In my particular ministry calling, my passion is to help men develop an authentic personal relationship with Christ, and help them understand the significance of meeting consistently with other men for the purpose of deeper spiritual growth and accountability. This requires an approach to ministry that is very relational and very intentional, and the reasons for this are obvious.
In many cases, even the best traditional efforts to minister to men in the most effective ways, still fall short with respect to addressing the real needs of men, and providing a genuine path of healing for them when caught in the power of deception and the snares of their wounds.
When thinking about our own deceptive behavior as men, we tend to think in very narrow and technical terms. Our own selfish interest and rationalized thinking erases any feelings of guilt or concern for the need of accountability. This narrow view of deception helps us maintain a positive self-image, and makes it easier to mislead others. Our deception of others and even ourselves will go unnoticed.
Deception for the most part is not just telling outright lies, but is most effectively accomplished by what is being left unsaid. A close friend in ministry once told me that deception will be normal behavior if you believe that you are free to live your life unnoticed by God and the enemy of your soul.
"See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ." - Colossians 2:8
The enemy knows our weaknesses as men and uses them to deceive us in very creative and enticing ways. There is something inside of us that wants to believe our deception is acceptable or even true. We all struggle with temptation as men, but the enemy will deceive us to give in to temptation and hold us in bondage to our sin... self-deception.
The tragedy of self-deception is that we do not even know when we are self-deceived; if we did, it would not be deception. When this happens we find ourselves on a downward spiral of moral decay.
When one digs below the surface of the wounded and broken areas of men’s lives, deception will become exposed. Today there is one particular deceptive issue inflicting major casualties, doing more damage than any other issue… sexual addiction.
Astounding numbers of men, both Christian and non-Christian, are struggling with an addiction to on-line pornography. They feel alone and deeply wounded with fear and shame. Consequently they don’t know how to break free from the chains that hold them captive, and therefore live a life enslaved to this deceptive “drug” of choice.
This issue has reached epidemic proportions and has become all too common in my ministry work with men. It is devastating almost every area of men’s lives, while destroying marriages, families, and careers. Trust has been shattered and relationships have been broken. This is not the way it was meant to be.
Sexual addiction and on-line pornography is a symptom of broken masculinity, that requires us as men to explore the deeper heart issue of inordinate passions and misplaced spiritual hungers. In order to do this we will need to be intentional, doing whatever it takes to break through the barriers created by pride, ego, and denial, and boldly fight to defeat our self-absorbed isolation, deception, and shame.
"The need today is for a company of overcoming saints who know how to wage war for the release of those under the enemy's deception." - Watchman Nee
Simply trying harder to resist temptation or making a commitment to change your behavior is not enough. God is not interested in behavior modification, only heart transformation, and the critical issue of sexual addiction is deeply rooted in the heart.
“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.” – Matthew 15:19
The good news is that Jesus came to transform our hearts and to bring freedom to those held captive. Only by working together as men, will we be able to break the chains and win this battle for purity. The journey will not be easy, but the first step is being vulnerable enough to reach out to another trusted brother in Christ for help. Your healing begins at that very moment, and God will use every barrier along the way as an integral part of building the bridge of grace to your freedom.