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Promises to Stop Are Part of the Problem

Is lust a problem for you that you’ve been trying to overcome? If so, my guess is that at some point in your life, you’ve made promises to change. You’ve promised yourself you would change, you’ve promised God you would change, and you’ve promised others that you will change.

The problem with making promises to change is that making promises to change is actually a part of the problem. Say that five times fast. I want to explain in this podcast why that is and give you three reasons why making promises to change actually is a part of the problem.

And if you are ready, I want to offer you a better way forward.

Highlights:

How do you wrestle with lust?

When we make promises to change, we’re actually attempting to avoid our current pain.

The second reason that promises to change are an attempt to cash in on a propped up future self.

The third reason that promises to change are part of the problem is that we are putting our trust in our own resolve to do better.

When we put our trust in our own promises and resolve, it actually repels God’s mercy and mercy.

How to receive who you are in Christ.

Why you need to learn to be with yourself in painful places.

Help the show:

This Episode’s Transcription

Josh 0:03
do you wrestle with lust? Do you feel that magnetic pole that just almost feels unresisted? Will irresistible at times? Do you ever encounter that situation where you are so drawn to an image or a body? That to not look almost feels like you’re doing something against your own body? I mean, I remember times for me in early recovery were moving past the temptation to lust almost felt like I was something was ripping from me, literally felt like I was like it was kind of pulling something out of joint in me. Can you relate? Can you relate his lust a problem for you, whether it’s with pornography, or seeing people on the street, or someone in particular in your life? Is lust a problem for you that you’ve been trying to overcome? If so, my guess is that at some point in your life, you’ve made promises to change, you’ve promised yourself you would change, you’ve promised God you would change, you’ve promised others that you will change. The problem with making promises to change is that making promises to change are actually a part of the problem. Say that five times fast, making promises to change, you’re actually part of the problem. And I want to explain in this podcast, why that is, I’m gonna give you three reasons why making promises to change actually is a part of the problem. And I want to offer you a better way forward. So if you wrestle with lust, and it made promises to change, I want to convince you in this podcast to stop making yourself promises to change, stop promising God’s not promising others, you’re going to change and instead, do this instead. Alright, so first of all, why? Why do we make promises to change? I mean, that that part of us feels like it’s the good part of us, right may want to make promises to change that feels like, that’s not the problem. That’s the good part of me. That’s the part of me that wants to do better. What’s wrong with that? Three things that are wrong with it, number one, number one, when we make promises to change, we’re actually attempting to avoid our current pain. So often, our promises to do better in the future, are an attempt to avoid the current pain, we’re in emotional pain. We’re in the relational pain, we’re in the spiritual pain that we’re in. We promise our spouse, we’re going to do better, because we don’t like that we’ve hurt him or her so much. We don’t like the trauma that we’ve brought in their life by by lying and deceiving them. We don’t like seeing how have they, what we’ve done, has made them feel worse about themselves. We don’t like living in that space. We don’t like the feeling that it’s given us to keep doing the things we promised ourselves, we wouldn’t do. I mean, talk about a feeling of futility and helplessness and despair. We promised ourselves we wouldn’t do it. And we did it again. Why can I go in one moment, from being so convinced that I never want to return to this and I know that instruction is going to bring, and yet I returned to it again and again and again, how futile how frustrating, how painful to be in that place. And we don’t, we didn’t promise God. We don’t want to keep letting God down. He’s given his mercy, his grace over and over again. And we keep doing it. Maybe you’ve even promised him Lord, if you get me out of the situation. If you forgive me this one more time. If you keep me from being caught this one more time, I will never do this again. And yet you have done it again. Which by the way just underscores the reality right that this is a part of the problem. There’s something about how we’re promising. It’s an attempt to avoid our current pain. Now, why is that a part of the problem because, because our sexual acting out is also an attempt to to to avoid the pain, to avoid the pain of our past to avoid the pain of our present. One of the key characteristics of when we begin to move towards sexual acting out is we dissociate from our current surroundings, we dissociate from our current emotions, we dissociate from our current relationships, because we don’t know how to do it, we don’t how to manage them. We don’t how to relate we don’t how to regulate our own emotions. We never learned how. And so we begin to dissociate from from ourselves and from others around us, including God and are those most dear to us. And as we begin to move towards this, that whatever our sexual behavior is, lust, habitual lust is an attempt to resolve deal with get away from whatever the current pain and shame that we feel. And so are the promises we make to change. It’s part and parcel of the same thing. We need a different way forward. The second reason that promises to change our part of the problem is because our promises to change are an attempt to cash in on a propped up future self, an image we have of our future self that we’re propping up to be saying, I am not going to be who I was, I’m going to be this guy, this gal instead, I’m going to be that person out there in the future. So trust that person out in the future rather than the person I am currently in the person that I’ve been. We’re propping up an imaginary version of ourselves. We’re basically put Got a future successful self help as a reason to feel better today. But what is sexual sin? Do sexual sin does the same thing it props up an imaginary self, a self, where there aren’t consequences for what I’m doing a self where we are, we’re cherished, we’re loved, we’re adored. People find us irresistible. I mean, if you pay attention to your fantasies, and you’re a part of your fantasies, you’ll always notice that you are not quite the same in your fantasies as you are in real life. There are things subtle things that you might change about yourself in your sexual fantasies. I remember part of my sexual acting out for years was was making phone calls, paid phone sex lines, I even made some illicit phone calls. not proud of it, but it is a reality of part of what I what I used to do. And when people would ask me to describe myself, I would never describe me, I would always make something up. Either a subtle change, in my height, my strength, when I did how much I made, whatever, or big changes, you know, I was, I looked entirely different. It looked more like you know, the friend I knew who was more attractive than me, I, I came across as more confident than I wasn’t real life, our fantasy self never really imagined measures up. And that’s I don’t share that with you so that you are ashamed of yourself for that, that actually is a clue, an important clue as to why you’re turning to sexual sin in the first place. And that’s a whole nother podcast. But in both cases, our promises to do better in the future are pointing at a future imaginary self. And our sexual acting out is also propping up an imaginary self, a self is disconnected from the reality of who we are today. And we need a better way forward. We don’t want to continue that problem. Third, the third reason that making promises to change are actually part of the problem is that we are putting our trust our faith, in our own promises our own resolve to do better in the future. And let me just ask you this, does your track record suggest that you’re worth putting faith in your word that your resolve that your grit is going to be enough for you to do better in the future. And again, I don’t say this, because I want to shame you, I have been there I am there. My promises to do better in certain areas of my life today, although I am doing better in the area of lost. But there’s so many other areas of my life where I’ve said, I’m gonna do better, I promise other people myself, I’m gonna do better. And I failed to don’t put your faith in your own grit, your own resolve to do better, there’s a better way forward. And notice how all that also correlates to our sexual acting out. Because when we actually act out, we are putting our faith or confidence or trust in whatever our sexual activity is, instead of addressing the difficulties in our life, both past and present, we’re actually putting our faith in acting out to somehow fix, heal, restore, escape the trouble that we’re in. And if that doesn’t make sense to you, it just means that you’ve got a ways to go in your own journey, because that’s some of the key places that you have to key terrain to move through to really find out what you’ve been looking for in your sexual acting out, and where you need to go to get the real healing you’re after. All right. So if promises to change aren’t the better way forward? What’s the better way? What’s a better way? Well, let’s start with the last one and move our way forward and give it opposite for each one, instead of trusting your own promises your own resolve to do better in the future. Instead, we want to put our trust in God’s grace and mercy and tenderness for us today. Because when we when we put our trust in God’s and so we put our trust in our own promises and resolve that actually repels God’s mercy. I don’t mean that God is is repulsed God’s mercy is ever flowing to us. He is always willing to forgive us. It flows like a like a flood toward us. And yet, when we put our trust in something else, we basically are shutting the door and say, No thanks. I don’t need that. I’ve got this other way for it to save myself. Instead, put your faith in God’s grace and mercy for you receive another way of saying I think put your faith in it is receive it. Take deep drinks of God’s mercy and grace. Andrew Kaminski have said it this way, I love this. God’s mercy flows to the lowest places. So acknowledge that you need His grace and mercy instead of shutting the door and saying, Nope, I got it. I trust my resolve. Say No, Lord,

Josh 9:25
I’ve messed this up so many times. I’ve not followed through on my promises so many times. I need your mercy. Right now. Right here I need your grace. And brothers and sisters. This also means that you practice receiving His mercy and grace even before other people have mercy and grace for you. While your spouse is yet angry and hurt by you. You need God’s grace. While you’re angry at yourself and confused and just baffled why you keep doing these things receive God’s grace. A failure to receive God’s grace is a failure to recover. because it is by his wounds that we are healed, it is His grace that we need. We’re sending crease Grace increased all the more that is the antidote that you need. Don’t trust His promises to do better. trust in God’s grace, receive His grace for you today. Secondly, instead of attempting to cash in on a propped up future version of yourself and let that be your identity, you need a more certain identity. So receive who you are in Christ, who you are in Christ. If you’ve been if you’re a believer in Jesus, the old view has been crucified with Christ and behold, there’s something new, you have been made new, you have died with Christ, and you’ve been raised with Christ. Now, listen, obviously, you’re like, really, I mean, all of us experienced that, like, really, there’s a new me, because I certainly am acting a lot more like an old me than a new me. I’m certainly acting much more like a man or woman who’s just caught up in sin and in the deeds of the flesh than I am in the Spirit. This is what theologians refer to as, as the the yet to be realized eschatology. We are living in the now and the and the not yet of of God’s redemptive plan in our lives. We have been saved and we are being saved, we have been made new and he is making all things new. We, his promises have been fulfilled in Jesus Christ in his in his incarnation, his crucifixion, His resurrection, His ascension, and we are yet waiting for his second coming, when all things, the culmination, the ages, all things come to pass. And we see His kingdom coming and heaven descends to the earth, and we are united with him at last at last. And so yes, receive his more certain identity for you. You are a man or woman in Christ. And maybe just begin with this, you my brother or sister, you are God’s beloved, you’re God’s beloved, his beloved, his beloved, a man I know was was challenged. I don’t know how far he went with this. But he was challenged in the midst of his sin, to just spend as much times he could, sitting before the face of Jesus, looking at him with love and to stay there until he really believed that God loves him, his brothers and sisters, I would encourage you receive your identity as God’s beloved son or daughter, God’s beloved. And if you’re wrestling to do that, not just in your head, but in your heart, then get some help there. That’s a better path forward than making promises. Third, instead of attempting to avoid the current pain that you’re in, you need to learn to be with yourself, with God and with others in painful places. Instead of dissociating from your discomfort, your fear, your uncertainty, your embarrassment, the wreck of your marriage, the the, the disappointment you have in yourself instead of dissociated from those things. Instead learn to tend to those places learn to attune to those places in you and your spouse or other loved ones, and and learn to tune to God in what what where he is and what he’s thinking and how he’s feeling. sexual sin is a dissociating from the places that need God’s attention. His love is care the most. And a journey towards healing is not promising yourself to do better to avoid the pain. It’s rather learning to attune with God to those places that need him the most, you can actually learn to be an ally with God, for yourself. Another way of thinking about all this is that God’s heart is for us. And yet he stands in the door knocks and waits for us to open. And so by attuning to the painful places and learning to be with yourself, and others in painful places, and with God in those painful places. You are in essence learning to say yes, God enter into this place, I’m not going to avoid it anymore. I want to be with you here. Brothers and sisters. That’s a lot. It’s field a lot of years is easy to make the promises but I guarantee you as as harder road as it is to stay in the now and not make promises to change in the future. It actually is a path will bring you greater progress faster than making the promises well, not fast, but faster. And if you need someone to walk with you on this journey, our team or regeneration is trained and ready, willing, happy to walk with you. So check out our spiritual coaching page. Learn more about us there and keep coming back for this podcast. Look forward to seeing you next week.


2 thoughts on “Promises to Stop Are Part of the Problem”

    1. Good Morning Mr. Vecchione. Thanks so much for your question. Josh has co-authored a book, Treading Boldly Through a Pornographic World: A Field Guide for Parents that can be purchased through Christian Books, Amazon, etc. We do also have a blog page on the website with more written content – https://www.regenerationministries.org/blog/?ref=menu. Please let us know if you have any other questions.

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