When it came to relapse in my life, it wasn’t the lustful eye that returned to me. I know that watching women lustfully is no different than porn. And yes, married men are more susceptible. Single men are sexually inquisitive. If you are not married, the chances of being lured into having a lustful eye increases greatly. That’s why Paul’s admonition to men and women is simple.
“It is better to marry than to burn.”
So, single males, stop waiting and stop playing the field. Go find a wife and get married.
Make a decision and get married.
Of course, find the right woman to marry, and ladies, be selective. Very selective. It’s tough finding low maintenance believers these days.
Just don’t marry to hop in bed. Marriage to one person is serious, so be very selective.
Lusting after women anywhere is called porn with clothes on or substitute porn.
After training my eyes to quickly look away, I was able to bridle that part according to Job 31:1. The mind quickly disengaged. In other words, any attempts to file that image for lustful purposes didn’t stand a chance according to 2 Corinthians 10:4-5.
The women walking the streets or pictures on the Newsstands on magazine covers is just covering what is behind the clothing. The imaginations of man goes beyond that and that’s where the sin is.
So there was nothing like that in me at the time of my relapse.
To cut to the chase, it was the habitual mechanics of masturbation.
This is the 1 Corinthians 9:27, Romans 6:14-15 part where relapse had the greatest opportunity against all my best efforts.
When you have been locked in battle against fulfilling fleshly desires, the flesh develops a routine called ritual. When you stop a habit forming ritual, the body goes into a fit.
So for the 3 years and six months that a sin filled sexual habit ceased, the urges and impulses went into a temper tantrum. I thought that I recognized it enough to subdue and have dominion but little by little, the urges and impulses increased in strength.
Mind you, I was praying every day. Reading the Word every day. Sharing with my wife and accountability group regularly. Even discussing where my urges and impulses were and what I was doing to employ 1 Corinthians 10:13.
The mind and body protested loud and clear. It reasoned that I stopped something that was almost as important as breathing air. The body will cry like a baby and demand why you stopped such an seemingly enjoyable past time.
That’s what was going on in my flesh. I thought that my spirit man was getting stronger. In fact, the Spirit of God said to me that I was waxing stronger.
But was I?
The Holy Spirit didn’t lie. I didn’t take heed according to 1 Corinthians 10:12.
When I declared my initial deliverance, I fought to maintain what was achieved. At the same time, there was a question in the back of my mind.
Will I fall?
It is important that you never dwell on this question because it’s a ploy of the mind and flesh to get you to resume bad habits. Remember, the devil only bring opportunities of temptation at your weakest moments to take advantage of every opportunity to pull you back into the same habits.
Another area of vulnerability was that I was out ministering too soon about this area of sexual immorality. Again, I accumulated a vast knowledge about sex and I wanted to tell the world what I’ve found out. For what purpose? To launch something that would promote who I was.
Obviously, you begin to think that no one else on the planet knows this stuff so you trump yourself as an expert. As I looked on the Internet, there are vast resources available to help people in the area of sexual addiction. They’ve been out there for years.
The oldest book that I have on my bookshelf about sexual addiction and sexual struggles of people in power is a book called “The Perils of Power.”
Pride and arrogance.
So, the best (worst) thing to do is to get discouraged. Discouragement set in and that’s the combination that the enemy was waiting on.
Relapse became an easy thing because I went back to attempting to heal the wounds of discouragement on my own terms.
So when I tried to tell the world, I end up getting more frustrated, and discouraged because I thought that by telling the world, opportunities to minister would open up for me to help free the Body of this scourge and would compel the church to clean it’s act up.
I like what Jesus said to the man of the tombs in Mark 5:19.
“Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.”
When you come out of sexual immorality, I thought that by telling others, I would be placing the spot light on my life in hopes that I would stay free (false notion on my part).
At all times, we are to look to the Savior for freedom and not what we are to do of ourselves (holding conferences, meetings, and ministering) to manufacture our freedom.
Sometimes when you have paid attention to your sexual needs, and you get delivered, you need something else to do to replace a way to satisfy needs of attention. Because when you are the focus of attention, it makes you feel good that you are helping others, when you are only trying to use it to pat yourself on the back.
It’s just another form of pride and arrogance.
So to prevent relapse the following Scriptures need to be employed.
I rededicated myself to employ these Scriptures. Never mind ministry. God has millions of others in this area. We do not need to know where they are and who they are, but they are there on assignment in hidden and exposed places with a powerful word of deliverance from sexual immorality.
God is not looking to sensationalize sexual deliverance. This is how movements become monuments. This is how targeted ministry becomes invaded with needless attachments of distraction that impede the move of the Holy Spirit.
In God’s way and time, He is doing exactly what He needs done outside of our eye sight.
The mechanics of masturbation works under the law of sin and death. Sin is pleasurable. The Lord Jesus speaks of “the pleasures of life” in Luke 8:14. Sin is pleasurable but never satisfying.
It is there where the law of sin and death has full power.
The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus is connected to Romans 6:12-14.
“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”
Where Paul says, “…do not let sin reign in your mortal body…” to stay free from the law of sin and death, you must not let sin reign.
Romans 12:1 says,
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”
Then 1 Corinthians 9:27 says,
“But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”
James 4:7-10 says,
“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double- minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”
The success begins with submission to God.
This is where we miss it the most because the attention and emphasis is placed on what we must do against the devil. This is the wrong place to start. The devil doesn’t mind if you start there because it is a place out of the order of God.
Submission to God is placing yourself under the Lordship of Jesus and His Word. There is tremendous success where believers fully submit to God. This is what the devil never counts on. Your will submitted to the will of God. Your emotions submitted to the will of God. Your attitude submitted to the will of God. Your urges and impulses submitted to the will of God.
You can’t masturbate if your mind is stayed on God. You can’t masturbate when you put your hands on the Bible before you put your hands on yourself. You can’t masturbate if you get out of bed and fall on your face before God in prayer.
Submission is not just a thought. It is an action.
What you do determines the next course of action. If you disengage the mind, you will disengage the hands. If you disengage the hands, and move from the place where it is a part of your habit forming ritual, you are adjusting the game plan to win against the devil, your mind, and your urges and impulses in your flesh.
There is no rush in submission except to move in haste not to sin.
Psalm 119:9-11 says,
“How shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to You Word. With my whole heart have I sought You; Oh, let me not wander from your commandments! Your Word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.”
When you have something that’s dirty on your hands, you want to wash your hands quickly. When you need to stay clean or to clean things off from yourself, take the water of the Word and start washing.
Notice the adjustment. You adjust to stay clean or to get cleaned up.
Humility is the only way to stay clean.
Humility comes when we willingly admit our deep dark secrets to the Lord and to others that we are accountable to.
The proper order of accountability is the Lord, our spouse, and close, trusted friends that understand what you are going through.
Tough, confrontational, non condemning love must be administered.
To prevent relapse, you must employ every strategy to stay strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. You must escape every temptation. No matter what happens, this is a fight to the death. If you are in Christ you are already dead to the world.
Should you enter into relapse, you must note the process by which you entered relapse.
Why did it occur?
What did you see or thought that led to relapse?
How do you recover and keep yourself from falling the next time temptation comes?
Did you tell the Lord, your wife, and your those you are accountable to?
To prevent relapse, you must know your urges and impulses. You must enter into seasons of prayer and fasting. You must abide more in the presence of the Lord in prayer and the Word of God. You must starve all other outside influences that tend to have teasers prepared to get your mind off of prevention.
As in sports, good players and fighters make adjustments to win. If you fail to make adjustments to prevent relapse, you will develop a predictable pattern and routine that the enemy will exploit.
Prepare for chastisement. As the Bible tells us, chastisement is not pleasant.
Hebrews 12:11 says,
“Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterwards it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
The Lord will use godly people in the chastisement process.
The Lord loves you enough to tell you the truth about yourself and He understands what we are going through, and He is always there to help us in time of need.
Hebrews 4:15-16 says,
“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Romans 8:26 says,
“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses.”
It is not easy. It is difficult because you have established a track record of staying clean and then you have fallen away.
One of the things you must do to recover is that you must not let guilt and resentment rule. And just because you experienced relapse, it is not over. Despondency will enter. Disappointment will enter. Discouragement will enter but they cannot remain.
God sees where you are and He is there to help you. Not kick you to the curb.
There are many reasons that relapse takes place but what we will do is identify the reasons and build a proper stronghold to prevent further relapse before we become too comfortable in sin.
He whom the Son sets free is free indeed. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.