Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Is Lust Nullifying Your Voice?

This upcoming Saturday (September 15th 8AM – 12PM) the pastors and elders of Grace Church of Fredericksburg have summoned all the men of the church to attend a Call to Purity. The pastors of Grace Church have stated that their heart is to see the men find freedom and healing in the areas of sexual sin. They have asked me to share a brief testimony (10 minutes) of how the Lord brought me out of a place of being in bondage to lust and pornography to a place of being victorious in this area of my life.

The following is an excerpt that I wrote in my journal years ago as I was contemplating upon a past season of my life of bondage to lust, perversion, and despair:

“During my years of silent rebellion against the Lord, I can vaguely recall a moment when the realization came to me that the affirmation and acceptance that I previously received from the Father in the secret place was now being replaced by the pursuit and gratification of lustful desires. In essence I had exchanged the glory of God for the shallow, numbing, defiling, destructive pleasures of lust. It was a slow, suffocating death that offered temporary relief of pleasure with lasting agony of shame. My heart slowly hardened. Deceitfulness abounded. I had permitted the desires of the world to draw me away from the Father’s embrace. This was a hellish transition from a secret place of communion with the Father to a secret life of shame, callousness, and destruction—it was a painful death, albeit a slow one. Each choice to sin against the Lord simply reinforced the negative inner turmoil within—fueling self-hatred, despair, and deceit. The allure of the ever-deceiving bliss of sin served as a harbinger of the defilement that would follow. Destruction always follows defilement. Where defilement has occurred, destruction will eventually become evident for all to see. Unrepentant sin that is practiced habitually opens the door to defilement. What is defilement? It is when the holy, the sacred is treated as unsacred, as common.”

Are you presently living a life of compromise in the area of purity and holiness? Where are you in this hidden snare? Which of the following would you categorize yourself: (1) the deceived stage (2) defiled stage or (3) destruction stage?

Here is a letter that I wrote several summers ago to a friend of mine that I have known for about 13 years. I have removed some key parts of the letter in order to protect his identity, however, I think the letter itself is a helpful reminder to men of the need for purity in their lives. Men caught in the vicious cycle of lust, despair, and deceit need to know that there is indeed hope for restoration.

July 6

Greetings! I want to write to you and congratulate you on your recent new job. That is great news! Keep up the good work!

How is your summer so far? Have you read any good books? Right now I am reading a new one by Francis Frangipane called A Time to Fight, which is great! He is one of my favorite authors! This book reflects the theme that has been in my life during the past year: We must WAR to walk in our destiny and inheritance. It isn't a walk in the park. Psalm 144:1 is now one of my favorite verses: Praise be to the Lord my ROCK, who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle. This is especially true in our culture where lust and sexuality is constantly bombarding the believer who desires to live a life set apart unto the Lord. I know this from first hand experience. God has delivered me from the bondages of lust and now I am learning to walk in continual victory in this area of my life. For any man who is ensnared by the coils of lust, pornography, and shame, nothing less than an all out war will enable that believer to get free. Again I speak from experience and from the counsel of Scripture. It takes radical measures to become a warrior that is free from this destructive lifestyle. Radical in the sense of making practical changes such as getting rid of cable, television, not watching questionable movies, removing access to the Internet in the home by allowing only the wife to know the password, being accountable to a brother who has victory in this area, and staying away from public places (malls, college campuses, coffee shops) that have high volumes of traffic, especially of attractive women dressed in a provocative manner.

The Lord has already put a brother in my path who is struggling in this area and needs accountability, wisdom and prayer. His wife caught him looking at pornography on the Internet when she went away for the weekend. She was getting ready to leave him since he was committing adultery, but after consulting with the leadership at the church and seeing godly sorrow in this man, she decided to stay. So far it has been about six weeks and he seems to be making progress.

As I have seen in the past, deceitfulness is often intricately tied into the life of the person who is in bondage to lust. The struggle with lust itself deludes the believer because they are unable to discern between what is reality and what is fantasy. It is a frightening place to be and not many make it once they are in this place of deception.

I praise God again for his mercy in my life, enabling me even to have the desire to turn away from the vices of lust and selfishness. The seeds of lust that we fail to address in our lives will sprout and bear fruit if we don't have a radical edge in our walk to deal ruthlessly with sin. You got to hate it with a passion. If you don't, it will simply nullify your effectiveness as a witness, testimony and minister for Christ.

This is good preaching here buddy! I'm preaching myself silly! I try, as much as time permits, to write to my male friends about the subtle dangers of lust that lurks in the backgrounds of our lives. None of us are immune from it. In writing this out, it also reminds me of the price I will pay if I ever turn back to a life of pursuing vain fantasies that will ultimately destroy my marriage, life and future ministry. Writing also allows me to encourage myself as I am able to discern how far the Lord has brought me out of the mire. Thank you for listening! I do hope that wherever you are in your battle that this letter is an encouragement to you.

(this concludes the letter to my friend)

Please pray for me this Saturday as I share the testimony of what the Lord has done in my life in this area. I find it interesting that I will be addressing this issue on the heels of being introduced Sunday during the service as a new addition to the staff of Grace Church as one working with the Emerging Generation Ministries. Again, I believe that this has been arranged by the sovereignty of God—remember, humility must come before honor. I Peter 5:6 states, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”

I will write more concerning how to walk in victory over the sin of lust, pornography, and shame.

For the Cause,

Brian Francis Hume

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