Growing in Getting Up!

This week in our men’s group we had a great talk which started in 1st John.

I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on
account of his name. 13 I write to you, fathers, because you have known
him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you
have overcome the evil one. I write to you, dear children, because you
have known the Father. 14 I write to you, fathers, because you have
known him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men,
because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have
overcome the evil one. 1 John 2:12-14

Knowing that your sins are forgiven is huge! Especially for those that are sensitive to their sin. The idea behind the, “your sins have been forgiven,”
is the idea of continuing to be forgiven! Little children need all the encouragement in the world. We do too.

On account of Jesus we are forgiven. We fall a bunch, as babies tend to do, but we get back up, and try again. “For though a righteous human falls seven times, they rise again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity.” Proverbs 24:16

What does the number seven signify in the Bible?

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I
forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22
Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven.
Matthew 18:21-22

When the deciples heard Jesus teach on forgiving a person who sins again you seven times in the same day, they asked for something! Do you know what it was?

Watch yourselves. If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 4Even if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times returns to say, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” 5The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”… Luke 17

They said, “Increase our faith!” They understood that walking in fellowship with another takes faith. Faith to forgive. Jesus assumes that we will sin. And we will sin many times even in one day!

Do we trust God to walk with other humans in this kind of way? Do we trust God by giving forgiveness to those that seek it from us?

Many times we think that a good relationship is predicated on a lack of sin, yet Jesus indicates that even the act of giving a gift to our kids can be sinful!

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

That hits us a bit don’t it! You mean even my good deeds aren’t that good?

But think of this; if it is true that Jesus taught that we are sinners who sin, and would need mercy and continual forgiveness as we learned in 1st John, then do our relationships bear the mark of believing such a teaching? What would that mark look like?

The deciples knew in order to be like Jesus in our forgiving of others, we would need a ‘increase in faith!’

But think about it. Does your relationship with your spouse, your kids, your friends etc… bear the mark that you are a follower of Jesus? If so, then you will be asking for forgiveness regularly, and also forgiving those that sin against you. In doing so, we are showing our need for forgiveness and also giving forgiveness to those who need mercy. Showing our need for forgiveness takes a willingness to admit fault. This can be difficult as there are many excuses we can make for our behavior. And many of us do.

People struggle with hearing our sins, but God does not. God actually wants us to come to him in brokenness. You can bring your heart to the throne of grace the Bible tells us. Is your heart burdened by your sin? Bring it to the one who can forgive you completely. You family might not be able to! Neither your friends! But God will! Why? Because the Father loves the Son and will forgive anyone who comes to him in His Son’s Name.

We live in a culture that is unable to grant forgiveness well. Mercy and Grace have been removed words from our vocabulary. What a shame we could say. Jesus faced a similar culture in his day. And the culture that removed forgiveness, mercy and grace from there minds is the same one that crucified him. Maybe all we are left with is self righteous hate when void of these behaviors. Forgiveness, mercy & grace.

Looking to Jesus we are given wings to rise up from our despair to new heights that we could have never imagined. We can get up and we can help other get up as well! Praise God for His Son!

Addicted to Sex Statement

At Running Light Ministries we desire to stay clear of the label of sex addiction.  We have blogged and done Podcast on this issue on many occasions and I imagine we will do more in the future, Lord willing.  We are not opposed to its general use, but we try our best to not overuse this term which has become quite popular in our media and Christian recovery climate regarding sex & pornography.

Here are reasons why we believe the way we do.

  • We believe that heroine, cocaine, alcohol and other chemical dependencies are different from unwanted sexual desires.  When someone is labeled a sex addict, we are not saying that we never want them to have sex, but we want them to have sex a certain way within a Biblical framework.  The equating of sexual desire or visual sexual stimulus with substance abuse is confusing and logically problematic.
  • The Bible speaks of sexual sin, iniquity and transgression.  So we like to use those terms.  We are not psychologist.
  • Addiction models create the same problems which started the problem.  To call someone a porn addict or sex addict can create the feeling of shame, guilt, frustration, fear, & stress that lead them into the decisions they have made.
  • Religious people tend to self diagnose themself a sex/porn addict due to the conflict with actions not fitting there belief.
  • Society’s use of sex addiction is constant when there is no understanding of a baseline of what constitutes healthy/good/proper sex.  This again is confusing.
  • Your identity is in Christ.  You have the ability to say No!  And under the right circumstances we all do and will!
  • The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation, so we desire to understand the Gospel better in our groups.  This is why we lay a heavy emphasis on our time in the Bible.
  • Calling someone a sex addict oversimplifies the issues in a persons life that cause them to act out.  Dissatisfaction with ones life, resentments, anger, fear can lead one to states of depression and unhealthy decisions.  Underlying stress too leads to ways of acting out.  Others simply enjoy sex & sensuality.  There are many reasons why a person does what they do.  The Sex Addiction label can bread a fear to talk and work through these complicated issues.
  • Calling someone a sex addict minimizes the Bible’s teachings on the infectious nature of sin.  This creates a separation between other sins and sexual sins, which in turn leads to blame, judgement, shame and feelings of separation from “normal” people.
  • Sex addiction tends to place blame on the lustful culture or our biological inability to make healthy decisions instead of on our misplaced worship.
  • We do not subscribe to your brain on porn.  It is again confusing due to the differing studies available on the subject, and what is defined as pornography.  The teaching that you are incapable of making right decisions due to your VSS (Visual Sexual Stimulation) undermines the teaching that we can make decisions.  This is confusing.
  • Calling a spouse a sex addict can create shame, undermining the Bible’s teachings of how to respond to the sinful actions of another.
  • When we call someone a porn addict, we are not meaning that looking at sex is wrong.  We are saying that looking at the wrong people having sex in the wrong contexts is not glorifying to God and therefore wrong.  Using the term porn addict is an oversimplifying term.
  • The Bible does not call those that sinned repeatedly in sexual matters sex addicts.  They are identified as people of faith.
  • Addiction models and it’s accompanied psychological concepts can change over time within society (i.e. LGBTQ & masturbation were once thought of as addictions and/or a disorder, but is no longer).  We would rather focus on the clear instruction from the Bible as our guide in helping others.
  • Using the term addiction distracts from conversations on sexual desire, wants or wishes which are needed in a relational context.
  • 2nd Peter 1:3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

“The great tragedy is not mainly masturbation or fornication or acting like a peeping Tom (or curious Cathy) on the internet. The tragedy is that Satan uses the guilt of these failures to strip you of every radical dream you ever had, or might have, and in its place give you a happy, safe, secure, American life of superficial pleasures until you die in your lakeside rocking chair, wrinkled and useless, leaving a big fat inheritance to your middle-aged children to confirm them in their worldliness. That’s the main tragedy.”

Pastor John Piper