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Blazing Grace Newsletter, June 2005

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Blazing Grace Newsletter, June 2005

 

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 * Lies and Myths

* Summer’s here

* Blazing Grace on the radio!    


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Lies and Myths
by Mike Genung

 

Porn and masturbation are harmless

We debunked this lie in last month’s newsletter. For those who didn’t receive it, you can read Linda’s story online.

Or, just ask your wife how she feels about it. 

 

Getting married will fix my lust problem

These are the famous last words of the single man. I bought into it, and so have many other Christian men. The stresses from a marriage of two selfish persons of the opposite sex, both who were raised in dysfunctional environments, intensifies the battle with lust. Marital sex doesn’t fill or clean up an empty heart that’s been saturated with pornography or lust.

 

I can beat lust on my own

I have yet to hear of one man who successfully beat lust in isolation. If willpower was enough then no one would struggle with lust, alcoholism, greed, overeating, pride or any other sin.

 

Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Matthew 26:41

 

If I have enough Bible knowledge I won’t sin

If this was true then the Christian life would be a piece of cake; we’d just read our Bibles and stop sinning. Knowing what the Bible says about sexual sin isn’t enough; sex addiction is a heart problem, and broken hearts aren’t healed by knowledge (think heart surgery.) There are a lot of head Christians out there who are starved for the intense reality of God’s love.

 

My wife will get over my porn problem quickly

This is the “it’s all about me” mentality in action. Our wives are wounded deeply when we commit adultery, whether it’s with porn or a person. A knife wound in the back takes a lot of time, grace and love to heal. 

 

I need sex

When we make sex our god, we buy into the lie that we need it. I haven’t heard of anyone who’s died because they didn’t have sex; on the other hand, people die every day because of sexual sin. We can live with our physical urges under control, and doing so strengthens our character. I’ve gone without self sex since 1998, and I know other men who’ve gone a lot longer than I have. A man’s true strength is in his heart; if he can’t say no to his own physical urges then his character is weak.

But I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
I Corinthians 9:27

Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts
which wage war against the soul.
1 Peter 2:11

All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.
1 Corinthians 6:12

I have needs God can’t fill

This is Part 2 of the “I need sex” myth. If I “need sex” and God won’t give it to me my way, then “He can’t provide my needs.” This is how lies breed distorted beliefs – and separate us further from God. 

 

Since I’m a Christian I won’t sin

Believe it or not, there are a lot of Christians who’ve picked this one up from the church. The battle with sin turns fierce after we come to Christ, not before when we were cooperating with it. David committed adultery after he’d written some of the Psalms; long after Peter acknowledged that Jesus was the Son God, he denied Jesus three times, the last time with cursing; Paul freely admitted his struggle with covetousness. Sanctification is a lifelong, sometimes painful process, not a one time event. The “since I’m a Christian I won’t sin” lie sets a man or woman up for despair and hopelessness, because if “I can’t stop sinning… am I saved?”

(Hint – the answer is to accept our permanent state of brokenness.)

 

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. Romans 7:18

 

If I’m going to church and reading my Bible I know God

I often ask guys to tell me how there relationship with God is going, and it’s not uncommon to hear “well, I’m going to church, and reading my Bible, and…” This is like asking a man “how are you doing with your wife” and him saying “I come home from work every night.” Knowing about God is different from knowing Him.

 

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.  John 5:39-40

 

I can have God and lust

This describes the warped way of the Christian sex addict, who is trying to serve two masters, lust and the Lord. It’s no different than having an affair while married… and sometimes I wonder if it hurts the Lord just as deeply.    

 

If I work a program it will fix me

For 9 years I was told “working the steps” would fix my lust problem. Doing this helped, but it couldn’t provide what my empty heart was crying for: God’s love and acceptance. Our culture (and sometimes the church) propagates a “with the right program we can fix it” mentality that falls short of the mark. Programs can be our way of trying to make the sanctification process neat, clean and tidy… marketable and profitable… safe and sure.

To follow God is a dangerous, sometimes exhilarating adventure that challenges our comfort zone and refuses to leave our pride intact. I don’t read in Scripture where the Lord dealt with any one man or woman the same way. The packaged, safe, Santa Claus like God that some portray is nothing like the incredible Being I read about in the Bible; the God Who spins planets like a top, created the earth, animals, plants and man in one week, performed countless miracles, and sent His son to be butchered on a cross by His creation, man, so He could pour His grace out on all who come to Him. It is God Who gives broken men and women new hearts. 

 

Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26

 

I can be good enough to earn God’s love

God’s grace is a free gift to be received, not a paycheck to be earned. There’s nothing we can do to be deserving of God’s love, and we don’t need to (thank God!) Grace is a gift that needs only to be accepted. The lie sets in when other broken people love us with strings attached, so we assume God is the same way.

 

But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. Romans 5:15

 

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.

Ephesians 2:8

 

I don’t need God

"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:4-5

When we live our lives disconnected or distant from God we reveal that we don’t believe we need Him. Once we understand the truth of “apart from me you can do nothing,” we won’t attempt anything – what we do at home, work, ministry - without Him. We would never dream of thinking we could conquer sin on our own.

Some of us are striving to “do for something for God” when we should be in the desert, seeking His face instead.

 

God doesn’t love me

Our actions reveal what we believe, and this is the lie that drives every Christian sex addict’s life. If we really believe that God loves us, we won’t turn to the counterfeits like lust, food or money.

 

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)… Ephesians 2:4-5

 

See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. 1 John 3:1

 

 

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Summer’s Here

 

It’s that time of year again, when people run around with less clothing. When the heat turns up there are few places where you won’t encounter someone wearing revealing clothing – including the church. Be aware that temptation is every where; stay close to God and away from isolation. For tips on how to walk in the culture of lust, see
Winning the War in the Mind.

 

 

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Blazing Grace on the Radio

By a sequence of events that I neither planned nor anticipated, God has opened the door for me to join Jayson Graves and Rob McIntire as the 3rd host of a local radio program here in Colorado Springs called “The Real Man Show.” The show focuses on dealing with the hard issues of life, such as sexual addiction, from a Christian perspective.

It’s currently playing on KZNT 1460 AM on Saturdays at 2:00; next month it’ll be moved to KGFT 100.7 FM. We’re talking about getting the show up in Denver area in the near future. For those of you outside the Springs, my intent is to upload the broadcasts to the website so you can listen to them online. The first broadcast I’m involved with will air tomorrow morning.

 

I felt like a fish out of water during the first taping which will probably come through over the air, so don’t set your expectations too high if you listen to tomorrow’s broadcast…

 

 

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May God’s grace abound to you.

Mike Genung

 

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All material copyright 2005 Mike Genung