I know first hand the devastation of sexual sin. After spending 23 years as a false convert and a self-righteous hypocrite – while engaged in all manner of immorality, adultery, and sexual sin – I can relate all too well to the naive fool in Proverbs 5-7. There are so many warnings in scripture that I now see and appreciate with perfect 20/20 clarity – unfortunately in hindsight. More than that, however, I have come to know the grace, love and forgiveness of God that is greater than all my sin. And yet, though I am forgiven, I will spend a lifetime picking up the pieces of the broken, hurt and wounded relationships that my sin has caused. It will take years to regain trust; this is the reality of my sin. Now, although I have a head full of Bible knowledge, I’m learning what it means to truly walk with Jesus.
I’m learning for the first time what it means to “humble myself under the mighty hand of God,” when my entire life before was about promoting myself. I’m learning what it means to “walk in holiness,” when before I had “eyes full of adultery.” I’m learning what it means to “speak the truth one to another,” when before my lips were filled with lies and deception. I’m learning – day by day – what it means to love my wife as Christ loved the church, to die to myself, and depend on the grace of God and walk in the Spirit. Before these were mere cliches with no heart. I’ve often told people since the Lord saved me that I feel like a master mechanic who had all the tools and manuals – and had read them all – and yet never actually got his hands dirty and worked on a car. I had all the knowledge, but no heart – “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” I was a pretender, a play actor – a hypocrite.
A big part of my new life in Christ is learning to renew my mind – to put to death that which is earthy, prideful and sensual in my mind. It’s a battle! It’s a daily battle to submit my mind to Christ and seek Him – to “think on these things,” that are pure, lovely, etc. I have spent a tremendous amount of time in the Scripture – not to puff myself up – but to get to know Jesus. I love the Psalms. I have spent much time in Proverbs, seeking “skill in living.” I’ve been amazed – truly amazed – at how the Scripture articulates my utter dependence on the Spirit of God in order to walk pleasing to Christ. And yet I keep fumbling along too often trying to do it in my flesh. I am far from perfect, but by the grace of God, I’m not the man I used be. And I know without a shadow of a doubt, that apart from Christ, I am a lying, deceiving, manipulative, immoral adulterer and arrogant glory-hog. That is who I am truly am. I’m not “it.” I’m not God’s gift. I’m not the great guy I used to pretend to be. I’m nothing: weak, ignorant and unimportant.
And I know God loves me. I know that in Christ, I am “accepted in the beloved,” not for who I am or what I’ve done, but because God accepts me “in Christ.” I am so thankful for the righteousness of Christ, because I have nothing to offer of my own but putrid, bloody menstrual rags of my filthy self-righteousness.
I’ve also read and listened to a lot of things online – about marriage, humility, battling sin, overcoming sexual temptation, restoration, forgiveness, and being a godly husband. I have so much to learn! Here are a few of the resources that have been helpful to me.