The 6:00 news story shocked me: “Pastor accused of taking picture up parishioner’s skirt.”
The report went on to add that after the Florida pastor’s arrest, he admitted to a struggle with pornography addiction.
I started praying immediately.
I prayed for the young woman whose trust the pastor violated, that she would not blame God for his sin and forgive the man.
And I prayed for the pastor himself, that he would confess and repent of his sin, receive God’s forgiveness, and get the help he needed to overcome porn addition.
What happened to this pastor is a warning for us all to consider our ways.
“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall (1 Corinthians 10:11).”
It opens up an opportunity for us to examine our hearts and actions with this question:
“Can we say with confidence that each of our private actions would glorify God if exposed publicly?”
If we are not wise in appetite control, whether that appetite is for food, sex, or other substance, the enemy can easily pervert our appetites to destroy us.
It also impacts our witness negatively among those who know that we profess to serve the Lord.
The deception of any addiction is that you think you can control it. But one day, you realize that it controls you!
The following are 5 areas every believer should take heed of daily for appetite control:
1. Remember our Identity
We must never forget that Jesus loves us and sacrificed His life for us.
He rose again so that we could enjoy abundant life in Him, free from the things that bind us.
God gave us His word as our wisdom. He gave His Spirit as our power to walk in that wisdom:
Romans 8:11 says:
“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”
Not only will we reap abundant life now as we follow Jesus, but we reap an eternal reward in Him:
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).”
To finish our race well, God’s Spirit within must control what we do with our bodies.
If we allow our flesh to control our lives, we are headed for disaster – as the pastor’s story illustrates.
2. Seek God’s help
In Matthew 26:41, Jesus advised the disciples: “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Each day, we must seek God’s wisdom in prayer. He will show us the areas in which we are vulnerable and the resources He has provided to help us overcome them.
In 1 Corinthians 10:13, He promises:
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
Often, the issue is not that God hasn’t provided the resources to help us escape temptation; it is that we sometimes don’t want to take the escape route!
Fear of taking the escape route points to an enemy lie that you are believing. That is why the next step is so important.
3. Take lying thoughts captive
When we first become believers in Jesus, our spirits are renewed, but our minds aren’t. According Romans 12:2, the work of renewing our minds to God’s word transforms us.
2 Corinthians 10:5 warns us of our daily battles against lying thoughts also:
“casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,”
What are some arguments/lies that justify an addiction?
An addiction keeps you trapped in a secret shame.
Rather than living a life of freedom in Christ, you remain in the bondage of darkness.
Romans 8:5 says,
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.”
It is a daily decision to set your mind on things of the Spirit, like the thermostat in a house.
When things get “heated” due to a lying thought, cool yourself down through reminding yourself of Godly truth – and take the escape route based on that truth.
Philippians 4:8 is a great yardstick by which to measure your thoughts:
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
4. Remove the temptation
Each of us knows very well the things that tempt us and make us stumble. Guess what? So does the enemy!
If you have a stumbling block in your life and keep falling over it, wouldn’t it be wise to remove it from your daily path?
Hebrews 12:13 advises us:
“and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.”
We are on a journey to glorify our dear Savior and a mission to share Him with others.
Why make this mission harder than it is?
In the pastor’s case, he could have removed the sources of pornography in his home and installed adult website blocks on his mobile device and computer as a preventative.
When you have an addiction, what drives it is the brain’s pleasure neurotransmitter Dopamine.
So it is also important that you include wholesome sources that add pleasure to your daily life. Take these as seriously as a doctor’s prescription:
5. Get Godly support
God never called us to walk alone. He is with us always and He also calls us to walk with other believers.
Ecclesiastes 4:12 says:
“Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
With trusted, Godly counsel you can get wisdom from someone who can see your situation with objective eyes and help you separate truth from error.
With that higher perspective, you can move forward in freedom.
As believers, we are connected with one another through the Spirit. When one of us falls, we all do.
Let’s one uphold one another in prayer so that we finish this race well.
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage (Galatians 5:1 ).”
Be blessed with health, healing, and wholeness,
Creator of the Take Back Your Temple program
P.S. When it comes to weight loss, is the voice in your mind often negative? If you are like most of us, our inner voices are often filled with negativity about what we can’t do and don’t have.
But when you change your words, you can change your world! God’s word says, “life and death is in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21).”
In my new downloadable audio “Faith Self-Talk for Weight Loss” I show you how to put faith-filled words in your mouth to stay encouraged on your weight loss journey.
Listen to this audio any time you need motivation to move forward. You can download it instantly on your device and listen in your car, at work or at home. With faith-filled words, you will begin to change your health, increase your joy and gain peace in your eating habits.
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