I used to think the purpose of the journey of recovery from sexually addictive behaviors was to reach a point where life was easy. Not that there wouldn’t be any problems at all, just that they wouldn’t bother me, or tempt me, or mess up the picture of success in my mind. After nearly 13 years on this journey, I have wised up. It’s not about ease at all. It’s about faith.
Maybe you have heard this statement, “God is more interested in your character than your comfort.” I’ve heard that said a thousand times over the years. Intellectually, I would assent. Emotionally, I would balk. Practically, I would resist. I want comfort, man! I want the easy way, the way that doesn’t require faith. But God is more interested in my faith than even I am sometimes. And He is faithful to lead me on a journey where I trust less and less in what I can see and more and more in what He says.
For years I never saw the connection between my porn/sex addiction and “walking by sight.” The truth is porn lures us into a life of only sight – literally! It’s all about our eyes; what we can drink in, consume, lust over. Sight, sight, sight. Ironically, such “sight lust” only blinds us to faith, for faith doesn’t originate in the eyes, it starts in our ears.
“…faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” Romans 10:17
We need good ears to live by faith. But we live in a world so filled with “visual noise” that sometimes the still, small voice of the Lord gets drowned out. And if you’re consumed with compulsive sexual thoughts, it’s even more difficult to hear His voice. But this doesn’t mean He won’t be faithful to continue inviting you out of a life of sight into a life of faith. I have certainly seen His faithfulness to this in my life.
As I don’t have nearly the struggle I used to with sexual lust, I do still have plenty of areas in which I “walk by sight.” One such area is finances, especially concerning our ministry. I get stressed. I wring my hands, anxious about whether bills will be paid or programs will be fully funded. I let my “eyes” determine everything; my attitude, my focus, my attention to people’s needs, program direction, everything. My faith gets drowned out because my sight is telling me, “It’s impossible! We can’t go on. What’s your contingency plan? Doesn’t God care? The sky is falling, the sky is falling!” I close off my ears to the gentle whispers of God in favor of only what my eyes can see.
Now, a life of faith isn’t one of complete blindness, but we are instructed about the very specific object our eyes are to focus on in our journey of faith: Jesus. And this instruction is particularly encouraging to those of us with a propensity for addictive sin.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. ” Hebrews 12:1-3
“Fixing our eyes on Jesus.” What a beautiful picture, except for the fact that I don’t know what He looks like! Ah, yes, I almost forgot, it’s about faith. Although I can’t literally “fix my eyes” on Jesus, I can “see” through God’s Word who He is and how He walked. And I soon discover that the singular mark throughout His earthly life was that He walked by faith. He said, “…Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does… By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.” (John 5:19, 30) So sight isn’t excluded from faith, but it does matter what our eyes are “fixed on.”
Let’s close our eyes to the things that keep us from hearing the transforming voice of our heavenly Father. When we are looking at anything other than Jesus, we are bound to eventually get off track from the abundant life only He offers. Sure, the road isn’t always easy, but wherever the Lord leads is certainly headed in the right direction, for He is good and only does what is good for His kids. And when you hit those rough patches, instead of letting your eyes feast on all that promises to comfort but only introduces doubt against God’s best, instead open your ears and let the unfailing Word of God lead you through. Because where we’re headed is a beautiful place, even if we can’t see it yet…
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18