book restoring, painting, music, and photography. Do you have a passionate avocation? It could give your life needed balance. Love of God, love of neighbor as we love ourselves! Jesus mentions these first three in Matthew 28:32-40, when he tells the lawyer that the first priority of life is to love the Lord God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength; and our neighbors, as we love ourselves. There you see God, Others and Self.
When these four areas are content, fulfilled, and satisfied, you feel vitalized, fully, functionally alive. You feel that you are living a good life. You are content with your Self, with God, with important Others and with your Work in life. At such times it's unlikely that you will engage in sexual sinning. Of course you cannot always be vitalized in all of these areas, and that's the problem for all people. Those four areas are always facing challenges, changes and choices which destabilize you for shorter or longer periods of time. But if you have learned to work with your INSIDE and OUTSIDE strategies more functionally, you will less likely resort to sinful, self-destructive behavior.
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But
we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure. (1 John 3)
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