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
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.