The Burning - Part 2

Removing the barriers

Many times we as Christian men can find that it is harder to go back to Christ than it was to wander off. Barriers block the way, barriers of doubt, despair and shame. We have to remember the story of the Prodigal Son. When he came to his senses, he didn’t wallow in self-pity and despair. No, he ran back home, hopeful that his father would take him back, at least as a servant (Luke 15:17-19). To do the same, we have to clear away the rubble and barriers.

We have to realize that being tempted to sin isn’t a sin. Like Paul, we see a tendency in our flesh to sin and lust (Romans 7:21), but we cannot let that trip us up. Instead of a sin, temptation is an opportunity to grow closer to Christ by obeying Him and rejecting the suggestions of the flesh. When a lustful thought comes to mind unbidden, take it captive and give it to Christ immediately. Don’t wallow in shame when it happens. Run to Christ.

We have to realize that, as Christians with a new nature, we can’t live in sin anymore. It can’t define our lives or be a pattern of our behavior. It is impossible, because our lives and everything in them belong to Christ now and He will not let it happen. The story is told of a pig who sees two tables: one with delicious gourmet food heaped on it, and the other overflowing with slop. The pig will slurp up the filthy slop with abandon, but if that pig was transformed into a man, he will immediately stop. He will vomit up what he had greedily eaten as a pig, make himself respectable and sit at the table with the good food. Now, the man is able to go back to the slop. He may remember how good it tasted to him as a pig. He might go back and try a mouthful or two, but it won’t be long before he vomits again and rejects it for the better. His nature has been changed, and so have his appetites. He cannot live like a pig anymore, and now as men whose natures have been changed, we cannot live as sinners anymore. We can sin, but we cannot live there. It is impossible. This is one of the greatest comforts Christ can give us.

God draws near to broken hearts and crushed spirits (Psalm 34:18). Men who have lost faith in themselves are men who have experienced the nearness of God. But many times the barrier of our own pride gets in the way. How can we clear the path? Cry out for God to break us. Cry out to God that He will shake us and burn the dross out of our arrogant hearts. He did not spare His own Son’s life. To remove the rubble between Him and a sinner is nothing compared to that.

Realize that the opposite of slavery to porn and lust isn’t a stronger will to resist, but a stronger love for Christ. Our wills are not only useless in the battle against lust; they are traitors. Our wills will betray us to the enemy because desire is stronger than will. But love for Christ is completely contrary to pornography and lust. Again, stir up the dying coals of your love with the greatest love ever displayed on earth: the Cross of Christ. Self and lust will be annihilated and you will be dead to everything else when He is king of your affections.

Remember that God is your only Judge and the only One to fear, but He is also the only One who offers you mercy and forgiveness. The only One you’ve offended in your lust and adultery is God, and God killed His Son for you to be His child. Satan accuses you, but God takes one look at you covered in the blood and righteousness of Christ and without a word takes you from the courtroom into the family room. You are a son now. Your Father is the king of forgiveness and mercy. There’s nowhere else to go but here, the mercy seat spattered with the blood of Christ.

Jordan Chamblee

American Family Studios
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