Naming Dying

deathWe are deathly afraid of dying.

Many years ago when we moved off of our farms and were no longer conscripted to go to war, we stopped seeing things die. With the advent of penicillin and surgeries and chemotherapy and x-rays we became good at not dying…for a little while. As our babies stopped dying as often and our older people lived longer and longer, we stopped thinking of dying.

That is not to say that we stopped dying. All of us die. We just decided not to think about dying.

This was easier for a little while. With sickness and dying segregated away in hospitals and nursing homes, we could ignore them. This worked well enough for a while, but with the advent of the internet and the 24 hour news cycle, dying has been brough back into our faces. When a young man walks into a school and shoots children, we see it. When hundreds of West Africans die of ebola, we see it.

Many of us try to ignore it with much success. You can ignore death for decades of your life. But one day, one very uncomfortable day, death will find you. You will look into the eyes of a doctor who will tell you that you are going to die. Even when you run from it, death will find you.

Even though this reality if frightening, it is not one God has left us alone with. The Bible has a great deal to say about death.

Death is Bad

This may seem obvious, but I have heard Christians argue that death is good. This concept is foreign to scripture.

And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” Gen 2:16-17

Death is a curse, a consequence of rebelling against God. When we weep over the death of a child or the loss of a parent, we are right to do so. We were created not to die, but we do. This is tragic.

Additionally, throughout scripture, death is considered a punishment for sin and foolishness. The greatest crimes in all societies are punished with death. We deeply connect guilt with death because God made us that way.

Humans Live Beyond Death

The author of Hebrews says it this way.

Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, Hebrews 9:27

Even when we die, our souls live on to be judged by the God who said we would die.

God Died to Take our Judgment

It is not just that we die because of our sins, God chose to die because of our sins too. When he said, “You will certainly die” it applied to him as well.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. Romans 5:6-9

Far from being a cruel God who judges with no mercy, our God has chosen to suffer for us and to suffer with us.

So What?

As Christians, we need to not put our heads in the sand, pretending that our death is not coming. Quite the opposite, we need to be acutely aware of our deaths.

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 1 Thes 4:13-14

We are called be live as those who have hope. When we secretly deny death we are clinging to this life as if it were the only life we had. The myth we believe is that we can keep this life for even a little while. Sooner or later, maybe even tonight, we may die.

But think of the freedom of not fearing death. Imagine for a moment how free to go out into a dark world and do good. If there really is an eternal and wonderful future with Jesus before us, how free we are today to give ourselves to a dying and dark world.

Christian, think often of your death. Don’t run from it. It will probably be painful and frightening, but imagine suffering through it to walk out the other side and look into the eyes of Jesus. The pain you feel in death is the last pain you will ever feel. Let’s not live as those who have no hope. Let’s embrace the hope we have and harness it to take risks in the world we live in today.

Might as well, we’re going to die anyway.

-Chip

 

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As I Lay Dying

car accidentI never saw the ice.

Awakened by a tapping on the window, I look around. My head is bloody and resting on the door of the car, which is resting on the ground. The steering column is pressed against my chest. Each breath is very painful as I feel several broken ribs grinding on each other. My legs are pinned to the floorboard while a pool of blood begins to fill the broken glass to my left as the driver’s side window rested on the snowy ground.

Tap Tap Tap…

I look up across the width of the car too see a face looking down to me.

“I’ve called 911, there help coming for you man. Hang in there.”

I recognized the face of the trucker who had done his best to avoid hitting me. His face now showed grave concern. He had no way to get to me and I imagine I looked terrible.

Another agonizing breath.

I know I’m in trouble. I have a lot of blood coming out of my arm, my head is swimming. It will take them some time to get me out, probably too much time. My thoughts drift to Sam and the kids, what they will do without me. How will they be financially, emotionally, spiritually? Who will walk Rosie down the aisle at her wedding? Who will shovel the driveway? Who will support my boys through the disappointments of life?

I begin to panic. I need to survive. They need me. They need me to survive this. Yet a quick look at the blood I am losing reaffirms my belief that I am certainly dying.

“Sir,” I said weakly.

“Yeah man, I’m here.”

“I need you to tell my wife something.”

“Now don’t go talking like that. You’re gonna make it. You’re gonna tell her it yourself.”

“Shut up! I need you to remember this.” I yelled weakly. “I need you to tell her that I love her and that I am so sorry I can’t walk through life with her.” I inhaled with a harsh gurgling sound. “I need you to tell my boys that I love them and that I am proud of them.” Another painful breath. “I need you to tell Rosie that I have loved being her Daddy and that she is so beautiful.” Another breath, this one came a little easier. “Promise me you’ll tell them.”

“Dude, I don’t need to tell them. You’re gonna tell them. You’re gonna come out of this.”

“Promise me you’ll tell them.”

“OK, I promise. Now you tell me that you’re gonna make it.”

I was going to make no such promise. The reason for my pessimism was the same reason for the urgency in his voice. In our hearts, we both knew I was, in fact, not going to make it.

I saw some blue and red flashes on the man’s face and he quickly left to direct them to me. I passed into unconsciousness…

It is a strange sensation to die. The pain begins to fade as my grip on this world loosens. It is more pleasant that I would have anticipated before. The grinding of my ribs fades to obscurity. As my physical eyes close, I begin to have another sense. An awareness of things that must have always been there, but indiscernable.

It is like sight, but not like it. There is awareness of direction of things, of a beauty to the worlds that I missed before. It is like seeing the significance of something directly. Before I would use a poem or a painting to show me what I could not see, now I see it.

This is most acute with persons. I can feel the paramedics coming toward the car and I can see them. Not their bodies, their spirits. I see the man whose exhausted from a long shift and wishes he was home. There is another younger man who is excited to be on a real accident site for the first time. I can see the apprehension and guilt of the truck driver who is questioning whether this was his fault.

What is striking though, is the crowd of people there I hadn’t seen before. Thousands of them, tens of thousands. They stood in a wide half-circle looking at me. Sweet expressions of anticipation. They had been waiting for me. Waiting with excitement.

I recognized a young and beautiful woman toward the front. “Grandma Brushaber,” I said.

She smiled and nodded. I had never seen a soul smile along with a face before.

Looking over the crowd, I saw them. So many faces I recognized. Souls I recognized. Nanny, Jean Viar, Miss Quincy, Grandpa Gruver, and a vibrant and healthy Joshua Gruver.

It was strange to see Joshua’s childlike delight in the whole affair. While much of the crowd was somber and serious, he was honestly thinking of jokes about how I had found such a dramatic way to die. It was strange because the jokes were actually hilarious.

The other striking feature was the brilliance of the lights. So many lights. They were so crisp and bright.

“Grandma Hanson, I know what you meant when you talked about the lights!” I said. She smiled sweetly back at me.

But I knew there was someone missing.

“Jesus?” I said.

“We’ve come to bring you to him,” said a genial Danish relative who had prayed for me before I was even born.

It was then that I realized my body was still speaking even as I struggled to leave it. A paramedic had climbed down into the car with me and was doing his best to stop the bleeding. I couldn’t hear his words, but his urgent heart screamed, “Don’t you die on me. It’s not time to go to Jesus yet.”

But he was wrong. It was time.

Joshua and Grandma Brushaber helped me out of my body. I was a bit unsteady, but they are magnificently strong, not wavering a bit even though I am taller than both of them. We walked together as the crowd parted to allow me to pass.

Then he arrived. A small man, not taller than five and a half feet, came running through the crowd. He was obviously middle eastern, but even more obviously the God of all things.

He jumped to me and hugged me with an intensity I could never have imagined. Even though I could not see his eyes in our embrace, I could feel his heart. He loved me like I love my little baby children. It is a sweet and intoxicating love. It shouted off my soul and echoed back to his.

We may have embraced for a second or a thousand years, I couldn’t tell. But I had something I had to ask.

“Jesus, what about Sam and the kids. They need me.”

He answered with some words that I don’t remember, because what mattered was how concerned he was for them as well. He was worried for them too. It was not the desperate worry of the powerless but the delighted concern of one who can act. He was concerned for them and would make sure they were cared for. That was good enough for me.

“Let’s go meet our Father,” he said, “He has been looking forward to having you home.”

We walked through a bright doorway into a place that words don’t describe. It’s not because words haven’t been made to describe it, it is because words cannot be made to describe it. The place was like an explosion of joy filled an enormous room and kept bouncing from soul to soul and back to the God who started it all.

We walked together with Jesus occasionally stopping to tell me how happy he was that I was with him. I was struggling to understand why he kept saying that. Why would he be so happy to see me? I am the one who got to be happy to be with him.

As unimaginable as the place is, it is a pale gray shadow compared to the Spirit in the center.

He is magnificent of all magnificence. Even with my new eyes, I needed to shade them from his intensity. As Jesus approached him, I could feel the vibrating energy between them. It was just on the edge of being seen. It moved in an eternal and endless dance between them.

Of course that energy was not a thing, but a part of God himself. No one will ever see that mysterious Spirit, but his quiet presence is everywhere.

“Daddy, I want to bring you one of your boys. This is Chip.”

It was like watching a seemingly endless sea of joy breaking into a storm. The delight that Daddy felt at me being there was so…wrong. Why would he be so happy to have me? I am the one who is lucky to have him. I am the prodigal and he is the Father and Older brother who are delighted to have me back.

Questions like that do not last long in this place. There is simply too much to experience to think overly long about myself. Even as I bathed in those opening moments of Heaven, I knew I had an eternity left to explore this place and this God.

And that is how long it will take.

-Chip

Count Vicegrim’s Letters: Chapter 9 Sabotage

The Count Vicegrim LettersThe Demon Mudpot’s Annual Review regarding the Temptation of the Patient in His 23nd Year

Mudpot,

Stop telling me about the wedding. I know they are grotesque. I get it. The filthy vermin celebrating as two of them begin bonding. That insufferable bond. The Enemy really does unfairly handicap us by creating such an environment for exposing sin and learning to love. If he had any sense of fair play, he would not have created marriage.

What matters much more to me is what things you did at the wedding to start disintegrating relationships. The pressure is so intense on all parties that this is an opportunity to drive life-long wedges into relationships. Normally, it is more difficult with the couple getting married, but you can often build tensions into the relationship with each vermin’s in-laws.

Of course, because you didn’t write about this, I’m sure you didn’t take this opportunity. How typical of you!

On to your review.

Successes

Sometimes, even you trip over a good idea. You have begun to define what “in love” mean to your patient in a most helpful way.

You really have two options. You can define love in terms of only feelings. One is “in love” as being emotionally pleased with the other vermin. One is only “in love” when the feelings and desires are there. Once the feelings are gone, even for a moment, then one is “out of love.” The advantages of this are numerous. It is much easier to justify divorce with this definition of love. One of the great delights of being a tempter is to hear your patient say things like, “God would want me to be happy” as if divorce is the way to one’s happiness.

The other path is to describe love as a choice that is devoid of any feeling. “Love is an action” is often used to describe this. It speaks of love only in terms of commitment and honor. It is much harder to get these couples to divorce but the serious unhappiness they live in is nearly as good. It takes a special kind of denial to say that love does not need any feelings. Of course, the vermin are specially good at being in denial. The fact is, love is both commitment and feelings. It is both definitions at different times. That is why you need to convince your patient that it is either of them (we don’t particularly care which one) so that he will exclude the other one. Sometimes the miserably married Christian does almost as much good for us as the divorced one.

Your choice of having him define “in love” as exclusively a feeling is good. His personality lends itself to this error. Now your work must be to make sure he falls “out of love” as soon as possible. I noted that you mentioned he has a tendency toward depression in your last update. Why haven’t you mentioned this before!? No one is more out of love than a depressed man. More on this later.

One key to making him fall “out of love” is to exploit any native differences of personality between your patient and the female. Work so that both  feel that the differences are all because of bad intentions. With your patient’s existing selfish bent, make sure he is walking in the door and expecting her to care for him. If you can start with that, soon there will be a buffet of delights waiting for you. Moping, complaining, sexless marriage, depression, etc. The list is endless if you can make him wholly entitled to her time and attention.

I was pleased to hear how you have kept his mother as a closer confidante’ than his wife. This is great. Make sure that his wife knows of it and that she embittered by it. If you play this right, he can then be upset with his wife that he “has a good relationship with mom.” Never let him see that this is a sign that he does not trust his wife.

Failures

You have been writing me for this many years and have never once mentioned that your patient is prone to depression. Mudpot, I don’t need to ask for everything. You need to give me valuable information like this. We could have been exploiting this for many years now. I have instructed an associate of mine, Count Peacefail, to offer you some private tutoring on how to appropriate cause and manifest depression. He is one of the subtlest tempters I know with causing despair in the vermin.

I shall briefly review some of the material that Count Peacefail will teach.

The keys to despair are two-fold. First, you must convince your patient that a melancholy feeling is actually a sin in and of itself. As if sadness were wrong. This is obviously foolish because even the Enemy feels sadness and pain, but claims never to sin. This can add to the existing sadness when he is repenting of being sad at all. What is important about that is that he keeps staring inward into his soul and not looking outward at the Enemy. Additionally, he will be busy repenting for how he feels and not about the real cause of his despair (should that cause be sin).

The second key is to search for a cause for his sadness outside of himself. The key to maintaining despair is that he continue feeling that he is the victim of the sadness and has little to do with the cause. This is bolstered significantly if he has believed that sadness itself is a sin. As long as he is looking for who to blame for his despair, he will not look at his own soul to see if he is lacking trust in the Enemy.

What we must avoid, Mudpot, is that he will feel accepted by the Enemy in his despair? That is the path to the Enemy. If he feels accepted he will trust the Enemy and might pray and read the Enemy’s Book. He may find passages where other men and women were deeply distressed and the Enemy rescued them. He might seek real assistance from the church. He might avail himself of the graces that the Enemy provides.

So he must constantly feel that the Enemy is outraged at him. That way, he will always shy away from addressing the Enemy and seeking real help. I will let Peacefail address more specific strategies for your patient.

Overall, I am pleased with your progress this year. Together, we may be able to bring this dangerous patient down.

-Count Vicegrim

Image created by Cavin and used with permission

Porn and the Christian Guy: Part 12, The Beginning of Hope

Hope is pretty illusive. Many times looking at my heart with its dark dry cracks, I saw no reason to believe there was life under there. The creeping guilt constantly gnawed at me to give up and enjoy the filth I loved. A quiet inner voice saying, Just look at the porn. Why fight it? I knew I would never be free of it. Wouldn’t it be better to at least enjoy the beautiful naked women without all of this nagging guilt?

Alas, my heart was hard and cracked, but God had placed life there that simply must break through. The green leaves of it pushed through again and again despite my ongoing temptation and failure. It was God who would not let me go. He had given me that life and he would see it through.

That is the nature of hope. I do not hope that Chip Gruver is such a good chap that he would never walk away from God. I hope in a God who loves me and won’t let me go. In that vein, I want to share with you reasons for you to hope. Don’t trust in yourself, that is hopeless. Trust in Jesus who loves you, there is hope beyond imagining in Him.

Have Hope Knowing God is Patient with You

A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not quench,
until he brings justice to victory;
and in his name the Gentiles will hope.” Matthew 12:20-21

We gentiles need a special promise to have access to a God who specifically chose the Jews for himself. God was very kind to us to send Jesus and give us hope. Are you bruised and and bending under the weight of your sin? Good, Jesus will not break you. In fact, in the name of a Jew (Jesus) we will have hope.

Have Hope Because All Sins Will be Forgiven

“Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.” Mark 3:28-30

Usually these verses are a source of fear. We ask, “have I committed the unpardonable sin.” That is a topic for another day, but look at that small phrase at the beginning. “All sins will be forgiven the children of man.” Your sin is gross. That vile feeling in your gut is justified. But Jesus knew that there would be a sinner like you and he didn’t flinch to say that those sins can be forgiven. And not just some of them, all of them! 

Have Hope When Your Heart is Heavy

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30

Many times we feel these unbearable burdens because they are, in fact, unbearable. Sometimes we struggle to carry things that only God can carry. I often try to carry my own sin. It crushes me because I was never strong enough to hold it up. Jesus, on the other hand, is very strong. He is gentle and kind. He will walk with you. There is real rest with him.

Have Hope Because a Weak Person Like You is God’s Kind of Guy

But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:27-31

God is not impressed by those who have it all together. He is here to get glory from losers like you and me. He is going to show the world that weak and foolish men like us can be used to show how magnificent he is. Are you weak, foolish, low, and despised? Great! God is looking for you.

Hope in Jesus Alone

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:13

There are two options, Jesus and hopelessness. If you are trying to get better without Jesus, you will die in despair. So what if you beat porn and rot in hell? No, hope only in the grace of Jesus. If you are trying to win God over with good behavior sexually, I promise he isn’t impressed. Don’t try to win him over, stand next to Jesus who has already won him over. Right next to Jesus is the most hope filled place in the universe.

-Chip

Porn and the Christian Guy: Part 9, Puddles of Grace

Grace can come to us in so many ways. Many times, we shake our fist at the sky only to find out later that God was being exceptionally loving to us in that time. We can be short sighted, but God loves us anyway. He knew what he was getting in to when he saved us.

In the song God Moves in Mysterious Ways, William Cowper famously wrote:

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face

Today, I hope to show you the smile by exploring all of the Graces of God that he us pouring out for you. He is sometimes stern, but he is not cruel. Walk with me, I hope to give you hope.

Puddles of Grace

The first source of grace is this blog. I think that God has sent me to write this for you so that I can comfort you with the comfort I have received from Christ (1 Corinthians 1:3-5). Not that I speak God’s words, but I believe God has had me write these words and for you to read them. God loved you enough to bring you to this puddle of grace.

The second puddle of grace is the new resources available to you. Covenant Eyes,  recovery groups, and the new openness of the church to discuss these issues, all of these things are new graces of God for you.

Lakes of Grace

You know that sick feeling you have after you look at pornography. That filthiness that clings to your heart. That incessant scream of your conscience that you are defying God. That is God’s grace to you. Not everyone has that. In fact, I think it is rare. The majority of men you talk to about porn will wonder why you think it is a problem. God chose to leave your conscience intact. This is a profound grace to you. You conscience may seem like a cruel enemy, but he is really the servant of a loving God who is not letting you go.

Along with your conscience, consider that hurt look in you wife’s eyes. That pain that you have caused her. That constant reminder that you have failed and wounded the woman you love. That is God’s grace to you. Your foolish heart wants to believe that sin is OK. It wants to just enjoy the pictures and pretend nobody is getting hurt. God is using her to remind you that this is serious business. He won’t let you lie to yourself and pretend it is all OK. He loves you too much for that. This is a lake of grace for you.

There are also those times that God takes you and he beats you until you listen. He will take away you job, your health, your peace, and your joy. He loves you too much to leave you complacent. He will take everything he needs to away until you obey. This, dear brother, it the hand of a loving Father. It hurts now, but it pays off. This is a lake of grace for you.

Oceans of Grace

God wrote you a letter. It’s a big one, but you were in mind when he wrote it. The whole Bible is a letter from God to you. It has grace for the circumstance you are facing. The Bible is an ocean of grace and truth. There are promises there that will hold you strong when your temptation is at its worst. God loved you so much, he place you in a nation where there are more Bibles than people.

Not only did he write you a letter, but he left you with his phone number. God saved you and wants to listen to you. He has an ocean of grace to pour on you at need. Sometimes he gives you only what you need, not more. But even that is him loving you better than you know how to be loved. Trust him.

The Cross. I don’t think in a billion years we will yet understand the magnitude of what Jesus did for us on the cross. He was fully punished for my sins and he gave me his full righteousness. If I were to walk into Heaven, I would smell so much like Jesus that the locals would know I belonged. God loved a couple of screwups like you and I so much that he sent his son to die. Not only to die, but be punished for crimes he didn’t commit. Amazing grace!

So, in all of the pain of the circumstances you are facing. Look hard at the face of God and, if you are careful, you can see his slightly upturned lips. He might look like he’s frowning, but he is really setting you up for oceans of grace.

-Chip

Porn and the Christian Guy: Part 4, How do I stop looking at Porn?

what can i doThe story of an addict goes something like this. You find some porn. You seek out porn. You take risks to get more. Relationships and work start to suffer. Your conscience begins to pound hard on you. This thing that you can’t live without is making you MISERABLE!

Then you get caught. What you feared the most has happened. You promise this person (who is invariably your wife) that you will never do it again. You are resolved and certain of a porn free future…until the following night. You start secretly looking again. It gets worse and you are the same old addict you were before, but it is now it is crucial that you don’t get caught. The spiral continues.

You get caught again.

Now what do you do. The promises don’t work any more. Maybe you should try a new plan.

This story has been retold in millions of marriages. Some of the details change, but the plot is eerily similar. If you are in that place, there is hope for you. Are you ready to begin? Recovering is a painful journey, but IT IS WORTH IT!

1. Repent to God 

The person you have most offended is God. Imagine if you were married to the President’s daughter and were looking at nude pictures of his other daughter. That is what you just did to the God of the Universe. Remember that your confession to Him must be thorough, specific, and gutwrenching. He is angry about what you have done but He also loves you very, very much. There is forgiveness for you in repentance.

2. Tell your wife.

Now, I should note that this rule applies to everyone except you. You are the great exception to this one. Seriously, if I met your wife, I would give you a pass. She will be hurt and you really love her and wouldn’t want to see her hurt. You are just that kind of guy who loves your wife that much.

Or you are just a coward who is unwilling to confess what you have done to her.

I will concede that there may be exceptions to this rule. You aren’t one of them. You have sinned against her in a very personal way. She deserves to know as much as she wants to know. Jesus felt that lust was equivalent to adultery (Matthew 5:28) and she deserves to know. Man up and tell her.

Also, when you tell her. you are forbidden from blaming her for any of this. She may have refused sex to you for a decade but this is still your sin and she deserves an unqualified apology.

Pro Tip: One of the things no one ever tells you about confession is how much better you feel when it is over. You don’t know how much weight you are carrying until it falls off your shoulders. Trust me, there is a lot more joy there for you when you confess this to God and your wife!

3. Find and join a good recovery group.

If you were going to beat this on your own, why haven’t you already. Don’t lie to yourself! There is no amount of motivation that is going to get you to quit this destructive behavior without the support of a recovery group. Remember that the Church is believers working together to grow closer to Jesus, so a Christian recovery group is you harnessing the power of the body of Christ. Use it.

Let me phrase it another way. If there was a tool to help you recover from your addictive pornography problems, wouldn’t you be a fool to ignore it. If this was a pill you would take it. Swallow your pride and join a group. If that group is no good, find another one. Some groups aren’t any good. Keep searching until you find a helpful group of men to support you.

A good rule of thumb is that you confess to your wife but she is NOT part of your accountability. She has been through enough and should not be in the position of asking you how you are doing. You do the work and tell her how you are doing and some other guy can be the one who holds you accountable.

4. Get Covenant Eyes on your computer.

There is an excellent piece of software out there called Covenant Eyes. It is internet monitoring software that sends a scored list of the websites you listed to your accountability partners. It is pretty sensitive and will catch you if you visit pornography on that computer.

One objection I hear sometimes is, “But Chip, what about my privacy.”

The real question is whether you really want to give up porn or not. Without monitoring, it is very unlikely that you will be successful in your recovery. If you don’t want to do the hard steps to getting better, you won’t get better.

5. Be Encouraged

The reason you are reading this post is that you ARE doing something. You are learning how to recover from a life with pornography. Most men never get to the point of even looking for help. You may have a long way to go, but be encouraged that you are taking the first steps.

One final note. I have not mentioned the Christian disciplines. None of the above options will help you at all without practicing prayer, Bible reading, and regularly meeting with Christian brothers. You will only beat pleasure (pornography) with a stronger pleasure (knowing Jesus). This will be the topic of a later article and I will explore it more then. This article is the first aid. The Christian disciplines will be your path to good health.

Have hope. There is good reason to hope.

-Chip

Up Next:  My Husband Keeps Looking at Porn, What Should I Do?

But God

There is an important part of any addict’s journey where they look into their soul and know that it is not in them to quit. There is a profound sense of hopelessness yet this moment is essential to their recovery. Alcoholics Anonymous which is famous for it’s 12 Steps see this reality as well. The first step is to recognize that you are powerless (hopelessness) and steps two (recognize you need a higher power) and three (makes a decision to turn our lives over to God) are where hope is restored.

Fortunately, God gave us much more than Alcoholics Anonymous ever had to offer.

“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience — among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

But God,

being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ, by grace you have been saved, and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” (Eph 2:1-7)

Our journey is not just one where we reach out to God in our desperation, but one where God reached for us first and brought us to desperation for Him! This is a dance and God is in the lead. So have hope, you are in a dance with a God who is “rich in mercy.” God is not shocked by your sin. Reading these verses, I don’t think much harsher language could be used about the state of our souls.

BUT GOD is very patient with us and He has “made us alive in Christ.” He is giving us the “immeasurable riches of His grace.” Immeasurable means A WHOLE FREAKING LOT of grace. There is enough grace for you today. Have hope, my friends, have hope. In Jesus there is rock-solid hope.

-Chip