The one thing you can’t live without! What is it? Is it sex, drugs, alcohol, or porn? Does that make these things your greatest need to survive? What about not doing these things? Is that your greatest need? To be sober with whatever your addiction is? Is your greatest need to stop watching porn, to not have our focus entirely on having sex, or to be the most influential person you know. Is your goal each week just to make it to the weekend so you can get drunk and forget your worries? Our greatest need is Jesus, and sobriety is too small a goal. We must walk by the Spirit and do so in the community of other men! Walking in Spirit is also walking in accountability. I must have intimate relationships that know me, and I know them. This is how we love and are sharpened. We come out of our bondage, addiction, and compulsions through walking by the Spirit. We live a Spirit-controlled self that brings us to bring us closer to Jesus. We didn’t become addicted overnight, it will take time to get out of it. Trust God in the journey of being Christlike.
Galatians 5:16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. Tyndale House Publishers, Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2015), Ga 5:16.
Romans 8:6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. Tyndale House Publishers, Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2015), Ro 8:6.
Who are you protecting? Are you living a life of self-protection? Are you hiding a secret life? Do you hear the lies “If someone really knew me, they wouldn’t love me!” Self-protection builds walls that keep people out and keep you in! God has created us to be known and know. Not only God but others. Will you keep denying God’s intention and purpose for your life by continuing to live a life of self-protection? Have you found a safe community? Do you even know what to look for in a safe person? You need safe people and intimate relationships in your life. God has created us to have these things because we are created in His image. So what are you not talking about, what are you not getting out, and what are you going to do to stop living a life of self-protection? Who are you protecting?
Psalm 101:4 I will reject perverse ideas and stay away from every evil. Tyndale House Publishers, Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2015), Ps 101:4.
James 5:16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. Tyndale House Publishers, Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2015), Jas 5:16.
Hebrews 6:7-12 When the ground soaks up the falling rain and bears a good crop for the farmer, it has God’s blessing. 8 But if a field bears thorns and thistles, it is useless. The farmer will soon condemn that field and burn it. 9 Dear friends, even though we are talking this way, we really don’t believe it applies to you. We are confident that you are meant for better things, things that come with salvation. 10 For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do. 11 Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. 12 Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance. Tyndale House Publishers, Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2015), Heb 6:7–12.
Do we know why we do the things we do? Do we go to bible study, small groups, and conferences to prepare ourselves for the doom and gloom of life? Am I a dooms day prepper? Are we just trying to feel better by filling your life with good things, all the while holding your sin close to our chest? Deep down you are not ready to let go of the earthly things that bring you comfort. You want the “best” of both worlds. You want to be the “King” of your own life and have all the blessings of the “King of Kings.” You have to find your patterns of sin and eradicate them in your life. How can you let go of your kingship if your pattern keeps putting you back on the throne of your life? You have to surrender it to the Lord. In that surrender, you are going to find your purpose and calling in your life. You are going to figure out what it is costing you to keep chasing these patterns. Do you want to pass on a legacy of sin or righteousness? In this free gift of grace and salvation, we do have a part to play. We have lived a life worthy of our calling and pursue Christ with a full heart! We cannot keep going back to the things of dead life. So what is God telling you, and what are you going to do about it?
19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. 20 Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. 21 So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. 22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 23 For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. 24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 25 But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. 26 If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. 27 Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. Tyndale House Publishers, Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2015), Jas 1:19–27.
1 John 1:9
9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. Tyndale House Publishers, Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2015), 1 Jn 1:9.
16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. Tyndale House Publishers, Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2015), Jas 5:16.
We’re in this together! Are you? I have been wrapped up in the world of pornography addiction most of my life. And in my journey, I have found grace through the example of Jesus my wife has given me. This week Angi and I sit down talk a little about our journey through redemption and what it looks like to live a life of oneness together. We talk about how in my broken state, we were missing out on what it truly meant to live as one in Christ. I don’t think we understood what it really meant to in a state of oneness until I started living a life in a community of men and breaking free from that bondage of porn. I was able to pursue who I am meant to be in Christ and lead her in our marriage. Listen as we talk about these things, and be encouraged that you can find the same things in your marriage.
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We need to remember that we are in a fight! The fight of our lives, our brothers’ lives, and our families lives. And in that fight, it ain’t about how hard you can hit. It’s about what happens after you are knocked down. Do you get up again? Are you preserving? Are you fighting the right fight? We have an enemy, and it’s not your spouse, your job, or even your kids. Join me on this journey of identifying my target and attacking it by surrendering to Jesus.
Verses Mentioned in It ain’t about how hard you hit!:
1 Timothy 6:12
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of eternal life to which you were called and about which you have made a good confession in the presence of many witnesses Christian Standard Bible (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2020), 1 Ti 6:12.
Then as I looked over the situation, I called together the nobles and the rest of the people and said to them, “Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!” Tyndale House Publishers, Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2015), Ne 4:14.
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Tyndale House Publishers, Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2015), Pr 27:17./
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
24 Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified. Tyndale House Publishers, Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2015), 1 Co 9:24–27.
7But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, 9and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, 10that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 11in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
In this passage, Paul has reminded us that the most significant gain in life is knowledge. A knowledge that every selfish pursuit up to this point in life is an absolute dung heap that leads to the trash. Everything done in my vanity and pride is utter waste. Anything that I do to bring me salvation or righteousness is futile. Only with my faith in God and my belief in Christ will I be saved and made right with God. And as I grow in my knowledge of God and in my conformity to be Christ-like, I will be conformed to His death to attain the resurrection from the dead. I can know Christ and the power of His resurrection, but I must also know the fellowship of His sufferings.
What am I trying to gain in this life? Do I need more money, or do I need a bigger house? What is the best car I buy? When can I get the next most fantastic cell phone coming out? How much stuff can I acquire in a lifetime? What is the number of trips I can squeeze in before I die? Is there a magic number that I can reach in my bank account to say, “finally, I have enough?” Why do we pursue these things in our life that will never bring fulfillment? Maybe we feel we have lost something. Could we be trying to feel valuable or significant before we die?
We want to know we mattered in that dash between our birth date and death date. Our problem is that we were born with a God-sized hole in us on that birth date. And we do our best to earn something that will fill that hole. Our more significant problem in filling that hole is our lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and our boastful pride of life; we avoid the One who could fill that hole.
You are here ->
I came to a point in life where I accepted the saving grace of a Holy God. And from that point on, I am being conformed to Christlikeness. Every day means I should look a little more like Jesus than the day before. And instead of counting wins and losses by what I think I should or shouldn’t have, I need to see life through the lens of Christ. If that means I must give up some luxury in my life because it means I will draw closer to Jesus, so be it.
When I draw close, I get to know God more. I want the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord. And whatever I think I lost in the process of following Him is not losing at all. Knowing Christ is living as He did. I can’t take anything with me when I die except the knowledge that I will be in His presence. How am I going to live my life in this dash? Trying to earn something, or living with the hope of Jesus in me?
Father, we are prideful selfish people. We vainly attempt to find worthless substitutes for a Mighty God. Clutter, activities, and provision fill our eyes and minds to the point that we can’t see you anymore. Get the things out of our way so that our relationship and knowledge of Christ become our life priority. Amen.
13No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. 14As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
In Jesus’s conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus is revealing His soon death on a cross. He tells Nicodemus that whoever believes in Him (Jesus) will have eternal life. They will believe that He suffered God’s wrath for us and died on a cross. That through His death, I can be forgiven for my sins. In verse 14, Jesus refers to Moses lifting the bronze serpent in the wilderness (Numbers 21:9). This was a time when Israel had sinned against the LORD. This lifting of the pole with the serpent was a symbol. It was a banner of hope for those that had rebelled against God. They could be forgiven for their sins if they believed and looked at the serpent. Some of the people did not look and died from the serpent bites. Others lived because they did believe in this banner of hope and lifted their eyes to it.
Today we are still a rebellious people. We receive blessings of goodness from a good Father. Then instantly turn to the side and grumble and complain in the pit of entitlement. What are we owed? We find ourselves in challenging situations. We’re confused about what it means to have a good Father in heaven who cares about us. And when things don’t go our way, we kick and scream and shake our fists to the heavens. We begin demanding what we think should be our relief.
Instead, we should be embracing the pain of life. Not chasing what we think will dull the pain. Is life hard, absolutely? Should it be pain-free? Why would we believe that? My God and savior stepped out of heaven into a broken world and was dealt the same pains that I deal with today. I find that comforting. To know that my savior understands what rejection is. The builders rejected the cornerstone (Mark 12:10). Our faith is built on God’s son, who His people rejected, and those that did accept Him seemed very confused the whole time He was walking the earth in human form. But whoever believes in Him shall not perish but will have eternal life.
A new banner of Hope!
So, when I feel insecure and insignificant because of rejection, I know my belief lies in a new banner of hope! Hope is found in the Son of God, Jesus, hanging from a pole. He was beaten, abused, ridiculed, rejected, and heartbroken. I can find peace because my Jesus is right there in my pain. He knows the pain of rejection and humiliation. Through His actions, something meant to kill and destroy became a thing of beauty. Oh, that wondrous cross today, that symbol of suffering and shame, is dear to me. The answer to my unbelief is knowing the truth; God loves me some much He poured out wrath that was due me; on His son. The pain of His son dying on a cross is more bearable than allowing all of humanity no path to redemption.
Father, help me when my belief begins to waver. Lead me through those moments when I think you are not there. Remind me that my purpose is knowing Christ and not dulling the pain of life. Teach me that the pain I’m dealing with can be turned into beauty in those moments. Teach me to use my pains as an opportunity to minister to others. Refine us to find hope and do what is pleasing in your sight. I surrender so my life will look more like Jesus today than yesterday. Amen