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Posted by on Feb 25, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

Why Doesn’t God Just Answer My Prayer and Take Away My Porn Use?

Hey, it’s Craig, and I’m back with another attempt at answering a recent question we received through The Panic Button:

“Why doesn’t God answer my prayer and take away my desire for / addiction to porn? Why doesn’t God do what I’ve asked him to do?”

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve prayed for something and haven’t gotten it. How many times I’ve gotten a “no,” or no response at all. Countless. But you know what? I still believe in the Lord.

We treat God like the Super Lotto. The Bible tells us what we need to do. It doesn’t mean that it’s going to be easy. It doesn’t mean that you’re not going to be tempted. Jesus was the only person who ever successfully resisted temptation to the point of perfection.

Perfection is a mark that we can’t hit on our own, and only Jesus truly makes us “perfect.” Sure, we can ask God to take away our temptations, but rather than looking to him as a genie, what if we looked at ourselves with the eyes that he has for us?

What if we embraced the reality of our situation, instead? No, I don’t mean diving headfirst into sin… but if God is interested in our transformation, and he promises to finish the work that he has begun in us, then what if we simply acknowledged the fact that we’ve got a journey ahead of us – one that won’t conclude overnight?

We all are walking around with temptations (and a bunch of baggage beneath them) that we haven’t come close to figuring out yet.

We need help from God. But if God answered every prayer the first time, we would never be forced to grow. We would never need to ask for help. We would never reach out to our community or find a small group or support from a close friend. The Lord is interested in our holiness, and in our dependence upon him and the people he has given to be his hands and feet as we take steps toward that end.

Maybe God has put you in exactly the right time and place that he wants you, surrounded by exactly the right people who hold the keys to helping you out of this mess. And maybe there’s something to be said about you wrestling through these temptations. After all, the Christian life – it seems – is defined not so much by our own power, but by that found on our knees in prayer before the Lord. If we didn’t need him, when would he ever find us there?

So, will God answer your prayers?

He already has.

If you have a relationship with Jesus, your sin has already been paid for. And because you have a relationship with him, you don’t want to abuse his grace and mercy on the cross. True change happens when what we do flows out of who we are… and you are a son or daughter of Christ. Theologically, you might say that “indicative” (who you are) precedes (comes before) “imperative” (what you are commanded to do). Want an example? Read Romans 6 – the apostle Paul talks all about it in that chapter.

It has to work in that order, otherwise it doesn’t work at all. 

Maybe you’re in the middle of this struggle for a reason. Remember who you are – who Christ has called you – and then, like he did on the cross, and through the strength of his resurrection, work through it. Don’t just ask to be removed from it.

The book of Hebrews has something amazing to say about who God is to us in hard times. Check out Hebrews 4:14-16. It’s amazing. We have a God who understands our struggle, and invites us to receive his grace when we need it most… how many of you would raise your hands if you “need it most” in the face of this kind of temptation?

Maybe there’s something in the middle of this messy stuff that God’s trying to teach you.

 

MY FAVORITE QUOTES FROM THIS PODCAST EPISODE

  • We treat God like the Super Lotto. The Bible tells not only what we need to do, but who we are. That doesn’t doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy.
  • Perfection is a mark that we can’t hit on our own, and only Jesus truly makes us “perfect.”
  • I think you’ve got to understand that God’s seeing the beginning and the end. He sees the big picture. Maybe he’s taking you through this season for a reason, rather than giving you a shortcut around it. 
  • Look who God has placed in your life. Look who’s there to support you. Look who’s going through the same exact thing, fighting their way through it.
  • The Christian life – it seems – is defined not so much by our own power, but by that found on our knees in prayer before the Lord. If we didn’t need him, when would He ever find us there?
  • Help doesn’t only come in the form of, “Let me remove you from this situation.” It might look more like, “Man, we’re gonna get through this.” And walking through the flames is a lot harder than jumping over them.
  • What’s God trying to teach you through this season? Why are you struggling? Maybe you need to do a new thing. Maybe you need to find a new friend. Maybe you need to find a new community. Maybe this is God’s way of revealing how those changes can be made possible in your life.
  • Seventy percent of our small group leaders are “children” – so to speak – of our small group ministry. They went through the process before they started to lead it, and the process changed them. We are here for you if you need it, and we’ve seen – firsthand – the redemptive fruit of engaging with and leaning into the hard seasons of this life that we live, together.

 

LISTEN TO THE AUDIO

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Posted by on Feb 18, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

Isn’t Porn Use Just a Bad Habit that He Can Stop Doing if He Wanted?

At x3church, we have a panic button that folks can press when they’re panicking and need answers. People reach out at all hours of the night with a whole range of questions.

Sometimes, the questions keep me up at night. Questions that I can hardly believe.

But most of the time, they are questions we hear all of the time.

Every now and then, I wonder if responding with “we hear this all the time” feels condescending. At the end of the day, though, would you rather go to the doctor and hear that your “issue” is “common and curable,” or that it is “brand new and baffling?”

I’d rather have the generic problem.

This week, one wife asked me a question as common as a cold: “Isn’t porn use just a bad habit that he can stop doing if he wanted to?”

The problem is… she’s trying to solve his problem.

It doesn’t matter how much he loves you, how beautiful you are or what you do in bed. The root of his addiction started well before you entered the picture – it’s not your fault, but neither is it yours to fix. 

Men and women are wired differently. I know that’s not a popular assertion right now, but it’s true. Our brains are wired differently. It’s hard for a wife to understand her husband’s porn habit. She assumes he can just stop if he really wanted to.

Men are overtly visual in their nature. That truth is no excuse, but in light of the reality, ours is a very difficult world to live in. There are temptations all around us.

So, how can you help your husband break his porn habit? 

Your husband likely experiences certain triggers, and the better you are able to understand them, the better you will be able to understand him. The way his brain works. Part of that means cultivating empathy, and the more grace and compassion you are able to have on him in his journey, the better.

I am willing to wager that his honesty will increase in conjunction with your understanding. I think you’ll see his willingness to be held accountable increase alongside his genuine desire to change.

 

MY FAVORITE QUOTES FROM THIS PODCAST EPISODE

  • The root of his addiction started well before you entered the picture – it’s not your fault, but neither is it yours to fix. 
  • The root of his addiction started before you and it’s going on with or without you.
  • You’ve got to take yourself out of the equation because it’s going to help you understand him more if you realize this has nothing to do with you.
  • Without a doubt, your husband should seek to honor you, but approaching this conversation differently will help you better understand what is actually going on inside of him.
  • Maybe you – as a wife – shouldn’t be your husband’s accountability partner, but knowing that he has someone in his corner willing to engage his struggle (and vice versa)… that is certainly a key step in building trust together.
  • As we engage in tough conversations, we have to extend grace, we have to practice compassion and we have to seek to understand one another.

 

LISTEN TO THE AUDIO

The post Isn’t Porn Use Just a Bad Habit that He Can Stop Doing if He Wanted? appeared first on XXXchurch.com.

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Posted by on Feb 11, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

Can Struggling with Porn Just Be My “Lot in Life?”

Hey, it’s Craig. This week, I’m talking about a couple of “frequently asked questions” I often receive: “Is watching porn just my lot in life? Am I always going to struggle? Am I always going to be addicted?”

I get it. If you’re struggling with porn today, it’s very defeating. The Bible says that sin clouds our vision from seeing Christ clearly. You feel shame and guilt and – like our “first parents” in the garden – it makes you want to hide. You don’t want to get caught, and you’re walking around with fig leaves trying to cover up your embarrassment. Rather than seeking the Lord for new clothes, you resort to thinking, “I’m always going to be like this.”

You haven’t dealt with the pain that’s exists beneath the problem. So if you’re asking me, “Hey, am I always gonna struggle…?”

Yeah, you’re going to struggle unless you make some changes in your life. And today’s the day to make them.

It might not look like you can get unstuck, but 80% is just your mindset. Like, “You know what? I’m not going to look at porn again. I’m not going to keep having sex with my girlfriend. I’m not going to keep doing whatever I know is dragging me down.”

Don’t use your circumstances as an excuse. Don’t say, “I’m always going to look at porn. I’m always going to end up doing the wrong thing.”

No. We can practice self-control. We can be disciplined. We can create new habits in life. We can involve ourselves in communities that support us.

I’m tired of grown-ass men with no friends. And porn will do that to you. 

You haven’t let anybody in because you’re embarrassed. You’re ashamed. You need a friend – whether that’s finding a community at your church or joining AA or signing up for our Small Groups Online…

You need a friend.

A friend won’t say to you, “Oh yeah, it just sucks to be you, man. You’re always going to be broke. You’re always going to be poor. You’re always going to be fat. You’re always going to be an addict.”

No. Friends will encourage you and understand you.

Start looking people in the eyes. Start asking your friends to come alongside you in your times of need. There is no shame in that. 

Stop telling yourself it’s your lot in life. Start believing that there’s actually something better waiting for you around the corner. I promise you: there is.

MY FAVORITE QUOTES FROM THIS PODCAST EPISODE

  • There’s a better life for you than the one you’re living.
  • Do you think Tom Brady walks around thinking, “I’m always going to lose” just because he’s lost some games? 80% is your mindset.
  • Instead of a defeated mentality, every time whatever you’re dealing with happens, ask yourself, “What do I need to do to change?”
  • We can practice self-control. We can be disciplined. We can create new habits in our life. We can get involved in communities that support us.
  • I’m tired of grown-ass men with no friends. Porn will do that to you.
  • When you find community that understands you – and gets you and encourages you – they will tell you to stop asking if porn is just always going to be your lot in life.
  • It’s worth it to find a friend.
  • Get out of your house – away from the screen, away from the phone – and go get around people who are going to bring life to you. They’re going to speak truth to you, and they’re going to be there in the good and the bad. Get some accountability.

 

LISTEN TO THE AUDIO

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Posted by on Feb 4, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

Can I Change?

Hey, Craig here. You might have come to xxxchurch because you’re feel frustrated with yourself, you’re feeling sad and defeated because you haven’t been able to beat your porn or sex addiction. Maybe you feel like you’ll never be able to stop.

In today’s Whiteboard Session, Steven Luff, a licensed MFT (Marriage and Family Therapist) in the state of CA, co-author of Pure Eyes: a Man’s Guide to Sexual Integrity and creator of the X3Pure on-line recovery program, answers the question, “Can I change?”

And really the question isn’t can I change but instead am I willing to change? Change takes work. You can’t think that you’re going to be in the same environment doing the exact same things and your life is going to be different.

Our brains are wired so that when we get hurt by something our brain tells us to stay away from that thing. We become conditioned to respond in a certain way when we encounter grief or pain or loss. It can be really hard to make a new pathway in the brain.

But it is possible.

What are you willing to do to change your life? What are you willing to do to rewire the circuitry in your brain? Some you inherited and some you co-created because you started to turn to porn, sex, masturbation, those sorts of things to manage your fear, grief loss, or the fact that you  can’t seek things that you really want to seek in your life.

If we continue to respond to our environment the same way we’ve always been responding to our environment, those pathways that have wired a certain way because of fear or loss or grief, they’re just going to keep firing that way.

In the video, Steven had this great metaphor of your brain as a river: 

Your brain is going to find the easiest path and it’s going to be very, very hard to divert a river into a different path. It can happen, it can be done, but it’s going to take time. And then the river is going to have to be a trickle and then stream and then bigger and bigger until our brain creates a new pathway.

The river doesn’t want to change the channel that it’s going down because it’s got a lot of energy and a lot of motion going in one way. If you try to divert it, it’s going to fight whatever it is that’s diverting it. It’s going to resist because they liked going the path of least resistance. But eventually it’s going to find new new ground and it’s going to run a new territory.

It is possible to change. It is possible to rewire your brain. But it’s going to take a lot of work.

Don’t miss the 6 things Steven lists at the end of the video to start the process of rewiring your brain!

MY FAVORITE QUOTES FROM THIS PODCAST EPISODE

  • You cannot heal in the same emotional environment that made you sick.
  • Change takes work. You can’t think that you’re going to be in the same environment doing the exact same things and your life is going to be different. You have to change the entire way in which you’re functioning.
  • So when I say, can I change? This is complicated. It took millions of years of evolution, depending on your theology, for us to end up a human being. And we didn’t pick our parents, we didn’t pick where we were born. We didn’t pick whether or not our childhood experiences a overly sensitized our fear circuit or our grief or loss circuit.
  • Our mind is made up of cells. If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. And what fires together wires together.
  • Dopamine is a primary neuro-chemical that makes us feel good, but it makes us feel good so that we continue to do things that feel good and the things that will keep us safe and help us procreate. So the brain wires in a way to help us survive.
  • Start paying attention to your environment. You might start thinking, “Oh wow. The way I relate to my spouse is the same way I related to my mom and I don’t want to relate that way. I would like to start to relate different and I’m going to communicate with my spouse about these things and to start to make different choices about how I manage my emotions.”
  • Change is not easy and it’s not perfect. Change is sloppy. There’s loss in change, there’s confusion in change. But the more you fall apart, the more you’re falling together.
  • You can’t do this alone because compulsive masturbation and porn is a way of fixing your problems without having to take the risk of relationship.
  •  We are neurologically designed to be in relationship, which means that if relationship was troubled or broken in our childhood, the way to fix the way the brain was wired is to start to have new relationships that are adaptive, that are unconditionally loving and supportive like support groups.
  • Another way to change is abstinence. Um, if you want to change, man, you got to stop whatever it is your compulsive behavior is. Sorry.
  • If you don’t get healthy opinions, you’re going to remain lost and confused about what direction to head.
  •  If you can get disciplined about exercise, you can get disciplined about going to therapy. Make a commitment, make a plan.


LISTEN TO THE AUDIO

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