Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Ambush of Internet Sex: Step Two Toward Healing--The Place





In my last post HERE, I made it clear that we need to establish first and foremost whether or not someone addicted to Internet sex is wholeheartedly willing to give up their problem.  As strange as it may seem, one often chooses to take the easy road and remain in a crippling, damaging addiction.

This should not be a surprising place to start.  Even Jesus needed to begin at this place, surprisingly.  For example, when Jesus was leaving Jericho and two blind men yelled out to Him for “mercy,” He still asked them, “What do you want me to do for you?” (Matt. 20:29-34)  If those two men had their sight, I could just see them look at each other quizzically as if to say, “Huh?  Uh…We want to SEE!  HellOOO?!”

Maybe some blind beggars would rather be blind and collect money than have their sight and not know what to do with their lives.  But that is not the case here.  Still, Jesus had to establish their motives publicly for all to hear because He was about to do something miraculous.  Once He had the go-ahead, He went for it.

And that’s where I want God to intervene in this post.  I want Jesus to GO FOR IT in bringing hope and healing to the Internet sex addict.  And the place where that healing occurs is in the mind.

The Bible uses the words mind, heart, and even soul interchangeably.  If you think about it, it does make sense.  The soul is known to be “the mind, the will, and the emotions.”  So you can see how all three words fit into that category.  For the purpose of this post, I want to suggest that the battleground of the spiritual warfare occurs in the mind.

We often say to people, If you want to go to heaven, you need to accept Christ in your heart.  Well, what does that mean, really?  That pumping organ in the middle of our chest?  Or are we describing that tender place inside each of us where we have emotions, passions, and longings.  All of those things are in our mind. 

My heart is not full when I’m in love.  My mind is.  It’s full of thoughts that make my knees weak.  Those thoughts make me feel good all over, especially in my chest and my gut.  That’s why since early history the heart is described as the seat of emotions and passions.  And that’s why a broken heart hurts us in our chest or our gut!

So our thought patterns dictate our feelings, even when we can’t recognize it.  If a young single woman sees a handsome, charming man who loves to read the same books she does, she may get butterflies in her stomach, but before that happens, all of that data registers in her mind—all of the “triggers” she prefers in a man.  Take away the triggers, you take away the butterflies.

What if the triggers get us in trouble?  What if we love the butterflies feeling so much that we pursue the triggers that set them loose?  Then we have a problem.

In the post HERE, I discuss the physiological action that occurs when our body readies itself for sex.  Dopamine is released and we get that euphoric feeling flush through our bodies.  One image of a nude body sends the blood pumping and the heart racing.  Our eyes have seen it, and the image is now seared in our mind’s memory bank.  For how long?  Can be for years.  So that whenever someone is feeling the urge to give in to their addiction, they pull that image from their mind’s memory bank.

Think of it as a juke box.  Each time someone goes on the Internet and explores things they shouldn’t (not only images but flirting and other interactions), they’re adding another CD to their juke box collection.  Some juke boxes are so full they’re breaking at the seams.  But when someone wants a particular blast from the past, that metal arm inside the juke box quickly slides out and grabs just the CD it’s looking for.

Remember “Amanda”?  See if you can feel her fear of her husband’s juke box:

“I will never know when my husband is bringing up images of other women he has watched online while he is intimate with me. Maybe it is rarely...maybe it is all the time. I will never really know. Even if my husband never saw another online pornography site in his life he has plenty of images stored in his head that can be used whenever it is needed/wanted.”

Maybe you are like Amanda’s husband.  Don’t you just want to take a sledge hammer to that darn juke box?  It’s not an easy thing to do it, but do you really want to carry on living like this?

It may not be possible to smash the juke box to smithereens, but it IS possible to let those CDs corrode from lack of use.  And the secret is in disabling that sliding metal arm—that mechanism that grabs those CDs and places them in the “play” slot. 

Victory in the mind is a victory of freedom.

Our goal here is total transformation “by the renewing of your mind” (Rom. 12:2).  “Renewing” means “making new again.”  This can only happen in Christ!  When we take the steps we need to take, Jesus does the rest.  But WE must do our part.  In our next post, I’ll suggest the tools to help you find victory in the battleground of the mind.  But I want to warn you, it’s not easy.  Yet it’s crucial.

For the serious addict who wants to change for good, get out of the boat and start walking.  Jesus is waiting for you on the water.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Ambush of Internet Sex: Step One Toward Healing--The Choice




“I have discovered that there is greater joy in serving the Lord than in the temporary pleasure of Internet sex, without any of the guilt and shame. Indeed, there is liberty only in Christ Jesus, my Lord.”       
     ~ "Scott," 53, who was set free four years
            ago from porn addiction.


Freedom is a choice.  The very first place to begin a journey of healing from the snare of Internet sex is choosing to be free.  “Scott,” whose name I changed for the sake of this post, made a choice that enough was enough.

But believe it or not, although Christians may say that they’re very ashamed of their actions, many are not ashamed enough to quit.  Even though they once fell in love with their Jesus.

Is that even possible?  The prophet Jeremiah found out.  God inspired him to write down these words in Jeremiah 2:1-13.  I cannot possibly not publish the entire passage.  It may be lengthy, but it is so very relevant to what we’re talking about in this series. 

The word of the LORD came to me: “Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem:
This is what the LORD says:

I remember the devotion of your youth,
how as a bride you loved me
and followed me through the wilderness,
through a land not sown.

Israel was holy to the LORD,
the firstfruits of his harvest;
all who devoured her were held guilty,
and disaster overtook them,
declares the LORD.

Hear the word of the LORD, you descendants of Jacob,
all you clans of Israel.

This is what the LORD says:

What fault did your ancestors find in me,
that they strayed so far from me?

They followed worthless idols
and became worthless themselves.
They did not ask, ‘Where is the LORD,
who brought us up out of Egypt
and led us through the barren wilderness,
through a land of deserts and ravines,
a land of drought and utter darkness,
a land where no one travels and no one lives?’


I brought you into a fertile land
to eat its fruit and rich produce.
But you came and defiled my land
and made my inheritance detestable.


The priests did not ask,

 ‘Where is the LORD?’
Those who deal with the law did not know me;
the leaders rebelled against me.
The prophets prophesied by Baal,
following worthless idols.

Therefore I bring charges against you again,”
declares the LORD.
“And I will bring charges against your children’s children.
Cross over to the coasts of Cyprus and look,
send to Kedar and observe closely;
see if there has ever been anything like this:
Has a nation ever changed its gods?
(Yet they are not gods at all.)

But my people have exchanged their glorious God
for worthless idols.

Be appalled at this, you heavens,
and shudder with great horror,”
declares the LORD.


“My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”


The first thing that stands out in this passage to me is how hurt the Lord feels.  Now this may throw off some Christian scholars who feel they know God better than you or I do.  But I truly believe with all of my heart that what God is communicating in the first part of this passage is how He has lost the heart of “his bride,” as He tells us.  Why else would He use that terminology?

And the Lord goes out of His way to recount all the things He has done for His people, yet, they betrayed Him with their idolatry.

Internet sex is idolatry in the highest sense.  Idolatry means we redirect our worship of the one true God to focus it on something or someone else.  Why?  Because that object of our affection gives us something we feel that God cannot.  The sensations we feel when we engage in Internet pornography or chatting or illicit affairs far outweigh what I’ve ever felt from God.

And that is very, very, very sad.  Why?  Because God tells us plainly that we’re really missing out.  In our sin, we have not only forsaken Him, but we’ve blown it. 

God often gives us word pictures in the Scripture to convey a truth.  As you know, when Jesus spoke of being “thirsty” in John 7:37-38, He wasn’t referring to needing liquid to quench a physical thirst.  He meant that deep, deep ache that only comes when our souls lack something significant in life—the life of Jesus!  And yes, even Christians can experience the ache of distance from our Lord.  Mankind suffers miserably when this thirst is not quenched.  It’s like being in the Sahara desert for a week without water.  Everything in us screams, “WATER!”

In John 7, Jesus says it simply.  In so many words, He says, You’re thirsty?  That’s easy.  Come to me.  Drink me in and won’t you be.  You’ll be flooded with water.

Here in Jeremiah, the Lord has a sense of humor.  It’s like He’s saying, You’re thirsty?  I see that.  You’re sweating your behind off digging and digging and digging cisterns, or wells that catch water, so that you can finally quench that thirst.  Meanwhile, right next to you, there’s a GEYSER of water that sprays all over the place!  But no.  You have to do it YOUR way.  Well, as you’ll find out if you haven’t already—your way doesn’t quench the thirst!

The fact is, friends, when we dig our own wells and feel the trickle of sexual excitement from the Internet, it not only leaves us high and dry.  It throws us into the well and throws away the key!

In John 8:34, Jesus Himself says, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” 

And so…I imagine that’s why you’re reading this post right now.  You’re sick of being a slave to sin.

I want you to be so sick of it that you really mean business.  If you do, MAKE THE CHOICE TO BE FREE RIGHT NOW!  It is never too late.
Your geyser awaits.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Ambush of Internet Sex: FEATURED VIDEO 2

Powerful scene from the film "Fireproof" that shows
you CAN conquer the demon when you let God in!

 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Ambush of Internet Sex: When Does the Wrong High Kick In?




In the last post, I discussed how the neurochemical, dopamine, is released in the brain when sexual arousal occurs, and there is a direct correlation between the frequency of release and sexual addiction.

Put simply, internet sex pushes a button in our brain that makes us want more, and want it more frequently.  This is what I call the “wrong high.”

But there’s a good high, too.  God has created our human bodies to experience a Godly high throughout our normal lives.  Healthy highs are the good feelings we get when we’re hungry and we eat, when we’re thirsty and we drink, when we go for a long run and we’re in the “zone,” when we laugh, when we fall in love, and yes, when we make love. 

Now you can see how wonderful our God is, compared to some religions that depict him as a cruel judge.  The one true God has wired us to ENJOY life, and it so happens that during these highs, He is guiding and protecting us along the way.  Imagine if eating was not pleasurable.  We might all end up dead from starvation.  Or if laughter didn’t feel good “like a medicine.”  We would be a miserable lot, that’s for sure.  And if making love were not pleasurable, well, that’s the end of the human race!

But it so happens that there’s another threat to the human race—allowing the wrong high to take over our minds and therefore our lives.

Doesn’t it make sense, then, that if we can control this wrong high, then we’re on the road to recovery and freedom?

Well, the first step is to recognize when this high kicks in.  The best way I can do that is by using an illustration.

Michael is a man with a sexual addiction problem.  When he was eleven years old, he wanted to help his dad find his mom a great Mother’s Day present.  A massage, he thought, would be the perfect thing.  But when Michael ran the search on the internet, he was bombarded with photos he had never seen before.  They were different.  And…they excited him.  Michael experienced his first high of this kind.

As a teenager, this high was so good that when Michael’s parents yelled at each other and his father slapped his mother around, all he wanted to do was forget about this bad air in the house.  What better way to “escape” than by looking at racy images on the internet and feeling good?

As an adult, who now realizes that he never really had a healthy relationship with either his mother or father, Michael not only kept up his internet escape.  He lived out his fantasies with the real thing.

Michael then found Lisa, a wonderful woman to marry.  He even accepted Christ into his life because of her.  Things were going well for a few months, but as in most marriages, that first year was a doozy.  Lisa set him off, wanting her way all the time.  Something in him wanted relief.  After all, his fights with his wife were her fault.  Kinda like when his father beat his mother, he accused her of being so stubborn.  And what was the best way he could find relief?  You guessed it.

Not only did Michael renew his love affair with internet porn, he was soon going on adult match sites, exchanging pornographic images of himself with other women, and having mental affairs in chat rooms.

Michael was in such a habit of seeking relief during times of stress, that the more relief he got, the more he wanted to seek the high just for the sake of the high, even in the absence of stress.

Okay, so what about these wrong highs?  When and how do they kick in?

Well, from what you’ve read about Michael thus far, I’m sure you can guess.  Michael already has a library of porn and illicit sex acts in his mind that’s larger than the Library of Congress.  With each photo he saw, even as a child…with each video he watched…with each girl of a different body type, hair color, or even personality he had premarital sex with, he unknowingly created internal triggers that activate when they sense different cues.

For example, let’s say Michael’s driving to work on a typical day.  He stops for gas at a station.  While filling up, he sees the woman filling up across from him.  She has long red hair and has high heels on, JUST LIKE a woman he saw in one of his many porn video collections.  That glance that he let linger just opened the tap in his brain.  Dopamine releases.  Michael gets “that feeling” again.

Now he’s driving in the car.  He turns on talk radio to take his mind off of what happened at the gas station.  As he’s driving, he notices they put up another billboard on his route to the office.  It’s advertising a new lingerie shop in town, and yes, there’s a photo of a seductive woman on it.  There goes the tap again.

Finally, he’s at the office.  First thing he does is put his briefcase on his desk and makes a trip to the snack room to get some morning java.  When he enters the room, however, he gets morning “lava.”  The office secretary is pouring coffee for herself, turns around to say good morning, and in doing so, reveals a neckline on her blouse that’s way too low.

“You know, this is NOT my fault!” Michael screams to himself inside.  On his way home from work, he stops by an adult peep show for “relief.”  He feels so guilty now as he arrives home.  Then, when he thought he had sufficient relief, the thoughts from the day flood his mind again and the tap opens once more.

Lying in bed in tears, Michael doesn’t know what to do or where to turn.  He feels too sinful to talk to God about it.  He just knows he’ll hear God yell from heaven if he listened well enough.  Tomorrow’s another day, he thinks.  Another opportunity to conquer this thing.  But also, another day to fall again.

Can you pinpoint when all the wrong highs kicked in?

As you read this, you’re either feeling so sorry for Michael or you’re hating him.  Maybe you feel like I just read your mail, that I just wrote your life story.  Or maybe you’re a wife and fear just raced in your heart.  “Could this be my husband, too?” you dread.

Let me end on a good note—THERE IS HOPE!  The wrong high does not have to rule your life or the life of your spouse.  Every voice inside of you that says it will last a lifetime is nothing but a lie from the pit of hell.

There is a way to purge the hellish library and arrest the wrong highs so that they never have control of you or your marriage again.  From now on in this series, we’ll take that road to recovery and healing together. 

WE PRAISE YOU, OUR GOD, FOR BEING THE ANCHOR OF OUR SOUL, AND THAT YOU HAVE “PREDESTINED [US] TO BE CONFORMED TO THE IMAGE OF [YOUR] SON!” (Rom. 8:29)

Hope is alive and it’s alive in You, Lord.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Ambush of Internet Sex: How Does One Get Trapped?

"If you look upon ham and eggs and lust, you have already committed breakfast in your heart."
                       ~ C. S. Lewis

From my last post, I’m sure you gathered that sex and sex connections via the internet cause a ton of pain for many people—people who you love dearly and deeply regret hurting.

I’m sure if I sat down with you over a cup of coffee, you and I could come up with at least twenty names of people who had it all going for them in a relationship or marriage, but fell dramatically because of sexual sin.

Those men and women would be politicians, musicians, actors/actresses, successful business people, and even pastors.  But then again, we must also include your next-door neighbor, your co-worker, your best friend, and of course, you or your spouse.

So what gives?  Why would someone in their right mind risk it all for momentary pleasure, a pleasure that gets one hooked for years or even a lifetime?

I think we need to focus on the phrase, “their right mind.”  Something very chemically real occurs when someone gets sucked into internet sex.  And it’s the same chemical reaction that is responsible for all addictions, on a physical level (we’ll discuss the spiritual levels in a later post).

In this discussion, I am NOT excusing someone's illicit behavior.  I am EXPLAINING the pull.  Being drawn into internet sex is most definitely a sin.  We are accountable and responsible for our own actions.  But sometimes we need to understand what goes on in the brain in order to target the real problem of why someone falls in the first place.

Dopamine, also known as the “reward hormone,” is released in the brain at the prospect and the fulfillment of an activity that brings arousal.  That very feeling of pleasure is what we call the “high.”  It’s not only in regard to sexual matters.  Food brings the feeling.  So do cigarettes, drugs, alcohol.  And unfortunately, in deviant cases, so do forms of violence or perversions.

Let’s take food, for example.  Someone with a food addiction problem experiences a slight initial high when they think about something they’re really in the mood to eat.  Ah-ha!  That’s it.  I feel like pizza.  The more I think about it, the more high over it I get.

When I walk into Giovanni’s Pizzeria, the smells invade my senses.  The sights of all the cooked pizzas do the same.  And you know how agonizing it can be as soon as Marco behind the counter says, “I’m sorry, ma’am.  Your pizza will take a while…30 minutes.”  Then you wait, and wait, and wait.  Ugh!

Finally, it’s in your hands.  Do I eat some of it in the car before I get home?  Drawing it out makes you more crazy.  So when you finally do get that first bite in your mouth, you get the tingles all over your body.

Now you’re thinking, but isn’t that how God has created us, so that we can give ourselves nourishment for survival?  Yes, you’re right.  And He even created us to have the same healthy reaction to sex.

But something can go askew.  We get addicted to the dopamine release more and more, if we don’t watch it.  Then, when we have a deep hurt, we go to that hormone release for relief.

In hearing testimonies of sexual or other kinds of addicts, it seems to all be the same story…

“My wife just ticked me off.  I feel so rejected.  I need to feel better.”

“My husband doesn’t pay any attention to me.  I need to feel good, and now!”

Some of these deep hurts date back to childhood.  Some, we are aware of.  Others, we are not.

Yes, our Lord has given us a tremendous responsibility regarding our hurts.  First, He wants us to bring ALL of our hurts, ALL of our disappointments, ALL of our longings for life done differently, to HIM!

Granted, some people are caught in addiction by some mishap.  I received a letter from a woman who told me that a man got addicted to porn when he and his wife went to a fertility clinic.  As you may or may not know, they have porn materials in these clinics so that the man can produce sperm for the doctor.  Innocent intentions.  But he was hooked.

For the most part, however, men and women are addicted to internet sex because something is either lacking in their lives or something is deeply hurting them or both!

With all my heart, if you are reading this now and you are caught in the web of internet sex, I want you to set aside a lot of time for you to spend with your Savior.  Have it out with Him!  I don’t mean get angry at Him.  I mean, open your heart and your mouth to Jesus, and let the floodgates open!

Acknowledging you have a problem is the first step to true healing.  The Father can only work in a heart that is honest, humble, and broken.

Trust me.  You can trust HIM with this.

If possible, do it now.  I am praying for you.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Ambush of Internet Sex: Featured Video


Every weekend in February, I want to feature a video related to internet sex and the hold it can have even on God's people.

Michael Leahy is a former internet sex addict.  He is also a man of a powerful God who has not only conquered the scourge of this horrible addiction, he is a popular activist and public speaker whose life mission is to protect the body of Christ from this infection.

There are extremely brief graphic flashes of sensuality in this video.  However, in light of its context, I am sure you will find that watching this video has a higher value in encouraging the internet sex addict that THERE IS HOPE IN CHRIST!

Enjoy!



CITY-TV Bio of Michael Leahy and BraveHearts from Michael Leahy on Vimeo.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Ambush of Internet Sex: The Hurt








“In the past three months, I have turned into a bitter, unforgiving woman.  I want to divorce him at times, but I don't want to do that to my children.  The fact that he can't promise he will never do it again hurts. The fact that I have caught him in it so many times hurts. I don't know if I can ever trust him again and I really don't know how to continue in the marriage. 
             Am I wrong to think that a husband should never view porn but only take pleasure in his wife?”                          
                                                                                                             ~ “Jordan


“I feel betrayed every time he slips and turns to pornography.  I must
not be enough for him.  I must not be the wife he really wants or needs.  These are the thoughts that run through my head when we are intimate…I am not enough.
            Internet pornography has put a muted feeling on our intimate relationship because I don't feel fully loved or respected.  I feel hurt by past actions.  I have forgiven my husband and I love him very, very much.  I just wish it was a deeper love that pornography didn't touch.”
                                                                            ~ “Amanda”

 “Early in our marriage, I found a link on our computer.  I was completely naive about Internet pornography.  I was devastated.  I was ready to leave him.” 
                                                                            ~ “Amber”

“He thought I was having an affair. I let him believe I was. It was easier than admitting the truth. For one whole week we both spent the time crying and often screaming at each other because I wouldn't give him the details of my 'affair.'  
            One day it just got too much for me and I broke down in a heap on the floor and told him everything.”
                                                                            ~ “Sharon,” a female addict

(All of the names have been changed.)



Can you feel the pain?  Doesn’t it put a knot in your stomach?

Without downplaying the hurt caused by alcohol or drug addicts in a home, I want to suggest that an additional pain comes from internet sex addiction.  Alcoholics and druggies often cause physical, emotional, psychological, and even sexual abuse.  But sex addicts traumatize their loved ones, especially their spouses, with one more form of injury—betrayal from infidelity. 

The truth is, a man or woman never has to leave the confines of his or her home to commit adultery, because Jesus sees adultery as an action of the heart:

But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matt. 5:28)
The sin of adultery harms just about everyone involved.

It eats away at the adulterer because of guilt.  Read how Amanda describes what her husband goes through:

“It is a horrible struggle for him in which sometimes he conquers and sometimes he fails. It tears him apart and yet, it is there when he feels defeated.  [There is] now a guilt with it because he knows it is not the right thing to be doing...yet at times it has a strong hold over him.”

The sin of adultery also harms the ones with whom the adulterer has the affair—whether it’s a cyber affair or one which leads to an actual physical encounter.  That person often feels used, even though he or she was willing to participate. 

But there’s another aspect to this, especially when you consider a Christian who commits adultery.  Every time that Christian connects illicitly with another person, it’s as if he or she is saying to that person, “I know that I can tell you about the One who can change your life, but sorry, I want to use you to satisfy my own sensual selfishness, even if that means it drives you farther away from ever knowing Him.”

And then there’s the one who’s the most hurt of all—your spouse.  As years pass while an addict of any substance is being healed, harmful words to a spouse from drunken fits of rage may fade.  Resentment toward a crack-head spouse who neglected and perhaps even stole from your own child may be forgiven.  But the memory of the one they love—YOU—being in a mental bed with another person will need a powerful dose of the grace of God to bring mending to their broken heart.

Internet sex addiction profoundly injures the ones you least want injured.  The betrayal of infidelity is not just about your misdirected appetite for sensuality; it breeds lies, deception, and a level of distrust that for many can take a lifetime to heal.  Yes, God can heal, but some forms of healing in the hearts of the ones you love may take years, if ever at all.

I know all this sounds very depressing.  That’s because it is.  Every time someone engages in internet sex, all of this is on the line.  Now you tell me—is it worth it?

Sin has a funny way of causing complacency.  At first, our hands may sweat.  Our pulse may race.  But after the first deed is done, sure, we feel guilt if we’re a Christian, but something in us gets comfortable in that guilt. 

Take for example the recent words of Alyssa Bustamante, the 18-year-old who was just sentenced for the murder of her nine-year-old neighbor when she was 15:

“It was ahmazing. As soon as you get over the 'ohmygawd I can't do this' feeling, it's pretty enjoyable.”

But now look how “enjoyable” it is.  She was convulsing in tears in the courtroom, telling the family she would gladly give her own life to bring the victim back.  And she faces life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years. 

Hebrews 11:25 mentions the “pleasures of sin for a season.”  Alyssa’s season has run out.  It’s only a matter of time before an internet sex addict’s season comes to an end.  And then what?  The addict wakes up one day in a cold sweat as the memory of his newly broken family jars him to consciousness. 

“What have I done?” he asks.  “What have I done?”

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Ambush of Internet Sex: INTRODUCTION


 INTRODUCTION



First I want to thank all of my readers who have contributed personal testimonies of the ravages of internet sex on their marriage and family.  I can only publish three at this time, but I will hold on to them in case the Lord would have me use others at later date.  I appreciate all of the time, effort, and emotions you must’ve invested in these stories!

And now, let’s get on with the series. 


I am writing this series because someone has to say something about internet sex in the church.

Did your jaw just drop?  Please hear me out.  We, as part of the body of Christ, should be gravely concerned about this pandemic that is killing marriages, killing families, and even killing the callings on the lives of countless Christians around the world.  And one of those Christians may be you.

One would have to be deaf, dumb, and blind to believe that our spiritual adversary is not orchestrating possibly the largest mass assault on the body of Christ since the persecutions of the early church.

At this stage, we cannot—and I mean, CANNOT—afford to allow this onslaught to remain a “taboo” topic in the church.  There should be no such thing.  Otherwise, we further invigorate satan’s efforts to destroy us.  Remember, he has come to “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10).  And with internet sex, he is stealing our joy and our love for the things of God.  He is killing our marriages and families.  And he is destroying any calling on our lives that God has placed in us before the foundation of the world in order for us to advance His kingdom on earth.

Unfortunately, we the church knowingly or unknowingly protects this shamefulness in a shroud of silence because we’re either afraid to open the lid on this Pandora’s box, or we feel ill-equipped to minister into it, or we, ourselves, may even be entrapped in it!

Here are the facts concerning this trillion-dollar annual industry:

At a 2003 meeting of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, two thirds of the 350 divorce lawyers who attended said the internet played a significant role in the divorces in the past year, with excessive interest in online porn contributing to more than half such cases. Pornography had an almost non-existent role in divorce just seven or eight years ago (Divorcewizards.com).

And an effective enemy will always take out the opposing leaders.  In March 2002, Rick Warren’s Pastors.com website conducted a survey on porn use of 1351 pastors.  It revealed that 54% of the pastors had viewed internet pornography within the past year, and 30% of those had visited within the past thirty days.

How many sermons do we hear about the ravages of internet sex though?  The silence is deafening.  And even more deafening is the lack of ministry within local churches to address this issue.  In this case, no news is bad news.  And satan loves it.  If he can keep sin a secret in our hearts, he’s won.  God’s heart, on the other hand, is to have shameful secrets revealed so that His glory can literally shine through:

“Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.  It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.  But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light” (Eph. 5:11-13).

Church, time is short!  Jesus Christ is coming back to receive his “radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless” (Eph. 5:27).

May our Lord expose the sin in His body by the light, a sin that once grabbed at my own heart many years ago.  Healing is not only possible, it is necessary in this critical epoch season of humanity when all creation is groaning “as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies” (Rom. 8:23).

Why the Title “Internet Sex”?

Originally, I thought I would write a series on “Men and Pornography.”  However, after much thought and prayer and after receiving input from some of you, I have decided to entitle this series “The Ambush of Internet Sex.”  I did this for two reasons...

Firstly, the term “pornography” is too restricting.  “Internet sex” encompasses not only pornography, but any form of lewd communication whether it’s one-way or two-way communication.

For example, accessing porn photos is a one-way message via your computer to your eyes.  You look at it, lust, and may or may not respond to someone through the computer.  Responding is an example of two-way communication.

Internet sex constitutes porn photos or videos, but also sexual involvement in chat rooms, instant messaging, emailing, photo/video sharing, web camming (when another party sees you and/or you see them), adult dating services, and adult advertising (when you advertise your willingness to be sexually involved or are simply an exhibitionist, posting lewd photos/videos of yourself).

These communication forms often lead to “hook ups.”  Hook ups need not be an actual physical and illicit encounter with a prostitute, a sensual masseuse, or even a willing stranger.  Hook ups of the heart more than often occur.  And if there were computers when Jesus walked the earth, He would most assuredly see these cyber affairs as authentic as the real thing.

The second reason I changed the name is because it’s not only men who are involved in internet sex.  Obviously, women, as common sexual objects of the industry, are involved directly in internet sex.  BUT women are not only the objects of the attraction.  They are often addicts themselves.  In fact, of all those who claim to be addicted to internet sex, 28% of them are women! (www.internet-filter-review.com)  And sadly, in Today’s Christian Woman online newsletter (Fall, 2003), 34% of its Christian women’s readership “admitted to intentionally accessing internet porn.”  And this does not include all other aspects of internet sex as I discussed.

My Goal In This Series

Being older, I have the luxury of viewing things in hindsight and observing trends accordingly.

I remember being an unsaved, wild frat boy at USC in the mid-70’s.  Since my college was in Los Angeles, it wasn’t unusual to see celebrities on the street or in restaurants.  It also wasn’t unusual to see Hustler Magazine centerfolds walk the streets of fraternity row handing out freebies as they promoted their smut magazine.

I remember seeing these girls and thinking, Yuck, they’re so unattractive!  And all of them wore more makeup than Michael Jackson. 

I rarely bought a smut magazine in those days.  They did nothing for me.  I wanted the real thing.  I even rarely bought smut videos.  The acting was so pathetic, it didn’t seem real.

Satan has grown much wiser since those days.  He has devised a scheme to so popularize the sex industry that literally thousands of woman—of all cultures, all races, all body types, all features types, all ages—are eager to jump on the bandwagon, not only for a few extra bucks but for free!  And the women are no longer unattractive centerfold types.  Many of them are stunningly attractive, are everyday women in our neighborhoods, and will easily allure any person if that person opens the door.

My prayer is that this smorgasbord of sensuality will be neutralized in the church of our Lord Jesus Christ, by addressing one person at a time through this meager blog.

I will not only expose how it destroys you and your family.  I will explore how internet sex becomes addictive, how one can receive healing, and how Christians can truly trust Jesus Christ with a better alternative.

Does that last part sound strange?  It should.  Because satan has duped the church into believing that God is not nearly as exciting and fulfilling as the sensation you get when involved in the snare of internet sensuality.

The truth is, GOD IS ALL THAT!  He will not only give you unexplainable joy, an indescribable sense of sonship, and an unfathomable sense of love and acceptance…our King of kings will give you unspeakable FREEDOM!

It’s time for a revolution in the church and in your heart, wouldn’t you say?
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