First of all, let me say “thanks” to everyone who has written in. I think I am going to like this “Q&A” format a lot more because I don’t know about you, but for years, as I was battling with certain areas of my sexuality, I was getting lectured to and preached at (plenty), but no one was really answering my deepest questions and concerns. I feel comfortable speaking for everyone at X3Church when I say that we want to be able to do “meet your needs” as best as we can. We know that for a lot of you, we are seen as a “last ditch effort”.
Here’s to pulling some of you out. 🙂
With that said, I am going to answer questions in the order that they are received. The first one was sent by Marshall on January 9:
Q: “That is AMAZING that you can go one year without sex. I am trying to go the one year without masterbation. How did you get through the tough times of temptation and stuff like that?”
A: Marshall, you ain’t the only one who’s amazed! Before I start rambling about my journey, let me just say this: The fact that you even feel convicted enough to want to stop masturbating is something to be commended. Sometimes we get so focused on the “destination” that we don’t give ourselves enough credit for even attempting the journey.
1) For me, it started with a personal Bible verse. Now, that might sound a little “preachy”, but words have power and sometimes it all starts with knowing the right ones to use. Actually, now that I think about it, I had three that I rotated around.
One was a particular thing that took place in the Book of Esther. Before she went to King Ahasuerus, she needed 12 MONTHS of preparation. (Esther 2:12-13). I’ve spent so many years dating (i.e., sleeping with) “peasant boys” that I figured there was something to the whole “queen preparation” thing.
The second was Matthew 7:6 (NKJV), which is actually one of my favorite verses of all time: â€œDo not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.” Some people don’t know this, but one definition of “swine” is “a contemptible man”. I had to spend some really concentrated time deprogramming myself from being a “sexual thing” to being “a holy thing set apart for sexual purposes with the one I am married to”.
The third scripture is the Parable of the Fig Tree: “He also spoke this parable: â€œA certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, â€˜Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?â€™ But he answered and said to him, â€˜Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.â€™â€–Luke 13:6-10 (NKJV) For me, that was kind of my “last ditch effort deal” with God. Not that he’s not always merciful, but I knew that if I didn’t get a better hold on my sexual cycle, greater consequences were coming and so I asked for ONE MORE YEAR to get bear fruit…to get it right.
You will probably find your own “signature scripture” as you discover more about yourself and the root of your addiction, but for now, I recommend this one:
“And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”—2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV)
Sometimes I think we think God is so “sick of us” that we don’t go to him enough about our areas of weakness, but it’s in him that we really do find the strength to deal with our “stuff”.
2) I got really honest with myself about my “trigger points”. There is a cause to every effect, right? I spent some serious time reflecting on what made me fornicate. Oddly enough, it wasn’t usually at times when I just had so much love for someone that I had to express it in that way. It’s when I felt financially stressed, lonely, unattractive, or powerless. (Head’s up guys, you are not the only ones who use sex to feel good about yourself). So, what I did was I started substituting sex with other things. I exercised when I felt stressed. I went out with friends when I felt lonely. I wrote myself love letters and posted notes on mirrors when I felt unattractive and I USED MY GIFT OF WRITING when I felt powerless (the gifts God gives you always has power in them). Soon, sex wasn’t the immediate thing that I thought about when certain emotions came over me. I HAD OTHER OPTIONS.
3) I didn’t place unnecessary pressure on myself. Proverbs 27:1 says that we should not boast about tomorrow because we don’t know what today will bring. Every time I set out to say, “I’m gonna go a year without sex”, it was almost a definite that I would fall at some point within that year because I was focusing on A YEAR. These days, I just do “today”. If I can get through today without “showin’ out”, tomorrow will take care of itself. However, let me also say this. Don’t let guilt consume you on the days that you fall. Guilt is not of God (Romans 8:1). Is it a way to emotionally convict you? Sure. But once you have been convicted, get back on track and MOVE FORWARD. Sometimes our greatest detriment is not so much the “act”, but the “emotions” that follow.
BONUS: CELEBRATE YOUR PROGRESS. That is a big one! When I reached my year, I got flowers, lattes, cards, someone took me to dinner, someone else took me to a movie. Setting a goal and reaching it—no matter what the goal is—is BIG! Surround yourself with people who are not going to judge what that goal may be, but will celebrate you for setting one.
Let me know how it goes, Marshall. This is the Year of New Beginnings. I’m sure it’s by no coincidence that our paths have crossed.
See ya’ll next week. 🙂