We will be discussing trigger mechanisms and delve into why we do what we do. Paul said that it is a shame to speak of those things done in secret. He said it is a shame. He didn’t say that we can’t talk about it.
My only intent is to get men and women to see that the devil is out to steal, kill, and destroy the institution of marriage and married couples. He has no problem showing the world what he does through people on the screens and in secret. What we in the church do is that when a scandal happens, we run from the places where we need to go to completely expose the secret places of the hearts of men and women.
I have no problems sharing in this area because if someone gets free as a result, then I did my job. Hate me, throw me under the bus, been there before, condemn me, rebuke me. I’ve been there before, but the truth must be told so that others might be free.
Have you ever sat down and wondered after you watched porn, masturbated, and then came to yourself? Have you ever asked yourself a question like “Why do I do what I do?”
After over 33 years of being trapped in the bondage of self gratification, commonly called masturbation, I started to gain some understanding about why I do what I did. There was no question in my mind that during this time that what I was doing was sin. Again, many of you may not agree with me. I understand where you are coming from because there is no Scripture that tells us that masturbation is a sin.
However, for me, it was.
As I was watching the National Geographic Channel about Female Correction Officers, they would have to walk through a very dangerous section of the prison where they must check on the male inmates. Right at the time that the female guards would walk past the inmates locked doors with observation windows, the men would start gratifying themselves in full view of the female correction officers.
If masturbation isn’t a sin, would you engage in masturbatory behavior for all to see? That’s what male porn stars do at the end of their “show.”
We all know that it is lewd behavior. So how could your private self sex romp not be lewd? Your answer would be that because it is in the privacy of my home. Great answer but how will you answer lewd behavior?
It’s because the intense pleasure overrides all the guilt in the world until after you are done. Remorse sets in and then, the cycle begins again.
To recap a little on urges and impulses, the book of James chapter one gives us a very powerful point by point explanation of the effects of falling into temptation.
“But each one is tempted when he is drawn away from his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is full grown, brings forth death.”
In everyone’s flesh, there is a preference for the kind of sin one will engage in. The devils assigned to your generation studies each person. They study you to see what your preference for sin is and then suggest to you where you need to go, and what you need to do to fulfill your preference. There are certain sins that a person will not do because it is repulsive, but the sin that you identify with is what you will engage in.
Hebrews 12:1 says, “…and let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us…” Notice the writer of Hebrews said, “…the sin…” We all have a preferred sin that we commit with no problems. The Word tells us to lay it aside.
My question to you is “Do you want to lay it aside or remain ensnared?”
You do have a desire to be free from every enslaving yoke of bondage. You are tired of remorse and desire true repentance. Godly sorrow works repentance leading to salvation (see 2 Corinthians 7:10).
Godly sorrow occurs when you are walking down the street and all of a sudden an overwhelming sense or a realization takes place that God was hurt by your behavior. You can’t help but let a tear drop. Or you are driving down the street and you sense in your soul that pronounced feeling that you are truly sorry for treating God the way you did.
Sometimes, this will happen over and over again. It’s not that you are repenting again. You are understanding the full magnitude of the grief that God experienced. But it doesn’t end there. What God does in that process is take you, supernaturally in His eternally big, loving arms and wrap you up in His tender mercies and forgiveness.
Like an understanding Heavenly Father, He understands your pain and heals you of the malady of false intimacy. He understands because we do not realize the magnitude of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. The only thing that we are aware of is that He went to die for us. All the while, He not only died for us, but Jesus took up on the cross with Him our agonizing, our addictions, all of them.
The Savior took upon Himself our transgressions, our iniquities. He was a Man of sorrows (anguish), and acquainted with grief (maladies, sickness, and anxieties). And yes, with His stripes, we are healed.
We can come to the Father, in Jesus name, to be healed physically, but our souls need that emotional healing and Jesus took upon Him our anguish and our sexual addiction to false intimacy. He took upon Him our compulsive habit to masturbate.
He took upon Him our hopelessness to be delivered. He took upon Him our stubbornness to remain in Secret Sexual Sins. He took it all away on the cross so urges and impulses no longer rule the way we live.
Every temptation is designed to lure you into the sin that you prefer to commit unless you turn down the offer and resist your urges and impulses. Now when you are married, your natural urges and impulses can be acted upon as a married couple.
As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7, if you are burning with passions, it is best to find a wife or a husband, get married to lovingly release sexual tension. It is better to marry than to burn.
Then the rest of that Scripture in James says, “drawn away from his own desires and enticed…” In other words, the enemy makes it very difficult for you to suspend your desires by dangling flesh before your eyes. If the inner discipline isn’t there, you will yield to the enticement.
That’s why undercover Christian brothers do not mind going to a Beyonce concert. A Rhianna concert. An Angelina Jolie movie, or any other professional seductress. Undercover Christian brothers do not mind going to movies they know they have no business going to. The sad thing is their wives don’t mind either.
Once the desire has conceived. In other words, the decision to engage or make provision for the vision of fulfilling the desires of the flesh and the mind, sin is accomplishing only one goal. Separation from life. Death is a separation from life. Every time a child of God sins, a death is taking place. You are no longer associated with life (see Romans chapter 8:1-16).
However, thank God that the Lord made provision for us to be cleansed and forgiven (see 1 John 1:9). Not as a loop hole but to live in forever repentance (see 1 John 2:1-6).
Remember, Paul said, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Once urges and impulses are identified, we now must identify our trigger mechanisms. What sets us off to start down the path to fulfill the desires of the flesh and the mind?
After the trigger mechanisms are identified, now you must employ the strategy of sexual discipline according to what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.
When it comes to urges and impulses of single and divorced people, you must depend upon the grace of God to overcome, subdue, and exercise dominion over them so that you would not sin sexually.
Right behind understanding urges and impulses, like the saying goes, there is cause and reaction.
During the latter end of the bondage to masturbation in my life, I began to see that a series of things were occurring in my life that kept me in this almost never ending cycle.
When it comes to Secret Sexual Sins, it is important that the first conclusion is clearly understood. Otherwise, you will use certain events that happen in your life as a means of justification to engage in self justified self sex acts due to trigger mechanisms.
I’ll explain trigger mechanisms in a moment.
All sexual sins are sins of the mind and flesh. If we fail to discern that it is sin in our lives that drive us to do what we do, we will make up every possible excuse just to get off. I know that some of you love to separate the self sex act from lewd behavior however, the conclusion is always the same.
Your conscience is bothering you.
Your body feels good, but your soul feels bad.
For instance, when I allow my emotions to rule, I would always look for something to alter that emotion.
Case in point when the church my wife and I are pastoring isn’t growing or doing so well, I felt bad. It was a let down. Couple that with pressures of the secular job and major financial set backs and I was an emotional basket case. Always looking to heal the wounds of the day or somehow look for a place where I would feel good about myself.
I know what to do.
I will let off sexual tension to feel good.
Along with masturbation, I would bring fuel to the fire.
Porn, watching women, fantasizing about sex, and other forms of mental arousal to masturbate.
The trigger mechanisms that I have experienced may not be consistent with every man, but there is a common fuel.
Here I am, a married man that could have sex with my wife. And having sex with my wife should have been enough but I deceived myself into thinking that it isn’t enough because what I would also do is something that is completely unfair to my wife.
Porn and masturbation.
Porn portrays the women as picture perfect. They could do no wrong in bed. So, because you run the comparison, there is no way possible that your wife will rise to the level of a porn star. So an unjustified hatred of your wife drives you away from your wife.
When things go wrong in the house, or in the church, or on the job, the wife gets the unfair treatment that she is a part of the problem and you no longer want her. You want that perfect porn star that is just doing a scripted sex act.
When you are dealing with porn, there is a spirit of lust and anger. Those of you that do or no longer watch porn will note that while it appears that she is “enjoying” the sex, she isn’t. Little do we realize she is in pain. The man is abusing her.
Also, when you are watching the man, he is definitely going over the top by hitter her and penetrating to the point of unbearable pain. Most of the men that are performers appear to be angry and you can tell in the way they abuse women on the porn sets.
This same attitude is carried over in the bedroom of husbands and wives all across the world. Husbands mistreat their wives in the bedroom. It is almost as if a spirit comes upon them and it is because there are things that a husband will do that the wife will feel that he is doing something that made her feel abused, dirty, and like a sex object.
What was done to her was not pleasurable but disgusting and she feels that way simply because the same spirit that is in the man that watched porn came into the bedroom and he wasn’t acting like a husband, He was acting like that porn performer that is possessed with a spirit of lust.
A trigger mechanism is simply an event or thing that causes something to happen.
When it comes to trigger mechanisms, each person is different and will experience different negative occurrences in their lives that become part of their repertoire or ritual towards achieving either escape, sexual release, or medicinal properties to heal deep seated wounds of the soul that only the Lord is able to heal.
What is consistent with what was happening with me is that I would experience seasons of depression, despondency, and other issues that dominated my thinking. Instead of looking to the Lord and His Word, I would look to masturbation to temporarily ease the pains of the day.
What are the basic trigger mechanisms that starts the ball rolling?
These were the various trigger mechanisms would dominate my day.
5. Lack of Affirmation
6. Lack of Appreciation
Other trigger mechanisms are potentially connected to sexual abuse episodes in the past. Past male child molestations sometimes are carried over by many husbands that never reveal these abuses for years.
Little do we know that these hidden episodes comes alive in the bedroom of many couples.
There are many trigger mechanisms that operate in man. At the same time, how we deal with certain issues will determine what we will do to deal with it.
For instance, in another area, the bottom line of life will always be winning and losing. Success and failure.
Dr. Archibald Hart, author of “The Sexual Man” once said, (paraphrasing) it doesn’t matter if a man is a success or a failure, he will engage in sexual immorality.
If he is winning, he will reward himself. If he is losing, he will alter his loser’s mood to feel better. If he is hurting inside, he will heal himself through masturbatory activities.
I noticed that in my own life. When I feel successful, I want to reward myself. Sex is the best pay off in the natural. There would be very few rewards in my life, so I concluded that I might as well reward myself.
The euphoria to reward or alter my mood by self sex is very compelling. You want to celebrate and the best way to celebrate in the natural is sex. You want to feel better the best way you can so sex is going to be the way to go.
When I feel like a failure or because of failure, I want something to “pick me up.” There is no greater pick me up in the physical world than sex. But usually, it’s short lived because reminders of failure returns.
Especially after your conscience tells you that you’ve sinned again. Therefore, excessive sex acts is just like overdosing on drugs. You are looking to run or escape like a fugitive from the pain of failure or loss.
When it comes to pastors in ministry, when success or failure comes, we could also be governed by the four “E” of ministry.
Expediency (which means “a means to an end, not necessarily a principled or ethical act.”
Whether you feel successful or a failure, if you do not love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, you will go down this path to commit secret sexual sins.
So when you identify your trigger mechanisms, the next thing that you must do is seek the Lord in prayer and find Scriptures to come against the trigger mechanisms. Then you begin to employ moment by moment discipline to never yield to urges and impulses, sinfully act out compulsive behaviors that negatively address your situation.
Remember, there is a variety of ways that the Holy Spirit will help you overcome yielding to temptation and using sin as a resort to deal with issues directed against your life. Jesus is the Master of your domain and life. By declaring the Lordship of Jesus through the process of prayer and the Word, you will gain the upper hand in defeating sexual temptations every time.
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