Everywhere I go, I come in contact with men (and sometimes women) who have fallen into some addictive sexual sin. Most people are looking for an easy way to get rid of their “problem.”
My response to them is not what they were looking for, but it does offer hope in a way that only God can offer. You see, the same issue that led to our “problem” keeps us enslaved to our “problem.” Most of us are hard-core hedonists.
Hedonism is a school of thought that’s older than Christianity. It has two major tenants: first, the pursuit of pleasure, and second, the avoidance of pain. Unfortunately, nearly all of us have been formed in this school of thought and attempt to live this out IN our Christianity. It is because of this that our efforts, perceptions of truth, and conclusions are diluted.
Dying to Self
The critical issue is that our fallen nature is full of “self-love.” This self-centeredness is focuses on taking care of ourselves before anyone else. In doing that, we look to meet our needs regardless of the impact on others. God created us for LOVE, not selfish appeasement. Love always comes from God. Love is selfless and always puts the other first.
Addictive sexual sins are so prevalent these days because Satan has saturated our entire culture with sex and focused our attention on the feelings we get from this activity. In doing this, he has removed our attention from the true meaning of our sexuality and cultivated in us a desire to use ourselves and others as mere sources of pleasure.
Therefore, those of us who are looking to get rid of our addictive sin, are not really committed to “paying the price” (suffering) to be free of it. The entire reason we started the activity was to feel better about ourselves when we felt pain. As Hedonists, we want God to heal us without having to suffer any pain. Our priority has always been to find the path of least pain and suffering. Following the path the freedom, that Jesus offers, requires that we choose to love Him more than we love ourselves. This requires that we lean into the pain, instead of medicating our way out of it.
So how does this process work? It always begins with God. Jesus gave us the answer in John 14:15 ”If you love me, you will obey my commandments.” If you want to be free of addictive sin, then LOVE Jesus.
He calls us into an intimate relationship with Himself. In learning to love Him, through giving your entire life to him, we will gain a love for Him that becomes a powerful motivation to fight against yourself — to die! As we grow in our relationship with the Holy Spirit, he will empower use to love greater and more deeply than we ever thought possible.
Our whole focus of life changes as we gain more light from the truth. When we utilize the Sacraments of the Church, we learn recognize their power to transform us. As we increasingly seek to live in the truth, we begin to reject the fantasy life of self-medicating lies and actions. The Sacraments are weapons of the Church for destroying evil in our midst, let us use them!
Growing out of bondage to addictive sexual sin is the process of dying to ourselves. It won’t happen overnight and sometimes the struggle appears to be ineffective. One thing I learned in my journey was that so long as I remained with Christ in the truth, He would heal me! The journey to freedom can be long and hard but well worth the struggle. Don’t give up! Rise, men and women of God, and fight to follow Jesus.
Come, die with me, says the Lord!
As the founder of New Evangelization Ministries (NEM), Deacon Ralph Poyo seeks to be a useful tool for assisting pastors in training their parish leadership in evangelization and discipleship. He has traveled extensively around the United States, serving as an evangelist and speaker. Information about his presentations can be found at www.DeaconRalphPoyo.com. You can follow Deacon Ralph on Twitter at @HobbitDeacon. Deacon Ralph is married to his high school sweetheart, Susan, and has five daughters, two son-in-laws, and three grandchildren.