Tag Archives: pornography addiction

Jehovah Jireh: More Than I Asked

Whew, I know it’s been another long drought since I last wrote, and a LOT has happened in the last few weeks…but this one is worth sharing over and over.

One of the things I’ve wanted more than anything over the past few years is to share my testimony in my church. I wanted to do it for several reasons: first, I sat alone in a church pew for years believing that I was the only woman who struggled with pornography or sexual sin or fantasies…and when I finally found a home in Celebrate Recovery, I realized that I was NOT alone. And though their stories might have differed, there WERE other women whose struggles were similar. I think one of the tools the devil uses against us is isolation: “You are the ONLY PERSON who has ever disappointed God in this way. You are the ONLY ONE with this struggle. Your struggles are unique only to YOU.” And I wanted to see women freed from that isolation, freed from hiding away in their sin and darkness.

It felt like each time I lobbied to share my testimony, I was blocked. I shared it here, on my website, but sharing it in person was not allowed.

Until now.

This is one of those things where God is just showing off. I wanted to share my testimony at my church. God allowed not only for me to share my testimony in my church, it was shared across the five campuses of my church. The video director said that folks came to him asking how they could share it with other churches. And I believe that God is using my story to bring light into dark places.

I asked, and my Jehovah Jireh gave me more than I could have ever asked or imagined.

I just had to wait for His timing. I just had to be in the right place. I just had to keep praying and asking and believing. And here it is, the short version to my story, captured neatly on video for me to share with all of you.

Praise the Lord for His faithfulness! And thank you to my church, Faith Assembly, for allowing me to be vulnerable in hopes of making room at the table for everyone. (Click on the link below to see it!)

Michelle Hill’s Testimony

 

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Questions, Christians, and 50 Shades of Grey

questions by Stuart MilesI’m not going to see 50 Shades of Grey. I think that, if you’ve read my testimony and followed my blog, you know that for me to see that would be incredibly hypocritical. I did not read the books, and I am not following the hype. But I am on social media, and I know people are excited about it—even many Christians. And I don’t understand that. I have been reading comments on social media from Christians who are going to see the movie, and trying to understand their reasons for doing so. In response, bear with me as I ask some questions to get us thinking—and praying.

Some Christians have claimed that it is a redemptive love story—because Christian Grey comes from a very dark past, and eventually, this young lady saves him from that dark past. I understand redemption, because the best redemptive love story can be found in the Bible—and because I have lived through redemption myself. I was very lost in a world of porn and addiction to sexual promiscuity, so I do somewhat understand that about Christian Grey. But my question is this: does a love story of redemption need to include lewd and graphic sexual content to tell the story? In other words, do you need to see a video of my sexual escapades in order for me to tell my story of redemption? Of course not. If I posted a video of myself having sex with someone as part of my story here, Christians would RIGHTLY be enraged. But some of these same Christians will go into a movie theater and watch lewd sexual situations in this movie because “it is part of the characters’ redemptive love story.” Both situations are pornography. One is more acceptable by Christians. My brothers, this should not be so.

The other aspect to the “redemptive love story” claim is the idea of trying to present darkness as light. I have done this a lot in the past to justify my decision to do something I know is not increasing my Christlikeness. But I am reminded of a few things from God’s Word. First, the devil presents lies as truth and darkness as light. In Genesis 3, that is exactly how he deceived Adam and Eve. Even today, he continues as the great deceiver who packages some aspect of the light (it’s a redemptive love story) around darkness (it’s also full of sexual deviance and mistreatment). He is, of course, the father of lies. And the Bible is very clear that Satan and his servants disguise themselves as angels of light and servants of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:14). So my question is this: have you been fooled into believing that this movie’s darkness is light?

I have also seen many Christians who will see this movie claim, “you can’t judge me,” “don’t judge me,” or “only God can judge me.” Interestingly enough, Matthew 7:1 is American Christianity’s favorite Bible verse to quote. American Christians, in my opinion, don’t believe they should be held accountable for the choices they make. And that is simply not true. To judge is to hand down the verdict as to whether or not you are guilty and I give you a sentence based on your guilt. And it’s true—only God can do that. But when there’s a standard or a law that you obviously don’t live up to, then I can and should point that out and lovingly correct you. Paul even gave us the how-to guide for that in Galatians (6:1, and chapter 2 when he lived it out). In fact, most of Paul’s letters were written to point out blatant sin in the church—but Paul was not God, so should we disregard most of the New Testament? Of course not! As fellow believers, we do indeed have not only the right but the responsibility to lovingly hold each other accountable for our sins, including impurity, lewdness, pornography, and fornication—all things represented in the movie 50 Shades of Grey. And that’s why we need to think before we say, “don’t judge me.” But my question is: would you even need to say “don’t judge me” if you weren’t doing something that you knew was not in line with Scripture?

I can’t tell anyone what choice to make, but I can tell those who claim to be believers what the Bible says. It says to flee sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18), to think on pure things, to be pure as God is pure. We don’t do these things because we are prudes, we do them because we want to please God with our actions and our thoughts. We do them because our example, Jesus Christ, would. God’s will for every believer is simple: Christlikeness (see Genesis through Revelation). So my question is: how does seeing this movie contribute to your Christlikeness? Because that is the question we should be asking ourselves—not just about this movie, but about everything we say and do.

I pray that Christians will begin to stand up for Jesus Christ and the Holy Word, not Christian Grey and Hollywood.

Read more awesome coverage about reasons to skip 50 Shades of Grey here, here, and here, or check out an awesome book about Christian women and our awesome sexuality “Pulling Back the Shades” by Dannah Gresh here.

Fall Into Healthy Habits!

health pyramid by Stuart Miles

image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

Pornography addiction is a habit that takes up quite a bit of your time. It’s just like any other addiction—once you get into it, you need it desperately and spend most of your time trying to fill the void of time with your addiction. But substance abuse and pornography addictions are not the only bad habits we accumulate. Last September, I was just beginning my coaching ministry, and I wasn’t quite sure how to handle my new part-time status at my job and starting my business from the ground up. Suffice to say, I spent a lot of time thinking about what I should be doing and not enough time doing it! I built some incredibly unhealthy habits—sleeping too much, trying to work at home from my bed, not exercising—and in return, I did not create many healthy ones. This summer, I decided that I would do things differently. I would find ways to be healthier—not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well.

September is a great time to begin anew—summer has ended, school has started for the kiddos, and change is in the air. Over the next three months of autumn, Pushy Prophet Girl Ministries will be talking about how we can fall into healthy habits in the three biggest areas of our lives:

Emotionally. In September, we will explore how to create better emotional habits in our lives. Being emotionally healthy is one of the most important steps you can take—so building good emotional habits is one of my ministry’s focuses! This month, we will discuss our hang-ups—forgiveness, anyone?—and how to better handle our hurts. How can you overcome that spirit of being offended? The Word frequently talks about compassion, but in what ways do we live that out in our daily lives? How do we practice responding to others in loving ways, even when they aren’t being loving towards us? We will talk about these things and more this month.

Spiritually.  Pete Scazzero says that you can’t be spiritually mature without being emotionally mature first! That’s why we will talk about our spiritual health during the month of October, after we have addressed our emotional habits. What are some spiritually healthy habits we can begin to practice? When can fasting help our spiritual life? What is worship—is it just what we do in church on Sundays? How does giving to others affect us spiritually? Our spiritual lives consist of more than just prayer, attending church, and reading Scripture. While we will talk about those things, we will also discuss many more spiritual habits we can practice in healthy ways.

Physically. We mature and grow from the inside out! Once we have thoroughly discussed our emotional and spiritual health, we will focus on our physical health habits. We will look at the different aspects of our physical bodies and how caring for them is not only a Biblical command but a necessity in this day and age. How does eating healthy become a habit? Where does sleep fit into your fitness regimen? If your body is a temple, are you caring for it the way God wants you to? I am always seeking to improve in this area as well, so I can’t wait to begin talking about these issues and more in November.

Today is a brand new day, and I am here to help you and cheer you on towards being fearlessly fulfilled. Are you ready to fall into emotionally, spiritually, and physically healthier habits? Then contact me today to get started on a personal coaching journey and keep checking my blog this fall for ways to become the best you!

That Lyin’ Pride: What Consequences?

peacocks by tina phillips

image courtesy of Tina Phillips / freedigitalphotos.net

After our fight the other day, I received a letter via e-mail from my mom. We had, of course, been fighting about my uncle watching pornography in the house, and in my passion against pornography, I had yelled at her and hurt her very badly. In the e-mail, she wrote that for ten years, she had put up with me yelling at her “for looking the wrong way.” She then noted that I hadn’t done that since I had completed Celebrate Recovery—until the other day. I explained to her that the other day, I was yelling passionately out of a righteous anger, versus the angry, tormented yelling I had done pre-Celebrate Recovery. She accepted that, but her statement reminded me that when I was addicted to porn and fantasy, I often would look at the situation and believe that I wasn’t hurting anyone but myself. Once again, I had believed the lying voice of pride about consequences.

The lies pride tells us are never louder than in the area of consequences. Here are three things that pride is constantly telling me about the consequences of my choices:

  • That consequences don’t exist. Everyone can have the tendency to believe the voice of pride that tells them that their behavior doesn’t have consequences. This is especially true when it is a sin of convenience. After all, what is a “little white lie” going to hurt, especially if you are making someone feel better about themselves? What will it hurt to take a few pens from work? But the truth is, all of our actions and behavior return a consequence—whether positive or negative. Galatians 6:9 says, “For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” You reap what you sow, and there are always consequences for whatever action we choose.
  • That if negative consequences exist, I don’t deserve them. For a long time, I felt that I deserved a great godly husband while entertaining lustful thoughts and a porn addiction. I just knew during that time that I didn’t deserve for God to withhold a loving relationship from me. I believed that my sinful thought life didn’t deserve consequences! But I was wrong. As I said before, the Bible notes that what we reap, we will also sow, and that justice comes for those who sin. And as sinners, we all deserve death—a price that Christ paid so that we could have eternal life and grace (Romans 6:23). And while we don’t receive the consequence of death that we deserve, there are always negative consequences for the sins we commit—and we do deserve those.
  • That consequences don’t affect anyone but me. This is definitely an addict’s viewpoint—“I am not hurting anyone but myself.” However, as my mother pointed out, my addiction to pornography and fantasy had me believing that people were objects, and I treated them as such. The effects of my addiction on my family and friends was just as devastating as it was to me. I said and did many terrible things that left deep scars in others’ lives. Pride might try to tell me that there are no consequences for my actions, but the Bible tells me that sin is so damaging, it can affect not only me but my family to the third and fourth generation (Number 14:18). As someone whose grandfather, father, and uncle struggled with sexual sin, I can see that truth very plainly in my own life.

As I recently shared with someone, every choice you have made has led you to where you are today. So as you make choices today, keep in mind that your choices have consequences, and that those consequences may affect others. Don’t let that lying pride convince you otherwise!

What are some other things pride has told you about the consequences of your actions?

That Lyin’ Pride: Did I Do That?

peacocks by tina phillips

image courtesy of Tina Phillips / freedigitalphotos.net

I saw a friend last night whose son was recently arrested in a neighboring state (where he lived) for driving while under the influence of heroin. The son went to rehab—for the second time this year—and charges are pending for him in that state. Last night, the son was with my friend as we mutually did a service project together. I struck up a conversation with the son, asking him how he was doing and how his wife and three young girls were handling life. He was upbeat, noting that they were moving into the area from the neighboring state. Some things he said included, “Man, they are trying to put me in jail in that state! I had to get out of there!” “My job was just too stressful. I need to do something less stressful.” “I was on the road too much. I just need to drive less and work less hours.” I nodded and smiled, but inside, my stomach turned. In that short conversation, I wondered if I was talking to someone who was truly ready for a full recovery. My heart grieved a bit, since as a former addict, I remembered being there myself many times facing my biggest enemy: pride.

Los Angeles Lakers player Jeremy Lin recently said that the biggest sin he struggled with was pride. I agree with Lin’s assessment, but not for the same reasons that he likely said it. I agree with him because pride is actually the basis for every sin that we commit. And in that case, everyone’s biggest sin is pride, because every sin is a direct result of our belief that we know better than God—the very definition of pride. I wanted to write this series on pride because pride is so prevalent in our lives–especially mine. So let’s talk about the subtle ways pride whispers into our ears and causes us to sin.

One of the loudest things pride says to us is, “It ain’t my fault.” (Did I do that?) This lie is especially a problem for addicts. We tend to blame everyone else—our family, our job, stress, our past, our desires—we will do anything possible to not take the blame for our issues. Sometimes we blame others, sometimes we even blame God (“He never should have given me these desires!”, says the porn addict). But the key to silencing this prideful voice is personal responsibility. We make our own choices, and we need to admit our mistakes. The Bible says that if we do, God will forgive us and cleanse us from our sins (1 John 1:9). Taking responsibility for your actions is one of the best lessons you can learn, as a child AND as an adult. When you make a mistake, you should own up to it, not blame others or your circumstances. My friend’s son spoke nothing of his own misdeeds—he did not own up his mistake of choosing illegal drugs. Instead, he blamed “the system” for what it wanted to do to him and his job for being too stressful and too mobile.

However, when we are ready to be healthy, when we are ready to move forward in life, it’s no longer about blame or making static, circumstantial changes—it’s about accepting responsibility so that real change can take place inside you. You see it in the eyes of every addict who has moved beyond blame and into accountability. They begin to make better choices about things that really matter. They are no longer afraid to admit their mistakes—because humility has assured them that to err is human. If the first step is admitting that you have a problem, then silencing this prideful voice is where most people begin in recovery.

Pride is sneaky, and it shows up in every area of our lives. That’s why we have to be aware of its many voices, dialects, and sounds. As we continue to break down our pride, both in this series and in our lives, may God make us more discerning about how to increase our humility and become more like Him!

What are some other ways pride says, “It ain’t my fault?”

Porn—When You Don’t Get It

confusion by Stuart Miles

image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

“How does she not get it?” I had a horrible fight with my mother today, and this is the question running through my mind. The long and short of it is that my uncle, who recently had a massive stroke and is requiring 24-hour care from my mom and sister, has been watching pornography non-stop on his computer for the past few weeks. Now, this is the same uncle who carelessly introduced me to pornography more than 25 years ago, so while not a surprise, it is unacceptable that he would do this in my mother’s house, where an eight-year-old girl lives 80% of the time. Naturally, considering my recovery, my disdain for pornography, and my ministry, I am furious, and I called and unleashed said fury on my mother. I made her cry in my passionate attempt to let her know she needed to take a stand for righteousness—something she has not done well in the past (she’s an S personality/servant gift to my D personality/prophet gift). But the call did not end well, and now I’m upset—because she doesn’t seem to understand.

If you’ve suffered from a pornography addiction, and you feel like people just don’t “get it” when it comes to porn, here’s a few things to remember:

  • People may not understand your pain. My mother did not notice how passionate and indignant I got when I first heard about the pornography debacle with my uncle. She is clueless about how my sister feels about him watching porn behind her as they sit in the living room. In addition, it seems my mom knows nothing about the effects of pornography on a person’s mind. I ask myself, “How can my mom not know, when I am so very open with everyone about my past addiction, when my own ministry seeks to end pornography?” I also wondered how she could be so calm and nonchalant about a situation that clearly has upset my sister and me. I felt like Jesus with the disciples—“Are you still so dull?” (Matt. 15:16). How come you don’t understand yet? Today’s conversation reminded me that she hasn’t suffered through this addiction. She barely even spoke about sex with me growing up. So of course she doesn’t “get it.” There are always going to be people who don’t understand some circumstance you’ve been through—or don’t want to admit they understand. The key is knowing that you have to…
  • Keep talking anyway. The more you talk about the issues you’ve had with porn, the more freedom you get. When you keep the truth hidden deep within yourself and you don’t address it with or acknowledge it to others, you remain a slave to your addiction. So keep talking! Perhaps my problem is that I have not talked with my mom enough about the pain that pornography caused in my life. Today, I told her that I yelled at her because I didn’t feel she ever thought this was important or urgent. This lack of urgency on her part made me feel unprotected, and I was afraid she was going to not protect the eight-year old that now lives with them. After our fight, I texted her a lengthy set of messages that included an apology and this text: “I love you. What I do not love is how pornography stole my childhood, my innocence, my freedom, my ability to have normal, loving relationships with the opposite sex.” I know that I have told my mom before about porn’s effects on me. But I said it again because hopefully one day she will gain some understanding about the addiction from which I’m still healing.

The Bible says, “Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold.” Recovery from porn is a lifelong process, and you may have to help others get understanding about it from time to time. You may go about it the wrong way, or you may do it perfectly: the point is to just keep talking, so you and others can be blessed in the process!

The God Identity: Perseverance

Identity by Stuart Miles

image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

If there’s one thing that I remember from having a porn/lust addiction, it was that during tough times, I had something to turn to—my addiction. Whenever I was feeling lonely or down, I could watch magazines or cable TV shows that would feed my “pleasure zone”—the receptors in my brain that released that oh-so-feel-good oxytocin. And if those things weren’t available (which they weren’t, after I restricted myself), it was fantasizing. I could easily lose myself in my thoughts, focusing on things that would make me happy, whether physical or emotional intimacy. By doing this, I would simply immerse myself in a world where I had no hardships until reality settled itself back down. Unfortunately, due to my hiding, my God identity trait of perseverance was severely underdeveloped.

Google defines perseverance as “steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.” Here are three things I am learning about persevering as God intends:

  • Perseverance should make us joyful. The porn identity told me that no one cared that I was suffering, so I should withdraw from everyone and focus on my addiction/fantasy life. I would also whine and cry through my suffering (I’m still working on this!) until it was over. But the Bible says that we should rejoice in our sufferings (Romans 5:3)—one of the hardest things to learn. One of the ways I try to rejoice is by reminding myself that the devil is always going to attack those he feels are a threat to him, those who may have significance in the kingdom of God. So when things are going well for me, I have to ask—have I become complacent about my walk with God? Because Jesus did not say “if” you experience troubles in this world, he said “when!” So I should be joyful during difficulties, knowing that my suffering is normal and that God plans to use me in a great way—if I will just persevere!
  • Perseverance produces maturity. My porn addiction forced me to stay in what author Tim Challies calls pornolescence. This adolescent mindset made me believe that I could stay the way I was, keep doing the things I was doing, and still be godly and holy—and fulfill the God’s calling on my life. But truthfully, I was not growing in character, wisdom, or maturity in my walk with God. When tough times came, I was turning immediately to what would make me feel better, not what would make me BE better. But taking on the God identity means persevering and maturing in Christ. James 1:2 says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” Trials produce steadfastness—if we let them. And when perseverance takes full effect in us, we mature in Jesus.
  • Perseverance brings blessings. I feel like I missed out on a lot of blessings in my life because I didn’t choose to persevere through trials—I chose to hide. I feel this most in my relationships with others. Being a prophet gift who sees and knows truth within relationships is difficult; and when I am hurt, sometimes I want to hurt others or withdraw instead of pushing through the difficulties of talking things through with others. Because of this, I’ve missed the blessings of strengthening my relationships. But the Bible says I’ve missed even more than that! The Bible says that those who endure will receive what is promised (Hebrews 10:36). The promises of God are many and wonderful, and I can’t help but wonder what other promises I have missed because I have not worked on developing perseverance.

The great news is that I don’t have to miss any more promises and blessings! I can start developing perseverance today—and I have. In the midst of my current hardships, I have been choosing to focus my thoughts more on God. Better yet, I am choosing to persevere, even though life is challenging right now. But I take solace in knowing that if the trouble is big, then the reward will be even bigger—including maturity and growth in my most important relationship (with God) and the strength to face whatever is next!

The God Identity: Patience

Identity by Stuart Miles

image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

Tonight for dinner, I had Grandma Utz’s potato chips, three chocolate covered strawberries, watermelon, and an Honest Tea juice box. Let’s face it: I’m eating my feelings. I’ve been going through an intense time of suffering, and the end is not in sight. My uncle is recovering from a massive stroke, my dad is close to dying, my job is stressful and changing drastically, and my friends have felt distant. My response has been to wallow, throw pity parties, and ignore my physical health. Worst of all, I haven’t had much patience with anyone—God, myself, or others. I’ve been really self-absorbed and irritated with everyone—including myself (see previous blog posts for examples!).

As I was convicted of this, I realized that I was allowing some aspects of the porn identity to take over my life in an area where the God identity has been trying to take hold: patience. We tend to think of patience as affecting only one area of our lives (timing), but here are the three areas where I’m trying to improve and adopt the God identity characteristic of patience in my life:

  • Patience for timing. I tend to think that my timing is perfect, and God is usually late. I know the phrase, “God is always on time” but I rarely live like that’s true. No question has been bigger in my life than, “God, where is my husband?” There was a time when I was unhealthy and addicted and I know that would have been a terrible time for me to get married. But now that I’m healthier and committed to walking with God, my struggle is even bigger. “I was closer to getting married when I was unhealthy than I am now!,” I reason with God. But the Bible says that it is not for me to know the times or the seasons God has fixed by His own authority (Acts 1:7). And each time I can peacefully accept God’s timing in my life, I am practicing patience.
  • Patience for others’ mistakes or sins. In the past, I have had very little patience for the mistakes and sins of others. I tend to get very impatient with people who don’t see truth right away as I do. Often, this means folks are missing truth and sinning instead of recognizing the truth and doing right. And this makes me angry—angry that people don’t realize they aren’t walking in truth, and angry that I am trying to do the right thing while others are not! And when I’m angry, I’m not waiting OR doing the right thing. But the Bible says that I should not become tired of doing good, because in due season, I’m going to reap a harvest (Galatians 6:9). And each time I hold back judgment while a friend muddles through a mistake or sin, I am practicing patience.
  • Patience for times of suffering. This is where I’m currently struggling the most. I can’t remember a time when I’ve prayed less than these past eight weeks. I’ve told my friends that their prayers have sustained me—and that’s true, but mostly because I’ve not been as vigilant about seeking the Lord during this time as I have sought solace, food, and other things to blame. Quite honestly, I’ve had little patience for this time of suffering—which has made me less patient for God’s timing and others’ mistakes and sins, too. Then today, I saw a Bible verse that reminded me of what I’m supposed to do when suffering and trials head my way: I should rejoice in hope, be patient in trials, and be constantly praying (Romans 12:12). Perhaps if I focus on doing these three important things, I can begin practicing patience during this time of intense suffering.

It’s not too late for me—or you! We can begin practicing patience today in any or all of these areas. The Bible lists many promises for those who wait on the Lord and show the virtue of patience: inheritance, blessing, strength, hope, etc. These are all things we want in our lives—the question is, are we able to develop patience so that we can have them? The God identity says that we can—so I challenge you to start today with me!

The God Identity: Meet Your Maker

Identity by Stuart Miles

image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ freedigitalphotos.net

“The prophet and mercy will stand together.” I heard it clearer than anything I’d ever heard. It was 2:30 a.m., and God had just woke me up and immersed me in His presence. Those words were the only thing I had heard crystal clear, and I was trembling. I couldn’t fall back asleep, as I mulled the phrase over in my mind, trying to figure out what it meant. The next day, I confided my middle-of-the-night meeting with God to a couple of close friends who held me accountable. And throughout the course of my conversations with them and further conversation with God, a part of my identity was revealed: I was a pushy prophet girl. Pushy prophet girl existed because of my intense desire to always push people along at my pace or push people away. It is a great identity for a life coach who desires to spur others on to greater health; but my friends often found it tiring. Obviously, it was a part of my prophet spiritual gift and D (dominant) personality, but it was also the result of many wounds and experiences in my life where I had learned to push people away or expect them to “travel” at my speed. And I needed to hear that about myself from loving friends so that I could begin to explore this part of my God-given identity.

When addictions and other things have defined you for so long, it can be difficult to allow your Creator God to tell you who you really are—and how you need to change. But here are two amazing things to understand about the author of the God identity:

  • The author of the God identity wants you to know and love Him. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). It is the first of the greatest commandments, according to Jesus Himself. It is God’s desire that we spend time with Him, not only so that we will know Him, but also so that we can know ourselves. Most people spend time with their families of origin so that they can understand who they are. But too many people forego spending time with the One who knew them before they were born, who has counted every hair on their heads, and who loves them unconditionally. God is our Father, and He calls us to Him, desiring to reveal more about Himself to us. So whether it is a midnight session with Him or daily quality time with Him through His Word, we must respond to His call for relationship with Him.
  • The author of the God identity wants you to know and love yourself. “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). The first step to knowing yourself is knowing God. But the Bible specifically states that you are to love others in proportion to how you love yourself. So how well do you love yourself? Do you know yourself? What are your spiritual gifts? What are your motivations? What experiences have you had? What natural talents and abilities do you have? Too many people walk through life not knowing the answers to these questions. And while these things make up your identity, it is God who has defined you and named you as His child. The Bible says that we were each fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), which means that each of us is unique and has been gifted in beautiful ways. Do you know and embrace these things about yourself so that you can respect and love these things in others?

Know God, know thyself. As we walk through this series, we will be looking at characteristics of God, because as the author of our identities, He has called us to be like Himself. So in knowing Him, we will know who we are supposed to be, and how we truly should be loving ourselves and loving others. I hope that you will learn and walk in your God identity over the next few weeks—and that you will truly meet your Maker in a new and fresh way!

The Porn Identity: Meet the Author

ID-10056400The voice inside my head is no mystery to me—I’m very familiar with his noise. Sometimes, he is bold and negative, telling me that I’ll never amount to anything. That no one cares about me or understands me. That I’m not worth it. That other people don’t deserve forgiveness. That I deserve vindication. That being right is more important than being well. Other times, he is quiet and subtle, telling me that watching one small sex scene in a movie is acceptable. That withholding love from someone who hurt me is okay. That giving in to one small sin is not a big deal. That if God really cared about me, He would be meeting all of my wants, not just all of my needs. That I can “fix” my desires for companionship easily, if I just bend the rules a bit. The voice will encourage me to embrace all the characteristics of the porn identity, because if I do, the voice wins.

I know I’m not alone—you’ve heard that voice, too. And in my opinion, the church spends too little time discussing the warfare and spiritual battles that we face every single day—the battlefield of the mind, as Joyce Meyer calls it. But we should be talking more about it, because if there is an author and perfecter of our faith—and there is, then there is certainly an author and perfecter of destruction and evil—and there is. He is the voice, and his name is Satan, and here are a few things to remember about him—the author of the porn identity:

  • He is a liar and a murderer. John 8:44 says, “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” This is the Satan we expect, the one who tells us lies and wants us to believe everything that is contrary to the Word of God. He will want you to believe that you are unlovable, unworthy, unredeemable—and he will tell you over and over in hopes that you will believe it. He seeks to destroy everything that is good and holy, killing our will and hope as well. Satan is the sower of every kind of death.
  • He disguises himself. This is the Satan we do not expect. The Word says that Satan disguises himself as an “angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14)—meaning he uses seemingly godly things to distract us from God’s goals, distance us from Jesus and others, and disintegrate our faith. He also will take one aspect of the truth and twist it so that it seems true—and then use that to draw us away from Christ. He will use a divine appointment to create disharmony and disappointment. Because of this, we must be vigilant, because he doesn’t always come as the liar or murderer we expect.
  • He is actively searching you out. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” The verb tense used here means that the devil is actively, constantly seeking for someone to devour. That means you don’t have to be actively looking for trouble, because trouble is searching for you. If you are actively seeking to please Christ with your thoughts and actions, then you can expect warfare, battles, temptations, and evil. The devil is especially interested in creating division and dissension in the church—because he already has the world.

Even though the author of the porn identity is real and is working hard to write our story, he does not get to pen the final chapters! There is good news—good news about our story, good news about Satan’s fate, and good news about the porn identity. Join me next week to hear that good news as we begin by meeting the author and perfecter of the God identity!