It doesn’t matter what issue you are dealing with you always need to have a measure of faith to successfully deal with it and get control over it. If you need to change something you are making it an act of faith to make the change. You need faith to believe that the change you are making is the best move and have the results you wish for because most times change requires the decision to make the change before you can actually make the change. You have to see the need before you will make the change. But when we are dealing with controlling issues like porn addictions, it always requires faith that you can do it because it is such a battle.
Now any of us that have struggled with any type of addiction as a Christian undoubtedly have struggled with the feeling that we just must not have enough faith or we would be free from the controlling issue. I recently heard a message where he illustrated 5 points regarding our cultural definition of faith. They were: 1-Faith and doubt are incompatible. 2- Faith and fear are incompatible. 3-Faith pleases God, doubt angers God. 4- We all need more faith and 5- All of the above are garbage.
Mark 9:14-29 tells us a story about faith with an interesting exchange between Jesus and the possessed boy’s father. Starting in verse 21, “Jesus asked the boy’s father, ‘How long has he been like this?’ ‘From childhood,’ he answered. ‘It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.’ ‘If you can?’ said Jesus. ‘Everything is possible for him who believes.’ Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!’”
Jesus responded to the father’s query with a bit of a reproach. “If you can?”… Like, “Why do you even doubt it man, of course I can, I can do anything!” To which the startled father says, “ummm, of course I believe, uh, sure yeah I know you can do it… just help my unbelief.” Ohhh man, dude you were so close. If only you hadn’t slipped and let him know you really didn’t believe so strongly. But what was Jesus response? He healed his son and set him free. The father revealed that he in fact only had a bit of faith, yet Jesus fulfilled the father’s desire.
Now I’m encouraged when I read about the Mustard seed of faith in Matthew. It only takes that littlest bit of faith to move mountains. So why do we struggle with our addictions so much. I mean don’t I have the mustard seed bit of faith? I think the main point we need to really grasp is it isn’t the size of our faith that really matters. It’s what or who is that faith in. I think the church has failed in that we have taught incorrectly regarding faith. We think we need GREAT faith to accomplish much. When in fact what we need is just enough faith to take a step. The opposite of faith is inactivity not doubt. If we see we need to make a change in our life and it is such a struggle as pornography or sex addiction, then we need to start with just enough faith to take a step. To try and do what we can. Then realize that our Heavenly Father loves us so perfectly that even when we struggle and fail He just says “Get back up, take another step, you can do it. I will help you. Just don’t give up.”
When our seeming “lack of sufficient faith” binds us up in such frustration, or self judgment that we find it impossible, or extremely difficult at best to try anymore, we are giving up too soon. One thing we must remember is we are on a life long learning experience, and God is teaching us things like perseverance and trusting Him. I don’t know why God doesn’t just immediately set us free from all the addictions we fight when we ask Him too. But I know He is using the experiences to teach us to keep fighting. It’s not about a lack of faith. We don’t need to find the magic prayer formula that the old grey haired lady at church obviously has decoded somehow. We need to just believe in God enough to say, “It is important enough, and I want it bad enough, to keep trying and trust Him that He still loves me and will see me finish the race.”