The National Council on Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity has defined sexual addiction as: “engaging in persistent and escalating patterns of sexual behavior acted out despite increasing negative consequences to self and others” (From What is Sexual Addiction by Michael Herkov, Ph.D.).
“Generally, addicts do not perceive themselves as worthwhile persons. Nor do they believe that other people would care for them or meet their needs if everything was known about them, including the addiction. Finally, they believe that sex is their most important need.” Patrick Carnes, Ph.D.
I would like to offer a biblical definition of addiction as: the futile, unenlightened, unrestrained attempt to meet our intrinsic need for a deep, meaningful relationship with our Creator by substituting sinful, destructive behaviors, or unhealthy emotional attachments to other human beings. Sexual stimulation and gratification is one way that we attempt to meet that need and thus the term “sexual addiction.”
The motivation to turn to these behaviors and relationships is the result of a case of mistaken identity. We don’t consider ourselves worthy of His love, so we seek satisfaction elsewhere.
Thomas A. Kempis, in “Following of Christ,” writes; “A soul which is separated from all the amusements of the senses, seeks and finds in God that pure satisfaction which it can never meet within creatures.”
Sexual Addiction is not about Sex, it’s about Identity
Such was the case of the woman at the well in Samaria when she first encountered Jesus: Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans). (John 4:6-9).
She was a Samaritan. Religion condemned her for her beliefs.
She was a woman. Culture considered her second class.
She was morally corrupt. Society deemed her as unapproachable.
Jesus knew her identity and loved her in spite of it.
Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.” Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” The woman said to him, “Sit, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” – John 4:13-24
He engaged her in a conversation about her religion.
He offered to give freely the best thing that He could offer, nothing less.
He was willing and able to deal with her moral corruption.
When she realized who Jesus was her identity changed. (Victorious Christian Living is not about what you do, but about who you are.)
The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.” Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or “Why are you talking with her?” So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” (John 4:25-29).
She knew of Christ but she didn’t know Christ.
When she discovered what Christ thought of her, the opinions of other people didn’t matter.
It is only in coming face to face with the person of Jesus Christ and the reality of Who He is that we discover our true identity and purpose in this world. When that occurs, counterfeit substitutes, such as addictive substances and behaviors, will cease to satisfy and be forgotten. Like the woman at the well who left her water jar, we will leave our addiction for a new life in Christ.
Strategies for Dealing with Sexual Sin
Come to the well – Understand that the need that you are trying to meet is spiritual and can only be met in Christ.
“for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” – Jeremiah 2:13
Confess past failures – to God and one trusted believer – Confess your sin to God and accept His forgiveness
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9).
Confess your struggles and failures to a trusted mature believer in Christ –
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” – James 5:16
Cultivate your relationship with Jesus Christ – Understand that God wants relationship not religion
Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” (John 14:23)
Knowing Christ intimately is the ultimate goal in our life –
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith – that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him.” – Philippians 3:8-10
Commit to serving others –
- Share what God has done in your life –
As he was getting into the boat, the man who has been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” (Mark 5:18-19)
- We are commissioned to make disciples, not converts –
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV)
Continue to Live in the Reality of your Identity in Christ
Die to self –
We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)
Allow Christ to live through you by faith –
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20).
All scripture is from the English Standard Version of the Bible unless otherwise noted.
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