I am dying

There is a malaise that grips my soul. A poison which wends its way 'round the chambers of my heart. I am not one to usually bear my wounds on my sleeve, and even less keen to share the ones which go beyond skin-deep.

So why do I write this then?

Simply because I do not think God will lose. In fact, I know that God will win.

Lose what? Win what? You should ask.

The battle for my soul, my mind, my heart, my body... all of me.

Yes, there is a battle going on... and even as I say that I know God will win, I cannot say that I have yet experienced that victory. Not on this battlefield.

I am talking about the battle for sexual purity. And I am dying in this battle.

Time and time again, I watch pornography. Time and time again, I diminish a female into simply her body and nothing more. Time and time again, I let my gaze linger on the flesh for just another moment, and then another, and then another... all the while there is this quiet voice inside me, that at that moment, I just wish would truly be quiet. There are many things this quiet little voice says to me, but in times like these, it is one word that often I hear again and again... "Fight."

I will not mince my words. Every experience of the worldly pleasure of the flesh has sliced sinews of my soul off. In this battle for my sexual purity, I have become a most emasculated, a most maimed soldier.

And so every time I am confronted by sexual temptation, particularly in regards to pornography, something like this scene plays in my mind. I enter that quiet room in my soul where I host God, and I find that Satan is leaning on the doorway, waiting. He was chatting with God, but now he turns to me.
"Oh, is this the one you were talking about?" He gestures lazily at me.
"Yes." God simply replies.
"You know... he looks reallyyy familiar. AH!" He snaps his fingers as an evil glint enters his eyes. "He most definitely came to pay me and my friends a visit last night. Or was it this morning? Or 5 minutes ago? Hard to keep track really."
"I know what he's done."
Satan scoffs. "And still you call this one your son..? A precious child of yours..?"
"Go now, Satan."
A snort, but Satan does push himself off the doorframe, making to move away. But before he does, he turns and smiles at God. "You've an even softer spot for losers than I thought!"
Now he walks, striding towards me, and wraps an arm around my shoulder, pulling my ear close to his mouth.
"Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic."
And then he is gone.

Now I stumble across the doorway, my knees suddenly weak and my breath ragged. The weight of my sins and all the wrong I've done have turned my soul to lead. I trip and fall face-first on to the ground, and when I pick myself up, it's through tear-blurred eyes that I see God kneeling in front of me. His arms are extending to me.

"My son," He says, "come here."

I shuffle closer, and then His arms encircle me. Now I cannot help but cry and cry as the weight of a thousand and one sins is lifted as God holds me close. Lead turns to gold to light and it is a torrent now, of tears and thoughts, and wails where words simply fail.

"Why..?" I eventually manage, choking and sputtering the word out. "WHY?! Send me away, God. I don't deserve this love. I'm not even sure I want this love. Even if I say I do, nothing in my actions reflects that I actually do. Just... send me away. Everything Satan said is true... I'm sorry.. but he's right." I hang my head. I really am pathetic.

There is sadness on God's face now, but still, he smiles. "Mark, what Satan said about what you did is true. But what he said about who you are is not." Now my head lifts a little. God rests his hands on my shoulders.

"You are not pathetic. You are precious. Precious, to me." As the words enter my ears and sink into my soul, deep calls to deep, and something stirs viscerally. This... this is truth. And though I am this close to being undone again, I manage to say... "Even after all I did..? And all I might still do..? Against you, Father... you would still call me your own, your precious son?"

God smiles even more fully now and nods. "Remember... even while you were yet a sinner, I sent Jesus to die for you. You are loved, my dear son. And you are fully forgiven." God holds out a closed hand, clasping a scroll. "I have a mission for you today, Mark. Will you accept it..?"

I peer at the scroll. I can't see what's written on it. Then I peer at God's face. I can see what's written on it, unbelievably.


Hope.

Here is one who hopes, who believes that good may yet come of me. In spite of all the pornography, the objectification, the lust, the lies, the failures... there is hope.

My hand is shaking, but I put it forward, palm up. "Yes, God. I'll do it. I'll accept this mission."
He smiles and lays the scroll in my hand. I open it up and read the words there, "I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead." (Philippians 3:10-11) I stare at the words, and they stare back.

"Mark... will you suffer and die as Jesus did for me... and will you believe that I can raise you from the dead?"


"I..." There is a painful lump in my throat, and an even greater one in my soul. RUN NOW, a voice screams out. RUN RUN RUN, for only pain and trial and misery await you on this path.

"I..." My breathing is more shallow. I find that one of my feet has stepped back. RUN, you fool... what kind of stupid and un-fun and unnecessary decision is that!

That loud and clanging voice seems to be making more and more sense. But hadn't I just said I would accept God's mission a few moments ago? Somehow those words of certainty seemed far far away now.


"I'M NOT STRONG ENOUGH! "I WANT ALL OF IT." I manage to look God dead in the eye for a moment before it is too much and my gaze drops to the floor. But still my yelling continues, "What this world has, the pleasures that others so joyfully experience, I want it all. I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry... I'm not strong enough." And then I'm running, tripping over myself, but anything and everything in my power, I'm rushing out of that room.

"Mark."

It is a quiet voice, now. My last foot is just about to cross out of the doorway. I turn back, and God is there, holding an open hand out to me. "I know."

My eyes glare and an angry flare lights up in them, silently shouting "What could you possibly know?!"

"I know that you're not strong enough. And I know what it is that you want." His voice rings loud and clear. It is not of the same volume as my yelling of before, yet the words resound with a greater impact.  Then, his voice drops to a gentle whisper. "But I am strong enough. Stronger than the world. And I know what it is that you truly need, my son."

And there I stand, perched in the doorway of my soul, with a choice to let heaven in or to run away to hell.

"I'm sorry, Lord..." I whisper pathetically, as I hastily back out the door and close it. The hypocrisy that splashes onto my soul is acrid, bitter. I call this one Lord, and yet I run from him, deny him? The sadness in God's eyes as I closed that door on him bores into me. But before I can examine the damage and severances to my soul, I find that I am surrounded by the pleasures of the flesh, soothing and sedating. There is no problem. There is no problem. There is no problem.

Or is there?

I think that what Satan would want me to think is that there really isn't a problem. But if there really isn't a problem, then why would I write this? If I truly believed that I would never experience God's victory in the area of sexual purity then why would I bother writing this? I know (or at least I think I know) the risks of writing something like this, but what really is at risk..?

I am dying, after all.

And clarity has come upon me as to the courses of action I might then take. One, I can live the remaining life I have left enjoying all the worldly pleasure I want. Perhaps with enough pleasure of the flesh or whatever else Sir Satan brings my way, I will indeed find my soul inoculated from the pestering cry of that still small voice that says...

Fight. Suffer. Die. And yet, after it all... be reborn in My name. To say no to the pleasures of pornography of the worldly pleasures of the flesh, in the belief that they do not and cannot ever satisfy. And to believe that God alone is not only capable but willing to satisfy... fully, truly satisfy my soul. Life, and life abundantly as Jesus promised, a realizable possibility.

Friends, maybe there are more like me, ones who realize that you are dying, too. Possibly, you also say that you know God has won, will win, in this fight for sexual purity.. but those are just words to you now, and not a truth of lived experience. That's where I am now.

So, here I am, bloody, bruised, fragile... having earned badges upon badges of failure. Yet, God so help me, I'm choosing to stand back up. And I will fight for Him in this battlefield of sexual purity. I'm not a saint, I'm not even a soldier at times. But I am a son. A son of God, a God who hasn't given up on me, or you, so far be it from us to give up on Him.

I haven't tasted God's victory over sexual purity yet, but I know that doesn't take away from a God who is victorious, even over death itself. So yes, I'm dying... but with a God who's already beaten death that calls me His own..? I look forward to the times where I can really choose and trust Him to bring me into real living.

Perhaps, by His grace and mercy, this very day, this very hour, this very glance of the eye, this very internet window... I might say that indeed I die, but because of who God is, I truly live.

Comments

  1. Forgiven as you confess... press on brother, towards the wrestle with God, and wrest the blessing from Him... for He is willing and waiting to bless as He prepares you to face Him, putting 1 foot at a time towards Him, shoving against Him and realize the perfect work He have done in you.

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  2. Thank you bro! 1 John 1:9 :) Amen to God's willingness to bless even as He prepares us to face Him.

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  3. Thank you for this beautiful article. I almost shed tears at your description of God's manner towards us. Came at a very right time for me as I also struggle badly with this issue, and it does help to be reminded that there is always hope, even if it may not come for a while yet. Keep close to God, and He will see us through.

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