In the world of sex and/or porn addiction, like every other world, words matter. But words require interpretation, and those interpretations are affected by culture and history and context and, most importantly, these complex and often painful stories that we live. All of this put together makes up what we know as semantics – in short, the study of meaning. So, in this post, I am going to look at three words that get used a bunch and are often seen as standing opposed to one another in some way. And then I am going to challenge you.
Psychology – YES – you need help. Every person struggling with this addiction should call a good therapist right now. Wait, let me rephrase, every person, period, should call a good therapist right now. Psychology is simply the study of how people function. A student or practitioner of the disciplines of psychology will be concerned with the matters of the brain and its amazing chemical cocktail of craziness. They will also be concerned with matters of consciousness – what we know and don’t know, as well as what we think we know and may not.
Therapists are first and foremost trained to look at behaviors, especially undesired behaviors, and ask why these behaviors exist and how to change them. It’s worth the money and you have a phone in your pocket right now. A professional trained to sit with you and help you find healing is a couple of tap-tap-taps away.
Theology – Simply put – theology is the study of GOD – Who is God? Who are we? And how do we relate to each other? Steven Luff says that “Good theology is good psychology,” and what he means is that if our theology demands that we do something that wounds us psychologically, like suppress emotions, our theology is probably not a healthy one and needs to be reexamined. Theology is primarily concerned with belief, but belief is important because it drives our actions.
For instance, in my last post, I claimed to have victory over porn addiction. One commenter said that in claiming that, I was deceiving myself. That commenter’s beliefs are clearly that true freedom isn’t possible – and therefore that person will not take action towards anything that will bring true freedom. That is a very specific theology – In their world, God is not the kind of God who can give true freedom or victory over addiction. Rather than question the theology they hold, they’ve chosen, perhaps unconsciously, to stay in a self-made cage.
Spirituality – Finally, this word is often thrust into the category of “meaningless beliefs” or some foolish judgment like that. People who hate this word tend to hold to their beliefs as the ultimate spiritual authority, but there is a problem presented there because there is nothing spiritual about belief. (Tweet This!) Even though the English Bible uses the word “belief” in regards to truth (Jesus uses it often), we make a mistake when we ascribe spiritual power to belief. (Tweet This!) We cannot do that any more than we can ascribe electric power to a battery. The battery isn’t the energy. Or take a painkiller – the pill isn’t the power. When the pill is ingested or the battery is inserted (belief), the power is then given an opportunity to be unleashed (Spirit).
Spirituality is the practice of taking a theology and giving it the opportunity to unleash the power it contains. So if one of your spiritual practices is the act of prayer – talking to God – then this spiritual practice is meant to unleash the power embedded in your theology, your beliefs about God. If the God you ascribe to has any real power, then your spirituality will allow for you to experience that God’s power. If you don’t experience power, but are still told you must believe, it is time to reexamine the nature of your theology or find a new spiritual practice to help unleash that power you believe is there.
I have seen a ton of therapy over the years. I also got a Master’s Degree in Theology. These are all good things. But nothing has compared to the healing I encountered when I sought to commune with the Spirit of God the way Jesus and his disciples and the Apostle Paul did, through spiritual practices like the simple act of listening to God. This, to me, is the beginning of the journey toward true freedom in our sexuality.
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