I was 11 the first time I was exposed to pornography.
Based on the little I remember, I think I was alone in the house and bored. And I was lonely, as well. The Yellow pages was lying around, and I just started paging through it, wondering if there was someone a child could call to just chat to. I came across a few items which intrigued me for a moment, but then I just continued flipping through the pages. I stopped at a gay hotline...
Now, for some background; I was in an American curriculum at that stage of my life, and "gay" meant "happy" to me. I was aware that people could be gay in another sense, but that folder had a BIG question mark on it. Another folder, the one for the deepest intimacy on earth, had some junk in from fellow uninformed school friends, some movie scenes, and conveniently dodged questions from parents. So, in no way did I know what I had been getting myself into when I chose to dial that number. And then, the lid of Pandora's box was open.
Currently, I am a mom of three, the eldest being seven. I shudder when I realise just how young and immature I had been in my being when I experienced this. But this situation seems to be mild compared to what is happening all the more in our society.
Human children, created in the image of Elohim,
are taught depravity from family's knee.
From the sleepover party they learn "intimacy".
And all the while, parents are looking the other way.
"It's all innocent fun," I often hear them say.
But if they did not open the file,
and ensure the information within does not beguile,
how can they claim that the children will not lose their way?
We, the parents, are the ones our children need to be able to ask. We are the ones responsible to teach them YHVH'S ways day in, day out. We are the ones needing to ask- is our marriage (which is the Biblical context for sexual intimacy, Gen 2:24) reflecting healthy relationship and affection to our children? Are we representing "leaving and cleaving" in a godly manner? And do we have any spiritual open doors?? This last question I would like to elaborate on for a moment.
Within the context of being under Yah's authority, there is protection and provision (Duet. 28). This is essential to know and understand, because it makes trusting and obeying understandable. But if we choose to move out from under that authority, because the temptation seems to intense to ignore, then we are moving out from under His protective "umbrella" into open grounds. Usually complaining bitterly when the cold rain soaks us through. Now, I don't want to seem cavalier at all. I have been extremely humbled by how Abba saved me from myself, from a life I could have ended up in if He had not intervened. Abba graciously sent me my husband at the age of 15. And almost four years later, we were married. And that was almost a full 12 years ago! HalleluYah!
But concerning temptation, I believe everyone can relate.
Temptation starts as a simple thought, and when you chase it away with logic it soon starts marketing itself. Usually we are alone in our minds in this struggle, for if we were sharing with someone we held our self accountable to, the temptation would be out in the light and the deception in it exposed. Gradually we are coaxed by ourselves to believe the lies, "it's not hurting anyone" or "only this one time". And as cliché as it is, I find no better example than that of hook, line and sinker. We say "yes" to our desires, and indirectly "no" to Holy Spirit. And afterwards, we feel drained...
But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
Disappointment floods our veins and burdens our lungs. "I am so, so sorry, Abba," we pray. And sometimes, this feels like a predictable cycle of events...shame convincing us that we are going to fail again...
Nacham in Hebrew is the word used for repent, which is to be sorry and grieved within yourself.
Teshuva is the Hebrew word which describes turning away from that which you are doing and returning (to Abba).
These two words in the fullness of their capacity compliment each other, and are an intensely focused description of what repentance should look like- repentance that brings reconciliation.
Are you struggling with temptations that you seem to keep running into? Does it feel too difficult "to turn away from"? Just pause and evaluate that for a moment.
When we need to nacham and teshuva, and be most effective in staying away from whatever sinful temptations are attractive to us, I have found that earnestly doing the following has the most success:
Confess to the Lord your current struggles and past falls, without blaming others. Even though to blame is as part of being human as the original sin, we will only be held accountable for that which we ourselves have done.
Accountability to another person is a mighty sledgehammer to temptation. But this part of separating ourselves from temptation is probably the most difficult. For instance, even within a healthy marriage, the thought of sharing your greatest human struggle with the adult person you are most attached to may fill you with fear. But know this, confessing your struggle- without feeling the need to go into unnecessary detail - to another person, and praying together for the release of that temptation can keep that temptation silent. Be sure to consistently stay in contact with that trusted friend or spouse regarding the situation, and rather contact them than face that battle alone
"Pray. Listen. Do." This is a summary I learnt in a good book recently.
Pray. Tune in to Holy Spirit and ask for guidance.
Listen. Stilling the noise within, feel with your spirit where Elohim is guiding you. Go dive into the Word and develop dove's eyes, focusing above the chaos of the world into the eyes of your Maker.
Do. Once you have the next step laid out, just do it. Walk in faith, even when it looks a little zany. Trust in this: It makes sense from the other side. We should always try to be in constant communication with Elohim, also in this.
Remember that the enemy is likened to a roaring lion. This image started making sense to me after staying over at a lion park once. We went for a walk at dusk, past the fence of a big lioness. We were a large group of people, with many toddlers and young kiddos. The lioness marched up and down that fence, watching our small children, then looking up at the fence's border keeping her in. Constantly judging if she could breach it, constantly seeking a gap. That is the way of the enemy. He is always waiting for us to allow an open door in our lives that he may come to steal, kill and destroy. What really has helped many in these situations, was brought to mind by this verse:
"If your right eye makes you sin, gouge it out and throw it away! Better that you should lose one part of you than have your whole body thrown into Hell."
Get rid of whatever is making you succumb to the temptation in your life. Is it a food issue? Allow only healthy stuff in your budget. Social media? Buy yourself a cheap phone without internet connection. Is the temptation created by a person being present? Ask for breathing room, or visit them only with other friends. Ask Holy Spirit to guide you to a creative solution to your situation, and obey when you have one. Joyful is the one who bears much pruning, for he will bear much fruit!
While on the topic of lions; the most popular referral to a lion in the Bible, is the Lion of Judah.
On this earth, Yeshua was tempted in every way. If we think on this, and have His Spirit within us, we should be sure that we can defeat temptation as well! Yeshua is our advocate in the heavenly court, and by His Blood that He willingly shed for us, we are able to stand in the courtroom and be set free from the bondage that our sins bring. We only need to surrender and repent, turning back to His ways. The ways of the Way outlined in the Word.
We are a bride being purified. Refined, as gold in a furnace. This fire was not designed to destroy you. Embrace the opportunity. Wash your garments in the Blood of the Lamb. Take your sins to Yeshua, and silence the accuser where He stands as your slate is wiped clean again. Do not fear. This human journey may not be easy, but by following the path laid out for us, we will overcome by the word of our testimony- birthed through the struggle- and the Blood of the Lamb (Rev. 12:11) washing us whiter than snow.
"Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”