Take Sinful Thoughts Captive
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.
God tells us we have powerful weapons to take our thoughts captive. We dont always have a choice about how or when they come into our minds but we can choose what to do when they enter.
When I first began this process I kept a journal and prayed over each thought pattern that led to sin. It was intense but so powerful!
Once you know the thoughts that are out of line with Gods design you can begin intentionally replacing them!
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things
How Can I Tell If I Need Substance Abuse Help
If youre asking yourself whether you need help, theres a chance you might be ready to admit to the presence of a problem. If youre not sure, you might consider whether you meet the criteria for a substance use disorder, or SUD, which is the American Psychiatric Associations diagnostic term for addiction. These criteria include:15,16
- Using drugs or alcohol in higher or more frequent amounts than you originally intended.
- Wanting to stop using drugs or alcohol but being unable to do so.
- Spending a lot of time trying to get, use, and recover from the effects of the substance.
- Experiencing cravings, which are strong feelings and urges to use.
- Being unable to meet your responsibilities at work, home, or school because of your substance use.
- Continuing to use drugs or alcohol even though its causing social or relationship problems.
- Giving up or stopping activities you once enjoyed so you can use drugs or alcohol.
- Using substances in situations where it is dangerous to do so .
- Continuing to drink or use drugs even though you have a psychological or physical problem that you know is probably due to your substance use.
- Experiencing tolerance, or needing to use more of the substance to achieve the desired effect.
- Developing withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability or shakiness, when you stop using the substance.
Come Out Of Isolation
Ask God to give you the courage to admit your weaknesses and faults to others who can help you. Confess your struggles to God and pray for His help to overcome shame, pride, and the fear of rejection so you can open up with some other men. Remember that youre not alone many other Christians struggle with sexual addictions, and plenty of people will understand the issues youre facing. Know that its impossible for you to overcome your challenges unless you have the support and encouragement of others. Expect that if you dont expose your addiction, God will orchestrate circumstances that will eventually expose it anyway, since He loves you too much to let you continue to harm yourself and others. Start meeting with either an accountability partner or a support group every week. If you need help locating a support group in your area, visit www.blazinggrace.org for information. Whenever temptations hit you, call your accountability partner or a member of your support group to talk and pray. If youre married, dont hide your struggles from your wife realize that you need to be accountable to her. But dont burden her with the responsibilities that should belong just to your support group or accountability partner, and make sure your wife has the support she needs to pursue healing herself from the ways your addiction has hurt her.
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Hes Isolated And Empty
The shame from his sexual acts and the fear of being exposed and rejected are powerful motivators that keep the sex addict trapped in isolation. He closes himself off, not realizing hes creating a vacuum of emptiness inside. This vacuum of emptiness is unbearable and so he fixes it by acting out sexually. But his acting out only produces more shame and emptiness, and a vicious cycle sets in.
To try to run from the mess he is on the inside, he fakes it on the outside. Some throw themselves into their career, mistakenly thinking the temporary successes of their job can fill their deep hunger for love.
Others try to use ministry. They put on their Sunday Happy Face and get busy for God making all the right noises to impress others with how good a Christian they are. But helping others cant soothe their lonely and aching heart, and so the addict soon becomes a Pharisee.
Some try to fill their growing emptiness with food, drugs, alcohol, people and of course more sexual acting out. But nothing satisfies and the addicts emptiness only intensifies, keeping him trapped in the cycle of misery.
Accept That Sexual Thoughts And Feelings Are Normal
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Your Body And You According To The Internet
Lust is a craving for sexual gratification, but its a part of a much larger neurobiological process that transitions from a catalyst for the carnal into the long-term pairing of partners, theoretically speaking. At the chemical level, lust is driven by testosterone and estrogen, which are produced in sex organs by cue of the hypothalamus.
When experiencing it, the neurotransmitter phenylethylamine increases. Its a natural amphetamine produced by the brain and is often referred to as the love molecule, according to Dr. John Gottman from the Gottman Institute. Other amphetamines include caffeine and MDMA.
Overcoming lust, then, may not be the best approach. Managing your behaviors and being mindful about your body? Well, that makes more sense.
If the feeling of lust is having a lasting impact on you and your relationship to those around you, consider your behavior.
Be Accountable To Other Believers
One of the lies that sin can make us believe is that we are alone with nobody to help us. God has given us the church and the opportunity to have spiritual friends who can help us in our fight against sin. Pray for godly accountability that will drive you away from sin to the Savior. Look into accountability programs like Covenant Eyes that can help you be accountable, but realize an email report does not take the place of life-on-life accountability or remove your sinful desires.
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Five Surefire Steps To Break Free From Sexual Addiction
The steps that I present in these articles are meant to help you begin to understand what you need to do in order to experience a fuller, freer and more abundant life. While these steps are definitely not a magic remedy, these ideas and concepts can provide a way out of the compulsive, cyclical behavior that makes you feel stuck.
Cry Out To God For Grace To Change
Apart from the grace of God, we are powerless to turn from sinful habits. Psalm 34:17 says, When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. If you find yourself burdened by the sin of lust, cry out to God for deliverance and the grace to change. Christ can give you a new heart, restored joy, a clean and restored conscience. True change cannot happen apart from Gods grace, so as you continue to read, pray for Gods grace to apply these principles.
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Christian Counseling Can Help You Break Free Of Your Sexual Addiction
In the next article, I continue to suggest practical steps that you can take to overcome your sexual addiction. However, if this article has stirred something in you and you have questions about what to do next, now is the time to act. It is very important for you to know that you are not alone. You are just one of the rare individuals who actually has the courage, to be honest about it and to look for help! There is hope and change is possible.
Try A Grounding Technique To Be More Present
The process of grounding differs, but the point is to bring yourself back into the present, away from thought patterns or distressing physical feelings.
Maybe thats a walk. A cold shower. Deep, conscious breathing. Meditation. It depends on the person.
The 5-4-3-2-1 technique is a common go-to. See five things around you. Touch four things. Identify three things. Smell two things. Try to remember one recent thing youve tasted.
Engaging the senses is a primal, active way to bring your body into the environment around you and to gently guide the mind away from the negative thoughts and behavior that might be wrapped around lust when it isnt appropriate.
One guide to addiction published by an organization in the UK outlines great mental exercises, which may help also pull the mind away from whatever may be triggering lust:
- Count backwards from 100
- Describe the process of something you love, like throwing a football
- Think of three people, spell their names forward and backward
- Name all of your family, then recite their age and favorite activities
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How To Overcome Addiction
An addiction is defined as the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.
Enslaved to a habit. Even when you realized the damage the habit causes you are enslaved to it. The habit calls your name and you are back at it before you even had time to process the choice.
How do you overcome addiction?
Behavior Patterns And Therapy Defuse Lust
Cognitive behavioral therapy can help with lust.
The Journal of Addictive Therapy defines psychotherapy or cognitive behavioral therapy as a prevention strategy designed to curb irrational thought and core dysfunctional beliefs.
This type of therapy can focus on a prevention strategy that comes from the Trans-Theoretical Model, which is a process of intentionally changing behavior.
In a way, youre rewiring your brain to understand and control habitual behaviors and responses to stimuli. The process includes understanding the consequences of behavior, preparing to replace that behavior with healthier habits, establishing a course of action, and finally maintaining healthy behavior.
Now, thats a strategy that takes time and guidance. Keep in mind that behavioral changes are not immediate. Theres no six-minute abs approach to changing or disrupting defined and ritualized habits.
There are tactics, though, that can momentarily short-circuit lust.
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Understand The Nature Of The Battle
There is more knowledge about how the brain works now than ever before. Sexual addiction is not just a moral problem it is also a brain problem.
We can develop a brain problem with moral implications that cant be healed by moral solutions alone. We cannot just read our Bibles more, pray more or attend more small groups. We must be transformed by the renewing of our minds, and we must find healing for our wounds.
So where is healing found?
Ways To Fight For A Lust
A lustful thought is like a torpedo, cruising relentlessly, silently under the water, straight toward the hull of our ship. Unless we take instant evasive action, weâre in trouble. Eventually that thought will strike.
We tend to minimize the impact. In fact, most of us believe weâre spiritually stalwart enough to take a few hits. But the truth is we canât afford to let any lustful thoughts into our minds. We canât let them linger, even for a few seconds. That little opening is all the Enemy needs he is very adept at slithering in through the smallest of openings. He knows how to exploit that one little opening until it is a gaping hole in your spiritual armor.
If I sound like Iâm speaking from experience, itâs because I am. Iâve had to learn these things the hard way, but that doesnât mean you have to.
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Get Advice From A Spiritual Or Religious Leader
The Best Decision We Ever Made
In 2014, my wife and I went to the UCAP conference in Salt Lake City. This was the probably the best decision Ive ever made: I was scared of who I might see there, I wasnt sure if I really belonged at a conference like this, and my wife was with me, still dealing with a lot of trauma from my horrible choices.
Him Me? I cant remember 100%, but Im pretty sure both of these books talked some about lust and how it was a key ingredient in the sexual addiction process.
But the concept of lust really hit me the most when I went to my first SAL meeting and we read, from the White Book, about The Problem.
We plugged in by drinking in the pictures, the images, and pursuing the objects of our fantasies. We lusted and wanted to be lusted after
We were addicted to the intrigue, the tease, the forbiddenLusting after the Big Fix, we gave away our power to others.
Our habit made true intimacy impossible. We could never know real union with another because we were addicted to the unreal. We went for the chemistry, the connection that had the magic, because it bypassed intimacy and true union. Fantasy corrupted the real, lust killed love.
Wow, what was all this talk about LUST?
How did they know I was thinking many of these very things?
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He Deeply Hurts His Wife And Children
Because his wife isnt the always-there-for-him centerfold of his delusions he rejects her. His wife is repeatedly fed the message that shes not good enough, and he prefers pictures of other women to her. She dies inside as the man she committed her life to coldly rejects her. Dads self-centered emotional abandonment tells his kids that he doesnt value them. As a result an open wound of rejection by the most important man in their life takes root. Because Dad is Weakheart his kids dont get the discipline they need to shape and build strong character. Soon his kids learn that they need to make it on their own without Dad. Unwittingly, the sex addict has now set his own children up for the very sin that has kept him captive.
The Difference Between Love And Lust
Love and lust often go hand in hand, and lust often leads to love. But theyre distinct emotional experiences.
Lust, in scientific terms, is the desire for sexual gratification from a person. The sex hormones testosterone and estrogen regulate the libido and play a significant role in creating the experience of infatuation.
In a relationship, lust can manifest in many ways. Some signs that youre in lust rather than in love are:
- Youre fixated on a persons body and physicality.
- Youre more interested in having sex than conversations.
- You havent discussed your feelings or future.
- You dont feel much desire to spend quality time together outside the bedroom.
Theres no single definition of love, but its a profound feeling of connection, passion, and warmth toward another person.
Love is also influenced by hormones and neurotransmitters in particular oxytocin , the love hormone that triggers feelings of affection and safety.
When youre in love, you may spend hours conversing with your partner. You become invested in their feelings and well-being and show them your vulnerabilities. Sex is a part of your relationship, not the end goal.
Over time, youll begin to integrate into each others lives and meet each others families. All of these are signs that what youre experiencing is love.
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