Blame, Accountability, and Addiction


Here’s an article I wrote that’s been published on X3Church, called:

“3 Ways to Stop Blaming Others and Finally Own Your Porn Problem.”

It’s about letting go of blame and receiving accountability for destructive habits, including porn and other addictions. It’s also centered around a talk by author and researcher Brené Brown.

Here’s an excerpt:

Our instant defense mechanism when something goes wrong is to say, “Tag, you’re it.” Our egos are constantly trying to protect us from feeling wrong, because we associate this with being unloved or unaccepted. All this makes a logical sort of sense, but it’s dangerous, because our initial instinct is to drag others down with us. This in turn only justifies and reinforces our cycle of destruction.

We feed our bad habits with blame. This loop can go on forever. Yet if we struck down this Hydra of Blame like a whack-a-mole before it got to others or ourselves, the inner monologue might change.

Thinking this way, as Brené Brown implies, suddenly lets go of control and creates a scary uncertainty. But it also exposes our blame-game for what it is: an excuse to use, stay mad, or stay withdrawn. When blame is named, it shrivels up and loses power.


Read the full post here. My book on quitting porn is here.
J.S.


“4 Ways To Prevent Porn in Your Home”

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Here’s an article I wrote that’s been published on X3Church.

It’s called 4 Ways To Prevent Porn In Your Home.

These are the first steps we can take in our homes to recover from porn addiction. Here’s an excerpt:


The very act of taking a first step to prevent porn can lead to momentum, which can lead to total, lasting freedom. Those first steps matter.

If you can do what you ought for a while, it can become what you want for life. Once you’re in the stream of recovery, it builds on itself until you’ve hit a sweet spot of small victories that link to big ones.

It’s the initial smaller victories that require an uncomfortable re-structuring of your habits and your home.


Read the full post here. My book on quitting porn is here.

— J.S.


Breaking Porn Addiction and How to Quit For Good

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My book on breaking porn addiction has a brand new cover! It’s available in both paperback and e-book. It’s been recently endorsed by Craig Gross of X3Church.

This is a very short book about how I overcame a fifteen year porn addiction. I’ve now been sober for over three.  I talk about what porn does to your brain, specific steps to quit, and how you can quit for good.

I know how embarrassing it can be to talk about porn, but this book is designed for both you and to help your friend, regardless of gender or beliefs.

The paperback is only $6.99 and the e-book is 2.99! And you won’t need a Kindle, it works on everything. Be blessed and love y’all!

— J.S.

New E-Book on Quitting Porn

Cutting It Off


Here’s my newest book on breaking porn addiction!
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QE2M6N2

This is a very short e-book about how I overcame a fifteen year porn addiction. I’ve now been sober for over three. Whether you’re helping a friend or struggling yourself, regardless of gender or faith, this is how to quit porn: not just for weeks at a time, but for good.

Only $2.99! And you won’t need a Kindle, it works on everything.
Be blessed and love y’all!
— J.S.


Breaking The Grip of the Lesser.


Here’s what I’ve learned about choosing the things of God and partaking in His mission.

I’ve noticed that after I disciple a young kid and see his eyes light up from the truth of the Bible, I can’t go back to how I was. It’s too good to give up. After I serve food at the homeless ministry, after I volunteer at a retreat, after I go on a mission trip, after I serve at an orphanage or a prison or the projects — the attraction of sin loses its grip on me.

Because the things of God are so much brighter and bigger and deeper than the things of this world. This is what Thomas Chalmers called the Expulsive Power of a New Affection.

Ever notice that after the gym, you’re too tired to fight anyone? Ever notice that after a healthy meal, you’re much less willing to eat a bag of Cheetos? And whether you “feel like” going to the gym or eating healthy, you choose it anyway: because not only is the alternative bad for you, but it makes the alternative less attractive.

Sometimes people wait to “feel right with God” to go serve Him. You don’t have to wait. You don’t have to be qualified or clean or deserving to serve. Your choices change your heart just as much as your heart changes your choices. What you do comes out of who you are, but who you are also comes out of what you do.

— J.S. from The Christianese Dating Culture


About Porn Addiction.


Hey dear friends, one of the most frequent questions I get is about breaking porn addiction. I was addicted for fifteen years and have now been sober for over three, by the grace of God (and a lot of vigilant work).

So I’m going to compile a very short booklet with every resource I have and every question from this blog about recovery from porn, including my own testimony. It’ll be an e-book coming out in December or so.

My heart is for both men and women to be free from the enslaving grip of objectification and from contributing to a pain-filled industry. This is also to help your friend through sobriety. It will be written for both Christians and non. I want you and your friend to experience freedom, and perhaps even encounter Christ.

If a guy like me can recover, so can you: and not for a few weeks at a time, but permanently. Love y’all.

— J.S.


Purchase my book on taboo topics in the church here.

Purchase my new book on love, sex, and dating here.


When You Mess It Up Again.


God totally has grace for you when you mess it up. He loves you no matter what. He wants you to cast off guilt and shame, because it doesn’t work and it’s not who you are and it’s what Jesus came to die for.

On the other hand: God does want you to recover. He wants you not only to experience the cover of grace, but also His grace-empowered Spirit for a fruitful, passionate, purposeful, mission-driven life.

I believe God will restore you every time you fail for the rest of your life, so when you relapse and go down a porn-binge, God is still going to love you afterward, every time. But my question is: Do you really want to keep living this way?

I’m not asking this to guilt-trip you. I’m only saying that once the old self is dead, it’s not worth it to go back there anymore. I don’t think Lazarus missed his tomb and climbed into his coffin sometimes. I don’t think the healed blind man Bartimaeus wore a blindfold to reminisce on his days tripping over things.

You’ll be forgiven by God every single time, but God wants you to experience the fully forgiven life too.

So if you break a “clean streak,” please don’t wallow in self-pity. When you mess it up, it’s okay. But what’s even better is getting to the place where going back is no longer an option, and you’re so in love with God that turning around is unthinkable. I believe we can get there. I believe our God is that powerful. I believe we are not merely works in progress, but we are empowered by It Is Finished.


J.S. from What The Church Won’t Talk About


Breaking Free of the Idols That Break Us


Hello beloved friends!

This is the seventh and final part of a sermon series called “The Life of King David: From Stone-Slinger to Royal Sinner.”

The message is titled: Breaking Free of the Idols That Break Us.

It’s about finding freedom from the unhealthy attachments that hurt us, including a breakdown of false solutions and the process of true victory.

Stream here or download here!


Some things I talk about are: The unfortunate trashy creepiness of singing competitions, when Asians hate other Asians of a different Asian nation, Four Types of Idols that enslave us, when I find out someone doesn’t like me, that moment the preacher tells you to throw away all your stuff, and the only true heart surgery that breaks free of addiction into victory.

Be blessed and love y’all!

— J




Question: Bargaining With God And Sabotaging My Blessings

Anonymous asked:

It has been almost 3 years since I recommitted my life to Christ. During those years I hung unto the promise that God would send me a husband when the time was right and all I had to do was delight in the work of the Lord and serve him, so that stopped me from masturbating and having sex. Recently … I feel tied to this sin again. How can I break free? Also do you think that I’ve somehow thwarted my blessings? I’ve noticed how much God had blessed me when I was serving Him and I don’t want to lose that connection I had with Him.  (edited)


First, before I go into any kind of lecture-mode or theological monologues, I really want to commend you on your total honesty here.  Most people would never half-admit this sort of thing even anonymously, so you’re stepping in the right direction.

So please understand, my dear friend, that ANY kind of bargain with God is not a good idea.  While I do believe that God blesses obedience to Him, the most important blessing that God gives is Himself

If you’re trying to obey Him in hopes that He’ll give you a husband, that’s already an upside-down-sideways-backwards negotiation that could end in bitter disappointment.  It’s essentially like those parody skits where someone says, “God, I’ll totally serve you if you totally do this for me.” 

Telling God “This-or-else” even when it’s not in those words is only going to hurt you.  Not because God is doing the hurting, but because you’re setting yourself up with unrealistic expectations that the Word does not promise.

Continue reading “Question: Bargaining With God And Sabotaging My Blessings”

Before asking about this sexual holiness stuff:

When I get questions about fighting for “sexual purity,” I always check out your blog. 

Usually the blog is full of half-naked women, toned up hairless dudes, almost-but-not-quite-but-could-be-porn, and some suggestive-raunchy-provocative imagery. Always a slew of oily tanned celebrities.  Plus plenty of dirty jokes, anti-parent slurs, and all kinds of entitled, angry, spoiled, insufferable memes.

In other words, I would never ever in a billion years let you near my future kids.

If you’re seriously asking about how to fight for holiness — well, hey, like: shouldn’t you actually get serious about that?

Continue reading “Before asking about this sexual holiness stuff:”

Question: Quit Porn, But What About Masturbating?

Anonymous asked:
I’ve read your series about pornography and it has been a huge help to me. I am not joking when I say you have a way of conveying things. I was wondering if you have any similar type of advice with masturbation? For me, pornography was easier to quit because I can avoid triggers. But with masturbation it seems like no matter how serious I tell myself I am about it, I fall into it again. It doesn’t even matter what my mood is. It is getting so frustrating that I am getting dangerously depressed

Thanks for encouraging. I understand your struggle, trust me on that.  I’ve read stories of guys sent to those prison-therapy ranches with no access to anything and they still found ways to indulge themselves. Dudes can get off on tractors because there’s no end to the depravity of man.

One thing we get from the Bible is that God doesn’t just change what you do, he changes what you want to do.  Your thought-life, your motives, the loop of self-talk you play over and over, your mood and desires and passions.  Some of us can easily quit porn, but it’s never been about the porn.  Some of us can even quit masturbating, but still aggressively seek pleasure in illegitimate ways.  There’s the tip of your iceberg, and then there’s the iceberg.

Continue reading “Question: Quit Porn, But What About Masturbating?”

Question: Porn Killed My Feelings For God, Now What?

Anonymous asked:
I am in a rut. I have been trying to deal with some sexual immorality, and I had been changing, turning to God in my temptation, until recently I went on a mini sin spree. I am talking about several things, porn, masturbation, ect. So now as I try to start over, I don’t really “feel” god. I feel no connection to him, it is hard to pray, ect. But, I want to still obey him and act in a way that is pleasing. So how can I make modifying my behavior about HIM when I can’t exactly “Feel” him?

You said an interesting thing there that pretty much nails the real Christian life: You don’t “feel” God but you still want to obey Him and please Him. That sounds just about right.

Should I only be nice to children and not punch them when I “feel” like it? Should I not do 150 in a school zone unless I “feel” like it? You see where I’m going there. Your fear is that just obeying God will only be a religious, duty-like, Pharisee-esque behavioral modification. But that’s a lie that the postmodern church has slammed over and over. Once again, effort is NOT legalism.

Continue reading “Question: Porn Killed My Feelings For God, Now What?”

Porn Addiction, Part Four: I’m Ready To Cut It Off

Edit: November 16th, 2014
– There will be an e-book with all the material on quitting porn, updated and edited, in the first week of December 2014. It will be $2.99 on Amazon!

An ongoing discussion about victory over sexual addiction.

The introduction here.

Part One, excuses and myths, here.

Part Two, the science, here.

Part Three, the soul, here.

Part Three and a half, the soul, here.

Part Four: I’m Ready To Cut It Off. Here.

Part Five: Quitting Isn’t Enough. Here.

So you’re ready to quit porn. You’re tired of the bleary-eyed, bloodshot, guilt-choked, late-night excursions, tired of the excuses and rationalizations and filthy mental loops, tired of feeling disgusted with yourself at church and with your mom and after a retreat and anywhere near children. You’re done.

Let’s ask: How serious are you about this?

Do you really understand that running back to porn to solve your angst or fill your boredom or release your tension is no longer a viable option? That you must absolutely, unequivocally, once-and-for-all never look back to porn? That’s scary for some people. Like cutting off a limb or moving halfway around the world. But if you’re ready to quit, there can be no room for thinking it’s optional. As of quitting, you are dead to porn and alive to Christ.

This is where addicts get stuck. In the back of every self-deceived mind, buried deep under religious behavior and emotional promises, is still the root of the problem: self-worship. We desperately wrestle for control over our options. We maintain a tenuous connection to what destroys us because we cannot — will not — imagine life without it. We hate enduring the pain of withdrawal. We love too much the ten second pleasure of a visual buffet even if it costs our sanity.

Short-term thinking, however, always short-circuits the human life. When you cannot let go of what controls you, you have become less human, not more.

If you’re not serious about this, don’t waste time finding out how to quit porn. I’ve wasted a lot of other peoples’ time in the same way. I knew all the right methods, techniques, reasons, and theology to quit porn in my own strength. They didn’t work. I had to make a final, final, final decision. Long-lasting change did not happen until I grew serious about my true identity in Jesus Christ. If you don’t care about that, there’s no point in quitting anyway.

So first get serious about quitting before you find out how to quit. And know that you can’t merely quit from porn, but move to and by the grace of God.

You must also know, as I’ve said many times, that effort is not legalism. The journey of grace in Christ will require some sandpaper sculpting, crazy chiseling, painful spiritual surgery, and yanking out every fiber of deeply rooted filth through the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s not easy, and you can’t just pray it away or “think harder” about the Gospel. You wouldn’t do less than that, but it’s concurrent with your striving. The Gospel says it is finished, but do everything to stand. Know God’s promise, but make every effort for holiness. Know the Kingdom of God has already come for you, but make every effort to enter through the narrow door. Apostle Paul already had the prize of Christ, but says, “I beat my body to make it my slave.” Of course we rest in what Jesus has done, but a truth faith is a faith that works.

If you’re serious, let’s get started. This will be quite long so please read it in spurts or when you’re in that right mood.

Continue reading “Porn Addiction, Part Four: I’m Ready To Cut It Off”

Porn Addiction, Part Three: What Porn Does To Your Soul – 2 of 2

An ongoing discussion about victory over sexual addiction.

The introduction here.

Part One, excuses and myths, here.

Part Two, the science, here.

Part Three, the soul, here.

Part Four: I’m Ready To Cut It Off. Here.

Part Five: Quitting Isn’t Enough. Here.

The Process of Porn

Porn is degrading to both the user and the industry because it caters to the base animal nature of all of us. If you think that’s prude or close-minded, wouldn’t it be more open-minded to call it what it really is? If it’s not prostitution, it’s pretty close.

But I understand the “moral argument” does not always persuade, much less motivate, to quit porn. For the hundreds of sermons I’ve heard vilifying alcohol, drugs, clubs, Internet, indulgent eating, laziness, or video games, none of them ever sustained a change in behavior. Because all of them spoke only to behaviors, not the basics.

If you’re addicted to porn, you’re most likely after something else. As much as the hipster contemporary all-aware self-aware blogger will tell you that masturbation sometimes “just happens,” we know that a variety of factors gets us there. Sex between two people doesn’t just happen — even casual sex requires multiple variables to align before happening.

Something is happening when a guy has sex with himself while watching two random people have sex. There are impulses, drives, forces, desires, biology, psychology, philosophy, and mental schemas at work that motivate a person towards (and away from) self-worship.

Continue reading “Porn Addiction, Part Three: What Porn Does To Your Soul – 2 of 2”

Porn Addiction, Part Three: What Porn Does To Your Soul – 1 of 2

An ongoing discussion about victory over sexual addiction.

The introduction here.

Part One, excuses and myths, here.

Part Two, the science, here.

Part Three and a half, the soul, here.

Part Four: I’m Ready To Cut It Off. Here.

Part Five: Quitting Isn’t Enough. Here.

An overview of rejecting the spiritual.

We have heard the term spiritual battle along with the terms spiritual warfare, the warrior’s prayer, putting on the armor of God, fighting the devil, and the weapon of God’s Word. Christians casually blame Satan for car troubles, missing homework, computer glitches, technical difficulties, church drama, the economy, political conflicts, addictions, cynicism, and the common cold.

Other times we casually dismiss Satan as an outdated, archaic Greek idea of light versus dark in personified literature that must be upgraded to scientific research and empirical data.

In between this, the rational person certainly believes both must be true: that science explains the physiology of why things happen, from car maintenance to economical breakdown to mental disorders, but that also something deeper is at work which is hidden beneath our physical frame of reference. This is no “god of the gaps.” This is not an unfathomable mystery of superstitious proportions.

Threaded through the fiber of all of people is a spiritual thickness weaved so tightly in the human story that hardly anyone acknowledges it. We’ve dressed it up with pseudo-official language so we’re not accused of New Age sensibilities.

But it’s there. There is a functional dynamic driving the human spirit that is so largely chaotic and pulsating that we run in fear of it, attempting to box science into a vacuum where no variables exist. It’s like that physics formula for the trajectory of a cannonball which assumes there is no wind, no atmosphere, no imperfections on the cannonball, and no outside forces acting upon the shot fired: a soulless, emotionless construct that simply does not exist in the real world.

We must account somehow for the unpredictable spirit of the complex mind and the forces that act upon it.

Continue reading “Porn Addiction, Part Three: What Porn Does To Your Soul – 1 of 2”

Porn Addiction, Part Two: What Porn Does To Your Brain, the Science

Photo by H.T. Yu, CC BY 2.0

An ongoing discussion about victory over sexual addiction.

Recent Edit: October 23rd, 2015
– My book on quitting porn addiction is in paperback for only $6.10 and e-book for 2.99 on Amazon! It’s been officially endorsed by Craig Gross of X3Church. It contains this entire series of posts plus brand new info, fully updated and fleshed out, with specific steps to quit.

My podcast series “Cutting It Off” — here.

Why Do I Use Porn? Why Can’t I Stop? Here.

Every question submitted about porn on this blog, here.

**Updated: May 2013

For the podcast episode based on this post, click here.

The science behind porn addiction will not surprise you.  It can be easily mocked as apocalyptic research with an old-fashioned bias, but excuses to use porn are also biased by the hand down your pants. Objective evidence of pornography’s effects has one goal: to show how much porn screws up your brain. For some that will be enough to quit.

Obviously, something serious is happening in the neurology of a person who will not stop using porn.  Constant exposure to graphic, unreal, out-of-bounds sex doesn’t just go in one hand and out the other (bad pun). Like the heroin addict or the gambler or the alcoholic, several key things are happening.

Much of the following research is borrowed and not my own. Please keep in mind that the term “addiction” is a serious term and might or might not apply to you, but it’s worth investigating. I don’t mean to over-dramatize here or make a big show of scientific language, but porn use does have a particular undeniable effect on the brain.

Sources include Craig Gross’ Pure Eyes, Eyes of Integrity, and Dirty Little Secret, and William Struther’s Wired For Intimacy. I’ve read and re-read these important resources and highly recommend them to you.  There is also Michael Leahy’s Porn Nation, Mike Wilkerson’s Redemption, Tim Chester’s Closing The Window, and David Powlison’s tiny booklet Slaying The Dragon. Where possible, I’ve tried to research articles and current news behind pornography and the porn industry. And of course, there is personal experience with addiction plus countless hours spent with young and old porn addicts.

The Addict’s Path:

Continue reading “Porn Addiction, Part Two: What Porn Does To Your Brain, the Science”

Book Review: You Can Change

You Can Change
By Tim Chester

Summary:
The danger in Christian books about change is the bogeyman of legalism. Some of the “classic” Christian literature is nothing more than a manifesto of Do’s and Don’t’s that have nothing to do with the Bible, much less Jesus. Tim Chester does not avoid these familiar pitfalls: half of his work is a brilliant call to holiness while the other half is counterintuitive to his own goals. It makes for a frustrating read that at times connects deeply but often succumbs to being another screaming manifesto. Overall though, the Tim Chester’s work, despite its “self-help” vibe, does call to a boldness in our ownership of sanctification.

Weaknesses:
First the negatives. Tim Chester, who can be a good writer, writes this book in a clinical, abrupt, academic form that never really “breathes” like one human being speaking to another. For a work of this sort, it makes for a dull read that smears together like a textbook. It’s as if Chester included all the necessary doctrine so that no one would fault him for being shallow. The result, perhaps unexpectedly, is a bunch of fluff that is neither interesting nor practical.

Continue reading “Book Review: You Can Change”

Book Review: Redemption


Redemption
By Mike Wilkerson

Summary:
Absolutely one of the best books on grounding your identity in Christ beyond the troubles and treason of the past, Mike Wilkerson has written a theologically sound work with painful true stories and great application. It’s a masterwork on freedom from idolatrous destruction. His comprehensive overview of freedom from idolatry is for every manner of spiritual stigma, whether it be suffering from sexual abuse, substance addiction, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, or self-harm. It’s a sobering work that is at once gentle and aggressive. Wilkerson also paints a big picture of the Bible that creates a big picture for us in God’s story.

Strengths:
The most effective parts of Mike Wilkerson’s work is the continual gutting of all excuses and rationalizations. In his lifetime of gritty ministry he has seen and heard it all, and the prominent problem is our belief in The Lie. Wilkerson kills lies like a sniper. The best a book such as this can do is talk to you, and I found many lies in my own life that I had to rip out from the roots.

Continue reading “Book Review: Redemption”