FIRST-PERSON: Living a life of sexual integrity: a spiritual message to fathers
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (BP) -- Southern Baptist men are great at leaving legacies. I know this is true because I graduated from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary where legacies are lived out every day. What about you? Are you leaving generational legacies for your sons to follow? If so, what kind? A clean life is caught as well as taught to our sons.
In my professional experience, half of the men in churches today are struggling with sexual integrity issues, making the decision to leave a legacy of a clean sexual life more important than ever.
I wrote my latest book "Clean: A Proven Plan for Men Committed to Sexual Integrity" (Thomas Nelson, 2013) in order to help men live just the sort of sexual lives that I suggest they should. In this book, I share my 20 years of experiences helping men become successful in living clean lives for the entirety of their lives and helping them to leave clean legacies for their sons. I share these stories in the hope that I might help you or someone you love commit to a life of sexual integrity.
Sexual integrity is something Jesus bought for all of us at the cross. This generation of fathers is pivotal in church history. It is this generation that will choose whether the church loses her saltiness in preserving the culture from further moral decline. I want to share with you some of the clean principles, those intended to encourage the long-term practice of clean living.
1. Acknowledge the enemy has waged a sexual war
The enemy has waged a sexual war on the men of the church. It is now too late to sit on the sidelines. It is time for us to act as if we are in a war.
2. Never go to battle alone
Every man in this war, regardless if he struggles a little or a lot, needs an accountability partner.
3. Never fall for the enemy's number one trap
According to Scripture (Luke 12:2) there is no such thing as a secret. No secret email accounts, web subscriptions, porn viewing, flirtations or social networks; everything will be known. If you believe you can keep secrets you condemn yourself to staying trapped in an unclean lifestyle.
4. Know the difference between 1 John 1:9 and James 5:16
1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." James 5:16 says, in part, "Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed." So many Christian men want to tell only Jesus about their sexual sins or struggles. Yes, Jesus will forgive them and cleanse them, but if they want to be healed they have to “confess [their] sins to one another.” Christian men are then healed through confessing.
Confessing my sins to another has been the key to my 25 years of living the clean life. Before I confessed my behaviors to my roommate in seminary, I couldn't get free no matter what I tried. It wasn't until I got honest with another person that I started to become clean. This scriptural-based concept of confession to another person is what has allowed me to leave a new legacy for my son, and it can help you do the same for yours.
5. Let's get practical
Most of our brains have lusted, and we reinforced that lust. To start to decrease lusting behaviors, put a rubber band around your wrist and snap it every time you are tempted. Within a month, you will have noticed a dramatic decrease in lust.
Though technology is an amazing invention, it can also be a stumbling block for men. Learn to use technology to your advantage. Place a porn blocker and accountability software on your phone, computers and tablets. I recommend Covenant Eyes. These pornography blockers will protect not only you but also your children.
You also can get practical with your approach to home entertainment. Consider using DVD players that filter out nudity and profanity in movies. I use ClearPlay (www.clearplay.com). Before you head to the theater, check out websites such as www.PluggedIn.com and make sure the movie you are planning to see is free of sexuality. My son knows this is the first place I check before we go to a movie together.
Talk to your kids about pornography. Once a month I have such a conversation with my son. This conversation may be an awkward one but will help guarantee the transmission of sexual integrity to your children.
If we as men in the church can change the rules of engagement from don't ask, don't tell to instead ask, tell and be clean, we all stand a chance of not only becoming clean, but also cleansing the legacy of our church's men. Only such men of integrity can lead our culture back to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
A leading expert in sexual addiction recovery, Douglas Weiss is an author, speaker and licensed psychologist. He is the executive director of Heart-to-Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., and the president of the American Association for Sex Addiction Therapy (AASAT). He is a frequent guest in the national television, radio, and print media and a writer on marriage, addiction and self-help topics. He is the author of more than 20 books on marriage, men's issues, addiction recovery, and self-help including "The Final Freedom," "Sex, God and Men," "Intimacy," and "Clean -- A Proven Plan for Men Committed to Sexual Integrity." He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, www.drdougweiss.com, or by calling 719-278-3708. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).