In Genesis when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and there was a
delight to the eyes, and the tree was to be desired to make one wise she took of its fruit and ate.
What did she see?
The enemy when he tempts us wants us to see something. But the truth is, what he wants us to see is not reality.
She saw something that wasn’t actually there. And the enemy does the same thing to us.
He gets us pointed at pornography, at an extramarital relationship, masturbation, fantasy, a hookup, or a same sex relationship.
And he tells us all that will be there for us and all that it’s going to do for us. And it feels on some level like it will. And it never does.
Join us as we talk about the power of our imagination and how to take hold of it for His glory.
- Your imagination is a part of the struggle you have with sexual sin.
- What the enemy wants us to see is not reality.
- Your imagination is important to your journey of obedience to God.
- The enemy wants to hijack the gift of our imagination and use it for his purposes.
- How do we renew our minds? How do we think about the truth?
- What is a tempting thought? How do we take it captive?
- The enemy’s got a hold of my imagination.
- The enemy is using your imagination to draw your attention to a smaller vision.
- What is faith? It’s the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Help the show:
- Support the show
- Ask a question by emailing us
- Leave a review
- Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts
- Follow us on YouTube for behind the scenes and more.
This Episode’s Transcription
Hey, everybody. As we get started today, I want to ask you a simple question. Do you have an accountability partner? Do you have an accountability partner, a man or a woman who’s in your life who helps to hold you accountable in the area of sexual integrity? Maybe it’s not just one partner, maybe you’ve got a group of people and accountability group that you turn to, to help hold you accountable. If so, first of all, I want to applaud you fantastic. That means that you’re opening up being honest about what you’re struggling with. That’s super awesome. If you don’t want encourage you, you need such a group or you need such a person. But the next thing I want to ask you or get you to think about is, what does that mean to hold each other accountable? What does that look like for you and your accountability partner for you and your accountability group? And is it working? Is it working for you? Are you making the kind of progress you hope to make, because one of the realities about accountability groups, especially in the area of sexual integrity is that oftentimes, it’s the blind leading the blind, we don’t mean to be we want to be helpful to each other. But we have blind spots that we share. And so it can be very difficult for us to make the kind of progress we want to make, because we’re all sharing the same blind spots. Specifically, at the core of every sexual integrity problem at the core of every sexual problem. There is relational brokenness. You may not have known that, but it’s true at the core of every sexual issue is relational brokenness, why? Because God created sex to be relational. It is relational down to its core. And so if you’re dealing with a sexual issue, you are dealing with a relational issue. And what is an accountability group? What is an accountability partner? It’s a kind of relationship. And so if you have a relational brokenness in your life, is it possible that you share similar relational issues that keep you from making the kind of progress you want in the area of sexual integrity? That’s what this podcast is gonna talk about today. So I’m gonna identify for you, first of all, just some what some of those tendencies are, those broken relationship pieces are, no one offered just a few ideas about how you can even beginning today, improve your accountability relationships. Alright, so first of all, first area of relational brokenness, or maybe I should say this way, one of the first ways it’s relational brokenness can manifest itself is a focus on doing rather than being focused on the things that we do. We are, it’s what was once said, We are human beings, not human doings. But in the realm of sexual integrity, when we gather for accountability, oftentimes, our focus can be on our sexual behavior. That’s where our focus is. And of course, if we’re wrestling with sexual integrity, oftentimes those conversations centered around sexual sin. And that’s woefully inadequate for the journey that we’re on. Second, we can tend to have a tendency either towards a legalistic rigidity, or laxity, legalistic rigidity or laxity. Both of those are relational issues, we may have grown up in a home that was that was super rigid. And so we tend to be rigid in the way that we approach ourselves and one another, or we grew up in a home where there was a lot of laxity, maybe in the area of sexuality, even so just to get real specific rigidity in an accountability group might look like we have very specific, you know, we’re kind of hard on each other. We’re trying to, like, do the bootcamp approach to our behaviors, and just let’s shore it up and really do better come on, we can do it. And the laxity part might be more like, hey, you know, look, we all struggle. I know, I know, it’s rough out there. People don’t wear much these days, there’s just pornography everywhere, what are we to do? So either those kinds of postures can actually inhibit the kind of integrity the kind of growth that you’re after in your accountability group. Related to that, often another expression of of relational brokenness is our tendency towards shame and self hatred. If we’ve grown up with any kind of unhealed wounds or trauma from our past, neglect in our family of origin, abuse, bullying, any number of things like that, we can have internalized shame that drives our behaviors, and we can bring that shame to our accountability groups and projected onto other people. Same with self hatred and self hatred is a pretty strong phrase. I know sometimes people don’t really readily identify self hatred in them. But self hatred is just it’s it’s another way of thinking about just how hard we can be on ourselves. And we’re hard on ourselves, we typically will tend to be hard on others, or overly lacks with others. And that’s just the relational kind of quagmire we can find ourselves in. And the next their community tendency and this is huge, huge, huge to avoid pain, a tendency to avoid pain. Every relationship has conflict, including your accountability, relationships, every relationship experiences pain, every relationship has miscommunication. Every relationship has has times where a person feels just respected, are hurt. And that’ll come up in your accountability group. And you’re kind of in the relationship as well. I’ve talked to so many guys, men and women both who will enter into some type of relationship again and start getting close. And they feel some coldness from the other person. And then they pull it pull back themselves, they wonder what they did wrong, did they come off weird. I was talking to somebody who experiences same sex attractions, and just kind of has that like right in front of them as he’s, as he’s meeting other men. And feeling like, gosh, you know, every, every little thing that he feels like, might be a slight or a little bit of rejection, he pulls back because he thinks, oh, that person feels weird about me, there must be something I’m doing, that’s making them feel weird. We pull away from pain or shame, or some type of pain. And the reality is, every relationship you’re going to enter is going to have pain at some point. And so those are healthy relationships know to move toward the pain in the relationship, rather than move away from it. Because as we move toward the pain, we actually can produce healing and a deeper connection, deeper intimacy with the people around us. And that includes in our accountability groups. So that’s just some of the relational brokenness that can express itself in our accountability groups. And I just want to talk about some different ways of doing accountability. So these are just practical things that you can begin to implement in your accountability partnership, or your accountability group that will really, really help you begin to make some of the progress you want in regards to sexual integrity. So the first is, don’t focus primarily on behavior. And don’t focus primarily on sin. Yes, you need to name where you’ve sinned, you need to name where you’ve acted out sexually. That’s important. But it’s primarily important because you want to get it out. In order to get to the deeper stuff that’s going on there. hidden sin will just hide and suppress shame. And we want to get the shame up and out. hidden sin will leave room for accusation from the enemy, and we want to get that stuff up and out. So don’t focus on saying Yes, get it out. But don’t focus on it instead, help each other by listening well to each other, help each other to identify patterns that you see in one another. So help each other identify patterns. And so as you’re listening to your countability, partner share, don’t hone in on the sin. Don’t hit on on the mistake you made or you could have done it better this way, hone in on the patterns that you notice. So for example, when they are acting out, is there a specific time of day they typically tend to act out? If you don’t recognize that you might ask them? Is there a specific time of the week? Is there a specific emotion they’re feeling? Is there a specific person that tends to be connected to they’re acting out, help to identify these kinds of patterns? Also, you can help to identify patterns in how they share what they share. Notice their facial expressions, their body language, is every time they share about a sexual fall, is their head bowed down, or do they not look people in the eye, it’s pretty good indicator. There’s some shame there some self hatred going on there. help to identify those patterns, because that gets to the deeper heart issues, those relational issues that are keeping them stuck. Second, bring kindness, bring kindness, let kindness be the cornerstone of your accountability relationship. Let kindness be the cornerstone, let it be the foundation, everything else comes up out of no kindness is not laxity. It’s not moral laxity or license, it’s not that kind of like, oh, you know, everybody does it. It’s okay, we understand. That’s actually not kindness. Because that just keeps them stuck in their sin and keeping someone stuck in their sin is not kind, right. Kindness cares about the whole person. So kindness cares, not just about what you’ve done. Kindness cares about how you feel about what you’ve done. Kindness doesn’t just care about what you the sin that you did. Kindness cared about what you were feeling what was going on for you, when you engaged in the sin. And kindness cares about why you’re heading to the sin, why you took whatever you were experiencing, to sin, instead of to something healthier. So some specifics about kindness. You want to attune to the other people’s feelings in the room. Help your accountability partner by attuning to what they’re feeling. And if you really can’t, if you don’t have any idea what they’re feeling, maybe they’re, you know, the way they’re saying things you just don’t know or you’re not good at attuning to feelings. Ask them. Can you tell me what you’re feeling right now? When you shared about your sin, How’d that feel for you? And don’t accept fine or I’m okay or glad to get it out. You know, like, like, Okay, you can’t find what else were you feeling?
What else are you feeling? I was talking to somebody recently. And actually, they were saying I was feeling pretty good feeling pretty good. And I drew up a pie, you know, it’s a circle like a pie graph. And it’s okay, so if say this is a pie graph, what percentage of this pie graph felt good to you and you share that 90%. Okay, so drew that. And there’s a little 10% sliver left. So tell me about the 10% sliver, what was in there. And that actually opened up a whole whole conversation about some deeper things. Is there a feeling ended up with the person crying, which was not my intention, but I think it just revealed that there’s a lot more going on in the surface there. You see, if I just kind of follow that path that’s both of us being relationally broken, but instead, I want to bring kindness. It’s a tuning to what’s going on for them. So they can grow in relational wholeness, by identifying what’s happening for them begin to attune to their own stuff inside. And then secondly, another version of kindness is just to be with someone in what they’re dealing with. So often, I mentioned before, how we kind of tend to avoid pain, that’s one of the tendencies we do and relationally broken. Well, when we have a tendency to avoid pain in ourselves, we definitely try to avoid it and other people. And so when someone comes to us, and they’ve confessed something serious, they’ve done, and they’re really in pain about it. Well, guess what? That’s uncomfortable for us, that causes us pain too. And kindness is willing to sit in that pain in order to be with that person in their pain, instead of trying to scoot them out of it so that we feel better. So a simple way to be with somebody in their pain is to say, sounds like that’s really hard. Sounds like that really hurts. Tell us more about that. We’re here with you, we got you. We’re for you. Sometimes just sitting in silence and letting them share more. Did you know that sometimes when somebody’s Sharing pain or hurt, or even sins, that they’re struggling to get out, that sometimes your silence just lets them know it’s safe to go on. Oftentimes, people will test the water their cell a little bit about their pain, just to see if you can give them a you know, the quick Bible verse answered a bandaid over their pain, which is really your way of, of trying to avoid the pain yourself as opposed to it tell me more about that, what else is going on? They said they can handle that pain, and then they’ll open up a chair more. That’s a really relationally healthy way to help to attune and offer kindness to somebody else. And then lastly, lastly, encourage responsibility, encourage responsibility. So I break that word apart response ability. So as you as in this accountability group, or partnership, as you learn to identify patterns and dig a little bit deeper, as you learn to attune to one another practice kindness with each other. What are you going to do with that information? How are you going to respond to that information? So a healthy accountability group, just like any healthy relationship, hold each other responsible. And what that means is, we treat one another as though we are able to respond to what we’re discovering. Now that you know what, you know, what do you want to do? How do you want to respond. And you can focus some of your accountability time around that. So now you’re not just reflecting on the last week, or the Falls you had or the terrible things you did in the past. You’re now looking ahead and you’re saying, you know, I want to do this differently, I’ve noticed that usually act out looking at porn after my wife goes to bed, or on the weekends when I don’t have anything to do. So this coming weekend, what I want to do is dot dot dot, and here we try not to slip into rigidity, or legalism. But we try to attune to what we need, and be kind to ourselves and what we’re planning ahead. Also, we might say, you know, I’m really, I just need some distance from pornography, I feel like I’ve gotten into a bad rut of looking every day. And so I’d like to get a filter on my device, at least for now. Because I think it would really help me just to get some distance from that. Or, gosh, I keep running into the same thing where I notice that I’m feeling really ashamed about the work that I’m doing in my job. I feel like I’m not doing very well there. And so instead of continuing to feel that, what do I want to do about it? While I think I want to, I want to go back to school, I want to learn more in this arena. Or I want to go talk to my my supervisor and ask for some feedback and some help. Those are responsible things to do. And you’ll notice, we’re really talking about being adults, we’re talking about mean mature relationally healthy adults, going back and talking to your supervisor to get some feedback, that’s a relationally healthy thing to do and it’s not avoiding the potential for pain. So you see how all these things kind of come together. And we put all this under the heading of we’re pursuing sexual integrity and I love how Jay stringer talks about integrity as not just quitting our sin. That’s that sin focus. But integrity is learning to attend to our to our whole selves our whole lives. And that’s what a good accountability group will help us to do.