Welcome back to the Exclusively His blog! Very impromptu post but on my heart none the less. Praying you are blessed and set free as you read Xx.
I shared in my recent book, Freedom Lives that keeping a pure thought life was seriously a struggle for me. I experienced sexual abuse in my childhood and believed that it had tainted my imagination since then. So now as a Christian I was determined to wage war on the spirit of lust. Yet I fell FLAT on my face time and time again. Why Lord? How do I overcome? What do I need to do?
If you pluck the fruit off a tree, it’ll only grow back in time… In the same way if you only deal with the symptom of a problem, you’ll keep facing it time and time again, you have to deal with it at the root – cut down the tree and allow the Lord to cut away the roots.
I remember reading a blog post and I came across a recommended book; Purity is Possible by Helen Thorne. Absolutely eye-opening read if you feel you struggle with lust and sexual purity. I don’t want to go into quoting from the book but let me share with you how it changed my life with what I learned from it:
1) THE ROOTS: The addiction to porn or sexual fantasy (or any creation of a false reality) is not a result of lust but results from a mixture of idolatry, emotional wounds and false beliefs.
In my childhood, yes I was sexually abused and this had an effect on me, but looking at my childhood in general I grew up with emotional wounds. I felt insignificant, unlovable and ugly to be point blank. So how did I deal with this? I retreated into myself and created a false reality where I was the centre of attention, loved and whatever else I didn’t think I was in real life. This type of day-dreaming became a stronghold and resulted in be being sexually impure in my thought life. My actions were a response to my thoughts and feelings. So did I need go against the spirit of lust to deal with this? Not necessarily, because that would deal with the fruit instead of the heart which produced it. Dealing with the root sin (pride) will eliminate all others in the process.
2) THE TRUTH: My needs can only be met by God, and in my moments of weakness I must run to Him.
So I was running to this false reality for comfort, validation etc yet it’s a false comfort that only frustrated me and caused me to feel condemned, disconnected and completely unworthy of His Grace. My belief system triggered feelings that pushed me to sinful actions. My mind needed to be renewed to those facts and promises that we find in the word of God, so effectively every lie I believed was replaced with His truth;
The Holy Ghost IS my comfort… And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever -John 14:16
I am accepted in the Beloved… To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved –Ephesians 1:6
My life has purpose and value… For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them –Ephesians 2:10
I am beautiful & God delights in me… I will praise Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well -Psalm 139:14 For the Lord taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation –Psalm 149:4
Having this knowledge meant I could wage a good war since I had correctly identified my enemy. I could focus on pulling down the strong walls brick by brick until the Word of God had a strong hold on my heart.
(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ… 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 KJV
3) My heart is an altar of worship.
Idolatry really was part of the root of the problem. I idolised experiences such as marriage and sex, thinking they would fulfil me somehow, I idolised myself by making the world revolve around me - it was all about my needs being met (and this would actually be so damaging to go into future relationships/marriage with). I came to understand and accept that though those experiences are good, they are for a set season and still cannot meet my driving inner needs for love, purpose and hope – these are satisfied in Christ first.
If you’re struggling with sexual purity, or any other sin, ask yourself, what am I worshipping? What have I set up as an idol in my heart? What needs am I trying to meet with this behaviour?
Our hearts are altars of worship and we must fiercely guard them whilst allowing the Holy Ghost to search and try them, that they may be pure and holy before our King.
Moving forward practically…
Pray – Of course you can pray for deliverance from the spirit of lust, but also focus your prayers on the heart; on exposing roots, healing wounds and staying dependent on the Lord. Ask Jesus to come and help you in your moments where you begin to drift back to old habits.
Renew your mind – Commit to cultivating the mind of Christ. I can’t just declare it by Faith and not activate it with a work. Find scriptures that counteract the lies and continue to ask the Lord to bring them to life. Aim to be consistent in prayer and in studying the Word, meditate on Romans 6 and any other scripture that silences negative emotions.
Be honest with God – Be honest about how you feel and what you believe, if the case is you have deep emotional wounds. If you think God can’t really comfort you then tell Him so, He won’t be offended. Give Him the opportunity to give you His perspective and answers. Give Him the opportunity to be God in your life. When you’re honest with Him then true healing can take place as His truth sets you free.
Truly repent - It's easy to confuse remorse with repentance, and stay free for a while. Its easy to cry out to God to change you and continue living the same way. I've learned that our hearts are transformed when our actions are consistent with our desire for change. When God sees you attempting to do things differently - meditating on His word, having boundaries etc, He will move in your heart and exchange lust for purity... hate for love... anger for peace. Truly repent by turning to Jesus and by the power of His Spirit, become a doer of the Word.
Guard and surrender your heart - Just because lust was a by-product of deeper issues, doesn't mean I do not have to guard my heart against it. Once you are free you need to protect that freedom. The bible says that we should flee youthful lusts and pursue righteousness (2 Tim 2:22). Guard the gateways to your soul and continually, daily and even mintuely surrender yourself unto Jesus. In Him we are slaves to righteousness and not sin, yeild yourself to righteousness and don't allow the deeper issues God may expose to become an excuse for sin - it no longer has power over you.
Stay accountable – Having an accountability partner makes things easier. It helps you to stay transparent and also know that someone is genuinely praying for you. Some people fear accountability due to trust issues, but when you can find mature believers you can find safety. How can you tell a mature believer? When they love you as Christ does; without judgement but with correction, the balance of Grace and Truth.
Don't beat yourself up, keep moving forward - this isn't going to be an easy road, the enemy would love nothing more than to keep you bound. Remember that he will wait for another 'opportune time' to tempt you. If you fall, get right back up. Repent quikly and forgive yourself quickly. Don't give up on the process and don't run away when God is trying to heal your heart. The pain of recovery may be greater than the injury but it's worth it in the end. Whatever you do, keep moving forward.
Be encouraged - You are more than a conqueror and the end is good. Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. You have been given all authority to trample over the enemy. The same power and Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, and you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. Purity is possible, because whom the Son sets free is free indeed. Stay encouraged.
A final word…
It’s been almost 2 years since the words exclusively His jumped out at me from the amplified bible, and as much as I (thought I) understood it I certainly am growing, by His Grace to become it. What is it to be Exclusively His? It is to have Christ as the very meditation of your heart. It is to fight relentlessly from an offensive position to protect your fellowship with God. It is to purify yourself by allowing Him to take you through the fire so that you can stand before the Father. It is an ongoing road until that great and glorious day when we will be caught up with Him in the sky. Keep fighting the good fight of faith, and may we continue to grow in becoming exclusively His, eternally. I pray you are strengthened to wage a good war and that the Lord would train your hands to do so. May you find your every need at the foot of the cross.
God bless you,