I hate porn because

I hate porn because

( by Eric Simmons )
Pornography is a problem.

Porn is like a narcotic, it hijacks the brain, it redefines human sexuality, and in the meantime ruins lives, destroys families, and destabilizes ministries. And honestly it’s a problem that makes me tired — tired of the devastation Satan is causing to children, women, families, pastors, churches, and the world with this tragic evil.

Porn became a problem for me when I was only six, and by the grace of God that problem ended when Jesus saved me at age seventeen. But I know it rarely happens so cleanly. It is still a temptation, yes; temptation abounds living in the city I do, and with the heart I have, but grace abounds all the more in Jesus Christ.

Friends, I hate porn. And here’s why.

I hate porn because it is a perversion of what God created in man and woman.

I hate porn because it exploits women made in the image of God into an image made for a man’s lust.

I hate porn because it objectifies women into a consumable product instead of a glorious image-bearing creature of God.

I hate porn because I love women — in particular my wife and three daughters.

I hate porn because it takes the soul satisfying experience of sex with a covenantally-committed spouse and turns it into a twisted soul shrinking experience of self-sex.

I hate porn because it turns sons and daughters of God into slaves of sex.

I hate porn because it turns potential missionaries into impotent Christians.

I hate porn because it destroys marriage, many before they even begin.

I hate porn because it extends adolescence and keeps men boys.

I hate porn because it lies to men about beauty and leads men to look for a porn star instead of a woman who fears the Lord.

I hate porn because it robs men and women of the full joy of obedience.

I hate porn because it fractures trust between a husband and wife.

I hate porn because it is a diabolical, satanic activity that is subtly leading thousands upon thousands to hell.

I hate porn because it leads to disqualified pastors and impotent churches. (Pastors, if you are addicted to porn, you are disqualified, and you are killing your church!)

I hate porn because I suspect it’s the most significant reason we are not planting more churches and sending more missionaries.

I hate porn because it disqualifies gospel preachers who could fill the empty church buildings in my city and so many others.

I hate porn because of the disappointment children have to go through when their dad tells them why they lost their job or opportunity to lead in the church.

I hate porn because it teaches a distorted view of sex to children before it can be explained by loving parents.

I hate porn because I am tired of sitting in my living room with sobbing, confused, devastated wives and broken, embarrassed, condemned men who got caught.

I hate porn because it leads to rape, molestation, and perversion that can devastate people for the rest of their lives.

I hate porn because it turns men inward and suffocates a man’s ambition to make God’s name hallowed.

I hate porn because it says sin, Satan, and the world are more satisfying than our God and his grace.

I hate porn because I hate ungodly guilt and condemnation.

I hate porn for the fear it induces in the hearts of parents everywhere that their child could stumble upon a sight and get addicted.

But I love Jesus.

I love Jesus because he loves people with porn problems.

I love Jesus because he is powerful to free porn-enslaved hearts.

He who knew no porn addiction became porn addiction so the porn addict might become the righteousness of God in him.

He who had no sin became sin for you so that you may become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).

In that one brilliant sentence, Paul puts an end to the porn problem.

Friend, you are no longer in Adam but in Jesus. Jesus became a substitute. It was as if he became the porn addict, by receiving the just penalty due for our perversion, and you became the righteous son or daughter of God with all its benefits.

Friend, in one act of Love and Justice, in the cross-work of Jesus, through faith in him, you are now clean, holy, accepted, forgiven and free. Let me say it again . . . free!

I love Jesus.

From the Perspective of A Dad and Pastor

I have observed anew some things recently regarding my discussions with individuals regarding Porn and Sexual Addiction.  There is still an overwhelming sense and wish that all of this discussion would just go away.   There is still this great desire that one can awake from this terrible dream and realize it was all just a nightmare and that our world is still pining along undisturbed by the elements of our subconscious nocturnal processes!

I get the sense that folks want to be distracted as our conversations progress and individuals begin to fidget in their seat or began to look away from me as I express my concern and passion for the utter annihilation of the Porn Industry and all attached industries.  I understand these moments of extreme and intense confrontation with the reality of where we are.

It is these interactions though that cause me to double down on the commitments I have already made to friends and family.  I will not rest until my mission is accomplished.  I will not back down in the face of ridicule and mockery.  I will stay at the helm and I will march the miles it takes until this giant lies headless on the battlefield and the birds are consuming its rotten carcass as they should.

Parent and leader, if you are reading this post,  you must understand that there is no amount of wishing you can muster and no amount of ignorance you can pretend that will make this go away.  You must educate yourself, your family, and those following you.  You must wage a Spiritual War like no other.  You must amass a confidence in Jesus Christ that indeed the words of Paul when he states that ” I can do all things through Christ” that those words in this instance will most assuredly come to pass.

You can reach the He Set Me Free ministry team at info@hesetmefree.org.

Why is Porn Addictive?

This article was written in 2012 and I just re read it…it impacted me again so I want to share this concise and easy to understand piece.  The link to the original post is below…

http://www.covenanteyes.com/2012/06/12/why-is-porn-addictive/?utm_campaign=Social%20YBOP&utm_content=16407011&utm_medium=social&utm_source

___________Why is Porn Addictive?_______________

Porn is addictive for the same reason that many drugs are addictive. Neuroscientist Dr. William Struthers explains how the brain reacts to viewing pornography repeatedly:

As men fall deeper into the mental habit of fixating on these images, the exposure to them creates neural pathways. Like a path is created in the woods with each successive hiker, so do the neural paths set the course for the next time an erotic image is viewed. Over time these neural paths become wider as they are repeatedly traveled with each exposure to pornography. They become the automatic pathway through which interactions with women are routed. The neural circuitry anchors this process solidly in the brain. With each lingering stare, pornography deepens the Grand Canyon-like gorge in the brain through with images of women are destined to flow. (Wired for Intimacy, p.85)

In my interview with Dr. Struthers, he explained what hormones and neurotransmitters are involved in porn addiction.

Why is Porn Addictive

Testosterone

This is a gonadal hormone (produced in the testis) involved in many processes in the body. One of them is the male sexual drive. Testosterone drives a man’s interest in sex. Mentally fantasizing triggers a reflexive response in the body to release testosterone, and the more one does this, the “wave” of testosterone continues to build. Men experience this as an intense and growing desire for sexual release.

This wave of testosterone will occur if a man is thinking about or interacting with his wife, but it also happens when a man is staring at other women or a pornographic image.

Norepinephrine

Norepinephrine is the brain’s version of adrenaline. Unlike adrenaline, it is not a hormone circulating through the body, but like adrenaline, it is responsible for making us alert. It is the neurotransmitter that is responsible for helping us to wake up and fall asleep and helping us to stay alert at work or in class.

During sexual arousal, such as watching pornography, norepinephrine alerts the brain: “Something is about to happen and we need to get ready for it.” It “ramps up” the brain for activity.

Serotonin

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter tied to mood. Low serotonin levels can lead to someone struggling with depression.

While not specifically tied to sex, when sexual arousal happens, serotonin is released in small packets in the brain, elevating someone’s overall sense of excitement and enjoyment.

Dopamine

The brain is wired in such a way that it wants to remember where our natural drives are satisfied. For instance, when we are thirsty and find water, the brain is wired to place significance on the place we found it so we can return to that place.

Dopamine is the drive-related neurotransmitter that accomplishes this mental focus for us. When we have a natural craving, small packets of dopamine surge from the region known as the mesencephalon into our limbic system, which is a part of the brain responsible for emotion and learning. Because dopamine is about focus and significance, when we have a dopamine surge the sense we feel is, “I have got to have this thing. This is what I need right now, and here’s where I get it.”

Dopamine is not sexually specific like testosterone, but it is released during sexually pleasurable experiences. Dopamine is the way your brain remembers how sexual craving was satisfied in the past, pushing you to seek out the same thing in the future. When it comes to someone addicted to pornography, dopamine creates a sharp focus on finding porn.

Endogenous Opiates

The body produces natural forms of opium called endorphins. Endorphins relieve pain and, like opium, a euphoric feeling of well-being. A “runners high” is one example of a release of these endorphins.

When a man ejaculates, these opiates are easily released, creating a “high” and a wave of pleasure coursing over the body.

Oxytocin and Vasopressin

Oxytocin and vasopressin are hormones released in the brain, and one of the times they are released is in response to ejaculation. These hormones help to lay down the long-term memories for the cells. They “bind” a person’s memories to the object that gave him the sexual pleasure.

When someone returns to pornography again and again, this cements a “relationship” between a man and what he has seen in the pornography.

Putting it All Together

As a man goes through his day, testosterone levels begin to increase as he stares at women or fantasizes about them, creating a desire for sexual release. Meanwhile, norepinephrine is being released, making his brain more and more alert and ready for action. Serotonin is also released, creating a sense of excitement about his sexual “payoff.” In addition, dopamine is focusing the mind, telling the brain, “You have to go back to the porn. That’s where the reliable payoff is.” Then the man seeks out porn and masturbates, releasing endogenous opiates in the brain, giving him a rush of euphoria. In addition, oxytocin and vasopressin are released, binding him to the images he sees.

 

Going to War Against Porn

Church, We Must Take This Seriously: Going to War Against Porn

( Written by the Austin Stone preaching team )

 
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul makes the statement that sexual immorality should not even be named among those of us that God has set apart for Himself (Ephesians 5:3). The word Paul used in this text was a really broad term that means all forms of sexual immorality, but the fact of the matter is there are different and very specific forms of sexual immorality that have popped up in the culture and therefore affected the church throughout the centuries.

For instance, Paul wrote to the Corinthians about abstaining from sexual immorality, but specifically from prostitutes, because that was the most pervasive sexual issue in their context. Christian believers were continuing to visit prostitutes because that’s what they were used to doing. Through the history of the church, we have constantly needed to be taught about God’s general care for our sexual purity, but we also need to be spoken to specifically about sexually immoral practices we simply don’t think are bad.

Sexual-Sin-is-a-War

If Paul were writing today, we are convinced that one of the primary practices he’d be addressing is the use of pornography.

Pornography and the Church Today
Pornography today is not what pornography was 25 years ago. The pervasive use of pornography, even in the church, has paralleled the growth in access to pornography. Up until the World Wide Web, and subsequently the smartphone, what was limited to a few times a year in a hotel room or a corner section of a convenience store is now in our pocket 24/7. Using pornography is no longer a sin we have to guard against just a couple times a year, but every day of our lives.

It’s worth saying, from everything we can tell, this is a battle that we in the church are not winning, and we are deeply concerned about the impact it’s having on a generation of Christians. While not necessarily visible to all of us, the effects of pornography are real and deep.

Porn places an absolutely incorrect image in our minds of God’s design for sex. What was meant for one man and one woman for a lifetime, as a picture of Christ’s unbreakable covenant with His bride the church, is now reduced to a cheap thrill. What was meant to be the purest expression of selflessly giving oneself to another has been twisted into an act of taking for selfish pleasure. What was meant to be the culmination of pure, undefiled intimacy and knowing has been denigrated to two physical bodies pleasing themselves with the other.

Besides perpetuating a false meaning of sex, and perhaps more importantly, pornography is weighing down a generation of Christians with guilt and hindering many from living fully on mission for God.

Think about it. If you are walking around with the guilt of looking at pornography, are you going to witness to your neighbor? Are you going to lead your family in devotionals, ask your wife about her walk with Jesus, or answer the call to go to the nations?

I think it’s one of Satan’s greatest ploys. If he can get an entire generation walking around completely burdened with the guilt of sexual sin, the last thing in the world they are going to do is go passionately live for the name of Jesus.

All things considered, we believe the pervasive consumption of pornography is the greatest internal threat facing the church today.

 

6 Ways to Fight Sexual Immorality:
1. Start viewing your fight against sexual sin not as a struggle but as a war. Sexual sin is at war with you and aims to send you to hell (1 Peter 2:11). To treat it as anything less than a mortal enemy is to make a grave mistake.

2. Fight imagery with imagery. When you are tempted to lust after sexual immorality, picture Christ suffering in agony to pay for your sins. The images are virtually incompatible.

3. Believe when God asks you to obey Him in your sexuality, He’s not withholding good from you. He’s actually offering you a greater good. When you’re walking in faithfulness with God, rest assured you are not missing out. He gives fullness of joy in His presence and there is nothing better (Psalm 16:11).

4. View others, including those you’re attracted to and including those in pornography, as eternal beings. When you view porn you not only objectify people—ceasing to see them as God does, as eternal beings made in His image—but you perpetuate an industry that thrives on suppressing people into subhuman roles and even outright enslavement.

5. Ponder the long-term consequences of sin. This is helpful because for all of us, this is the last thing on our mind when our heart is set on something we know will feel good in the moment. Proverbs likens it to carrying burning coals against your chest and expecting to not be burned (Proverbs 6:27).

6. If you are mired in sexual sin, don’t pray for a change in behavior, pray for a change in heart. You can read this article and be moved to purity for any reason—to stop funding a corrupt and exploitative industry, to spare yourself long-term consequences, or even just to alleviate the guilt you’re tired of carrying—and it’s likely that purity won’t last. The truth is if you want to really see a profound movement toward purity in your life, God needs to change your heart.

We know this last point in particular because we saw it in the life of King David. Following perhaps a more egregious sexual sin than anyone of us will ever commit ourselves, he knew the true depth of his offense against God and the true need for God to intervene.

“Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.” (‭Psalms‬ ‭51‬:‭9-12‬ KJV)

 

a letter to porn…

“Dear Porn”: A Father’s Poignant Plan to Protect his Kids

by Forest Benedict, MFT, SATP-C

Dear Porn,

I recall the first night we met. I was just a boy. Like the famed Piper, you played your tempting tune, and I danced blindly behind you, down your long, destructive path. For years my heart pledged allegiance to your ways. Each experience of escape only postponed my pain. I sank deep in shame.

Porn, how you must have mourned the day I closed my mind to your mantra, signing over my life to a higher calling. I sought strength in numbers, experiencing the reality of recovery. For the first time in a decade, you and I parted ways.

I look back on years of both challenge and triumph. No longer does your siren song echo in my ears.

Porn, our paths would cross again. Next time for nobler reasons.

– When the Wolf Spots Our Young

I peer up to the horizon and see you creeping forward. Like a wolf longing for lambs, your eyes descend on my little ones. I see you salivating at the thought of one young life lost to lust. As you calculate your move on my children, do not forget the force of an infuriated father.

Still, you start your assault.

Like a poisonous fog, you sweep silently among the vulnerable, infecting the world’s children in record numbers. Many remain unaware of your insidious influence.

May we rouse to the reality of your attack before we wake to the devastation of an addicted generation. You are in hot pursuit of our youngest members and we cannot stand idly by watching the carnage.

– Count the Costs

Porn, too often your efforts are effective. Stories abound of those caught in your tempting trance. Faithful to your reputation, you always strike; your wounded victims left for dead. Cunning and crafty, you convince countless to exchange long-term intimacy for immediate intensity. I ask:

How many relationships have you ruined?
How many marriages have you mauled?
How many have deserted their purposeful path in pursuit of your mirage of pleasures?
How many have chased your promises of passion, arriving at the dead-ends of disconnection and depression?
Incalculable numbers. Such is life after porn.

Our sons and daughters deserve better.

– As Their Father: My Plan of Protection

As you yearn for my young ones, I decisively declare that I will protect them.

As their father, I will wage war against you and your wicked ways.
As their father, I will expose you as my children’s enemy.
I will reveal to them who you are and how you can harm them, from their brains to their beliefs.
I will point out where you lurk.
I will equip them to evade you.
As their father, I will be my children’s teacher.
I will instruct them about the beauty of their bodies and the wonder of connected sexuality.
I will contrast these great gifts to the cheap, corrupted counterfeits you offer them.
As their father, I will porn-proof my children’s home and their hearts.
Putting safeguards into place, I will protect their innocence, limiting easy and accidental access to you.
As their father, I will model what I expect of them.
Striving to stand strong, I will seek forgiveness in the face of my mistakes.
I will care for myself in moments of pain, seeking connection over addiction.
I will nurture my spiritual self, pursuing depth and dependence in that responsive relationship.
As their father, I will plant in my children deep roots of connection.
My hands will hold their hearts when they are scared and sorrowful. Creating an atmosphere of safety and security, I will respond compassionately to their strengths and shortcomings.
Lavished in love, ours will be a home of hugs and honesty.
I will embrace them in their weaknesses, believing that when you tempt them, they will turn to me.
As their father, I acknowledge my imperfections as a parent.
I choose to intentionally turn from a state of complacency to commitment.
Thousands of Fathers Oppose You

Porn, today I am acutely aware of your dangerous dance and I am joined by thousands of fathers ready to call your bluff. Most of us wounded warriors, we are turning a deaf ear to your once mesmerizing music. We now know it as the sound of suffering.soldiers charging

As we observe the children gathering at your gate, we are sounding the alarm, alerting others of your impending attack. When you skillfully strike, your efforts will be met with mobs of resistance. We are at the front lines, ready to fight.

Abandoning passivity, we battle for those living now and those yet to be born. We fight, not only for our own, but for those whose fathers are unavailable, unaware, or unwilling to join our unyielding ranks.The greatest gift we can deliver down to them is a legacy of love and freedom. As we charge forward on behalf of all sons and daughters, they will feel the infinite value you tried to tarnish.

For us, Father’s Day carries profound meaning. It marks a moment in our year when we reveal to the world the worth of our families and the courageous measures we will take to protect them. Porn, as we passionately oppose you today, it is not for misguided motivations. Our opposition flows from hearts of devotion, because this is what it means to be fathers.

____________________________________________________________

Bio & Contact Info

Forest Benedict is a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and a certified Sexual Addiction Treatment Provider (SATP-C). He works at Roubicek & Thacker, where he is the Clinical Director of LifeSTAR and YouthSTAR treatment programs, treating sexually addicted individuals and their partners in the Central Valley. He writes numerous articles on the LifeSTAR blog and also on his personal, faith-based blog. He has taught Counseling Sexual Addictions at Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary and speaks publicly about protecting children from pornography. Forest lives with his beautiful wife and two boys in Fresno. He can be reached at forest@roubicekandthacker.com or (559) 323-8484.

6 Reasons Men and Women Are Drawn to Porn

6 Reasons Men and Women Are Drawn to Porn
Written by Luke Gilkerson
I used to watch porn a lot. I hated how much I loved it, because I knew it was slowly chipping away at my soul, my relationship with God, and my ability to relate to women.

What fed my love of porn more than anything was the lie that sex was life. I was single at the time, and I had bought into the lie that sex was a basic, fundamental “need” of which I was deprived. To hear that God wanted me to give up porn sounded like God wanted me to give up life itself. I got angry with God for seemingly creating me with such strong cravings and then depriving me of what I thought was a basic right.

I had to learn that sex, though good and pleasurable, is not life. The desire for sex and intimacy is good, but even the best intimacy in marriage was designed by God to be a reflection of something greater.

Porn Obsession is About Faith
Attractive naked people aren’t the only reasons why porn is so alluring. The power of porn is the story it tells: everything from the setting to the words spoken to the expressions on the actor’s faces tell a story.

We chase after porn because it is promising life to us—or at least something we’ve defined as life. We buy into those false promises and get hooked on the fantasy world.

In his fantastic book, Closing the Window, Dr. Tim Chester identifies six promises the fantasy world of porn often makes to its viewers.

Below is my summary. This is the story porn feeds to us:

1. Respect
If we feel inadequate or rejected, our sinful hearts often crave respect, and porn offers the fantasy of repect. In the fantasy world, we are adored by fantasy women or men. Porn gives us an eroticized world where we are man enough or woman enough to capture the attention of others by our sexual prowess. We enter the fantasy, and for a brief moment, can feel truly valuable.

2. Relationship
We desire intimacy, but we don’t like its risks. We want to be close to others, but we don’t want to be vulnerable. We want a real relationship, but we want to be the one in control. Porn gives us this illusion: we can feel “connected” but not have all the mess of a real relationship. Porn offers a parody of love and closeness.

3. Refuge
In times of hardship or fear of failure, we want to relieve our stresses. When life gets hard we want somewhere to escape. We want to pretend to be someone else or somewhere else. Porn gives us a fantasy world where we are never a failure: you always get to have the hot girl or guy you desire, or you get to be the hot girl or guy. Porn provides us with an erotic escape.

4. Reward
In times when we are bored or when we feel like we’ve made great sacrifices, we often want to reward or entertain ourselves. This sense of entitlement drives us back again and again to the world of fantasy where our overworked minds and under-appreciated egos can “get what we deserve.” Porn showcases its “trophy” men and women across the screen, and for a brief moment, we experience that rush of, “Yes! I deserve this.”

5. Revenge
In times of frustration and anger, we might turn to porn as an act of revenge against another person (like our spouse who isn’t having sex with us when we want) or against God (who isn’t giving us the life we want). Porn is our tantrum at the world that isn’t catering to our desires. Porn is our outlet for saying, “I’ll get what I want, and no one can tell me otherwise.”

6. Redemption
In times of guilt and self-loathing, the fantasy world of porn offers false redemption. If we are feeling guilty, pornography says, “You’re okay just the way you are. Nothing about you needs to change.” If we are mired in self-hatred, porn is our way of punishing ourselves. “This is the shameful life I deserve,” we say to ourselves. Porn is a way to indulge our dark world of self-pity.

These are the false promises of porn, and for each person it is a little different. Just one of these might ring true for some people. For others, several or all of them ring true.

God’s Better Promises
But when it comes to breaking free, we need the better promises of the gospel to trump the power of sin. Breaking free from lust is ultimately about faith: will you believe God or will you believe porn?

Dr. Tim Chester shows us how the gospel can overcome the power of sin.

1. Respect
If we feel inadequate or rejected, we must remember that God is the one who offers us genuine acceptance through Christ. The men or women in the fantasy do not know you. They do not love you. Christ does. We must repent of needing the approval of others (what the Bible calls “the fear of man”), pursue God’s glory above all (1 Corinthians 10:31), and anticipate the glory he promises to those who trust him (John 5:44). His approval is far better than the approval of men or women made of pixels on a screen.

2. Relationship
When we desire intimacy with others but we fear the risk, we need to run to God as a Father who is sovereign over our relationships. Relationships are risky. Hearts can be broken. Emotions are messy. But God promises that everything we go through will work for good for those who love Him and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). God can and will take all our relationships—even our failed ones—and use them to conform us to the image of his Son (v.29). Knowing this, we can pursue genuine intimacy with others in a godly manner, not run to the fake security digital sex.

3. Refuge
When we are stressed or when life gets hard, God is our true refuge, our rock, fortress, deliverer, and stronghold (Psalm 18:1-3). No matter what our circumstances are, next to the mountain-shaking, thunder-breathing God, our problems are no match for him (v.7-13). Instead of medicating our bruises with fantasy, we can escape into Him, casting all our cares on Him because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:6-7).

4. Reward
When we are itching for pleasure and excitement, we should run to God who is our living water. The well of porn is empty, and time will tell how little it satisfies, but God is our fountain of living water (Jeremiah 2:13). Instead of rushing to the quick fix of porn, we should cultivate a life of communion with God through prayer, fasting, meditating on his Word, and worship. We should cultivate a longing for the eternal reward of living with him forever, rejecting the temporary pleasures of sin (Hebrews 11:24-26).

5. Revenge
When we are angry that God is not giving us the life we want, we are like the elder brother in the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:29-31). We consider our sacrifices, our obedience, and our devotion, and we believe God “owes” us something. But God does not relate to us this way: He relates to us as a loving Father. We are not merely God’s servants, but His sons and daughters. When we do not get what we want, we must focus our faith on God who knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows exactly what blessings are best for us in His perfect love and timing.

6. Redemption
In times of guilt or shame, we need to run to God who freely forgives us of all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). We won’t find redemption by normalizing our sin or by trying to punish ourselves. We need to look to Christ, our perfect High Priest: “by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14). When we are reminded of our guilt and failures, we must repeat the words Jesus uttered on the cross: “It is finished” (John 19:30).

seven principles for effective accountability

Here are seven principles for effective accountability; each is further explained by showing what effective accountability is and is not.

(Excerpt from an article by Tim Challies, blogger, author, and book reviewer.)

_______________________________________________________________________
1. Effective accountability does not rely exclusively on accountability.

Accountability Is……one weapon among many.

Accountability Is Not……the only weapon in the fight against sin.

 

2. Effective accountability is involved early rather than late.

Accountability Is……calling out for help in the moment of temptation and before you sin.

Accountability Is Not……delayed confession—the regular reporting of sins already committed. (*1)

 
3. Effective accountability involves someone with maturity.

Accountability Is……able to function best when it occurs under the leadership of someone who has a track record of victory over the sin in question.

Accountability Is Not……going to work well if you are seeking accountability with someone who is struggling and sinning in the same area as you. (*2)

 
4) Effective accountability involves someone with authority (Heb 13:17).

Accountability Is……involving those who can speak with authority. It may also involve those who “…watch over you as those who must give an account.”

Accountability Is Not……fighting on your own; by definition, accountability is not a solo effort.

 
5) Effective accountability should avoid explicit details (Eph 5:11-12).

Accountability Is……describing sin and temptation in general terms with the goal of enabling your accountability person to help you best.

Accountability Is Not……not a place where explicit details are shared; we must avoid fueling further temptation.

 
6) Effective accountability places the responsibility for confession on the person with the problem.

Accountability Is……full and free confession without prompting, pushing or demands for honesty.

Accountability Is Not……going repeatedly through a list of questions without making honest and up-front confession of a particular sin. (*3)

 
7) Effective accountability must actually hold people accountable.

Accountability Is……being actively involved in the life of another Christian with regular and caring communication. (*4)

Accountability Is Not……simply the commitment to meet regularly and work through a list of questions.

_____________________________________________________________________

*1 “You will not experience dramatic change in your struggle as long as you use accountability to describe your sins instead of declaring your need for help in the midst of temptation.”

*2 “Seeking accountability from those who are in the same place in their struggle as you are may make you feel comfortable but is unlikely to lead to actual change.”

*3 “A person waiting passively to provide answers to specific questions is in a far different place spiritually than a person who is willing to take the initiative to expose their struggles in the pure light of day.”

*4 “The calling to be a spiritual person who restores another caught in a sin is a high and holy calling that requires time.”

Neuroscience Speaks

This article comes from our friends at Covenant Eyes and from  “The Porn Circuit” – thank you !

Neuroscience Speaks: How Using Porn Destroys Your Willpower

Neuroscience now knows that willpower is a function of the prefrontal lobes of the brain. Scientific studies have also confirmed that using porn over and over actually reshapes these areas of the brain, literally eroding our willpower and our moral compass.

Neuroscientists call it hypofrontality. Hypofrontality is a state in which there is decreased blood flow to the prefrontal lobes of the brain. Hypofrontality is observed in schizophrenia patients, and is also observed in all manner of addictions.

How using porn destroys your willpower

What is Hypofrontality?

In his book, The Porn Circuit, Sam Black explains what hypofrontality is for the porn viewer.

“Compulsiveness is a good descriptor of hypofrontality. Many porn users feel focused on getting to porn and masturbating even when a big part of them is saying, ‘Don’t do this.’ Even when negative consequences seem imminent, impulse control is too weak to battle the cravings.”

The porn-addicted brain has trouble thinking logically. When impulses and desires come from the midbrain, instead of being moderated, the brain feels these desires as compelling needs. The prefrontal region is supposed to be able to weigh consequences and situations and judiciously shut down cravings, but hypofrontality means the addict’s ability to do this is impaired.

To the addict, when the craving for porn surfaces, their whole body gears up for action. As unhindered hormones are released and neurotransmitters fire, the craving consumes them. The heart begins to race, blood pressure rises, and the addict is consumed by a single thought: “Just one more time.”

What Causes Hypofrontality?

Compared to other creatures on earth, human beings have a very well developed prefrontal region. When our prefrontal lobes are working properly, then we have “executive control” of the processes going on in our brains. It is where we do our abstract thinking, make goals, solve problems, regulate behavior, and where we suppress emotions, impulses, and urges.

But the more one masturbates to porn, the more dopamine is released in the brain. Eventually dopamine receptors and signals in the brain fatigue, leaving the viewer wanting more but unable to reach a level of satisfaction. The viewer becomes numb to things once considered pleasurable. “To escape this desensitization, people, and men especially, expand their pornographic tastes to more novel stimuli,” Black writes. This leads, again, to more fatigue.

Desensitization impacts the prefrontal cortex. As dopamine receptors decline in the brain, so do the amount of neural cells in the prefrontal lobes.

How Do You Cure Hypofrontality?

To bring the prefrontal lobes back into working order, a two-pronged attack is needed: (1) the old neural pathways must be starved, and (2) new neural pathways must be built and fed, increasing dopamine levels in a way that build up the prefrontal cortex.

 

1. Starve: Stop All Pornography and Fantasy

Don’t give into the urge to look at porn. As the prefrontal lobes are given plenty of time to rest, executive control will be strengthened over time.

This advice feels to many like a catch-22. “You tell me I’ve killed my willpower by looking at porn. So now the way to increase my willpower is by willing myself not to look at porn. How does that work?” Isn’t that like telling the alcoholic to “just stop it”?

The big difference between “just stop it” and a conscious effort to rewire your brain is this: The man being told to “just stop it” has no hope that the cravings will ever be different. When he hears “just stop it,” he hears, “Live with these intense cravings the rest of your life and never give into them.” To the addict porn is life. Telling him to stop is like telling him to die.

However, informed by the process of how our brains can change, the addict can avoid porn and fantasy knowing that real change is possible. Change is built into the very fabric of our brains. Change is exactly what our brains are designed to do. When this person abstains from porn, he thinks, “Okay, this really stinks for now. I feel terrible. But I will not always feel this way. In fact, I aim to reclaim my brain so I can experience real, lasting pleasure again.”

Here are some helpful tips for avoiding pornography

Redirection – When you feel the urge, get into the habit of distracting yourself with another activity that you can start immediately. This can be as simple as a breathing exercise or journaling your thoughts. It can be as involved as making a meal or going for a jog. It will be difficult to do, but each time you choose to redirect, your brain will build new neural circuits.
Avoid All External Triggers – Remember, you’ve carved a grand-canyon-sized gorge of neural circuits in your mind. It is easy for everyday experiences to become triggers. If the trigger is a specific channel on TV, refuse to visit that channel. If the trigger is a type of person you see walking down the street, choose to bounce your eyes away from that person. Learn what your triggers are and for the first several weeks or months, completely avoid them—no exceptions.
Avoid Internal Triggers – External triggers are things you experience in the world. Internal triggers are emotions or states of mind. For some, when they feel lonely, this has become a trigger for porn. Porn has become their release valve to make themselves feel good. Identify what your internal triggers are (loneliness, boredom, exhaustion, anger, etc.), and create an escape plan when these emotions pop up.

Call a friend. Journal your thoughts. Do something creative.
Avoid SUDs – “Seemingly Unimportant Decisions.” These are the rationalizations you say to yourself to get you one step closer to porn. “I’m just going to see what’s on TV.” “I’m just going to check my e-mail.” “I’m just going to get on Facebook.” Get honest with yourself and learn what your SUDs are. Be ruthless against these rationalizations.
Avoid Inactivity – Fill up your social calendar to the brim. Refuse to give yourself an open window.
Finish the Fantasy – When the thought of looking at porn enters your mind, immediately finish the fantasy: imagine yourself having just orgasmed and the feeling of shame, guilt, or disgust you feel. Vividly experience the emotions.
Destroy Fantasies – As a fantasy or thought enters your mind, picture the image being eliminated. Draw a red X over it. Smash it with a hammer. Put it through the shredder. Flush it down the nastiest looking toilet you’ve ever seen.

 
2. Feed: Build Up Your Brain

Much like a muscle, the more you exercise the prefrontal cortex, the stronger it becomes. The goal is to engage in new habits that will increase your dopamine and dopamine receptors.

Meditation – Making a habit of meditation has been shown to increase dopamine release up to 65%. Even after only 11 hours of meditation spread over a month, changes are observable. (For a Christian approach to meditation, visit CCEF.org or biblicalcounselingcoalition.org.)
Exercise – Aerobic exercise has been shown to increase dopamine receptors and decrease cravings for those bound in addiction.
Socializing – Porn-watching is a very anti-social habit. By reforging connections to real people, spending pleasurable time together, you will establish new neural pathways of pleasure.
Change is Gradual, But It Will Come

Erroneous Entitlement Endeavors

( Noah Filipiak does such a great job writing this piece that I feel compelled to share it ! )

Porn is Not Your Problem. Entitlement Is.

The greatest enemy of your marriage is not pornography. It is not lust. It is not fantasy.

It is entitlement.

PORN ISN’T YOUR PROBLEM

My wife and I were both virgins when we got married. My church upbringing and sexual purity books I read in college told me that if I saved myself sexually until marriage, God would bless my marriage and specifically, my sex life. (Another way of saying “bless” would be: “everything you desire,” a la Psalm 37:4.)

A deal was struck with God: I do my part. He does his.

This is entitlement: the feeling that I deserve something, that I’ve earned something. And if God doesn’t do his part, then I can take things into my own hands.

A lot of Christians are unintentionally raised to think God owes them something if they do things His way. It’s how a lot of our spiritual life is motivated and why we feel so much heartbreak when our prayers don’t get answered. When God lets us down.

The irony of this is that the foundational step to receiving the gospel of Jesus is to admit I deserve nothing. In fact, to be more precise, I deserve hell. Apart from Jesus’ saving work on my behalf, I am a rebellious sinner who deserves to be in hell this very moment.

I’m not using hell as a doom-and-gloom threat here. I’m using it to show how far we really are from God’s holy standard and that realizing this causes a drastic change in our posture toward our spouses.

Entitlement says I am worthy.

The gospel says I am unworthy.

These are two very different postures.

The False Cure of “Kickback Love”

At the root of almost all marriage problems are unmet expectations. And sadly, the foundation of most of the popular marriage books and counseling strategies out there only reinforce the entitlement we feel toward having these expectations met. These books sell in droves because we typically see instantaneous results, thinking we’ve finally figured out the formula to get our spouse to do what we want. But these results seldom last and by nature do more harm than good in the long run.

Some marriage books will go as far as calling the expectations we have for our spouse “needs.”

How many times have you read a marriage book with your spouse or gone to counseling together, only to be disillusioned and frustrated later? Only to feel like you are the good spouse? You are the one doing what the marriage books say when your spouse seems unchanged.

These marriage strategies are based on “kickback love”: I want my spouse to fulfill my “needs,” so I figure out what my spouse wants me to do for them. I don’t do it for them because I want to serve them, I do it because if I do, it will soften them up and then they’ll do for me what I want.

The ultimate motivation in this approach is selfishness. Ironic, sad and sobering that 1 Corinthians 13:5 tells us that love is not self-seeking, yet this strategy of selfishness is the go-to fix for today’s marriages.

As soon as I expect a kickback, I build a scoreboard. I’m doing my part, but my spouse isn’t doing theirs. What gives?

And if these are needs that my spouse is depriving me of, then I have no choice but to look to get these needs met elsewhere. In fact, it’s like my spouse pushed me to it.

Mercy is the True Cure

“Mercy” is something you don’t deserve. It is completely unmerited.

As Christians, we have incredible worth as sons and daughters of God. But who supplies this worth? God does. Are we worthy of this apart from God’s grace? No.

And how unworthy are we? Well, how big is the divide between us and our Holy Almighty God?

That’s how unworthy we are.

If there were a scoreboard in our marriage, our side would light up as negative-infinity.

If I realize I’m a sinner and that I deserve hell, but that Jesus gave me life instead, it should change everything about the way I view my marriage.

It’s okay to pray for your spouse to change. But the prayer you really need to focus on is that you will change. Pray that you will realize that your spouse will never be able to meet your needs, no matter how smooth or rocky your marriage is. To think otherwise is to make your spouse into a god, which will have disastrous results. Only God can meet your needs!

Your spouse may never change.

If you’re living entitled, you’ll leave. Or you’ll shake your fists at God. Or you’ll continue living in the prison of a marriage you wish you could get out of because you deserve better.

But has God still been merciful to you?

If you have the mercy of the gospel, you’ll realize all of your needs have already been met in Jesus and whether single, happily married, or unhappily married, there is nothing more on earth you could possibly need than this mercy.

In fact, you’ll realize that everything you already have is a mercy you don’t deserve. When you deserve hell in this moment, you become a lot of appreciative of the coffee you’re drinking and the chair you’re sitting in. Even bad coffee is better than hell! In fact, that coffee and that chair are unimaginable gifts for people like us, people who deserve hell but have been given so much mercy instead.

But it’s not only the coffee and the chair.

It’s also your spouse.

Your spouse is a gift of mercy from God that you don’t deserve.

Treat them as such.

And be freed from the endless treadmill of unmet expectations.

The question isn’t if your spouse will change or not, the question is, will you allow the mercies of Jesus to change you?

Noah Filipiak

STOP STINKIN THINKIN !

STOP STINKIN THINKIN !

( written by my friend John Doyel…)

“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” Rom. 8:2

The reason there is now no condemnation, nor will there ever be any more condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus is because the condemnation of God against all the sins of the world was poured out on Jesus at the Cross. He took our condemnation upon himself and was our substitute so that we, who are in Christ, would be free from all condemnation.

The reason that no condemnation continues today and for the rest of our lives is that this “law of the Spirit of life” has (notice this is in the past tense – in the Greek – aorist tense – one and done) set me free from the law of sin and death. So I have been set free and I remain free forever from the law of sin and death.

So, why do I keep struggling and feeling like I cannot stop this behavior and have this addiction to sexual sin? You have been deceived and been trained to think that way. You sinful choices have conditioned you to think you cannot be free. Like an elephant is trained as a baby to think it cannot break the chain around it’s foot because it could not do so when it was little … it continues to believe that as an adult so it does not even try.

So, either the word of God is wrong – and you are not free and can never be free. Or you are deceived by sin and are convinced you cannot be free and so you eventually give in and use it as an excuse to sin. Here is a clue – the word of God is not wrong.

Here is the mental picture that I believe is biblical. Before we knew Christ as our Savior – we were locked in jail imprisoned to our flesh. God poured our His condemnation on Jesus at the Cross and when we believed in Him we were set free and got out of jail.

Somewhere along the line we returned to our sexual sins and choose to go back into jail. The difference now is that there is no lock. We remain imprisoned to this sin because we choose it. Everyday the door is open and Jesus invites us to come out and walk with Him, being filled with the Spirit and walking in the Spirit.

We get distracted … we feel stress, pressure, anger or whatever takes our eyes off of Jesus – and we run back to the jail cell for some porn and masturbation, or back to an adulterous relationship.

We have trained ourselves to believe that the escape of sex is the solution to our immediate problems when it only adds to them. Thus the downward cycle of addiction.

This weekend try this please … when you first start to feel tempted, or stressed or angry or lonely – whatever your triggers are – call out to Jesus, ask for the power of the Spirit to fill you and call a brother in Christ. That is making the choice to not go back to prison for another helping of vomit!

You must choose to stay free everyday and even multiple times a day!

Standing Strong In the Strength of His Might

John Doyel