God wants us to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit and to experience His victory in every area of our lives. Tragically, sin and addiction can quickly rob us of the joy and freedom we should enjoy through Christ Jesus.
Sin has been around since Satan convinced Adam and Eve that they needed something outside of God’s will, but it is increasingly evident in our culture today. Behavior that used to be considered shameful is now flaunted.
Recently, there has been an astronomical rise in the amount of pornography which is readily available over the Internet, on television, and in other media. Consequently, more people are exposed to it – and more are hooked. Although Christians may think they should be immune to pornography’s attraction, increasing numbers of believers are falling prey to its powerful lure and becoming addicted.
If you feel trapped in an endless cycle of lust, guilt, and broken promises, God wants to set you free! Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill, and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and might have it abundantly” (John 10:10 , NRSV). The Bible promises that the power of sin is broken by Christ as we surrender to Him (see Romans 6:1-14).
As you read, may you discover how much God wants to forgive you, deliver you, and give you the abundant life that He has promised to all who follow Him?
1. Turn To Jesus!
People struggling with sin may think, “I’ll turn to God after I clean up my act, but I’m not good enough to come to Him yet.” Here’s the plain truth: you can never clean yourself up enough for God – but He will do it for you!
Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” Jesus loves you and paid for every single one of your sins by His death on the cross.
When you truly repent of your sins and give God your whole life – broken and messy as it may be – He gladly accepts you as His child and gives you a new life. The Bible says, “Put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” ( Ephesians 4:22-24).
This describes a new life in God! You take off the old self and are made new by Jesus Christ. You give Him your sinful nature, and He gives you His righteousness and holiness. You give Him your weakness, and He gives you His power.
Simply pray:- “Jesus, I confess that I have sinned again and again. I feel trapped in addicting habits, but I am reaching out to you in hope and faith. Thank You for dying on the cross for me. Please forgive me and grant me a new start today. I give myself to You and invite You to be Lord of my life. Thank You for saving me from the power of sin and death. Please fill me with Your Holy Spirit and give me Your power, wisdom and grace so that I can obey You and walk according to Your ways every moment of every day. Amen.”
In 1 John 1: 8-9, God promises to forgive all our sins if we are honest with Him about our failings. Look at King David. The Bible spares no detail about how this great hero of God’s chosen people, failed miserably when he was tempted sexually (see 2 Samuel 11:1-12 :25). When David should have been on the battlefield with his men, he lingered in Jerusalem and happened to see a beautiful woman bathing on her rooftop. Now, that accidental glimpse was not sin. But he allowed his eyes to linger, and that led to lust, which in turn led to adultery, lies, betrayal, and murder.
David fell into the pattern of sin described in James 1: 14-15: “But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
Yet David found forgiveness and mercy when he finally stopped pretending that nothing was wrong and humbly repented. Read through his heartfelt prayer in Psalm 51, and consider making it your own:
Psalm 51:1-17 For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Surely you desire truth in the inner parts ; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you. Save me from bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
We can also be encouraged by Paul’s example. Although he was a great evangelist and wrote much of the New Testament, Paul struggled with something he called “a thorn in the flesh.” After pleading with the Lord to remove it, Paul received an answer that gives us hope for any situation or temptation we may face: “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’” Paul commented, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” ( 2 Corinthians 12:9).
Praise God – we are weak, but He is strong! We may fail, but He will give us a new start every time we humbly come to Him!
2. Spend Time With God Daily
It’s absolutely essential that we look to God for strength and wisdom each day. Spend time reading, studying and meditating on the Scriptures daily. Start with the passages listed in this booklet. The Word of God is your spiritual armor, and you dare not enter the battle without it!
Daily prayer is also necessary for victory. James 1:5-6 instructs us: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”
Learn to cry out to God quickly when confronted by trials, temptation, and a desire to yield to addicting behavior. When Peter was sinking in the waves, he prayed one of the shortest prayers in the Bible – “Lord, save me!” – and was immediately rescued by the Lord (see Matthew 14:22-33 ).
Prayerfully reflect on the names of God, which reveal His wonderful character, such as Father, Strong Deliverer, Redeemer, Master, Savior, Mighty God, Helper, Light of the World, Faithful and True, Friend of Sinners, the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Give yourself entirely to God daily. Romans 12:1b-2a says, “Offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
Rest assured: God will deliver you from sinful habits and addicting behavior if you fully trust Him and do not doubt Him or depend on your own thinking. Sometimes this happens instantaneously, but other times He wants us to walk into victory one small step at a time. This walk of faith is described in Proverbs 3:5-8: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.”
3. Choose Your Allies
Although we certainly must go directly to God, confess our sin, and receive forgiveness, there are times that we really need the Body of Christ. Many who have been freed from pornography say they could not win the battle alone. Consider choosing a trusted ally or two to help you gain the victory over addicting habits. Jesus said, “If two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by My Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in My name, there am I with them” ( Matthew 18:19-20 ).
Going to church on Sunday morning is great, but honest one-on-one relationships are also very effective. As long as people hide a dark secret, it can have power over them. But when that secret is shared with a trusted counselor, its power can be broken! James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”
Of course, it’s critically important to find the right person – such as a pastor, counselor, elder, or a very mature Christian friend. It’s best if men meet with men and women meet with women. A good mentor demonstrates God’s love, mercy and truth while able to ask hard questions, hold a person accountable, and rejoice with each success. Above all, this person must be totally trustworthy and never repeat confidences without a person’s permission.
Some people find a great deal of help in overcoming addicting behavior by attending Christian accountability groups that offer confidentiality.
Proverbs 11:14 b says, “Many advisers make victory sure.” Some of the ministries listed at the end of this booklet have small group meetings.
4. Count The Consequences
“Jerry” is a born-again, Spirit-filled Christian who is happily married to a beautiful, caring woman. He’s a good dad to his children, a model schoolteacher, well-regarded in the community, and a respected leader in his church. Nevertheless, Jerry struggled long and hard with an addiction to porn – even after counseling sessions with his pastor. But one day, his accountability group asked him to look into the future and describe where his addiction to porn would lead. Thoughtfully, he replied, “Ultimately, I would lose my wife, my family, my home, my job, and my ministry.” After taking a long, hard look at the consequences, Jerry decided that pornography simply wasn’t worth it – and that helped set him free.
Take time to carefully examine your life and think about what is most precious to you. Then ask yourself, Am I really willing to risk it all?
5. Identify Your Triggers
It’s important to identify exactly what situations trigger you to stumble and fall into addicting activities – such as walking past a magazine rack at the gas station, driving through a certain part of town, staying in a hotel during a business trip, opening the Sunday paper with the lingerie ads, logging on to the Internet, etc. Once you know your weak points, you must be very methodical about avoiding these situations. For example, if you are tempted to watch pornographic movies on cable TV while away on business trips, ask the hotel to disconnect or remove your television before you enter your room. Another good defense is to call a mentor or accountability partner. That person can agree with you in prayer and speak the truth of God’s Word, breaking the power of that temptation.
If you’re married, you may want to enlist your spouse in helping you avoid certain triggers. One man asked his wife to remove all the lingerie sale fliers from the Sunday paper before bringing it into the house. Another man asked his wife to change the password on their computer so he could never log on without her knowledge.
The acronym “HALT” may be helpful, reminding you not to get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. Realize that you are more vulnerable to addicting behavior during these times, then HALT – immediately stop what you are doing to pray, read your Bible, and/or call someone for prayer. Of course, you may always call The 700 Club Prayer Center at (800) 759-0700 for prayer and encouragement, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
7. Dig Out The Roots
Another way to gain victory in the future is to examine your past. If you have never forgiven certain people for hurting you, take time to do it right now! Lack of forgiveness hinders the flow of God’s power in our lives. Jesus said, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins” ( Mark 11:24-25 ).
Sometimes, Christians like to move forward without looking back – but if hurts from the past are preventing wholeness today, it may be helpful to deal with these wounds through prayerful Christian counseling. Truth comes through the Spirit of Christ – and as John 8:32 says, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Also, the books listed at the end of this pamphlet are excellent resources for individual study.
8. Take Authority Over Your Eyes
Every Man’s Battle, by Arterburn, Stoeker and Yorkey, contains practical hints about how to win over sexual temptation. The authors suggest developing the habit of immediately “bouncing your eyes” away from anything that tempts you. If you’re watching a great football game on TV and a sexy beer commercial comes on – zap it with your remote instantly! If you’re at work and notice that a co-worker’s blouse is too low or her skirt is too high, turn away immediately – or look her squarely in the eyes, and nowhere else. Just as you developed a habit of impure thoughts, you can now develop a habit of purity, with God’s help.
9. Grow In God’s Word
This teaching is full of powerful Scripture verses to help you grow in spiritual strength and maturity. Take time to look them up and underline them in your Bible, and memorize the ones that are most helpful to you personally. Here are some additional passages to study:
Genesis 39:1 1 Corinthians 10:12-13
Psalm 51:2 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
Psalm 119:9-11 Galatians 5:1, 13, 16-18
Proverbs 6:20-24 Ephesians 2:10
Proverbs 23:26-28 Ephesians 5:1-33
Daniel 3:1-30 Ephesians 6:10-18
Matthew 26:41 Philippians 4:8
Mark 7:20-23 Colossians 3:1-10
Luke 4:1-12 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
John 10:10 1 Timothy 6:11-12
John 15:1-17 2 Timothy 2:22
John 17:3 Titus 2:11-14
Acts 15:28-29 1 Peter 2:16
Romans 1:16-32 1 Peter 4:1-6
Romans 6:23 Hebrews 4:15-16
Romans 7:15-8 :14 James 1:13-15
Romans 12:1-2 James 4:1-10
Romans 13:12-14 Revelation 2:7
10. Pray Continually
Prayer is our lifeline to the Savior, who can rescue us from every trial, temptation and addiction. The Bible says, “Pray continually” ( 1 Thessalonians 5:17 ). You may wish to be guided by this wonderful prayer that Jesus gave His disciples in Matthew 6:9-13:
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.” [Spend time praising God for His love, wisdom and power, and for all that He has done for you.]
“Your kingdom comes, You will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” [Ask God to fulfill His marvelous purposes in your life, in the lives of your loved ones, and others].
“Give us today our daily bread.” [Pray that you will trust Him to give you the strength you need for every situation you may encounter today. Lift up any other needs you or your family may have.]
“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” [Confess any sins you have committed and forgive anyone who has sinned against you.]
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” [Ask God to help you obey as He leads you away from the road that leads to evil and destruction and guides you in the paths of righteousness. Spend time listening to His voice speaking in your heart, giving you encouragement, admonition, or instructions. Commit all that you say and do today unto Him.] Amen!
May God bless you as you trust Him each day for strength, wisdom and victory.
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