When you become saved, you are saved by your faith alone, in the forgiveness and grace offered by Jesus Christ alone. These are the fundamental concepts of what is known in Christianity as the reformation, or the claim brought forth in the late 1500’s by a German monk named Martin Luther that countered the group think of the Roman Catholic Church, the thought that salvation could be purchased by financial contributions or works. Jesus Christ is who are you saved by, but what are you saved from?
You are saved from your sins against God, and the just penalty you would otherwise face without the intervening grace and mercy offered to you by Jesus Christ, God in the flesh. But what happens if you sin after you have been saved?
Can We be Sinless?
There’s a ton of debate on this question, that is: can humans be sinless? The short answer I subscribe to is: we won’t be sinless in this lifetime. Sin is so deeply rooted into the hearts of mankind that it seems it’d be impossible to escape it for now, and we certainly could not do so on our own strength.
It takes no time at all to think of the countless sins I’ve committed in my life, and the list isn’t what I would call ‘short’ since being rescued by Christ. The enemy of God, Satan, would love nothing more than to use these sins and the weight they carry to shame you and paralyze your growth in your relationship with Jesus. I know you hear the voice inside your head. It sounds a lot like your voice, telling you that you could never be sinless, you’re too lost, you’ve done too much wrong, and you should abandon any hope in God ever deeming you worthy. But the truth is, it has nothing to do with your worth, and everything to do with the worth of His Son, Jesus, who said your sins are “forgiven”. This is what makes you acceptable to God. That is ‘Grace’.
This is not a free pass to go on sinning. Jesus Christ said “Repent, and believe…”. There is a glaring requirement here besides just believing, and that is to repent. One who freely revels in their sins and gives no regard to their implications usually shows no fruit of a repentant believer in Christ Jesus. Contrarily, one who comes to hate their sins, mourns them when they occur, and strives daily to put the sin to death by praying for the Father’s help and spending time in the word will, in time, usually see the bondage of the accompanying guilt and shame broken, and the sin will hopefully be a distant memory. This process is called sanctification, or to be made holy.
The unfortunate part, for us, is because of the depth of the roots of sin we usually have to fight a war on many fronts. Lust for sex, porn, greed, excess, anger, dishonesty, infidelity, gluttony, envy, and our PRIDE are all faced daily in our culture. Sometimes the fight seems to already be lost before we even realize we are in the midst of battle.
We are told in Paul’s letter to Ephesus, to put on the ‘armor’ of God (Ephesians 6:11) to protect ourselves from the devil’s schemes. The devil will shower you with distraction, guilt, and shame when you’ve been called to follow Christ and still find yourself falling short of Christ Himself (Romans 3: 23). Remember the disciples, each of them with their flaws and faults, were still called by Jesus and sanctified over the course of their life as His followers.
The best way to armor up and protect yourself from the lies of the enemy are to read and pray daily. When you do this you will begin to intimately discover what kind of savior died for you, and His loving nature. One of the best illustrations we have in the Bible, while its origin is disputed, accurately depicts the loving and gracious nature of Jesus Christ when confronting a sinner, an adulteress more specifically. In John 8, after the hypocrites have dispersed and Jesus faces the adulteress, He doesn’t require her to be clean or without sin before He passes His judgment on her, nor does He ask her for some sort of work in return for salvation. He freely offers it to her.
He simply says, “Neither do I condemn thee. Go, and sin no more.”
Taken from an article found on the XXX Church Blog:
Addicted to masturbation??? Is that even possible?
[Yes], …masturbation can become a legitimate addiction, just like any behavior. I’m not intending to make a moral statement or provide a biblical guideline but rather to help you decide if you are addicted so you can seek healing.
Here are three practical ways to help you discern if you’re addicted to masturbation:
1) Are you using masturbation to alter your mood?
Masturbation is a quick fix. It’s free, accessible and easy. It’s the perfect drug. Understandably, men and women use it to medicate bad moods. Those warm fuzzy chemicals sure hit the spot!
There are more positive ways to sooth moods, for example, listening to calming music or having a hot bath after a lousy day. The difference with using masturbation to alleviate negative emotions is that the powerful chemicals and hormones involved set you up for compulsion and emotional repression, not to mention they can be a detriment your future or current sex life. These are powerful chemicals you’re playing with.
Take note of when you feel the urge. What has triggered you in the past? Did you feel stressed? Powerless? Rejected? Lonely? Tired? Anxious? Sometimes our sex drive is just being its thoughtful self and saying ‘Hey! It’s been a while since we’ve tried reproducing! I’m here to personally encourage you to today!’ (Thanks Sex Drive: maybe take note of the relationship status next time) However, there is often an underlying motivation: to feel good. Because you don’t already.
If you’re regularly masturbating in response to negative emotion, you may be addicted. Why? Because it reveals you’re not processing your emotions and indicates you’re living in some level of distress, making it the perfect opportunity to get hooked. Addiction loves pain. It is a faux salve for emotional wounds. But in reality, our vice, be it masturbation or otherwise, is infecting that wound that so desperately needs to be healed.
2) Do you feel like you can’t stop?
Perhaps one of the clearest signs of addiction is when you feel you can’t stop, even when you really want to. Pretty simple. You may white-knuckle it for a few weeks, but it always come crashing back into your life.
There’s a reason for this.
A sexual encounter (with someone else or on your own) instigates the release of a host of nice-feeling chemicals into your brain’s reward system. It’s an incredible gift from God when it’s not confused. It keeps humanity thriving and surviving. It releases chemicals like dopamine and oxytocin when you participate in a behavior that it believes ensures survival of the body or gene pool (hence why an orgasm feels so much better than mopping the floor or eating dirt). The reward pathways function is to remind the brain to do that thing again! Your body begins to make unconscious associations. When you feel poorly, it remembers how to give you a kick! A process begins deep in your brain which, unbroken, leads you right back to the behavior, because your brain is wired to seek the easiest route to pleasure.
3) Is your habit harming you or those around you?
A characteristic of any addiction is continuing despite harm. Harm can come in many forms: emotional, relational, physical, spiritual or criminal to name a few.
If you’re masturbating to the point of overuse or needing medical assistance, you may very well be addicted. This is nothing to be ashamed about. Doctors have seen it all.
Compulsive masturbation can lead to sexual dysfunction and less-than-ideal intimacy with your spouse. This is a very real harm that must be identified. More than physiological, this can affect your spouse emotionally. Are you masturbating to the detriment of your sex life?
Isolation is another harm to look out for. Such retreat can be rooted in shame, anxiety or the lost ability to interact non-sexually. Perhaps you would rather be at home masturbating than socializing. Having an orgasm is easier than building real relationships. But only the latter will bear good fruit in the long run.
Masturbation is a very personal and complicated topic. It can be a response to sexual or emotional trauma, it can be a struggle that begins in early childhood, it can be accompanied by porn or voyeurism or nothing at all, and the line between “struggling with” and “addicted” can get blurry. There is a battlefield of opinions out there and it is so easy to slip into judgment and shame in this conversation.
Please know that, no matter what, you are known and cherished by the God of the universe, and the team at XXXchurch have resources to help you find freedom. You are not alone, and you need not feel ashamed. Recovery is so possible.
Original article source: https://www.xxxchurch.com/women/3-ways-tell-youre-addicted-masturbation.html?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social-post&utm_campaign=Social-Lead-Gen-X3church&utm_content=3-ways-tell-youre-addicted-masturbation&utm_term=twitter-followers
The excerpt below is taken from an article at the blog at [www.covenanteyes.com]
The Psychological Impact of Porn
In her hearing before the U.S. Senate, Dr. MaryAnne Layden asserted that when men spend so much time in “unnatural sexual experiences with paper, celluloid, and cyberspace,” they find it difficult to have sex with a real human being.
Is this an overstatement, or does the research bear this out?
- Researchers James Weaver, Jonathan Masland, and Dolf Zillmann have watched how after being shown only 26 photos and one six-minute video of attractive nude females exhibiting sexual behavior, men routinely rate their partner’s attractiveness lower.
- Dr. Dolf Zillmann and Dr. Jennings Bryant have also observed how after watching only five hours of pornographic videos over six week period, both men and women experience a decrease in sexual satisfaction. Study participants said they felt less satisfied with their intimate partners’ physical appearance, affection, and sexual performance.
- In a 2011 study published in the Journal of Sex Research, for men, frequency of viewing pornography was correlated with a lower satisfaction with sex and relationships.
- Neurologist Serge Stoleru has found that overexposure to erotic stimuli exhausts the sexually responses of healthy young men.
- In a 2006 study among college men, Todd Morrison and other researchers concluded there was a significant correlation between exposure to Internet pornography and levels of sexual esteem.
- In 2007, a study of more than 2,300 adolescents found a correlation between viewing Internet porn and greatly increased uncertainties about sexuality and the belief that women are sex objects.
How much more is this effect experienced today among men and women who routinely watch porn every week?
article source: http://www.covenanteyes.com/2013/01/31/can-married-couples-enjoy-pornography-together/?utm_campaign=Porn%20and%20Your%20Husband&utm_content=65040368&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter
This post is a “re-post” of a great article forwarded to me by a friend:
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever (Psalm 23:6, ESV).
If you’re a follower of Jesus—if by faith you have turned from your sins and received His forgiveness—I have news for you.
God is after you.
IF YOU’RE A FOLLOWER OF JESUS, GOD IS STILL PURSUING YOU.
He’s still pursuing you. Wanting more of you. Hungry to make sure you’re experiencing every blessing that His Son died and rose again to give you, for His glory.
It doesn’t matter how defeated or discouraged you are today. He’s still after you. All that matters is that you are His. “My sheep hear my voice,” Jesus said, “and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). Is that you? Following Him? Not perfectly, of course, but following? Sometimes stumbling, but still getting up? And following? And trying again? And wanting to follow Him even better, even more?
Then God Himself is also following you. He’s on your trail. He’s after you. Promising you that your best days are still ahead of you, no matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done. Your greatest days of usefulness and service to God are still in the future, because “goodness” (defined as bounty and blessing) and “mercy” (lovingkindness and favor) will be on your heels and hunting you down every second of the time.
Can’t be true, you say . . .
Too many failures. “I’ve failed God too many times. No way am I on His first team anymore. I’ve blown it. I have areas in my life where I’ve never gotten victory. Even today I failed again. I’m on the shelf from here on out, and I know it.”
Too many years. “It’s too late for me. Too much water under the bridge. It’s fine for those who came to Christ as kids or in college or whatever. But I showed up late to the party. The best I can do is just sneak into a back corner of heaven.”
Too many others. “I don’t have any big-time gifts. I don’t have any great abilities. Other people have training and know what they’re doing. Not me. I’m just not that important. It might even be wrong for me to get in their way.”
Too many obstacles. “I’ve got so many things going on in my life right now—work, family, health stuff, all of it—I don’t really have time. And I don’t see it changing anytime soon.”
Believe me, I’ve heard all these lies and dodges before. They’re as old as time, because the enemy will do anything to convince you that God has lost the scent and given up on you.
But just you try staying hidden behind these shadowy half-truths. Just you try imagining you’re out of sight, out of mind. Just you try giving in to the unreality that your home and heart are off His grid, out of His hunting zone.
Because, listen. Can you hear it? It’s the panting of the hound of heaven, running full-speed, headed your way, chasing you down. Following you “all the days” of your life—not to rip into you, but to restore you and refresh you, to overwhelm all of life’s badness with His “goodness.”
- Which of these fears and excuses have sometimes convinced you that God’s “goodness and mercy” are not coming for you anymore?
- How different would your life be, even today, if you wholeheartedly embraced this truth?
Lord God, I believe Your Word, even when I doubt myself. I believe what You have done to claim me as Your own, even when I too often resist You and choose my own way. Thank You for loving me enough to want me experiencing the full blessing of relationship with You. And thank You for relentlessly pursuing me until I’m actively living in it. In Jesus’ name, amen.
article source: https://www.jamesmacdonald.com/teaching/devotionals/2017-09-15/
Another great article from the folks at Fight The New Drug, (www.fightthenewdrug.org), enjoy:
Science is finally catching up with the truth and its findings cannot be ignored: porn is harmful. Did you know that porn can mess with your head, actually rewiring the actual chemistry of your brain?
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter (a chemical that relays messages to and from the brain) and it is central to our brain’s understanding of rewards and pleasure. It is released when we experience pleasure (could be anything from eating a delicious meal or watching a comedy to shooting up heroin or watching porn) and of course it makes us feel good. Normally, this release of dopamine is a good thing; it helps our brains to recognize things that keep us happy and healthy, and it is one of the chemicals that allows us to form relationships and fall in love.
On the flip side, an oversupply of dopamine can be triggered when the pleasure stimulus is too frequent or too prolonged (as is the case with all addictions) or unnaturally stimulating. When it comes to porn, think about the hours and hours that can be spent clicking on new videos and shocking the mind with every type of sex imaginable and unimaginable. You better believe that this habit is unnaturally stimulating to the viewer and forces a prolonged rush of pleasure chemicals in their brain. And what happens is that this causes the brain becomes desensitized to dopamine, which is majorly bad news.
The reason why this is so harmful to the brain is because the end result of dopamine desensitization is that the brain no longer recognizes the pleasure signals. In order to adjust to this frequent and prolonged chemical release, the neuroconnectors in our brain have to lessen. When the brain is no longer recognizing the dopamine release (the reward) from its usual stimulus, it craves stronger and more frequent hits to feel something. This desire can become quite consuming, causing obsessive behavior and detracting focus from other important areas. Worst of all, it fuels habitual use, or even addiction, and makes the compulsion (that must have it now! feeling) stronger than ever.
Addiction of any kind—alcohol, drugs, porn, whatever it may be—is a huge cause of dopamine desensitization. And if that’s not enough, addiction or compulsively watching can also cause dysfunction in the stress circuits of your brain. Dysfunction in stress circuitry means that stress of any kind, be it physical (illness) or emotional (a fight with your boyfriend/girlfriend), makes the addict especially prone to seeking out that behavior to numb the pain. Relapsing, of course, means further exposing the brain to the addictive stimulus, which brings on more dysfunction in the stress circuits, which means more susceptibility to relapse… and we’re back at square one.
Your frontal cortex is the part of your brain that directs tasks like decision making, problem solving, planning, weighing pros and cons, focusing, and controlling impulses (you know, like the urge to yell at your boss or eat an entire chocolate cake). Decreases in the function of your brain’s reward circuits can cause activity in your frontal cortex to start plummeting too. Bam. Now your frontal cortex is operating below what it should, and your ability to perform all those important decision making functions will suffer. This can make things pretty difficult when you need to solve problems in your relationships, make decisions at work, focus on your schoolwork, or just make overall healthy life choices. Not good.
And then, of course, the stress of realizing you have these problems is only going to wreak havoc on your already malfunctioning stress circuits. Your brain’s going to crave porn to forget about the stress and the resulting dopamine release won’t fully register because it’s desensitized…and on and on the cycle of the porn habit goes.
This ugly cycle drives the viewer further and further into a porn struggle, and farther away from a happy, healthy, and passionate life. So the next time you think watching porn is harmless, think again. It can mess with your head—literally.
article source: http://fightthenewdrug.org/watching-porn-can-mess-brain-v2/?utm_expid=19046507-1.HyXL65kBT7a6WMmRQWBZQw.1&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=organic_social&utm_campaign=ftnd_general&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Ft.co%2FfHisbel8E5
Another great article from the Covenant Eyes blog:
Surviving the Worst Day of Your Life: How to Confess Your Porn Addiction to Your Spouse
September 9, 2005 was the worst day of my life. Confronted by my church board leaders, I had to admit my addiction to porn and headed home to tell my wife and four children. I knew a major train wreck was about to happen, and there was nothing I could do. My sin had been found out and I had no idea of the consequences that were going to unfold.
It feels like the hardest thing in the world to do. You know this news is going to wound her deeply and you have used that as an excuse to not confess. You reason, “If I keep it a secret and she never knows your marriage will be better and I will be able to stop on my own.”
Look in the mirror and say to yourself, “Liar!”
The truth is you have already wounded her and your marriage. She just doesn’t know why there is this barrier between the two of you. Here is your reality.
Your use of porn is heart adultery according to Jesus in Matthew 5:28.
This has gone on for years and perhaps decades and you haven’t stopped.
You are scared to death of what this confession will do to her, you, and the family.
I understand your fears and I know it is the last thing you want to do. Yet, it has to be done…so what is the best way to tell her?
I lived in that world for years. Not until I resigned my position as a pastor and was forced to confess was I able to do it. Nine years later our marriage is still intact and God has healed our wounds and inhabits our brokenness every day. Getting through it with your marriage surviving can be helped or hindered by how you deal with your disclosure. So here are five things that will prove helpful to you.
Tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. What you plan on telling her will not be the same as what she will want to know. The truth is how often you act out using porn. The when and the where are important facts. The details are not. Too many details will be destructive for her in the long run.
Consider telling her in the presence of a counselor or pastor. Having someone there to help moderate the conversation can be helpful to things escalating and becoming worse. That third person should be made aware of what is going to happen in the meeting and should be someone your spouse is comfortable with.
Confession is the beginning of the long journey of recovery. Hopefully you are broken by your bad choices and desire to really stop and get the help you need to walk in purity. This is a reality most people want to minimize. Seeing this as a first step is good but having a plan for recovery helps give hope. Find what groups there are in your area that deal with sexual brokenness and make plans to attend consistently. You should plan on attending at least for one year.
Genuinely ask for forgiveness and be repentant. It will not be your words from which she will receive assurance. Talk is cheap. It will be a change in your behavior and seeing godly sorrow that will help her. She will feel that she cannot trust you…and that is normal. However, she needs to place her trust in God that whatever you do He will take care of her.
Realize that this will be traumatic for her and create desperation and wounding. Both of you would do well reading from this website and this book.
Nothing is going to make this easy. Looking back, I wish I had come forward and confessed before I was caught. If I were a better man I would have done so. However, the bottom line is you need to come clean. You need to be honest.
Your Father, your Lord and Savior, and the Spirit—your comforter and counselor—will walk you through it. You need to allow Him to begin dealing with putting the broken pieces together. It all begin with walking in the light of confession and repentance.
Over the past 9 years I have worked with many men trying to break free from this sexual sin. The support and encouragement from your wife will be a very helpful part of the process. However, that is a decision she will need to make on her own. What you do and how you act in the days following your confess will either help her come along side of you or push her away.
It is time to be a humble and loving servant to her as we are commanded to love our wives as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25).
About the author, John Doyel
After 26 years in full time ministry John Doyel resigned his position as Senior Pastor in 2005 because of his sexual brokenness. For the past 10 years he has dedicated himself to helping men recover from sexual sin and return to God. He writes daily e-mails of encouragement to help believers recover—called 180 Recover—because we are told to encourage one another daily as long as it is called today. He also lead a recovery ministry at Vineyard Columbus called 180: Helping Sexually Broken Believers Return to God.
article source: The blog at covenanteyes.com
Take a moment and look at the statistics below:
If you look closely through the numbers above, you will notice a few things:
- The number of women, worldwide, who view pornography is greater than you may have expected.
- The number of women who view pornography in the U.S. is towards the bottom of the list… but that is not reason to celebrate with a “U-S-A” chant. The 2010 census reports that there were 157 million women in the United States. Let me do the math for you:
25% of 157 million women = roughly 39.2 MILLION women who view porn in the USA
- In countries where fewer men view pornography, the number of women who view pornography is higher.
What does all this mean? Porn is a global problem, and an issue that is definitely no longer just a “guy thing.” Men and women everywhere are viewing pornography and are being affected daily by its impact. Whether sex trafficking, producing pornography, purchasing pornography, prostitution, or the victims of rape; women everywhere are affected by porn more now than ever.
Have you had the “sex” talk with your kids? You may want to have the “why porn is harmful” talk with your girls… before they are exposed and before they become a statistic. It is equally important to have these discussions with our boys, but as the title implies, the focus of this particular post was raising awareness that more and more women are regularly affected by and are users of pornography.
the graphic above was based on data compiled by a purveyor of pornographic material in their 2016 review of site traffic. I have chosen not to mention the name or cite the webpage as not everything on that page is “safe” to see. I assure you the data is good and reputable.