Free at Last

The Pimp in the Mind

July 30 – The Pimp In the Mind

Rick’s wife was crushed by his confessions and filed for divorce. Rick again turned to God, and made a commitment to not get sexually involved during his 90 days of treatment. While he continued doing his devotions, seeking God’s guidance, and “witnessing” to others in the program, he got involved with yet another married woman at the treatment center.

Rick was riding a spiritual and emotional roller coaster. His convictions would drive him to break off relationships and return to the Lord. Then personal problems and depression would lead him back to the same old flesh patterns of sex and food. Rick explained his futile attempts to control his behavior:

The “pimp” in my mind repeatedly promised me fulfillment if I would only prostitute myself one more time. But the lies never fulfilled their promises. Life for me was like pushing a car. When things were going all right, it required only little effort. But every time I tried to push the car over the mountain of my sexual bondage, the car rolled back over me – leaving me desperate, hurt, and hopeless. I couldn’t stop this cycle no matter how much I sought God. My sexual addiction ruled everything in my life. I hated it, I knew it was destroying me from the inside out – but I kept heeding the pimp in my mind again, and again, and again.

Secular programs, such as the one Rick attended for three months, have no concept of God, nor would they have a clue that all their clients are in spiritual bondage. They will likely encourage them to seek forgiveness from the people they have hurt, and make retribution if appropriate, which is commendable. Unless they are thoroughly Christian, they don’t take the next step and help them forgive those who have offended them, which is often the biggest barrier to their freedom. Notice how we are taught to pray in Matt. 6:11-13, “Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven out debtors, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Rick wasn’t being delivered from evil, because nobody had helped him forgive his grandmother and many others who had abused and rejected him in the past. Fortunately, Rick had a godly mother who encouraged him to attend my conference. During the conference his mind was harassed by sexual fantasies, but the idea that he could be free from that prompted him to make a personal appointment. His story tomorrow.

Dr. Neil

For Spanish, see http://www.ficmm.org/blog

Going To Treatment

July 29 – Going To Treatment

People don’t have a sex, or drug, or alcohol problem. They have a life problem. Whatever flesh pattern people may be struggling with, it cannot be resolved as a single entity divorced from all other reality. For instance, virtually every person addicted to something has many people they need to forgive and they will never resolve their addiction problem until they do. We have to first remove the barriers to our intimacy with God, then we can deal with our flesh patterns. In too many cases that doesn’t happen when turning to God does not include complete repentance, which is a problem plaguing the church all over the world. To illustrate, I will share a testimony from my book Winning the Battle Within over the next three days.

As a child Rick was sexually abused by his grandmother after his father committed suicide. As a young man, he embarked on a desperate search to fill the void in his life. He married his college sweetheart, but tried to cover his bitterness and pain with extra-marital sexual encounters, and excessive work. He longed for the approval of others, but the need was never fulfilled. His wife lost patience and left.

He turned to Christ after listening to a TV pastor. He and his wife were reconciled and together they had four children. They appeared to be a respectable Christian family, but Rick was still haunted by the lies that his needs could be met by satisfying his lusts for sex, and food; and was still driven to gain acceptance and affirmation. No wife can satisfy a man’s lust, and it would be degrading for her if she tried. So he turned to numerous sexual partners, including a married woman, while trying to keep up appearances as a family man. His double life left him in turmoil. Devastated by the breakup of an affair, Rick confessed everything to his family and entered a secular three-month in-patient program hoping to overcome his addictions.

Dr. Neil

For Spanish, see http://www.ficmm.org/blog

Pure Passion

July 26 – Pure Passion

I recently wrote the forward for David Foster’s autobiography, which will come off the press in 2014. His Father was a third-generation Presbyterian pastor, but David never received the love and acceptance he longed for. His anger toward God and his parents led to drugs and sexual immorality. He headed for Hollywood and became a bit actor and a male prostitute. All he wanted was love and acceptance and thought he found it in a cult with a false Messiah. But the “Hound of Heaven” dogged him and a trip to the Holy Land opened his eyes to the true Messiah.

Climbing out of that life style has taken years, and now David is making a major contribution to the church with his ministry (see www.PurePassion.us and www.MasteringLife.org). There are three issues that we must keep in mind helping others like David. First, it is extremely difficult to be part of a real Christian community when you have same-sex attraction. The true church doesn’t compromise the gospel and rightly holds to a biblical morality. However, that can be conveyed in such a way that those who are struggling may be driven underground. Imagine what it is like to have these struggles and everyone around you is abhorred by any sexual deviancy. It is like a modern day leprosy. You would probably feel guilty, ashamed, and frightened to death that someone may find out your inner conflicts.

Second, the vast majority of those struggling with same-sex attraction have been abused; sexually and otherwise. The last thing we want to do is to add more abuse, criticism, or rejection. Actually, I have more empathy for those struggling with same-sex attraction than I do with Christians who have cheated on their spouses. People don’t just decide one day that they would like to be gay, and most are confused as to the origin of their problem.

Third, in our ministry we seek to help people find their identity and freedom in Christ through genuine repentance and faith in God. If we are successful they are forgiven and have become new creations in Christ. They are no longer gay and they should not identify themselves as such, but they still retain old flesh patterns, which they need to crucify and learn to grow out of. Reparative therapy that shows sexual pictures of the opposite sex is only harmful. We are not trying to replace one lust for another. In a similar fashion those who have overcome alcoholism are no longer alcoholics, they are children of God who will likely still crave alcohol, but have learned how to overcome those cravings. Eventually the attraction of alcohol and immoral sex fades away as they grow in grace. Our flesh patterns do not define who we are in Christ.

Dr. Neil

For Spanish, see http://www.ficmm.org/blog

Deceptive Love

July 25 – Deceptive Love

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17). To be led by the Holy Spirit is to live in freedom. Whereas license is counterfeit freedom, Eros is counterfeit love. Eros is the fictitious Greek god of erotic “love.” The word “eros” doesn’t actually occur in Scripture. The two prominent words translated as love in Scripture are “agape” and “phileo,” and there is a fundamental difference between the two. Phileo is brotherly love between two people. Philadelphia means “city of brotherly love.” It is commendable, but conditional. I love you, because (fill in the blank). Phileo is dependent upon the object, whereas agape is not.

Agape is a noun, but the same word can be a verb (agapeo). Agapeo is a loving action extended to another. “For God so loved the world that He gave . . .”(Jn. 3:16). The practical application for Christians to that verse is 1 Jn. 3:16,17, “We know love by this, that he laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?” It is sentimentality, not agape, to say that you love someone and do nothing on their behalf.

When used as a noun, agape refers to the character of God. “God is love” (1 Jn. 4:8). “Love is patient, love is kind, etc.” (1 Cor. 13:4). God loves us, because God is love. It is his nature to love us, which is why it is unconditional. Love considers the other person as more important than themselves (Phil, 2:3). Agape is totally unselfish. Lust is disgustingly selfish. When Christian spouses “make love” with one another they are seeking to please the other person, not striving to gratify their own lustful desires.

Jesus said, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn. 13:35). Misunderstanding love is where the liberal church has grievously erred. Tolerating homosexual behavior is not the loving thing to do. They have disjoined true love from the character of God, who says such behavior is an abomination. True love would help such people overcome their addictive behavior by helping them remove the barriers to their intimacy with God through genuine repentance and faith. Jesus came to set captives free and bind up the broken hearted, and that is what He has called us to do, and that will not happen by excusing sinful behavior.

Dr. Neil

For Spanish, see http://www.ficmm.org/blog

Deceptive Freedom

July 24 – Deceptive Freedom

I was asked to present the Christian perspective in a marriage and family class at a secular community college. There were about 25 students in the class of which three were men. One man pulled his desk up in the corner of the room, just off to my right. Every time I said something he didn’t like, he made a vulgar noise, which I ignored. A lady asked, “What do Christians teach about masturbation?” Before I could answer the antagonist said, “Well, I do it every day!” I said, “Congratulations, can you stop?” He remained quiet after that, and was the last student to leave the class room. As he walked by me on his way out he asked, “Why would I want to quit?” I said, “That is not what I asked you. I asked you if you could quit. What you think is freedom is actually bondage.”

Deception is the major strategy of Satan and one means by which that is accomplished is to redefine terms that relate to legitimate needs. All temptations appeal to personal needs with the pretense that they can be met independently of God. We all long to be loved and to be free, but both come with a price of which Jesus paid. “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you” (Gal. 5:1,2). In other words, don’t go back to the law. Laying down the law to stem the tide of sexual sins is counter-productive. It only produces guilt and shame. We failed when we only prohibit, and don’t provide an adequate answer for overcoming sin and finding true fulfillment.

“For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Gal. 5:13). Longing for freedom the secular world seeks to throw off the tired old restrictions imposed by the Church by expanding individual rights that don’t trample on the rights of others. Individual rights trump personal responsibility. People want the freedom to choose, but freedom doesn’t just lie in the exercise of choice. Every choice we make has consequences. For instance, we don’t have an abortion problem. We have an irresponsible sex problem. Every person has a choice, but they don’t want to have to live with the consequences of their choices. If there is no law you are never guilty. Sin means to miss the mark, but if there is no mark, you never miss. Free sex may sound good, but what are the consequences for individuals and society? Freedom for the secular world is actually license, and the consequences are dire.

Dr. Neil

For Spanish, see http://www.ficmm.org/blog

Sex and Grace

July 23 – Sex and Grace

“Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9,10). Sexual sins were the first four mentioned in the apostle’s warning against moral laxity. The moral standard given under the Old Covenant hasn’t changed under the New Covenant. Jesus didn’t come to do away with the law, He came to fulfill it. What were commandments in the Old Testament become promises in the New Testament. If we learn to live by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit we will not commit sexual sins, nor steal, nor will we be greedy, drunken, slanderous, or swindlers.

I find it interesting that the apostle Paul’s warning begins with “Do not be deceived.” Keep in mind that, “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 Jn. 5:18), and that is primarily true because “Satan deceives the whole world” (Rev. 12:9). The father of lies makes promises that he cannot deliver. You would be fulfilled and affirmed if you had all the sex you wanted. You could pay off your bills and live better if you stole some money. If you connive and scheme to accumulate wealth you would be successful. If you stopped off at “happy hour” after work and had a few drinks your problems would go away. If you slander the other fellow you would appear to be better than him. You could do better than the other guy if you swindled him.

A middle-aged man was thrown out of his house when his wife discovered his porno addiction. He was so angry that he threw a chair into a wall in his pastor’s office. At the time I was doing a conference in that church, and the pastor suggested he attend. One of our staff was taking him through the Steps To Freedom and discerned that something more was going on than just the lust of the flesh. So he led him through the Satanic renunciations. Immediately he recalled a spiritual visitation when he was young and was promised all the sex he wanted if he would just say that he loved the spirit. Selling his soul to Satan for sex resulted in bondage.

The apostle follows the verse above: “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God” (vs. 11). You are a new creation in Christ; a child of God.

Dr. Neil

For Spanish, see http://www.ficmm.org/blog

Sex and Moral Law

July 22 – Sex and Moral Law

The “sciences” of secular psychology and psychiatry have stated their position on homosexuality, which stands in stark contrast to the biblical standard of sexual morality. The official web site for the American Psychological Association states, “The reality is that homosexuality is not an illness. It does not require treatment and is not changeable.” It goes on to warn that conversion therapy is poorly documented and could cause potential harm. The American Psychiatric Association’s web site adds, “There is no published scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of ‘reparative therapy’ as a treatment to change one’s sexual orientation.”

There is now! Christian psychologists Stanton Jones and Mark Yarhouse have conducted research in conjunction with the organization Exodus International (now defunct) over several years. They tested the impact of ex-gay programs on participants – whether they actually experienced change, and whether the attempts to change caused additional stress. Their findings as of this writing have contradicted the established professional consensus, which they report in their book, Ex-Gays? A Continuing Study of Religiously Mediated Sexual Orientation Change in Exodus Participants.

Dealing with sexual sins is not a scientific or a political issue. It is a moral and spiritual issue. God created us to be male and female. He did not create anyone to be a homosexual, and the Israelites were commanded under the Law to maintain gender distinctions. “A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this” (Deut. 22:5). Homosexual “marriages” and sexual relations were clearly forbidden; “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable” (Lev. 18:22), and even stronger words are recorded in 20:13, “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” It is important to note that adultery was also a capital offense under the law. Tomorrow we will consider sexual bondage under the New Covenant of Grace.

Dr. Neil

For Spanish, see http://www.ficmm.org/blog

Dr. Neil Anderson’s Blog – July 2013

7/1/13 – Fear of Failure
7/2/13 – First Principle of Success
7/3/13 – Second Principle of Success
7/4/13 – Third Principle of Success
7/5/13 – Defining Failure
7/8/13 – Take the Risk
7/9/13 – Analyze Your Fear
7/10/13 – Analyze Your Lifestyle
7/11/13 – Work Your Plan
7/12/13 – Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway
7/15/13 – Politics and Sex
7/16/13 – Seeds of Destruction
7/17/13 – Rise and Fall of Great Civilizations
7/18/13 – Sexual Revolution
7/19/13 – Problems in the Pews
7/22/13 – Sex and Moral Law
7/23/13 – Sex and Grace
7/24/13 – Deceptive Freedom
7/25/13 – Deceptive Love
7/26/13 – Pure Passion
7/29/13 – Going To Treatment
7/30/13 – The Pimp in the Mind
7/31/13 – Free at Last

Problems in the Pews

July 19 – Problems in the Pews

In 2003 I watched the 60 Minutes television program that had a segment on adult entertainment. The following is what they reported. In that year 11,000 new pornographic videos were produced and that industry employs more people than all the other major studios combined. More money is spent on adult entertainment than all combined professional sports. Over fifty percent of all hotel guests will use the adult entertainment that is available in every room. If you put the word “sex” in a computer search engine like Google, you would get 180 million hits. That was in 2003. When I sent that information to the UK two years later our director said the number had increased to 360 million. When I sent the manuscript for Winning The Battle Within to the publisher with that number, they updated my manuscript, because the number had increased to just under a billion!

If there are sixteen people sitting on one row in any church, two are struggling with sexual identity confusion. They are not gay, but they are struggling with the issue on a personal level. Another four people on the same row have been sexually abused, and there is a good chance that the first two mentioned have been abused as well. In addition to those six, another four people are in sexual bondage, and that is true of every row in every church in America. That means that 10 out of 16 people attending church are not experiencing their freedom in Christ and therefore not growing on that issue alone.

I really hate to be so blunt about our current status, but the problem is so serious that if we don’t do something to help these people, our collective future looks bleak. I believe that God loves all those in sexual bondage and His grace is sufficient to set them free. In the next few weeks we will explore that, and I hope you share the information with your friends.

Dr. Neil

For Spanish, see http://www.ficmm.org/blog