Addiction

Five Steps to Purify our Homes in a Pornographic Culture

The conversation about pornography is a conversation we need to keep having as men. The secrecy or the fear to be caught needs to be replaced with a fear of a loss of wholeness and a loss of communion with God and man. Some thoughts on how to begin purifying our hearts and homes:

First, parents need to be very aware of these issues. They can no longer assume their children are being raised as they were. Exposure to pornography is everywhere. So, the question is not, “how to keep your children from ever looking at porn?” the question, “how will they react when they see it?” Fathers need to have honest conversations with their boys about their temptations and their thought life. If fathers talk now they will not have to later. Capture their hearts and their words early.

Second, do not be naïve about the potential for porn in the home. Allowing young boys to have laptops in their rooms is setting them up for failure. In fact, most addicts began looking at porn when their parents bought them their first TV for their room or their first laptops. The same can be said for cell phones, iPads, Kindles, and any other tool that gives teens access to the web. Set guards like covenant eyes or clean router that blocks pornography use in the home.

Third, husbands love your wives. Spend more time with them than your buddies outside of work. If you love and build up your wife often you will be less tempted to look at other women. It is not uncommon to see men virtually abandoning their wives to pursue their own joys and pleasures. I hope men have good male friends, but when those friendships substitute intimate, loving moments with their spouses they are not only damaging the bond of marriage but mis-prioritizing their lives.

Fourth, limit your internet use outside of work necessities. A home that is constantly connected to the internet is a home that lacks connection with one another. Use times at home to converse, discuss, sing, play, etc. and use your internet time sparingly.a

Fifthly, if you struggle with porn addiction, speak to a pastor or to a friend who is either far removed from his days of addiction or someone who lives a life free of porn. One of the problems with addicts is that when they are finally ready to confess they will tell another friend who struggles with porn and the two end up feeding each other in their weakness. They end up providing each other a pass when they fail.

Finally, worship faithfully. There is no substitute for faithful worship. When you worship the Triune God faithfully God renews your mind (Rom. 12:1) and he renews covenant with you. Be present. Participate in the life of the Church. Do not allow entertainment to become your worship. You are what you worship and God has called you to lead your family into worship faithfully.

Let’s begin this conversation if we have not already done so. And by doing so we will begin to purify ourselves and our homes.

  1. Establish a time when no cell, tv’s, or laptops are prohibited.  (back)
The Addiction of the Heart

The Addiction of the Heart

Over the years theologians have allowed specialists to handle the matters of the heart. Theologians deal with nobler issues leaving the matters of the heart to the Rogerians and Freudians. But this is how we have allowed secularism to win the day. We have allowed pop-psychology to offer answers to the questions of the heart. The Bible is left at a place of minimal use to be pulled at a wedding or funeral.

The area of human addiction is one of those areas. The porn addict, the one who abuses alcohol or drugs, and other types of addictions are defined as diseases. These diseases are outside of the expertise of the theologian and left to those of specialized clinical or psychological fields. Here again the biblical thinker is left out of the conversation. It’s not as if there is nothing to learn from the scientific community, but the reality is that the scientific and psychological community are certain that they have nothing to learn from us.

The matter of addiction, I propose, is one of those topics. If addiction is primarily an issue of the heart, then there is more to the discussion. People engage in addictive practices for all sorts of reasons, but the reason addiction exists is because false worship exists. Human nature, marred by sin, offers a life of contradictions. He/she may consider life through the lens of order and peace, but sin considers life through the lens of disharmony. The theologian/pastor has a distinct duty to bring people to see this contradiction and how to re-orient their minds.

The question has to do with human nature; the addiction of the heart. Addiction is disoriented worship. Sheer will-power will not do in such cases. Those engaged in such practices need immediate assistance in the community. One of the signs of an addict is the inability to enjoy normal life pleasures. Suddenly the common duties of day-to-day become burdensome and characteristically painful. The addict is engaged in a world that he has created. The world of the addict is a confined space. Usually he is unwilling to seek help due to the loss of privacy that it would entail.

Young man are especially prone to isolation. Isolation is usually a strong sign of an addict. Isolation is the antithesis of health. Another indication of an addictive heart is choosing new friends. The addict isolates himself from a safe community and enters into a community where accountability is minimal. a Parents need to be well aware of these changes in friendships. Though they may be harmless, addicts easily change loyalty to maintain their habits.

Finally, and this comes as no surprise to the theologian, the addiction of the heart is an addiction to other gods. Addiction leads to an explicit rejection of the commandments of God and the worship of God. When individuals begin to slowly divorce themselves from the life of the body of Christ it is time to reach out and take action. Pastors should not allow parishioners to make a habit of absence from worship. When someone has been deeply engaged in particular addictions for a long period of time it is because they have not experienced any form of intervention. Community in this sense becomes necessary to avoid such outcome.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the addict’s only hope. God’s people become the means of grace for those seeking refuge in other gods. The sacraments become even more meaningful to those who suffer under the weight of unending temptations. In bread and wine, men and women can rest and partake of the goodness of One who suffered and experienced temptations of every kind. The addict’s hope must be in Jesus. If he seeks any other savior the addiction of the heart will lead to death.

  1. The Psalmist deals with this in the first psalm  (back)
The Stupidity of Sin

The Stupidity of Sin

I have been meditating lately on the stupidity of sin. We all sin, which means we all share in the great succession of stupidity. But what is at stake here is what Moses refers to as, “high-handed sins.” There are sins that deserve the title of stupidity in capital letters. The public sins are those that are blatant. But then, there are private sins that take a little longer to be exposed, but they too are forms of public sins since all sin is public.

These private sins begin in the tombs of secrecy. They hide in motel rooms and other dirty places. But in the end, they will all be brought to light. After all, God hates the darkness. And the Spirit’s role is to shine in all those dirty, secret places. After all, you cannot hide from the Creator of secret places.

But sin is deceiving. When a man cherishes his sin for too long he gets careless. He begins to publicize more and more his privatized escapades. The more he cherishes his private sins the more careless he becomes in hiding them. One day that perfume scent is tattooed on his shirt or the computer is left on just for a minute or two, but enough for another witness to see. Stupidity increases as the love of sin is magnified.

The heart of the godly man knows that God is not hidden from us. We cannot hide from Him. In fact, if we decide to live in his presence, then we will not be tempted to allow stupidity to make a home in us. The Spirit of God desires to make our bodies a living temple, a re-edenizing of our affections need to take place daily. Sin separates us from the love of God. When sin is prevalent in private it will eventually become public. Kill the private sins early and kill the speed of stupidity before it crashes and your world collapses.

The Addiction of the Heart

The Addiction of the Heart

Over the years theologians have allowed specialists to handle the matters of the heart. Theologians deal with nobler issues leaving the matters of the heart to the Rogerians and Freudians. But this is how we have allowed secularism to win the day. We have allowed pop-psychology to offer answers to the questions of the heart. The Bible is left at a place of minimal use to be pulled at a wedding or funeral.

The area of human addiction is one of those areas. The porn addict, the one who abuses alcohol or drugs, and other types of addictions are defined as diseases. These diseases are outside of the expertise of the theologian and left to those of specialized clinical or psychological fields. Here again the biblical thinker is left out of the conversation. It’s not as if there is nothing to learn from the scientific community, but the reality is that the scientific and psychological community are certain that they have nothing to learn from us.

The matter of addiction, I propose, is one of those topics. If addiction is primarily an issue of the heart, then there is more to the discussion. People engage in addictive practices for all sorts of reasons, but the reason addiction exists is because false worship exists. Human nature, marred by sin, offers a life of contradictions. He/she may consider life through the lens of order and peace, but sin considers life through the lens of disharmony. The theologian/pastor has a distinct duty to bring people to see this contradiction and how to re-orient their minds.

The question has to do with human nature; the addiction of the heart. Addiction is disoriented worship. Sheer will-power will not do in such cases. Those engaged in such practices need immediate assistance in the community. One of the signs of an addict is the inability to enjoy normal life pleasures. Suddenly the common duties of day-to-day become burdensome and characteristically painful. The addict is engaged in a world that he has created. The world of the addict is a confined space. Usually he is unwilling to seek help due to the loss of privacy that it would entail.

Young man are especially prone to isolation. Isolation is usually a strong sign of an addict. Isolation is the antithesis of health. Another indication of an addictive heart is choosing new friends. The addict isolates himself from a safe community and enters into a community where accountability is minimal. a Parents need to be well aware of these changes in friendships. Though they may be harmless, addicts easily change loyalty to maintain their habits.

Finally, and this comes as no surprise to the theologian, the addiction of the heart is an addiction to other gods. Addiction leads to an explicit rejection of the commandments of God and the worship of God. When individuals begin to slowly divorce themselves from the life of the body of Christ it is time to reach out and take action. Pastors should not allow parishioners to make a habit of absence from worship. When someone has been deeply engaged in particular addictions for a long period of time it is because they have not experienced any form of intervention. Community in this sense becomes necessary to avoid such outcome.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the addict’s only hope. God’s people become the means of grace for those seeking refuge in other gods. The sacraments become even more meaningful to those who suffer under the weight of unending temptations. In bread and wine, men and women can rest and partake of the goodness of One who suffered and experienced temptations of every kind. The addict’s hope must be in Jesus. If he seeks any other savior the addiction of the heart will lead to death.

  1. The Psalmist deals with this in the first psalm  (back)

My Sheep Hear My Voice: The Hope of the Addict

I just received a book from a man I have never met, but who sought me a few years ago. He had written a book about his journey from addiction to non-addiction. I phrase it in those words because there wasn’t much he was going to when he left his addiction, except the non-practice of that addiction.

It has been a few years, and now that same book has been revised. I intend to provide a video review for him on youtube. I wrote a short review here some years ago. The revised book has a new title: My Journey Through Addictions to Salvation: A New Beginning. This is no longer an addiction to non-addiction journey, but one from misery to grace.

The Gospel Lesson for this Lord’s Day in John 10:22-30 is a reminder of this grace. Jesus calls His sheep, and what is unique about this calling is that His sheep have a uniquely tuned ear to realize that the voice calling is of their Shepherd.

The question before us is not whether we can free ourselves from addiction; the world has perfected that art in many ways, but the question is to what are we going to after the addiction? If this is going to be a long journey, then what is waiting at the end of that journey? Is it the absence of pills and alcohol? Or is it the presence of the Shepherd who calls you by name?

The reality is that for the addict who is free from his dependence he will always be seeking something to fill that gap. Previously drugs and alcohol (or whatever it might have been) filled that need, but Jesus promises to be the ultimate protector and satisfaction for His sheep. He will be the supplier of that need and no one will snatch His sheep from finding satisfaction in Him.