When I was a kid growing up in Texas I grew up in an atmosphere that is a lot different than the one I would have liked to raise my children in. I grew up among young men (boys) and grown men who had different ideas than I have today about what makes a man. The prevailing thought was that a man was someone who was smooth with the ladies, had lots of girlfriends (even if he was married), sleeps with other men’s wives, views pornography, drinks beer, wine, liqueur, and oh yea, beat his woman if she needed it. There were also predators in my neighborhood. Pedophiles who preyed on young children.
I was victim to all these ideologies and also molested when I was about 5 or 6 years old (more than once). I was also exposed to pornography before the age of 10. To do this to a child is to set him or her on a course of destruction. Because I was molested I continued to molest myself through masturbation. This stronghold continued into adulthood. My exposure to pornography is another stronghold that has plagued me throughout my life.
I call them strongholds because that is exactly what they are, doorways, through which Satan has been able to control certain areas of my life. They lead to destruction and spread to other areas of life as well. My marriage suffered because of pornography. I had a warped view of women. Through pornography they had become objectified, objects to be used for my personal gratification. I had a warped sense of what the marital relationship between a man a woman should be and because of that my marital relationship suffered.
My marriage suffered because of masturbation. It affects the spouse when they realize it is happening. Suddenly she feels inadequate to satisfy because I am seeking to satisfy myself. I am now divorced for more reasons than these but, they played a big part.
The memories of the molestation by male figures have at times wreaked havoc in my mind and caused confusing thoughts about my sexual orientation. Though I have never engaged in a homosexual act I have been plagued by such thoughts and been driven to pornography depicting these images.
Guard Your Heart
I am about to be 47 years old and these battles still rage. It is a daily battle to stay away from porn. It is a daily battle to avoid sites, sounds and, situations that might lead to an act of masturbation or a night out prowling for sexual encounters. The bible says this:
Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it [spring] the issues of life. (proverbs 4:23)
This is a profound leg up in my battle against the flesh when I am obedient to it. This is God’s word designed to help me to overcome the strongholds through which Satan seeks to enslave me. To obey this instruction from God I have to monitor what enters my heart. The portals of the heart are our senses, especially the eyes, ears, and mouth. What I have learned over the years is that what goes into the heart is what will manifest in my life.
If I slip and allow myself to get into the wrong kind of conversations with my mouth, seeds are planted. A stupid joke, or, an off-handed comment about women or sex is spoken. These seeds start working in my mind. Before you know it the seed has sprouted and taken root. Now I’m thinking about sex more than I should be. I’m visualizing women in sinful ways. I’m thinking about going out to a club or viewing porn on the internet. Pretty soon my thoughts are out of control. The next thing that begins to happen is I’m thinking of ways to act on what is going on inside me. The end result is sin. All because I was not diligent enough in guarding my heart. One small seed of sin gets in and all manner of sinful thoughts and actions are coming out.
It Takes Faith To Win
So then faith [comes] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Rom 10:17)
God has given his powerful word in order to help us overcome the strongholds. I am not a theologian so I can’t write you a prescription from God’s word and tell you it’ll work for you. What I do know is that through much study and prayer over the years I have been able to gain an upper hand in many areas of my life.
One thing that can keep you trapped in your sin is guilt. Satan loves to speak to our minds and convince us that we are unworthy because of our sin, and, if we fall into this trap we can become isolated on our own little sin island. We then begin to get farther and farther away from God and His way of life. The truth is God sent His Son to die for our sin (John 3:16). By His death, burial, and resurrection He has purchased for us the right to live God’s way of life, forgiveness for our sin, and given us His own righteousness. This is called grace.
In 1John He tells us:
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
You can trust God. This is His word. Put your faith in Him. If He says he’ll forgive and cleanse you from all unrighteousness when you confess your sin you can trust him. Don’t be trapped by guilt. Trust the Lord and through off your guilt and sin. Get up and continue in the grace of God.
I am sure I will be fighting these battles until the day I die or until I am taken home in the rapture. I do not fight alone though. God is with me through His Holy Spirit. He is always guiding me. He is always with me when I read His word to help me understand and strengthen me. And I am protected from the guilt and penalty of sin by the blood of Jesus.
I dare say that all Christian men are fighting these strongholds in their lives. You are not alone. Your brothers all over the earth are engaged in the same battles. We can win. God has given us all that we need to win. We have the victory because Jesus Christ has overcome the devil and the sin that seeks to destroy us. Your life can change. I am not there yet but my life has changed drastically over the years as I become more confident in His word and His power to transform my life.
All praise to Yeshua!