The first in a series of 12 blogs answering anticipated objections to material set forth in A Way of Escape, i.e., the first in a series of 12 blogs answering anticipated FAQs.
OBJECTION #1 (of 12)
With the best of intentions, the church leader cries out, “Neurology, limbic systems, and music videos? Whoa! You’re unnecessarily complicating the issue with a lot of peripheral, non-biblical stuff. All a believer needs to do is read his Bible more. And pray harder.”
A spot-on message—if the audience for this message has never set foot in the porn pit. Pre-emptive strikes are well suited for that audience.
MORE HARM THAN GOOD
But for the believer who is suffering from a porn addiction, this message will likely do more harm than good. Here’s why. The recipient of this message has been given hope—hope from no less than a respected, long-time Christian leader in his church. “This has got to work,” the addict reasons. “It’s counsel coming from one of the wisest counselors in my church.” But when the failures continue (as they will, since the problem has now gone neural), he will experience increased levels of shame and worthlessness. When the expert counsel of a respected church leader does not help, hope begins to fade. Worse yet, if hope is lost, he is likely to sink even deeper into his habit.
TAILORING THE MESSAGE
The Internet. And its free and easy access to websites featuring high-definition video clips of all types of sexual behavior. We are dealing with temptation at probably the highest and most dangerous level in human history. Temptation that can so quickly and easily become an addiction. To develop a successful Bible-Based Escape Plan, we need to be referencing Biblical passages that deal with addiction.
There is Biblical Precedent for tailoring a message to one’s audience. Paul modified his Jewish-oriented message to better fit his Gentile audience at Mars Hill in Athens (Acts 17:16-34). We should also modify our message to better fit our audience, and its affliction.
ROMANS 7: THE ADDICTION CHAPTER
Romans 7 is the Bible Chapter on addiction. The addict’s frustration is on full display in verses 15-25, and particularly in verse 19: Then hear the non-biblical definition of addiction. And how eerily similar it is to the biblical definition found in Romans 7:19.
BIBLICAL: For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice (Romans 7:19).
NON-BIBLICAL: One of the surest indications that an individual is suffering from an addiction (alcohol, cocaine, nicotine, or porn) is their inability to stop using their “drug” of choice, even when aware of the negative impact it is having on their life.
ROMANS 8: THE ANTIDOTE CHAPTER
Romans 8 is the Bible Chapter with the “walking in the Spirit” antidote. This chapter includes three mentions/allusions to “walking in the Spirit” in just the first 13 verses:
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not WALK according to the flesh, but ACCORDING TO THE SPIRIT (Romans 8:1).
That the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not WALK according to the flesh but ACCORDING TO THE SPIRIT (Romans 8:4).
For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if BY THE SPIRIT YOU PUT TO DEATH THE DEEDS OF THE BODY, you will live (Romans 8:13).
WALKING IN THE SPIRIT
The next logical question: “How does one ‘walk in the Spirit’?” A Way of Escape picks up from here with six examples of what it looks like to “walk in the Spirit.”
Reading the Bible and prayer head the list. But both are words-only (non-limbic) events that, for the addict, are largely ineffective against the limbic attacks of the flesh (think emotional, visual). As strange as it sounds, reading the Bible more and praying harder are not the answer for the addict, once the problem goes neural. The countless Bible-reading-and-praying Christian sufferers that have sought accountability-based help for their addiction confirm this truth.
The four remaining examples of what it looks like to “walk in the Spirit,” as set forth on page 66 of A Way of Escape:
· The palpable heart-tugs felt during the pastor’s “nailed it” sermon last Sunday
· The lump in the throat during the missionary’s slide show the week before
· The Drama Team’s moving skit last Easter
· The choir’s rendition of a favorite hymn that always brings a tear
In each of these latter four visually oriented, emotion-charged examples, the believer/viewer is, at least for a brief time, walking in the Spirit. During these times it is impossible to fulfill the lust of the flesh. It is impossible for the choked-up and teary-eyed to fulfill the lust of the flesh, while the Holy Spirit is tugging on their heart (Galatians 5:16):
I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).
A GAME-CHANGING BOOK HAS ARRIVED
In A Way of Escape, readers learn how replacement behaviors (e.g., watching limbic-friendly, Spirit-saturated music videos) can be used to rewire the brain. Readers learn how to step up the degree to which they “walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16). They learn how to build a library of Spirit-anointed, flesh-diffusing apps. Apps that are uniquely fitted to them, and their unique Spirit-filling triggers (Ephesians 5:18b-19).
The still-struggling now have another option. The still-struggling now have fresh hope for discovering that long-sought-after way of escape from sin and temptation (I Corinthians 10:13). A way that—because it is wholly Spirit-powered—does not require enlisting the aid of an accountability partner or group. Truly, a game-changer!