Sin/Transgression/Iniquity—What’s the Difference?

There is a difference, and it’s important. Jim breaks it out in this recently released volume of JimTalks.

Jim Talks - Vol. 30Sin should look really terrible, but that is the problem with it. It doesn’t seem to remember that when it is making its appearance. Sin tempts us precisely because it looks so good!

In Jim’s own words, “Sin came to my attention first when I was reading when Moses was up on the mountain with God. He asked if he could see God pass by and God put him in that little cleft in the rock. And as they were talking Moses made the point that God was merciful to our transgressions, sins and iniquities. To him they were very different concepts.”

“At that point in my own Christian life I hadn’t thought there was any difference between them. They were three words that meant the same thing; but it got me curious why Moses would mention the three things separately. So I looked up all the scriptures related to those words and that is why we have more than 8 hours of talking on iniquity in volume 30! And while they all indicate something wrong with us, they are really quite different.”

Transgressions involve a command or a law. “Without the law there is no transgression.” If the law says you should go 35 and you go 37 that is a transgression. Had there been no law you could go 37 with no problem. If the law says “thou shalt stop at this corner,” there is a red stop sign. If you don’t stop that is also a transgression because the law says you should stop and you didn’t. If there was no sign, there would be no transgression. Understanding that one is the easiest.

Sin in both the Old and New Testament is an archery term. In the New Testament Greek it simply means you missed the mark. You can miss the target in any number of different ways: too high, too low, to the side, fall short of the target, shoot past the target—just all kinds of ways you can miss the target. The archery term literally means that your arrow did not reach as far as it needed to.

That is why Paul said, when he was trying to make it clear to Greek speakers, that “all have sinned and missed the mark and fallen short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23 It is a very specific kind of falling short of what you were asked to do…for instance God asks you to love those that hate you and be merciful to your enemies. But, often when you find your enemies you just want to pound their noses—that is falling short of what you should be doing.

Iniquity is a more difficult concept. With transgression you clearly have a choice: you stop or you don’t stop. You follow the law or you don’t follow the law. With sin, you might give it your best shot and still not make it as far as God wants you to go. With sin you are trying but simply are not making it.

Iniquity is a word that means something is deformed; it is a deformity. There is something not right about you.

The interesting thing is that in the New Testament, the Greek does not appear to have any direct corresponding word for that, just like there is not a corresponding word for sin. They are close, but iniquity is even more difficult. Usually in the passages in the Old Testament whenever the word used is translated “iniquity,” the New Testament talks about “weaknesses.” Often that is translated into English as infirmities or weaknesses.

Leprosy is an iniquity in the skin; it is a weakness in the skin. Blindness is an iniquity in the eyes. If your friend tries to pass a kidney stone and his legs swell up and things were not running they way they should…some of those things are just deformities. There is nothing he can do about it. There is no way he can change that by willing harder or just obeying. He is dealing with some things about himself that are not the way they are supposed to be.

Physically that is okay. Christians don’t have trouble saying, “my back is out” or “my left leg is too short,” or “my eyesight is deformed or I have other kinds of deformities.” When they become deformities of character or personality or even deformities in outlook on the world—those are the ones that are much more insidious.

It is in that context that I want to suggest that our society’s outlook on sexuality is pretty deformed and culture is actively in the process of helping deform it even more.

Women in South America have the idea that they have to look a certain way or they won’t be lovable. They believe it. They can look at their bodies and find out what is wrong with them, from their point of view that makes them unlovable. But that is not the way it was supposed to be—that is an iniquity, a deformity in outlook. Their concept of who they are has been misshaped in some way. And, South America does not have the corner on that.

This lays a foundation for what iniquity means in the development of sexual predator impulses for men and women. Most readers would probably think the term “predator” only applies to people who are in San Quentin. However, predatory impulses are not a rare and strange thing that happens to just a few people. Everyone is wired with sexual predator impulses; that is normal and automatic; it’s easy to do. No brains required. Anyone can feel this reaction.

Next week we will delve more into those predator instincts that seem to be the baseline wiring of our species! Chris and I hope that making plain the differences between sin, transgression and iniquity is helpful.

If you would like to purchase either Joy Starts Here or Volume 30 of the JimTalks, click here. Vol. 30 is an excellent companion to Joy Starts Here.

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May your joy be full!

Chris & Carol,

Chris Coursey, MA Theology — Author, Speaker and Thrive Trainer, www.thrivetoday.org 

Carol Brown, Author of The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity and Highly Sensitive                            www.fromgodsheart.com

This post was developed from a talk by Dr. Jim Wilder for Pastor’s Weekly, Oct. 31, 2013

 

Q & A with Pastor Darrell Brazell–Part IV–Joy in Relationships (Groups)

Rev. Darrell Brazell

Question: Is there any hope of conquering the addiction to pornography/sexual addictions if someone does not join a group?

Darrell: Recovery from pornography and sexual addiction is a complicated, difficult path. In our model in our ministry we found that path best when an individual dived into our recovery group, did individual counseling, Emmanuel work and actively built relations with other men—attacking it from many different directions. Yet, I talk to individuals from literally all over the world, different people contact me and say, “Well, I don’t have a group. I don’t have any connections.” I tell them, “Okay, then pray.”

“Ask the Father who He wants you to talk to and share your story and your journey with.” Whatever face or name comes to your mind, ask the Father for strength and go and tell them where you are at. You found my manual, you found a resource, now go to them and tell them hey, I have this resource. This is my story; would you be willing to be my sounding board as I go through this manual? What is amazing to me is:

1. How resistant most people are at trying that…most people are terrified of anyone finding out.

2. Secondly, what normally happens is they find out that the person who came to their mind is either a fellow struggler who understands and needs help themselves and then they have a partner to walk through this recovery with or they have found someone who has fought this battle and God brought them into places of freedom and they become a mentor and guide who can walk with them.

Don’t let not having a group, not having the right resources in your immediate vicinity stop you. I didn’t have a group. I didn’t have anyone in my area that I found …it was a little over a year into my recovery when we started our first group.

Our group was the first one that I was aware of anywhere in our area. Yet God was faithful to me. He brought an individual to me and he and I started working together. Yes, a group is better than one person, but one person is a place to start.

Question: Can you give some very practical examples of how a man can become a protector of women rather than a consumer?

Darrell: So much of it boils down to the mindset. Restaurants are a good example. I am in Lawrence, KS—a college town so every restaurant is also a bar. Many times waitresses are not dressed in the best of ways. It is often challenging in those environments to deal with the consumptive temptation but a friend of mine years ago…one of the things he did was that whenever we went to lunch (pretty regular basis). Whenever the waitress came he would always find out her name and every time she came to the table he would refer to her by name. And he had kind words for her and had that framework of her as a daughter he just doesn’t know very well.

I know that he blessed many young women in ways that they probably didn’t understand–it just felt different. After I have taught on these things, women will say something like, “You know, what you have described about this consumerism and how men look at us has helped me understand why I feel icky sometimes. I didn’t even know why I felt that way, but now I do—that person was not seeing me, they were seeing body parts. They were consuming me, not knowing me.”

Speak to them as a person rather than an object, then you are protecting; you are not consuming. It is a simple next step in personalizing instead of objectifying.

Question: What activities are you doing in men’s groups to create joy?

Darrell: We don’t have a lot of “activity” in our group but I will give you a quick picture of a typical meeting. First we have what we call “big group time” which is anywhere from 6-8 guys (as many as 25) around a big table and we have group discussion. There is often banter and conversation and we enjoy being together.

Then we break up into our “check-in groups” of 3-4. No less than three for safety/protection reasons and no more than four because if we have 5 guys in a group for check-in we will be stuck there for two hours! We have learned that 3-4 is the perfect number. And in the small group of 3-4 we have four simple points of check-in:

1. Where am I at today? What’s going on in my world? This is the sharing of joys, struggles, etc.

2. Check in—we have what we call our 6 dailies which are six recovery behaviors that we do every day. So it is a check in—how have you done on your 6 dailies?

3. Confession time. James 5:16, I John 1:7-9—Is there any sin that needs to be brought into the light? Anything you came in here weighed down with that you want to share with your brothers in Christ and leave here free of?

4. Goals. What was your goal from your last meeting and how have you done with it? What is one tangible, practical goal that you are going to work on this week to be in a better place?

In that context as guys share their struggles and victories and where they are at, there is much relational connection, there are many ah-ha moments when a guy shares something and another guys says, “Really? I thought I was the only one.” As those take place, there is a very natural place of joy that happens.

I have a whole page of suggestions in my manual for starting joy in groups. We talk about and encourage guys to make eye contact, saying hello, calling one another by name…those kinds of things. We encourage guys to meet for lunch or coffee, daily phone calls with one another…anything to build those relationships and build joy. We have found that to be especially helpful in the process.

Resources

If you would like to snag a copy of Pastor Darrell’s Recovery Manual, here is a link.

Joy Starts Here with exercises, bible studies, assessments

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Vol. 30 of the JIMTalks – Workers of Iniquity is a wonderful companion to Joy Starts Here. It gives a biblical understanding of some of the vocabulary used in the book.

There are 8 hours of teaching in this volume! God had a lot to say about transgression, sin and workers of iniquity!

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And 30 Days of Joy…for busy married couples! This resource is available, but has not been added to the website yet. Contact Chris personally at Chris Coursey (thrivingtoday@yahoo.com)

30 days Joy Exercises

May your joy be full!

Chris & Carol

Chris Coursey, MA Theology — Author, Speaker and Thrive Trainer, www.thrivetoday.org 

Carol Brown, Author of The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity and Highly Sensitive                            www.fromgodsheart.com

This post was developed from a talk by Pastor Darrell Brazell for Pastor’s Weekly, Oct. 24, 2013.

 

Predator to Protector – Part III, Q & A with Pastor Darrell Brazell

There was so much helpful information in Pastor Brazell’s presentation that we wanted to share the further helpful nuggets that came out in the Q & A session following! Without further ado…

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Question: I believe sexual purity is about my identity and who I am in Christ. What are your thoughts on this?

Darrell: Absolutely. So much of sexual acting out is about numbing out and medicating the pain of negative and wrong beliefs about myself. For example, one of the things I have in chapter 3 of my manual is a very exhaustive “Who Am I in Christ” list.[1] It helps you go back into scripture and say, “God who do You say that I am?” But it has to go much deeper than just an intellectual understanding. Those lists, those verses are powerful, essential, but the reality is that you have to take it to the next level of you hearing it from the Father Himself. Hearing it not just in a written work, but in your own relationship with Him and in the dialogue you have with Him.

We found the Emmanuel Process to be such a powerful, essential part of the recovery process because as men experience Emmanuel meeting them in the middle of their mess, even in some of the worst places of their acting out and discover that He is not rejecting them. He is not pushing them away. He is sad for the mess that they are in, but He is still glad to be with them. That is often life transformational for men.

Sexual purity, so much of the time, does come back to understanding who I am in Christ and allowing God to define me. We are not defined by our sin; we are defined by our Savior. As you see yourself as He sees you, then you begin to live out that reality rather than the reality you have believed up to that point.

Question: Could you distinguish for us the difference between joy and pleasure? I think there is a lot of confusion over what joy is and what pleasure is.

Darrell: Yes, it is very important to begin to recognize the difference between joy and pleasure.  As a culture and a world, we are addicted to pleasure when what we are really seeking is joy.

Pleasure is anything that will tweak the brain’s ability to produce dopamine. Anything you do pleasure-wise will cause your brain to release dopamine and that feels good. Eat chocolate, play a video game, watch TV, ride a roller coaster…you can do all these pleasurable things. Most pleasures are fine and okay in and of themselves. The problem is that pleasure without relationship is just pleasure. You have to train your brain that what your life really wants to live off of is not the immediate hit of pleasure, but the longer lasting effect of Joy. The difference between pleasure and joy is that joy is always relationally connected. You can have pleasure without another person. You can never have joy except in relationship because joy is that experience of the brain knowing that I am with someone who is glad to be with me.

Joy, as we know from the various Thrive materials, is communicated right brain to right brain through the eyes primarily. It cannot be faked; it is always authentic. It happens faster than you can keep up with. So, you will never receive joy from your smart phone. You will never receive joy from a computer screen. You can only experience joy in actual encounters of relationships with other people.

Here is the confusing part: pleasure feels like and has many of the same effects as joy, but not really. It is a counterfeit. It is like a sugar substitute where you get the feeling and taste of sugar but you don’t get any sugar. The difference between pleasure and joy is like the difference between carbohydrates and protein.

To this day I can sit down and eat an entire box of Captain Crunch cereal. I love the stuff. For me it is a sugary heaven. But if I had a great big bowl of Captain Crunch for breakfast at 7:30 in the morning, at 9:00…starving. Not only am I starving, but I am on a sugar crash and my brain is saying, “Give me more carbs!” I need more just to function. However, if I eat a breakfast at 7:30 in the morning of 2 eggs, some fruit and juice. At 9:00 I am perfectly fine because protein lasts. That is the difference between pleasure and joy.

Pleasure feels good; it has some of those same effects as joy, but it doesn’t last. When it doesn’t last your brain tells you to have more so you go to the smartphone, the internet—you go looking for another hit and start to build up tolerance so that you need more and stronger, etc.

Going back to my point about helping men learn how essential it is to build joy with other men…as they experience joy in relationship they find that their cravings reduced because they are staying full longer.

Question: I work with men who are sexually addicted. I have some men who never want to look deep to see what the core of their addiction is. Do you have any insights to help these men look deeper into their lives? They say they have no pain or anger in their life. How do I help move them on to insights about themselves?

Darrell: 1. You must recognize that you cannot move them anywhere. What you can do is help them see more of reality. Reality is that every one of us has painful things at our core. Honestly, I am always frustrated and amazed at how resistant people are at looking beneath the lid to see where the pain is really coming from.

2. Something I learned from Karl Lehman is that the brain will not load any memory that it does not have the joy capacity to hold. So the people who are the most resistant to looking at the pain in their lives have little to no joy capacity. Ironically, one of the things that you can do for those individuals is to help them build joy capacity and as they build joy capacity, they will find more courage and ability to look at the painful things.

3. Help people think through things and recognize pain. The reality is that so much of what people do is medicating, whether it be through pornography or lust or carbohydrates or any form of BEEPS (Ed Khori’s acronym for behaviors experiences, events, people and substances) that you use to artificially regulate your emotions. As long as you are living in BEEPS you are not going to feel much pain because it has been medicated into silence! You are keeping yourself in a dopamine cycle and you don’t feel much.

Help those people who are not willing to look beneath the surface by challenging them to go without their BEEPS. When they eliminate their BEEPS the pain comes to the surface and they have to start feeling it.

4. The other thing is to help them challenge their denial. One of the most significant ways to do that is to work with them in the context of their spouse or someone else who is closely related to them. So much of the time what they say is “Well it is just my struggle and it is not effecting anyone else.” One of the things that often helps individuals who are not looking at their pain is when they start seeing how much impact their ways of dealing with their pain are causing havoc on the ones they love and care about.

For example in my own story, when I was in the middle of my mess 13+ years ago, any pain or trouble that came to me because of my addiction, my acting out, in a way I just wrote it off I thought. “I deserve it.” Whatever suffering I had I could swallow and say, “Well, yeah, I am a horrible person so I am getting what I deserve.” But when I looked at my wife and my little daughter at that time and saw that they were suffering, then I said, “Okay, God, you have got to help me change because I don’t want them to hurt this way.”

It is a delicate balance of walking with people, helping build their joy strength and continually coming back to beat the drum and say, “Okay, well, what is underneath? If you keep going back to broken cisterns you must be thirsty for something. So where is the hurt; where is the pain?”

Chris: That is the beauty of the Emmanuel Process really, that it creates such safety that it is possible to address some of that stuff. We hope that you find this helpful and even more help in the following good resources.

Resources:

Darrell’s contact information: www.newhope4si.com & www.NewHopeLawrence.com

Joy Starts Here-the transformation zone Describes the kind of environment we want to have to start joy.

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Exercises, Bible Studies, Assessments with each chapter to get a feel where the strengths and weaknesses are.

 

 

 

 

 

Joy Rekindled Marriage Retreat, Medicine Hat, AB, CANADA Nov. 15, 16, 2013. More info on www.thrivetoday.org  Interactive time for couples to learn  to start joy in marriage.

30 Days of Joy…joy starting exercises for busy married couples

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15 min. a day to jump-start joy in your marriage www.lifemodel.org. – shopping page.

Low joy can lead to lots of trouble, especially in marriage.

 

 

 

Jesus in Mind—Jim talks, Vol. 30. “Workers of Iniquity.”

Jim Talks - Vol. 30

Unpacks the scriptures and the terminology used in Joy Starts Here. www.lifemodel.org.

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Pastors Weekly – Each week at http://www.thrivetoday.org/pastorsweekly.html

DVD’s of the Joy Starts Here Conference this past Oct. 3-5 They are in process! Lots of content on how to start joy in you family, church, school and community.

We are looking for places to host a Joy Starts Here weekend. Let me know here at www.thrivetoday.org and Jim Martini Shepherd’s House CEO will contact you.

May your joy be full!

Chris & Carol

Chris Coursey, MA Theology — Author, Speaker and Thrive Trainer, www.thrivetoday.org 

Carol Brown, Author of The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity and Highly Sensitive                            www.fromgodsheart.com

 [1] Pastor Brazell got the identity scripture list from some people who had expanded one they got from Neil Anderson and he expanded it a bit.

This post was developed from a talk by Pastor Darrell Brazell for Pastor’s Weekly, Oct. 24, 2013.

 

 

From Predator to Protector Part II, Two Tools – Pastor Darrell Brazell

This week Pastor Brazell shares two of the tools he teaches the men in his recovery groups.

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Tool #1 Learn to see women through the eyes of a protector rather than a consumer.

Brazzel-9.pngI had an individual come to me and he shared with me that he was in a place of giving up. He said, “I don’t know that it is even possible for me to look at a woman and not go to lust.”

Think about that statement for a moment. Hear the damage that the enemy has done to how this man saw himself. He saw himself as a man whose only choice, the only reality, the only thing he could do whenever he saw a beautiful woman was go to lust. What I would say is that the vast majority of men that I work with believe that it is somehow impossible to do anything with the image or even a live woman in their presence without going to the place of consumption.

I knew that he was married to a woman for a number of years but his step-daughter was 13 years old when he married this woman through the time when she left the home. He had said that he didn’t think he was capable to looking at any woman without going to lust. I said, “what about your step-daughter? Did you lust after her?”

Brazzel-9.pngHe immediately bristled, “Well, no. Of course not!” I said, “Well, why not?” He said, “Well, because, I saw her as my daughter and it was my job to protect and care for her.” So I just looked at him and said, “So your brain really is capable of putting women in a category for protection rather than consumption.” You could see the light bulb go off in his head. For the first time he realized that he was capable of seeing a beautiful woman without going to lust.

That evening we at men’s group we talked about that very discussion. You could see the light bulbs going on all across the room in the guys’ heads as they began to think of the different women in their lives who were beautiful, attractive women with whom they did not have problems of lust. One of the common threads that kept coming out was that these were women with whom they had a relationship and they saw themselves in a role of protecting, not consuming.

It is critical for a man to begin to recognize that he is capable of protecting, and then begin to use the discipline of categorizing every woman he encounters into the category of mother, sister, or daughter. That is exactly what Paul describes in I Tim. 5:2. “Treat older women as mothers and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.” Let that sink in for a bit.

Unfortunately in Christian circles, they try to get men to deal with lust as if it can be controlled by shackles and chains. If you just clamp the lid down tight enough, then you cannot go there. I am convinced that the answer is in retraining the mind to recognize that we are in relationship with women but that relationship needs to be in the proper perspective. I think that is part of what Paul is saying to Timothy when he says to treat older women as mothers and younger women as sisters with absolute purity.

So I am teaching men to put every woman they come across in the category of sister, mother or daughter. In those categories your brain begins to learn that they are not for consumption. They have been placed in your path and one of your tasks as a man of God is to be a protector of Eve rather than a consumer of Eve. That paradigm shift for men makes a huge difference in the struggle against lust, pornography and sexual addiction.

Tool #2 – Build joy with other men—Our world has little to no understanding of the power and need for authentic male friendship.

Brazzell 10When I was working on this slide show for the power point slides I got a graphic illustration of this. I spent 15 minutes looking at hundreds of thumbnail pictures of joy and people happy looking for a picture of men in joy together. This picture is the second picture I saw in 15 minutes of very active searching! The other picture was four men with alcoholic drinks in their hands in a bar. Our world does not associate joy with men’s relationships with one another. There were countless pictures of men with women smiling and many pictures of men with children but very few pictures of men glad to be with other men.

Men come to us and join the group and one of the things I ask them in the intake process is, “So what are your relationships like with other men?” They tell me, “I have work relationships.” Some men have relationships with other men where they do something. They hunt together; they work together on yard projects or something like that. “But do you have any men in your life that you share hard things with? Do you have any men in your life that you know are glad to see you no matter what?” And the answer is almost always “no.”

Another dynamic that we see is that after coming to group for 2-3 months or so a man will just blurt out something to the effect of “I never knew that you could have this kind of friendship in relationship with other men!”

Why is male friendship so critical?—Our world has pressed upon us the belief that the only place men can get joy from as men is from woman. As a result, we have multiple generations of men who are constantly looking to Eve to fill their joy bucket, oblivious to what can grow from other men. Then when you combine this with the twisting of seeing Eve, not for who she is as an individual, but seeing her through the eyes of lust, then you have men who are joy starved. They are not looking to the relationships even with other women for a joy boost and healthy relationship, but they are consuming them.

When you are joy starved and powerless to resist your cravings, you look for something—anything to medicate the pain and shame in your life. That is one of the reasons internet pornography and other forms of sexual acting out are so common and such a powerful draw.

Tool #2 – Build relationships with other men. What men need desperately is to build joy with other men. However, they are often very resistant to that. When I talk about coming to men’s group and build joyful relationships with other men they look at me with a weird look and say, “Why would I want to build joy with these ugly guys?” I tell them, “Because it will change your life.” And the men who jump in and do that find that their lives begin to change in very radical ways.

A number of times guys will shake their head and say, “You know, I would never have thought from the first time I came here, that one day I would look forward to coming.” The most common thing for most men in telling their story is that they sit in the parking lot for 5, 10, and as long as 45 minutes, absolutely scared witless, trying to find the courage to come into the room where they know we would be talking about pornography, masturbation and other sexual issues..

Over time they found that as they entered the community, they started to experience joy. Many of the guys have talked about how men’s group night is now one of the highlights of their week. If you walked into our room and did not hear the content we were talking about, many times you would be surprised because you see guys smiling, and having joy with being with one another.

Other times when we are dealing with really hard stuff, praying over one another, grieving with one another, and what happens in that process is that relationships are formed. Relationships go deep and those deep relationships give the men more strength or joy capacity to deal with the hard things.

These are two of a number of tools Pastor Brazell teaches the men in his groups. We hope these tools will bring new hope to you or someone you know or with whom you work. For other resources Pastor Brazell uses with men’s groups around sexual integrity visit www.newhope4si.com.

May your joy be full!

Chris & Carol

Chris Coursey, MA Theology — Author, Speaker and Thrive Trainer, www.thrivetoday.org

Carol Brown, Author of The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity and Highly Sensitive                            www.fromgodsheart.com

This post is from a talk by Pastor Darrell Brazell of New Hope Fellowship, Lawrence KS given for Pastor’s Weekly Oct. 24, 2013.

From Consumer (Predator) to Protector—the paradigm shift men often miss. Part I

Is it possible for a man to transition from being a consumer of women to a protector of women? Is it possible to shake loose from lust, pornography and sexual addition? Pastor Darrell Brazell says, “Yes!”


clip_image002imageOne of the things that is critical in transitioning from being a consumer or devourer of women to a protector of women is for a man to learn that his brain is really capable of protecting. Noticing and devouring are two very different things. Devouring is at the core of lust, pornography and sexual addiction. Lust is not noticing and appreciating; it is a consuming.

Devouring happens when men objectify women rather than personalize them and develop relationship with a person. The sensations of pleasure become more important to a man than the relationship with the person. Devouring concentrates on body parts. Concentrating on body parts causes the brain to produce a dopamine pleasure spike but that is a pseudo-joy and does not last. It is like giving your body a bowl of sugar cereal rather than a breakfast with protein. It satisfies briefly but does not last; it will require more and more…and that is the essence of addiction to lust, pornography and other sexual addictions.

Problem—The problem is that men too often go from noticing and appreciating to devouring.

clip_image004.jpgRoot of the Problem: Let’s first talk about some things that often get us caught in places of toxic shame. The reality that God created Eve beautiful and He hardwired Adam to notice is foundational! That is our design. God created Adam’s brain to notice Eve’s beauty but instead of going from noticing to appreciation, men go from noticing to shame. Men feel shame over something that is hard wired within them. The male brain has a stronger emphasis on visual things and Eve (women’s beauty) is one of the things his brain is especially wired to notice.

clip_image006.jpgThe enemy has come in and twisted men’s noticing and appreciating and pushed them into a place of consuming and devouring. When a man has trained his brain to be in a devouring mode through pornography, lust or sexual fantasy, then he is not able to shift gears. Many men don’t know they are capable of shifting gears.

So what I want to talk about today are some ways for men to deal with that struggle in better ways than they have been taught in the past.

What does NOT work—

clip_image008.jpgToxic shame will not cure lust. Men hear sermons about the evils of pornography and lust and the message they have heard is: “It is bad. Don’t do it and if you are doing it, you are bad. Yet no matter how much they castigate themselves, no matter what they do to stop the behavior, they find themselves just going back.

One of the reasons for that is that we use any kind of dopamine pleasure addiction to medicate shame that we are not able to deal with. “Your heavenly father will not use toxic shame against you.” Toxic shame is not helpful to solve the problem.

clip_image010_thumb.jpgGender isolation will not cure lust. Gender isolation cuts off a significant avenue for healing, a significant avenue for mother and sister type relationships. It also eliminates 50% of the population from being able to share joy with joy starved men when that is what they need!

Covering your eyes is not a cure for lust. Yes, men must learn the skill and discipline of bouncing their eyes away clip_image012_thumb.jpgfrom sexually stimulating images, improperly dressed women, and improper billboards, etc. However, it is critical to know that you cannot live your life with your eyes covered and bouncing your eyes from every woman you encounter because, 1. It is not feasible! 2. If you are bouncing your eyes from every woman you encounter, then you have eliminated 50% of the people in your world who could pour joy into you.

When women are dressed immodestly and inappropriately a man is going to need to look away. However, in normal, regular interaction looking away adds to the shame and eliminates the ability to share joy. Joy is communicated right brain to right brain through the eyes primarily. So if you are always looking away from every woman, you miss those opportunities to experience joy. Draw a line at the neck. If you look a woman in the eyes, you concentrate on her face and not body parts. You will be much more successful in not going to lust.

What can a man do?  Next week I will share just two of the tools a man needs to make this paradigm shift.

A huge disclaimer: Please do not take these ideas and think “okay, if I do this I won’t have any problems with lust or if I can teach my husband this we can solve these problems. It will all go away if I use these two tools.”

clip_image014You need to understand that dealing with the tangled web of lust, pornography and sexual addiction is an incredibly complicated task. In simplifying it to just a couple tools, three steps or learning to avert your eyes and in 30 days you will be better is absolutely ridiculous. The problems go very deep. These are just two tools in what needs to be a very large tool box for men…but they are powerful tools!

Join us next week for the two tools that Pastor Brazell teaches the men in his recovery groups at New Hope Fellowship in Lawrence, Kansas. If you would like to hear his presentation in full you can find it here. Scroll down to the “Free Viewing” section and click on Oct. 24.

May your joy be full,

Chris & Carol

Chris Coursey, MA Theology — Author, Speaker and Thrive Trainer, www.thrivetoday.org 

Carol Brown, Author of The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity and Highly Sensitive                            www.fromgodsheart.com

This blog developed from a talk by Darrell Brazell for Pastor’s Weekly, Oct. 24, 2013.