This   writing   is   intended   for   Christian   men—all   males   in   their   early   teens   to   their   late   years    in    life    who    struggle    against    the    flesh—especially    sexual    lust.        It    is    also appropriate   for   women   in   that   it   will   help   in   understanding   what   men   go   through.     But   what’s   more,   this   writing   is   real,   raw   and   revealing   because   it   explores   the   area where    the    “rubber    meets    the    road,”    and    where    men’s    faith    interacts    with inappropriate thoughts and behavior. Temptation    is    defined    as    an    enticement    to    gratify    the    desires    of    our    flesh    by disobeying   God’s   word.      The   sixth   commandment   states   “You   shall   not   commit adultery.”   Exodus   20:14       Prior   to   Jesus   walking   on   earth   it   was   considered   OK   to “ogle   and   not   touch.”      However,   the   words   of   Jesus   exposed   the   hidden   thoughts   of men,   revealed   God   is   interested   in   the   attitude   of   our   heart,   and   set   a   Godly standard   for   Christian   men   when   he   said   “You   have   heard   that   it   was   said   to   those of   old,   ‘You   shall   not   commit   adultery.’   But   I   say   to   you   that   whoever   looks   at   a   woman   to   lust   for   her   has   already committed adultery with her in his heart.’”  Matthew 5:27-28 His   words   are   truth…and   we   know   they   are   truth   deep   within   our   heart,   soul   and   spirit.      Because   when   we   lustfully   look through   our   eyes   at   a   woman   (men…own   up   to   it)   we   are   imagining   adulterous   thoughts.      For   some,   lust   can   be   a continuous   obstacle   to   Christian   growth,   and   replaces   joy   and   peace   with   guilt   and   shame.      But   know   one   thing…guilt and    shame    are    a    good    thing…because    these    emotions    are    intended    for    those    who    are    born    again    as    spiritual chastisement.  This experience will be explained in more detail later. “For   we   do   not   wrestle   against   flesh   and   blood,   but   against   principalities,   against   powers,   against   the   rulers   of   the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”  Ephesians 6:12 Satan   knows   man’s   weaknesses   and   has   been   actively   changing   our   culture   and   “acceptable   behavior”   during   the   past few   decades.      For   example,   I   can   remember   many   years   ago   when   porn   was   only   available   in   out-of-the   way   “seedy” retail    stores.        These    stores    were    culturally    frowned    upon    and    often    faced    legal    challenges    for    their    existence.      Thereafter   pornographic   publications   began   to   show   up   in   convenience   stores—but   placed   on   shelves   inaccessible   by children   and   wrapped   in   protective   packaging.      Today   it’s   only   a   click   away—easily   accessible   to   all   (including   children) due    to    the    successful    efforts    of    principalities,    powers,    rulers    of    darkness    of    this    age,    and    spiritual    hosts    of wickedness—thereby   significantly   increasing   the   chance   of   men   turning   onto   a   slippery   path   of   destruction   and   spiritual death. The   influence   and   impact   of   easy   access   to   porn   has   been   studied   by   the   Barna   Group.      Started   in   1984,   the   Barna Group is widely considered to be a leading research organization focused on the intersection of faith and culture. In   2016   the   Barna   Group   began   a   nationwide   study   of   teenagers,   young   adults,   Americans   in   general   as   well   as pastors—more   than   3,000   interviews   in   total.      Their   study   revealed   a   multitude   of   insightful   information.      However,   one aspect   stands   out   amongst   the   others—the   percentage   of   Christian   males   that   are   considered   frequent   porn   users   (or those who seek porn daily, weekly and monthly): 41% of Christian males between 13 and 24 23% of Christian males 25 years and older Source: https://www.barna.com/research/porn-in-the-digital-age-new-research-reveals-10-trends/ Temptation = Deceptional Lie Jesus   referred   to   Satan   as   “a   murderer   from   the   beginning,   and   does   not   stand   in   the   truth,   because   there   is   no   truth   in him.  When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.”  John 8:44 Satan   is   a   master   liar.      He   is   capable   of   making   a   lie   look   like   truth,   and   truth   look   like   a   lie.      What’s   more,   he   can   also tell   the   truth   and   a   lie   with   the   same   words—all   with   the   intent   of   causing   spiritual   death.      By   knowing   the   sinful   nature   of man—including   man’s   thought   processes   and   areas   of   weakness—he   creates   and   positions   deceptional   “bait”   for men’s   eyes.      His   goal   is   to   stimulate   our   fleshly   desires   by   (1)   misdirecting   our   thoughts,   (2)   causing   us   to   look,   and   (3) contemplating   lustful   behavior.      Thereafter,   whether   or   not   sin   occurs   is   based   upon   a   free   will   choice.     A   Christian   male will either spiritually fight off the temptation, or fall victim. There are 6 separa te stages of temptation, which are depicted below. Stage 1 Misdirection: In   magic,   misdirection   is   a   form   of   deception   in   which   the   performer   distracts   someone’s   attention   (without their awareness) to the wrong place so that the magician can perform the “sleight of hand.”  Misdirection   comprises   the   initial   stage   of   temptation—when   our   attention   is   distracted   from   whatever we’re   focused   on—and   is   visually   directed   towards   something   that   does   not   align   with   God’s   word and His will. Stage 2 Interest: This   is   when   our   mind’s   attention   is   increased   upon   the   object   of   our   distraction,   our   curiosity   kicks   in, and we want to know more. Stage 3 Engagement: During   the   engagement   stage   we   are   locked   in.      We   mentally   contemplate   and   assess   what   we’re   focused   on.      Our mind   will   imagine   deriving   benefits   or   pleasure   from   whatever   we’re   considering;   and   our   physical   body   may   become aroused. Stage 4 Battle: The   first   three   stages   can   occur   within   a   fraction   of   a   moment   of   time—so   quickly   that   it   is   possible   to   be   spiritually unaware   of   what’s   going   on.      But   those   who   know   the   truth…those   who   have   been   touched   by   the   grace   of   God   and has    been    forgiven…will    find    there    is    a    struggle    going    on    within    their    heart,    soul    and    spirit.        This    is    when    a Christian—who   desires   Jesus   more   than   fulfilling   the   desires   of   their   flesh—will   realize   and   recognize   their   impure thoughts and inappropriate behavioral response. “No   temptation   has   overtaken   you   except   such   as   is   common   to   man;   but   God   is   faithful,   who   will   not   allow   you   to   be tempted   beyond   what   you   are   able,   but   with   the   temptation   will   also   make   the   way   of   escape,   that   you   may   be   able   to bear it.”  1 Corinthians 10:13 When in the midst of struggle a Christian will be given a way of escape.  It may consist of: A small voice saying “stop now and run.”  An image in your mind of what to do.  A feeling deep within your spirit that screams “THIS IS WRONG, STOP LOOKING!” Immediately    obey    these    instructions.        Once    you    begin    to    turn    away    you    will    be    able    to    gain    control    over    the temptation—and   your   flesh—through   prayer,   citing   scripture,   and   remembering   the   painful   consequences   from   past failures as you distance yourself from the source of temptation. If the way of escape is not followed…the flesh will continue to gain control over the situation until its desires are fulfilled. However,   it   is   important   to   realize…it   is   by   God’s   grace…it   is   by   the   death   of   His   Son…and   it   is   by   your   belief   in   what Jesus   did   for   you   on   the   cross…you   are   forgiven.      But   you   must   admit   and   confess   your   sins   to   God.      However,   to   live life as God intended…you cannot live under His grace and continue to sin. Every   Christian   encounter   various   types   of   sin   in   their   life;   and   each   Christian   must   ask   themselves   the   following questions: Is the sin worth it? What do I want in this life and thereafter? Do I desire to be free from the bondage? Sometimes   it’s   not   easy   to   make   a   free   will   decision   and   a   commitment.      However,   consider   the   truth:   the   emotional, spiritual and eternal rewards far exceed the collateral damage that occurs when living a deceptional lie. One of two possible results will occur from every temptation: victory and life, or sin and death. Stage 5 Victory or Sin This   stage   defines   two   possible   paths   one   may   follow   based   upon   the   success   or   failure   of   the   battle   in   stage   4.      One will walk away in victory, the other will fall. For those who are victorious: “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  1 Corinthians 15:57 “You   are   a   chosen   generation,   a   royal   priesthood,   a   holy   nation,   His   own   special   people,   that   you   may   proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”  1 Peter 2:9 For those who sin: “And   this   is   the   condemnation,   that   the   light   has   come   into   the   world,   and   men   loved   darkness   rather   than   light, because   their   deeds   were   evil.      For   everyone   practicing   evil   hates   the   light   and   does   not   come   to   the   light,   lest   his deeds should be exposed.”  John 3:19-2 Stage 6 Life or Death Jesus   said   “The   thief   does   not   come   except   to   steal,   and   to   kill,   and   to   destroy.      I   have   come   that   they   may   have   life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”  John 10:10 For   those   who   are   victorious,   recognize   God   alone   is   worthy   of   praise   and   glory   for   what   was   accomplished.      Our   flesh has   a   propensity   for   pride,   and   desires   praise   and   recognition.      However,   your   ability   to   overcome   that   which   once controlled you…is because of His mercy, grace, truth and love.  Bottom line, we can’t do this without Him. “Not   unto   us,   O   Lord,   not   unto   us,   but   to   Your   name   give   glory,   because   of   Your   mercy,   because   of   Your   truth.”     Psalm 115:1 “For   you   were   bought   at   a   price;   therefore,   glorify   God   in   your   body   and   in   your   spirit,   which   are   God’s.”      1 Corinthians 6:20 Besides…think about it…did you find God…or did He find you? “For   the   eyes   of   the   Lord   run   to   and   fro   throughout   the   whole   earth,   to   show   Himself   strong   on   behalf   of   those whose heart is loyal to Him.”  2 Chronicles 16:9 “My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways.”  Proverbs 23:26 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.”  Proverbs 3:5 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”  Matthew 5:8 For those who sin, consider the consequences and collateral damage: Feeling of darkness and separation from God Your emotions (shame, remorse, guilt) The questioning of your spirituality and faith You know: o You missed the opportunity to please God o He still loves you…regardless True   changes   to   man’s   heart   and   soul   begins   with   the   realization   God   draws   us   to   Him   with   love—and   not   by overbearing   dictatorial   mandates.      Dictatorial   mandates   may   drive   compliance,   but   it   will   also   create   a   hardened   heart.     We   know   what   is   right   and   wrong   and   have   been   given   free   will.      As   such,   God   desires   a   man’s   heart   that   willingly seeks Him for who He is. The Garden In   Genesis   chapter   3,   the   interaction   between   Satan   and   Eve   in   the   Garden   of   Eden   provides   an   excellent   example   of the   6   stages   of   temptation.      What’s   more,   Satan’s   method   of   operation   (a   masterful   use   of   deception   and   lies   to   facilitate the first 3 stages) has not changed throughout time. “And   the   Lord   God   commanded   the   man,   saying,   ‘Of   every   tree   of   the   garden   you   may   freely   eat;   but   of   the   tree   of   the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’”  Genesis 2:16-17 Adam   and   Eve   were   in   the   Garden   of   Eden,   blissfully   living   in   the   presence   of   God.      However,   there   was   only   one restriction—to not eat the fruit from one tree—the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Stage 1 Misdirection The   serpent   asked   “Has   God   indeed   said,   you   shall   not   eat   of   every   tree   of   the   garden?”      This   question   caused   Eve   to stop   whatever   she   was   doing   and   redirect   her   attention   towards   the   forbidden   tree.      Satan   could   have   asked   the question   with   specificity   (i.e.   Did   God   say   you   shall   not   eat   of   this   tree?)—which   could   have   been   answered   with   a   yes or   no.      However,   by   asking   the   question   that   included   all   trees   in   the   garden,   her   answer   required   more   thought   and explanation—which caused her attention to focus upon the forbidden tree. “And   the   woman   said   ‘We   may   eat   the   fruit   of   the   trees   of   the   garden;   but   of   the   fruit   of   the   tree   which   is   in   the   midst   of the garden, God has said, you shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’” Stage 2 Interest “Then   the   serpent   said   to   the   woman,   you   will   not   surely   die.”      These   words   provide   an   example   of   Satan’s   ability   to deceive.      God’s   word   defined   the   consequences   if   they   disobeyed—they   would   die   (spiritually   and   not   physically).     Satan   attacked   the   authority   of   God’s   word   by   saying   you   will   not   die   (which   is   both   a   lie   and   truth).      It   is   a   lie   because they   would   die   spiritually.      It   was   also   true   because   they   would   not   physically   die.      Remember,   Jesus   called   Satan   a murderer.  Spiritual death is Satan’s primary objective, followed by physical death. Satan   then   said   “For   God   knows   that   in   the   day   you   eat   of   it   your   eyes   will   be   opened,   and   you   will   be   like   God, knowing   good   and   evil.”      The   opening   of   the   eyes   and   the   knowledge   of   good   and   evil   upon   consumption   are   true.     However,   the   words   of   “you   will   be   like   God”   leverages   man’s   sinful   desire   to   be   equal   to   God—which   is   the   same distorted perception that caused Satan to be banished from Heaven.  So,   Eve   has   been   misdirected   (in   stage   1)   and   now   and   looks   at   the   tree   from   a   different   perspective   (stage   2).      Her interest is increased because there may be potential benefits to be gained. Stage 3 Engagement “The   woman   saw   that   the   tree   was   good   for   food,   that   it   was   pleasant   to   the   eyes,   and   a   tree   desirable   to   make   one wise.”       Eve   was   locked   in   (fully   engaged).      Her   eyes   looked   closely   at   the   tree   as   she   mentally   contemplated   the benefits that could be experienced by eating the fruit. Stage 4 Battle There   was   no   battle   in   Eve’s   heart,   soul   and   spirit;   she   did   not   reflect   upon   God’s   single   commandment;   and   there   was no consideration of the consequences—which exemplifies our thought processes before we were born again. Stage 5 Victory or Sin “She   took   of   its   fruit   and   ate.      She   also   gave   to   her   husband   with   her,   and   he   ate.”      There   was   no   victory,   only   sin.     They both disobeyed the one and only thing God told them not to do.  Stage 6 Life or Death “Then   the   eyes   of   both   of   them   were   opened,   and   they   knew   that   they   were   naked;   and   they   sewed   fig   leaves   together and   made   themselves   coverings.      And   they   heard   the   sound   of   the   Lord   God   walking   in   the   garden   in   the   cool   of   the day,   and Adam   and   his   wife   hid   themselves   from   the   presence   of   the   Lord   God   among   the   trees   of   the   garden.”     Adam and   Eve   spiritually   died.      They   attempted   to   hide   both   their   nakedness   and   themselves   from   God.      This   is   a   common response when we sin—in that we want to run and hide from God, and do not want His presence. “Then   the   Lord   God   called   to   Adam   and   said   to   him,   ‘Where   are   you?’      So,   he   said,   ‘I   heard   Your   voice   in   the   garden, and   I   was   afraid   because   I   was   naked;   and   I   hid   myself.’     And   He   said,   ‘Who   told   you   that   you   were   naked?      Have   you eaten   from   the   tree   of   which   I   commanded   you   that   you   should   not   eat?’”      Be   assured   God   knew   what   happened   and He knew where they were.  However, He needed to confront their sin. “Then   the   man   said,   ‘The   woman   whom You   gave   to   be   with   me,   she   gave   me   of   the   tree,   and   I   ate.’     And   the   Lord   God said   to   the   woman,   ‘What   is   this   you   have   done?’      The   woman   said,   ‘The   serpent   deceived   me,   and   I   ate.’”     Adam   and Eve   attempted   to   pass   the   blame—which   provides   additional   evidence   they   transitioned   from   light   to   darkness—which has   been   passed   down   through   all   generations.      This   behavior   is   demonstrated   by   very   young   children   when   they   are found by a parent doing something they’ve been instructed not to do.  All of us can relate to the following: Mother: Did I tell you not to eat cookies before dinner? Child: Yes. Mother: Did you eat some cookies? (Cookies are still in the mouth.) Child: No. Our   sinful   nature   is   to   deflect,   pass   blame,   or   lie   when   we’ve   been   caught.      This   is   often   demonstrated   in   reality   TV shows such as Cops.  Officer: Is this your backpack? Man: Yes. Officer: Mind if I look inside? Man: Well…OK. Officer: Are these your drugs? Man: No.  I don’t know how they got in there. True repentance can only begin when we take full responsibility and accountability for our mistakes in life. Spiritual Radar A   military   will   use   radar   as   a   means   to   defend   against   potential   attacks.      In   a   similar   manner, Christians   will   use   “spiritual   radar”   to   sense   something   is   wrong,   inappropriate,   or   has   a potential    to    quickly    turn    into    temptation.        Spiritual    radar    is    a    protective    and    defensive awareness   that   occurs   when   a   Christian   man   determines   they’re   fed   up   with   their   sin;   they’ve had   enough;   they’re   no   longer   going   to   put   up   with   it;   the   costs   are   too   high   and   they   will   no longer tolerate it.  “Head   them   off   at   the   pass”   is   an   idiom   that   means   to   prevent   someone   from   reaching   a   certain   point,   to   intercept   and   redirect.     It   was   often   portrayed   in   cowboy   westerns   as   the   good   guys would   jump   onto   their   horses   and   aggressively   ride   off   to   stop the bad guys before they could do harm. Spiritual radar is comprised of: Guarding eyes and ears. Actively   looking   for   indicators   of   “slippery   roads”   and   “risky paths” (‘cause been down them before). Willing to take a different route if needed. Taking a defensive position to: o Eliminate attempts by the enemy to “cross the line.”  o Minimize the chance of encountering misdirection. However, spiritual radar: Is dependent upon power from the Holy Spirit. Is   facilitated   in   knowing   in   Christ   we   have   weapons   to destroy      the      adversary      (prayer,      scripture,      divine intervention, and support from like-minded Christians). o “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  Philippians 4:13 o “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts.”  Zechariah 4:6 Heart Revealing E-Mail I   occasionally   receive   emails   from   persons   in   various   parts   of   the   world   who   visit   my   website.      One   person,   a   Christian male   from   Nigeria   (whom   I   will   refer   to   as   Yabani,   not   his   real   name),   read   Body,   Heart,   Soul   and   Spirit   and   confided   he was   struggling   with   porn.      He   also   mentioned   that   he   is   in   a   serious   relationship   and   considering   marriage.      The following is my email response.  Hello Yabani … Thank   you   for   expressing   your   open   heart.      Addiction   (any   addiction)   can   harden   person’s   heart,   poison   the   soul,   and separate us from the joy and peace of living in God’s will.  Yabani…it   is   important   for   you   to   understand   you   are   chosen   and   blessed   by   God.      The   fact   that   you   have   experienced guilt, shame, remorse, and pain from your addiction…means the Holy Spirit is actively working in your life.  We   know   He   loves   us…we   know   His   will   is   best   for   us…and   we   know   we   are   forgiven…but   when   we   fail…it   hurts deeply   on   the   inside.      The   Holy   Spirit   uses   guilt,   shame,   remorse,   “internal   pain,”   plus   the   removal   of   peace   and   His presence as a means to: Chasten (punishment). “Write” His laws on our heart. “For   whom   the   Lord   loves   He   chastens,   and   scourges   every   son   whom   He   receives.      If   you   endure   chastening,   God deals   with   you   as   with   sons;   for   what   son   is   there   whom   a   father   does   not   chasten?      But   if   you   are   without   chastening, of   which   all   have   become   partakers,   then   you   are   illegitimate   and   not   sons.      Furthermore,   we   have   had   human   fathers who   corrected   us,   and   we   paid   them   respect.      Shall   we   not   much   more   readily   be   in   subjection   to   the   Father   of   spirits and   live?      For   they   indeed   for   a   few   days   chastened   us   as   seemed   best   to   them,   but   He   for   our   profit,   that   we   may   be partakers   of   His   holiness.      Now   no   chastening   seems   to   be   joyful   for   the   present,   but   painful;   nevertheless,   afterward   it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”  Hebrews 12:6-11 “This   is   the   covenant   that   I   will   make   with   them   after   those   days,   says   the   Lord:   I   will   put   My   laws   into   their   hearts,   and in   their   minds   I   will   write   them,   then   He   adds,   Their   sins   and   their   lawless   deeds   I   will   remember   no   more.”      Hebrews 10:16-17 To   comprehend   the   Holy   Spirit’s   influence   that   is   actively   working   in   your   life…consider   how   you   would   have   responded to porn before you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord.  Because   you   have   God’s   spirit   living   within   you…you   have   an   increasing   desire   to   please   God…rather   than   fulfilling   the lusts of your flesh.  Realize…porn   is   a   lie…it   is   designed   to   destroy   lives   and   spiritually   kill…and   is   made   readily   available   by   Satan.      As such, it is important for you to identify and flee from the following: 1 . Images that sexually stimulate your flesh. 2 . Thoughts that cause you to rationalize that it is OK to watch porn. Give   prayerful   thanks   for   your   girlfriend’s   heart   because   she   also   seeks   God.      My   wife   and   I   will   soon   celebrate   our   40th wedding   anniversary.      Throughout   these   years   Jesus   Christ   has   been   the   center   of   our   lives.      Our   love   for   each   other continues   to   grow   every   day   as   we   both   seek   Him   in   every   aspect   of   our   lives.      We   pray   together,   we   laugh   together,   we cry   together…and   we   enjoy   each   other’s   presence   every   moment…because   as   we   seek   Him   in   our   individual   lives…we grow   together   as   one.     This   is   what   God   intended   when   he   designed   male   and   female.      God   also   designed   sex   between a   husband   and   wife   for   more   than   just   pleasure,   and   more   than   just   having   children…for   it   is   also   a   means   for   a husband   and   wife   to   bond   together   in   a   spiritual   manner   that   is   impossible   to   describe…but   is   experienced   deep   in   our heart, soul and spirit. My brother in Christ…do not allow porn to dilute this experience with your future wife. Heavenly   Father,   I   lift   up   Yabani   and   his   girlfriend   to   you   in   prayer.      Holy   God,   in   the   name   of   Jesus   Christ   our   Savior and   Lord,   I   ask   that   you   give   each   of   them   spiritual   wisdom   and   understanding.      I   also   ask   that   you   give Yabani   spiritual power   to   overcome   his   fleshly   desires   as   he   seeks   more   of   You   in   his   life…and   less   of   himself.      And   if   it   is   your   will   for Yabani   and   his   girlfriend   to   marry…I   ask   that   you   richly   bless   them   in   all   aspects   of   their   marriage.      Thank   you,   Holy Spirit,   for   guiding   us   into   His   truth.      Thank   you,   God,   for   chastening   us   when   we   sin.      Thank   you   for   Your   grace,   and   for Your love, and for Your Son, Jesus Christ…because we are forgiven. God Bless You Yabani. Before   I   conclude,   I’d   like   to   introduce   you   to   a   video   by   C.J.   Mahaney   called   “What   Guys   Think About   Modesty.”      It   is   a powerful   statement   that   is   real,   raw   and   where   the   rubber   meets   the   road.     Although   written   for   both   men   and   women   in the church, it clearly articulates the temptation and struggles Christian men encounter. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=17&v=2n-NWbd3pis&feature=emb_logo Spiritual Learning Exercise Read the scripture below then answer the following questions. “And   if   your   eye   causes   you   to   sin,   pluck   it   out   and   cast   it   from   you.      It   is   better   for   you   to   enter   into   life   with   one   eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.”  Matthew 18:9 Did Jesus mean we should literally gouge out our eyes?  If yes, how many of us would not be able to read the words on this page? If no (which is the correct answer): o Why would He make this declaration? o What is the spiritual truth and relevance? o How should we respond? “For   all   that   is   in   the   world—the   lust   of   the   flesh,   the   lust   of   the   eyes,   and   the   pride   of   life—is   not   of   the   Father   but   is   of the   world.      And   the   world   is   passing   away,   and   the   lust   of   it;   but   he   who   does   the   will   of   God   abides   forever.”      1   John 2:16-17 My   brother   in   Christ…I   pray   you   are   able   to   overcome   by   the   power   of   God’s   grace;   and   that   your   spiritual   life   grows beyond anything you thought possible.  For He alone is worthy. Give God the Glory! Harold D. Thomas
Home Home  Home Home
This   writing   is   intended   for   Christian   men—all   males   in   their   early   teens   to their    late    years    in    life    who    struggle against    the    flesh—especially    sexual lust.      It   is   also   appropriate   for   women in    that    it    will    help    in    understanding      what    men    go    through.        But    what’s more,    this    writing    is    real,    raw    and revealing   because   it   explores   the   area   where   the   “rubber meets    the    road,”    and    where    men’s    faith    interacts    with inappropriate thoughts and behavior. Temptation    is    defined    as    an    enticement    to    gratify    the desires   of   our   flesh   by   disobeying   God’s   word.      The   sixth commandment    states    “You    shall    not    commit    adultery.” Exodus   20:14       Prior   to   Jesus   walking   on   earth   it   was considered   OK   to   “ogle   and   not   touch.”      However,   the words    of    Jesus    exposed    the    hidden    thoughts    of    men, revealed   God   is   interested   in   the   attitude   of   our   heart,   and set   a   Godly   standard   for   Christian   men   when   he   said   “You have   heard   that   it   was   said   to   those   of   old,   ‘You   shall   not commit   adultery.’   But   I   say   to   you   that   whoever   looks   at   a woman   to   lust   for   her   has   already   committed   adultery   with her in his heart.’”  Matthew 5:27-28 His   words   are   truth…and   we   know   they   are   truth   deep within    our    heart,    soul    and    spirit.        Because    when    we lustfully   look   through   our   eyes   at   a   woman   (men…own   up to   it)   we   are   imagining   adulterous   thoughts.      For   some, lust   can   be   a   continuous   obstacle   to   Christian   growth,   and replaces   joy   and   peace   with   guilt   and   shame.      But   know one   thing…guilt   and   shame   are   a   good   thing…because these   emotions   are   intended   for   those   who   are   born   again as     spiritual     chastisement.          This     experience     will     be explained in more detail later. “For   we   do   not   wrestle   against   flesh   and   blood,   but   against principalities,    against    powers,    against    the    rulers    of    the darkness   of   this   age,   against   spiritual   hosts   of   wickedness in the heavenly places.”  Ephesians 6:12 Satan   knows   man’s   weaknesses   and   has   been   actively changing   our   culture   and   “acceptable   behavior”   during   the past   few   decades.      For   example,   I   can   remember   many years   ago   when   porn   was   only   available   in   out-of-the   way “seedy”   retail   stores.     These   stores   were   culturally   frowned upon   and   often   faced   legal   challenges   for   their   existence.   Thereafter   pornographic   publications   began   to   show   up   in convenience   stores—but   placed   on   shelves   inaccessible by   children   and   wrapped   in   protective   packaging.      Today it’s   only   a   click   away—easily   accessible   to   all   (including children)    due    to    the    successful    efforts    of    principalities, powers,   rulers   of   darkness   of   this   age,   and   spiritual   hosts of      wickedness—thereby      significantly      increasing      the chance   of   men   turning   onto   a   slippery   path   of   destruction and spiritual death. The   influence   and   impact   of   easy   access   to   porn   has   been studied   by   the   Barna   Group.      Started   in   1984,   the   Barna Group    is    widely    considered    to    be    a    leading    research organization    focused    on    the    intersection    of    faith    and culture. In   2016   the   Barna   Group   began   a   nationwide   study   of teenagers,   young   adults,   Americans   in   general   as   well   as pastors—more   than   3,000   interviews   in   total.      Their   study revealed   a   multitude   of   insightful   information.      However, one     aspect     stands     out     amongst     the     others—the percentage     of     Christian     males     that     are     considered frequent   porn   users   (or   those   who   seek   porn   daily,   weekly and monthly): 41% of Christian males between 13 and 24 23% of Christian males 25 years and older Source: https://www.barna.com/research/porn-in-the- digital-age-new-research-reveals-10-trends/ Temptation = Deceptional Lie Jesus     referred     to     Satan     as     “a     murderer     from     the beginning,   and   does   not   stand   in   the   truth,   because   there is   no   truth   in   him.      When   he   speaks   a   lie,   he   speaks   from his   own   resources,   for   he   is   a   liar   and   the   father   of   it.”   John 8:44 Satan   is   a   master   liar.      He   is   capable   of   making   a   lie   look like   truth,   and   truth   look   like   a   lie.      What’s   more,   he   can also   tell   the   truth   and   a   lie   with   the   same   words—all   with the   intent   of   causing   spiritual   death.      By   knowing   the   sinful nature   of   man—including   man’s   thought   processes   and areas   of   weakness—he   creates   and   positions   deceptional “bait”   for   men’s   eyes.      His   goal   is   to   stimulate   our   fleshly desires   by   (1)   misdirecting   our   thoughts,   (2)   causing   us   to look,   and   (3)   contemplating   lustful   behavior.      Thereafter, whether   or   not   sin   occurs   is   based   upon   a   free   will   choice.     A     Christian     male     will     either     spiritually     fight     off     the temptation, or fall victim. There    are    6    separate    stages    of    temptation,    which    are depicted below. Stage 1 Misdirection: In   magic,   misdirection   is   a   form   of   deception   in   which   the   performer   distracts   someone’s attention    (without    their    awareness)    to    the wrong    place    so    that    the    magician    can perform the “sleight of hand.”  Misdirection    comprises    the    initial    stage    of temptation—when   our   attention   is   distracted from   whatever   we’re   focused   on—and   is   visually   directed towards   something   that   does   not   align   with   God’s   word and His will. Stage 2 Interest: This   is   when   our   mind’s   attention   is   increased   upon   the object   of   our   distraction,   our   curiosity   kicks   in,   and   we want to know more. Stage 3 Engagement: During    the    engagement    stage    we    are    locked    in.        We mentally   contemplate   and   assess   what   we’re   focused   on.   Our   mind   will   imagine   deriving   benefits   or   pleasure   from whatever   we’re   considering;   and   our   physical   body   may become aroused. Stage 4 Battle: The   first   three   stages   can   occur   within   a   fraction   of   a moment    of    time—so    quickly    that    it    is    possible    to    be spiritually   unaware   of   what’s   going   on.      But   those   who know    the    truth…those    who    have    been    touched    by    the grace   of   God   and   has   been   forgiven…will   find   there   is   a struggle   going   on   within   their   heart,   soul   and   spirit.      This   is when   a   Christian—who   desires   Jesus   more   than   fulfilling the   desires   of   their   flesh—will   realize   and   recognize   their impure thoughts and inappropriate behavioral response. “No    temptation    has    overtaken    you    except    such    as    is common   to   man;   but   God   is   faithful,   who   will   not   allow   you to   be   tempted   beyond   what   you   are   able,   but   with   the temptation   will   also   make   the   way   of   escape,   that   you   may be able to bear it.”  1 Corinthians 10:13 When   in   the   midst   of   struggle   a   Christian   will   be   given   a way of escape.  It may consist of: A small voice saying “stop now and run.”  An image in your mind of what to do.  A   feeling   deep   within   your   spirit   that   screams   “THIS IS WRONG, STOP LOOKING!” Immediately   obey   these   instructions.      Once   you   begin   to turn    away    you    will    be    able    to    gain    control    over    the temptation—and      your      flesh—through      prayer,      citing scripture,    and    remembering    the    painful    consequences from   past   failures   as   you   distance   yourself   from   the   source of temptation. If    the    way    of    escape    is    not    followed…the    flesh    will continue   to   gain   control   over   the   situation   until   its   desires are fulfilled. However,   it   is   important   to   realize…it   is   by   God’s   grace…it is   by   the   death   of   His   Son…and   it   is   by   your   belief   in   what Jesus   did   for   you   on   the   cross…you   are   forgiven.      But   you must   admit   and   confess   your   sins   to   God.      However,   to live   life   as   God   intended…you   cannot   live   under   His   grace and continue to sin. Every   Christian   encounter   various   types   of   sin   in   their   life; and    each    Christian    must    ask    themselves    the    following questions: Is the sin worth it? What do I want in this life and thereafter? Do I desire to be free from the bondage? Sometimes   it’s   not   easy   to   make   a   free   will   decision   and   a commitment.      However,   consider   the   truth:   the   emotional, spiritual    and    eternal    rewards    far    exceed    the    collateral damage that occurs when living a deceptional lie. One     of     two     possible     results     will     occur     from     every temptation: victory and life, or sin and death. Stage 5 Victory or Sin This    stage    defines    two    possible    paths    one    may    follow based   upon   the   success   or   failure   of   the   battle   in   stage   4.     One will walk away in victory, the other will fall. For those who are victorious: “Thanks   be   to   God,   who   gives   us   the   victory   through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  1 Corinthians 15:57 “You   are   a   chosen   generation,   a   royal   priesthood,   a holy   nation,   His   own   special   people,   that   you   may proclaim   the   praises   of   Him   who   called   you   out   of darkness into His marvelous light.”  1 Peter 2:9 For those who sin: “And   this   is   the   condemnation,   that   the   light   has   come   into the    world,    and    men    loved    darkness    rather    than    light, because   their   deeds   were   evil.      For   everyone   practicing evil   hates   the   light   and   does   not   come   to   the   light,   lest   his deeds should be exposed.”  John 3:19-2 Stage 6 Life or Death Jesus   said   “The   thief   does   not   come   except   to   steal,   and to   kill,   and   to   destroy.      I   have   come   that   they   may   have   life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”  John 10:10 For    those    who    are    victorious,    recognize    God    alone    is worthy   of   praise   and   glory   for   what   was   accomplished.   Our   flesh   has   a   propensity   for   pride,   and   desires   praise and   recognition.      However,   your   ability   to   overcome   that which    once    controlled    you…is    because    of    His    mercy, grace,   truth   and   love.      Bottom   line,   we   can’t   do   this   without Him. “Not   unto   us,   O   Lord,   not   unto   us,   but   to   Your   name give   glory,   because   of   Your   mercy,   because   of   Your truth.”  Psalm 115:1 “For   you   were   bought   at   a   price;   therefore,   glorify God   in   your   body   and   in   your   spirit,   which   are   God’s.”     1 Corinthians 6:20 Besides…think   about   it…did   you   find   God…or   did   He   find you? “For   the   eyes   of   the   Lord   run   to   and   fro   throughout the   whole   earth,   to   show   Himself   strong   on   behalf   of those whose heart is loyal to Him.”  2 Chronicles 16:9 “My    son,    give    me    your    heart,    and    let    your    eyes observe my ways.”  Proverbs 23:26 “Trust   in   the   Lord   with   all   your   heart,   and   lean   not   on your own understanding.”  Proverbs 3:5 “Blessed    are    the    pure    in    heart,    for    they    shall    see God.”  Matthew 5:8 For    those    who    sin,    consider    the    consequences    and collateral damage: Feeling of darkness and separation from God Your emotions (shame, remorse, guilt) The questioning of your spirituality and faith You know: o You missed the opportunity to please God o He still loves you…regardless True   changes   to   man’s   heart   and   soul   begins   with   the realization   God   draws   us   to   Him   with   love—and   not   by overbearing    dictatorial    mandates.        Dictatorial    mandates may   drive   compliance,   but   it   will   also   create   a   hardened heart.      We   know   what   is   right   and   wrong   and   have   been given   free   will.      As   such,   God   desires   a   man’s   heart   that willingly seeks Him for who He is. The Garden In   Genesis   chapter   3,   the   interaction   between   Satan   and Eve   in   the   Garden   of   Eden   provides   an   excellent   example of    the    6    stages    of    temptation.        What’s    more,    Satan’s method   of   operation   (a   masterful   use   of   deception   and   lies to   facilitate   the   first   3   stages)   has   not   changed   throughout time. “And   the   Lord   God   commanded   the   man,   saying,   ‘Of   every tree   of   the   garden   you   may   freely   eat;   but   of   the   tree   of   the knowledge   of   good   and   evil   you   shall   not   eat,   for   in   the day   that   you   eat   of   it   you   shall   surely   die.’”      Genesis   2:16- 17 Adam    and    Eve    were    in    the    Garden    of    Eden,    blissfully living   in   the   presence   of   God.      However,   there   was   only one   restriction—to   not   eat   the   fruit   from   one   tree—the   tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Stage 1 Misdirection The   serpent   asked   “Has   God   indeed   said,   you   shall   not eat   of   every   tree   of   the   garden?”      This   question   caused Eve    to    stop    whatever    she    was    doing    and    redirect    her attention   towards   the   forbidden   tree.      Satan   could   have asked   the   question   with   specificity   (i.e.   Did   God   say   you shall    not    eat    of    this    tree?)—which    could    have    been answered    with    a    yes    or    no.        However,    by    asking    the question   that   included   all   trees   in   the   garden,   her   answer required    more    thought    and    explanation—which    caused her attention to focus upon the forbidden tree. “And   the   woman   said   ‘We   may   eat   the   fruit   of   the   trees   of the   garden;   but   of   the   fruit   of   the   tree   which   is   in   the   midst of   the   garden,   God   has   said,   you   shall   not   eat   it,   nor   shall you touch it, lest you die.’” Stage 2 Interest “Then   the   serpent   said   to   the   woman,   you   will   not   surely die.”     These   words   provide   an   example   of   Satan’s   ability   to deceive.      God’s   word   defined   the   consequences   if   they disobeyed—they   would   die   (spiritually   and   not   physically).   Satan   attacked   the   authority   of   God’s   word   by   saying   you will   not   die   (which   is   both   a   lie   and   truth).      It   is   a   lie because    they    would    die    spiritually.        It    was    also    true because   they   would   not   physically   die.      Remember,   Jesus called    Satan    a    murderer.        Spiritual    death    is    Satan’s primary objective, followed by physical death. Satan   then   said   “For   God   knows   that   in   the   day   you   eat   of it   your   eyes   will   be   opened,   and   you   will   be   like   God, knowing   good   and   evil.”      The   opening   of   the   eyes   and   the knowledge   of   good   and   evil   upon   consumption   are   true.   However,   the   words   of   “you   will   be   like   God”   leverages man’s   sinful   desire   to   be   equal   to   God—which   is   the   same distorted    perception    that    caused    Satan    to    be    banished from Heaven.  So,   Eve   has   been   misdirected   (in   stage   1)   and   now   and looks   at   the   tree   from   a   different   perspective   (stage   2).   Her   interest   is   increased   because   there   may   be   potential benefits to be gained. Stage 3 Engagement “The   woman   saw   that   the   tree   was   good   for   food,   that   it was   pleasant   to   the   eyes,   and   a   tree   desirable   to   make one   wise.”       Eve   was   locked   in   (fully   engaged).      Her   eyes looked   closely   at   the   tree   as   she   mentally   contemplated the benefits that could be experienced by eating the fruit. Stage 4 Battle There   was   no   battle   in   Eve’s   heart,   soul   and   spirit;   she   did not   reflect   upon   God’s   single   commandment;   and   there was     no     consideration     of     the     consequences—which exemplifies   our   thought   processes   before   we   were   born again. Stage 5 Victory or Sin “She    took    of    its    fruit    and    ate.        She    also    gave    to    her husband   with   her,   and   he   ate.”       There   was   no   victory,   only sin.      They   both   disobeyed   the   one   and   only   thing   God   told them not to do.  Stage 6 Life or Death “Then   the   eyes   of   both   of   them   were   opened,   and   they knew   that   they   were   naked;   and   they   sewed   fig   leaves together   and   made   themselves   coverings.     And   they   heard the   sound   of   the   Lord   God   walking   in   the   garden   in   the cool   of   the   day,   and   Adam   and   his   wife   hid   themselves from   the   presence   of   the   Lord   God   among   the   trees   of   the garden.”      Adam   and   Eve   spiritually   died.      They   attempted to   hide   both   their   nakedness   and   themselves   from   God.   This   is   a   common   response   when   we   sin—in   that   we   want to run and hide from God, and do not want His presence. “Then    the    Lord    God    called    to   Adam    and    said    to    him, ‘Where   are   you?’      So,   he   said,   ‘I   heard   Your   voice   in   the garden,   and   I   was   afraid   because   I   was   naked;   and   I   hid myself.’     And   He   said,   ‘Who   told   you   that   you   were   naked?     Have   you   eaten   from   the   tree   of   which   I   commanded   you that   you   should   not   eat?’”      Be   assured   God   knew   what happened   and   He   knew   where   they   were.      However,   He needed to confront their sin. “Then   the   man   said,   ‘The   woman   whom   You   gave   to   be with   me,   she   gave   me   of   the   tree,   and   I   ate.’     And   the   Lord God   said   to   the   woman,   ‘What   is   this   you   have   done?’   The   woman   said,   ‘The   serpent   deceived   me,   and   I   ate.’”   Adam    and    Eve    attempted    to    pass    the    blame—which provides   additional   evidence   they   transitioned   from   light   to darkness—which    has    been    passed    down    through    all generations.     This   behavior   is   demonstrated   by   very   young children   when   they   are   found   by   a   parent   doing   something they’ve   been   instructed   not   to   do.      All   of   us   can   relate   to the following: Mother:    Did    I    tell    you    not    to    eat    cookies    before dinner? Child: Yes. Mother:   Did   you   eat   some   cookies?   (Cookies   are   still in the mouth.) Child: No. Our   sinful   nature   is   to   deflect,   pass   blame,   or   lie   when we’ve   been   caught.      This   is   often   demonstrated   in   reality TV shows such as Cops.  Officer: Is this your backpack? Man: Yes. Officer: Mind if I look inside? Man: Well…OK. Officer: Are these your drugs? Man: No.  I don’t know how they got in there. True    repentance    can    only    begin    when    we    take    full responsibility and accountability for our mistakes in life. Spiritual Radar A   military   will   use   radar   as   a   means   to defend   against   potential   attacks.      In   a similar    manner,    Christians    will    use “spiritual   radar”   to   sense   something   is wrong,      inappropriate,      or      has      a potential       to       quickly       turn       into temptation.          Spiritual     radar     is     a protective   and   defensive   awareness   that   occurs   when   a Christian   man   determines   they’re   fed   up   with   their   sin; they’ve   had   enough;   they’re   no   longer   going   to   put   up   with it; the costs are too high and they will no longer tolerate it.  “Head   them   of f at   the   pass”   is an     idiom     that means             to p    r    e    v    e    n    t      someone     from reaching           a certain   point,   to intercept       and redirect.      It   was often    portrayed in            cowboy westerns   as   the good           guys would          jump onto   their   horses   and   aggressively   ride   off   to   stop   the   bad guys before they could do harm. Spiritual radar is comprised of: Guarding eyes and ears. Actively   looking   for   indicators   of   “slippery   roads”   and “risky paths” (‘cause been down them before). Willing to take a different route if needed. Taking a defensive position to: o Eliminate    attempts    by    the    enemy    to    “cross    the line.”  o Minimize the chance of encountering misdirection. However, spiritual radar: Is dependent upon power from the Holy Spirit. Is   facilitated   in   knowing   in   Christ   we   have   weapons   to destroy     the     adversary     (prayer,     scripture,     divine intervention,       and       support       from       like-minded Christians). o “I   can   do   all   things   through   Christ   who   strengthens me.”  Philippians 4:13 o “Not   by   might   nor   by   power,   but   by   My   Spirit,’   Says the Lord of hosts.”  Zechariah 4:6 Heart Revealing E-Mail I   occasionally   receive   emails   from   persons   in   various   parts of    the    world    who    visit    my    website.        One    person,    a Christian    male    from    Nigeria    (whom    I    will    refer    to    as Yabani,   not   his   real   name),   read   Body,   Heart,   Soul   and Spirit   and   confided   he   was   struggling   with   porn.      He   also mentioned    that    he    is    in    a    serious    relationship    and considering     marriage.          The     following     is     my     email response.  Hello Yabani … Thank   you   for   expressing   your   open   heart.     Addiction   (any addiction)   can   harden   person’s   heart,   poison   the   soul,   and separate us from the joy and peace of living in God’s will.  Yabani…it    is    important    for    you    to    understand    you    are chosen    and    blessed    by    God.       The    fact    that    you    have experienced   guilt,   shame,   remorse,   and   pain   from   your addiction…means    the    Holy    Spirit    is    actively    working    in your life.  We    know    He    loves    us…we    know    His    will    is    best    for us…and   we   know   we   are   forgiven…but   when   we   fail…it hurts   deeply   on   the   inside.      The   Holy   Spirit   uses   guilt, shame,   remorse,   “internal   pain,”   plus   the   removal   of   peace and His presence as a means to: Chasten (punishment). “Write” His laws on our heart. “For   whom   the   Lord   loves   He   chastens,   and   scourges every   son   whom   He   receives.      If   you   endure   chastening, God   deals   with   you   as   with   sons;   for   what   son   is   there whom   a   father   does   not   chasten?      But   if   you   are   without chastening,   of   which   all   have   become   partakers,   then   you are   illegitimate   and   not   sons.      Furthermore,   we   have   had human    fathers    who    corrected    us,    and    we    paid    them respect.      Shall   we   not   much   more   readily   be   in   subjection to   the   Father   of   spirits   and   live?      For   they   indeed   for   a   few days   chastened   us   as   seemed   best   to   them,   but   He   for our   profit,   that   we   may   be   partakers   of   His   holiness.      Now no    chastening    seems    to    be    joyful    for    the    present,    but painful;    nevertheless,    afterward    it    yields    the    peaceable fruit   of   righteousness   to   those   who   have   been   trained   by it.”  Hebrews 12:6-11 “This   is   the   covenant   that   I   will   make   with   them   after   those days,   says   the   Lord:   I   will   put   My   laws   into   their   hearts, and   in   their   minds   I   will   write   them,   then   He   adds,   Their sins   and   their   lawless   deeds   I   will   remember   no   more.”   Hebrews 10:16-17 To   comprehend   the   Holy   Spirit’s   influence   that   is   actively working    in    your    life…consider    how    you    would    have responded   to   porn   before   you   accepted   Jesus   Christ   as your Savior and Lord.  Because   you   have   God’s   spirit   living   within   you…you   have an   increasing   desire   to   please   God…rather   than   fulfilling the lusts of your flesh.  Realize…porn   is   a   lie…it   is   designed   to   destroy   lives   and spiritually   kill…and   is   made   readily   available   by   Satan.     As such,   it   is   important   for   you   to   identify   and   flee   from   the following: 1 . Images that sexually stimulate your flesh. 2 . Thoughts   that   cause   you   to   rationalize   that   it   is   OK   to watch porn. Give   prayerful   thanks   for   your   girlfriend’s   heart   because she   also   seeks   God.      My   wife   and   I   will   soon   celebrate   our 40th   wedding   anniversary.      Throughout   these   years   Jesus Christ   has   been   the   center   of   our   lives.      Our   love   for   each other   continues   to   grow   every   day   as   we   both   seek   Him   in every   aspect   of   our   lives.      We   pray   together,   we   laugh together,    we    cry    together…and    we    enjoy    each    other’s presence   every   moment…because   as   we   seek   Him   in   our individual   lives…we   grow   together   as   one.      This   is   what God   intended   when   he   designed   male   and   female.      God also   designed   sex   between   a   husband   and   wife   for   more than   just   pleasure,   and   more   than   just   having   children…for it   is   also   a   means   for   a   husband   and   wife   to   bond   together in   a   spiritual   manner   that   is   impossible   to   describe…but   is experienced deep in our heart, soul and spirit. My    brother    in    Christ…do    not    allow    porn    to    dilute    this experience with your future wife. Heavenly   Father,   I   lift   up Yabani   and   his   girlfriend   to   you   in prayer.      Holy   God,   in   the   name   of   Jesus   Christ   our   Savior and    Lord,    I    ask    that    you    give    each    of    them    spiritual wisdom    and    understanding.        I    also    ask    that    you    give Yabani   spiritual   power   to   overcome   his   fleshly   desires   as he   seeks   more   of   You   in   his   life…and   less   of   himself.     And if   it   is   your   will   for   Yabani   and   his   girlfriend   to   marry…I   ask that   you   richly   bless   them   in   all   aspects   of   their   marriage.   Thank   you,   Holy   Spirit,   for   guiding   us   into   His   truth.      Thank you,   God,   for   chastening   us   when   we   sin.      Thank   you   for Your   grace,   and   for   Your   love,   and   for   Your   Son,   Jesus Christ…because we are forgiven. God Bless You Yabani. Before   I   conclude,   I’d   like   to   introduce   you   to   a   video   by C.J.   Mahaney   called   “What   Guys Think About   Modesty.”      It is   a   powerful   statement   that   is   real,   raw   and   where   the rubber   meets   the   road.     Although   written   for   both   men   and women   in   the   church,   it   clearly   articulates   the   temptation and struggles Christian men encounter. w - NWbd3pis&feature=emb_logo Spiritual Learning Exercise Read    the    scripture    below    then    answer    the    following questions. “And   if   your   eye   causes   you   to   sin,   pluck   it   out   and   cast   it from   you.      It   is   better   for   you   to   enter   into   life   with   one   eye, rather   than   having   two   eyes,   to   be   cast   into   hell   fire.”   Matthew 18:9 Did Jesus mean we should literally gouge out our eyes?  If   yes,   how   many   of   us   would   not   be   able   to   read   the words on this page? If no (which is the correct answer): o Why would He make this declaration? o What is the spiritual truth and relevance? o How should we respond? “For   all   that   is   in   the   world—the   lust   of   the   flesh,   the   lust   of the   eyes,   and   the   pride   of   life—is   not   of   the   Father   but   is of   the   world.      And   the   world   is   passing   away,   and   the   lust of   it;   but   he   who   does   the   will   of   God   abides   forever.”      1 John 2:16-17 My   brother   in   Christ…I   pray   you   are   able   to   overcome   by the   power   of   God’s   grace;   and   that   your   spiritual   life   grows beyond   anything   you   thought   possible.      For   He   alone   is worthy. Give God the Glory! Harold D. Thomas
Home Home