As the garland and the lights and the holiday specials and the festivities ramp up, where are you?
If you’re feeling temptation take over, you’re not alone.
There’s a lot more of just about everything during the holidays. Let’s try to recapture what Jesus has given us. Together, we’ll name 5 things that can distract us from Immanuel.
And, we’ll unpack 5 ways to recenter our focus back on our Savior’s birth.
1. Busyness Increases
Sexual sin is offering you an answer to your pain, discomfort, faulty views of yourself and others at a deeper level.
The answers though, are not truly satisfying.
2. Expectations Increases
Images of happy people, loving families, wealthy displays and spreads of food lead us to feel more expectations.
We’ll also feel increased inadequacy, inferiority, futility in our lives.
When the comparison game is squashing you, the message of pornography is “you are enough.”
3. Family Dysfunction Increases
Whether you’re spending more time with family of origin/extended family or you’re alone because you have no family; the loneliness and brokenness increase.
Sexual sin offers a false sense of intimacy, a sense of belonging and a false sense of connection.
4. Habits Increase
Your brain and body may remember this time of year as the time when you binge on porn more.
5. Spiritual Warfare Increases
Christmas is the celebration of the Incarnation of the Word of God. Our temptation wants to distract us from the true meaning of Christmas.
1. Fight for Peace – The Peace which Jesus has given you, which surpasses all understanding, which He gives not as the world gives. Fight to maintain that peace.
2. Slow Down – Your breathing, eating, walking, working, slow it all down. Slow down in defiance of the spiritual warfare.
3. Simplify your Christmas – Clear away and make room for you to be at peace. Does it look like simplifying your calendar? Not putting up all the decorations?
4. Connect with people who love you – In the midst of the holidays, make time to be with the people who love you most (including people from your recovery community).
5. Create New Traditions – Be intentional and creative about nurturing yourself well to cultivate and commemorate walking with Jesus. Find an Advent devotional to work through, schedule time to serve the poor, write a letter of thanks to someone who has meant a lot to you.
If you have a sexual fall this Christmas, don’t spend time beating yourself up. Instead, turn to the One who came for you, confess what you’ve done, acknowledge it was wrong and then walk in peace with Him.
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This Episode’s Transcription
Have you ever noticed that for you sexual temptation is more frequent, more prominent, more pronounced during Christmas time? If so, you are not alone. Actually, a lot of people experience that. And better yet, there are things that you can do about it. And that’s we’re going to talk about in this podcast. So a friend of mine used to observe on his way home from work during Christmas, he used to drive by an adult bookstore, on his way home, not because he was stopping there just happen to be on his way home. And he said, Man, either people are looking for stocking stuffers at the adult bookstore, or something’s going on. Because there are more people at this adult bookstore this time of the year than any other time of year. I’m gonna give you five reasons why I think that’s true. And then I’m gonna give you five things that you can do. So that sexual temptation doesn’t get the best of you this Christmas. So reason number one is that busyness increases this time of year, sexual temptation increases because busyness increases. If you’ve listened to a podcast, any length of time, you know, the sexual temptation never comes out of nowhere. There are reasons it comes. sexual sin is offering you an answer to the pain, discomfort, faulty views, you have yourself faulty views, you have others, it’s offering you an answer to those things on a deeper level. Now, of course, the answers it’s offering are not satisfactory. Now. Of course, the answer is is offering or not satisfying, they won’t really give you the solution you’re looking for, they won’t really resolve the pain, the conflict, the faulty views. Nonetheless, it’s offering you something. So as busyness increases, we actually have less ability, the busier we are the less ability to tend to our souls to attend to our hearts to pay attention to the movements of our emotions. And so we can be feeling more pain, we can be feeling more insecurity, we can feeling more stress. But we’re not paying attention to those things, because we’re so busy. And in fact, the busyness itself can contribute to our stress and our anxiety and our pain. And so we’re just making matters worse for ourselves. That’s reason number one, busyness increases, number two, expectations increase. And you cannot turn on a Christmas movie, or watch an ad for Christmas, or walk into a store or even a grocery store. Without seeing images of happy people, loving families, wealthy displays at people’s houses, incredible spreads of food. I don’t know if your Christmases look like that. But mine don’t. I mean, at best I might, I might have a little bit of those things, but not all those things. So we all live with this kind of increased expectation during this time of year. And when we feel that increased expectation. We’re also going to feel an increased sense of inadequacy, an increased sense of longing, an increased sense of maybe inferiority, an increased sense of futility in our lives. That comparison game just goes up and up and up during this time of year. And again, that’s going to be that’s gonna increase our temptation to look at pornography because the message of pornography at its heart is you are enough, right? Like when somebody’s showing their naked body to you. It’s it communicates to you I mean, even though it’s fake, it’s still communicating to your heart, on some level, like, you are worth all of me, I give all of me to you. That’s the way God intended that message to come just not through pornography through real relationship with another person in marriage. God wants to communicate that to us, but we are tempted to bring it to pornography. And so as expectations increase, you can expect the temptation will increase. Next, family dysfunction comes a knockin right. Christmas time is the time that we typically spend with our family, our family of origin, our extended family, that means your crazy uncle Louis comes over. And you got to deal with all his malarkey all his garbage during Christmas, usually you don’t, but you do this time of year. And not only that, it’s not just one you know, crazy cousin Louis. It’s also like crazy because Louis and how he doesn’t get along with it, and Bertha and et cetera, et cetera, cetera all so all this kind of crazy family dysfunction comes a knockin or maybe, as a corollary to that maybe you don’t have much family, maybe you don’t spend time with your family because of brokenness there or because there just isn’t a family for you to spend time with. And so while other people seem to be gathered together with their families, you feel more alone and more lonely this time of year. So again, you can see how those play into increased temptation. Because pornography and other sexual sins seem to offer you a place of refuge, a place of belonging, a place where you can connect and if things get too crazy to dysfunctional, you just swipe you just click right you just move on. So it seems to give you that kind of control in even while it’s giving you this false sense of intimacy and connection. Number four, habit if these other three things have been going on year after year, and you’ve been turning to pornography, other sexual sin this time of year, believe it or not, your system, your your, your biology, your brain and your body are going to remember Oh, hey, you know, I remember this time of year this is when we binge on Important more this is when we, you know that certain website actually has Christmas porn on it or whatever your body and brain will remember, it’s we are creatures of habit, God has made us that way. And it’s actually beautiful and good when we’re doing good and beautiful things. But if we’ve engaged in sexual sin this time of year, we’re going to experience more temptation because our brain and body will remember, we’ve developed that habit, I remember, for me, there were certain magazines that I look at this time of year, there were certain things I would do. And when I rolled it, when Christmas rolled around, when December rolled around, I’d remember those things. I mean, I can, even today I can remember, kind of some of the tactile feeling of those magazines and what was on the covers of them this time of year. So habit is a big is a big reason temptation increases some of your if, if sexual temptation has been a big thing for you in the past this time of year. And the last thing last reason that sexual temptation increases this time of year is spiritual warfare. And I’m not I’m not trying to be hyper spiritual here, but it’s a reality. Christmas. Christmas is a celebration of incarnation of the Word of God. And when Jesus came to earth as a human being, that was an act of warfare, he was taking back with the enemy stole in the Garden of Eden. And the enemy doesn’t like it didn’t like it doesn’t like it. And I’d suggest you maybe the busyness, maybe the increased expectations, maybe all the family dysfunction, maybe all the other reasons that sexual temptation increases time of year. Maybe that has something do with warfare. Also, the enemy wants to distract us from the true meaning of Christmases. So this is a season of warfare. The enemy wants to wash away our perception or remembering that Jesus came in the flesh. And he’s gonna do any way he can. So there’s going to be increased warfare this time of year, he would love to get you focused on pornography, he would love to get you focused on your family dysfunction. He would love to get you focused on the the increased expectations, the time of year, you would love to get you focused on the idealized images this time of year or the busyness of this time of year. Anything to draw you away from Jesus God with us, Emmanuel, God with us. So whether any of these reasons resonate with you or not, I want to walk back through and say What can you do about it? What can you do so that this time of year is not so temptation ridden with your if it is temptation ridden, that you will experience some more victories this season this Christmas more than you have in the past? So first of all, I’m gonna walk through and kind of backwards, fight the spiritual battle, fight the spiritual battle this Christmas and fight on the right battlefield. Right. So believe it or not, this, this whole podcast is about sexual temptation increasing, but your primary battlefield is not in the realm of sexual temptation. It’s not primarily your battlefield is when it comes to your own inward peace. You are walking in harmony with God with yourself and with others. So fight for the peace that Jesus has given you that peace which cannot be taken from you, that peace which surpasses understanding, that peace which he gives, not like the world gives fight to maintain that peace. And that might even sound contradictory. You’re fighting to maintain peace. Well, how can you have peace of your fighting? What I simply mean is we seek to recapture that which Jesus has given us and not let the enemy draw us away and other battles this time of year, whether it’s fighting with our family, whether it’s fighting for a place in line or fighting for that perfect gift, we want to fight those battles, we want to fight the enemy who wants to draw us away from the peace of Christ. So fight spiritual battle, you might begin with just a simple prayer like this. In the name of Jesus, I command any fell spirit that’s attacking me to go away in Jesus name to leave me alone. This Christmas, I consecrate myself, my body, my mind my heart, to Jesus. And pray that every day, write multiple times a day if you need to. Next number two, slow down, slow down. And I mean, literally slow down, you might slow down how quickly you’re walking, how quickly you’re driving up, look at your shopping, slow down quickly you eat, slow down, how quickly you’re breathing, take a deep breath and let it out.
We are celebrating the birth of our Savior. We don’t need to rush we don’t need to grasp. We can relax, we can rest. So slow down. Do it as an act of defiance against the busyness of the season. Do it as an act of spiritual warfare. You’re not buying into the enemy’s pace, you can walk with Jesus, I am kind of struck as we read the gospel stories we read how you know Jesus went from this place to this place, and we kind of and then you know, very quickly with an overseer and a whole nother city. It took Jesus sometimes days to walk that he walked, he didn’t run. He didn’t take a plane, he walked there’s a pace to Jesus’s life. And he was often he often seemed much less hurried than other people wanted him to be. So slow down. Number three. Other thing you can do to combat the rise of sexual temptation is to simplify your Christmas simplify. Instead of making Christmas out more and more and more and more gifts, more parties, more food, more friends more fun. Instead, simplify By now, you may love all the trappings of Christmas. But I’ve actually been observing in myself that the increase of stuff, the increase of parties increase, it actually stresses me out. Now I live in a house where people like a lot of the decorations and stuff. So I can’t control all of that. But I can control little spaces in my home that can control how much stuff there is in my room. So I’m actually trying to be more intentional that clearing off my my dresser, cleaning off my end table clearing off the floor around my bed. So there’s a greater simplicity for me, this Christmas just to make more room for me to be at peace and walking with Jesus. So simplify. And for me, for you, it might be something different, it might be simplifying, like maybe you want to buy less presents, maybe you want to receive less presents, maybe you want to simplify your calendar, you decide but simplify. And simplify is not because all the things are bad, it’s just creating more space for you to be walking with connecting with IN PEACE WITH JESUS this time of year. Next, number four, connect to people who love you. Yes, you’re gonna have family events and parties to go to and office parties and gatherings and things like that. But in the midst of it, make sure that you’re carving out time to be with people who love you most, including if you’re in recovery from sexual addiction, including people from your recovery community. You know, sometimes there are recovery communities that take a break this time of year, but we need each other. And so scheduled time to be on the phones schedule time to get together for coffee, scheduled time to go for a walk, don’t maybe not, don’t do coffee, because it’s so crowded and busy, it’s going to stress you out, go for a walk with somebody who knows you well, who’s an ally to you on this journey, who can support you in drawing nearer to Jesus scheduled those things not to fill your calendar with them. But so that you have those to look forward to and help you out throughout the course of your Christmas season. And, and you will bless and help somebody else as you do that too. And then last, create new traditions, create new traditions. So if you’ve got you know the habit of sexual sin this time of year, increase temptations time of year, maybe create new traditions be intentional and creative about what I want to do differently. How do I want to nurture myself nurture this time of year, cultivate it and consecrated to walking with Jesus? And to really making it about him? What can you do? You know, maybe it’s finding an Advent devotional to work through. Maybe it’s scheduling a time to go and serve the poor serve in a soup kitchen or something like that. Maybe it’s that you want to sit down on New Year’s Eve and write a letter of thanks to a childhood friend or mentor somebody who cared for you. What’s one way you can carve out some time to work against kind of the busyness, the idealize, idealization, all the other stuff of this the trappings of the season, and actually work towards doing something that’s nourishing to you and serving to some someone else loving towards somebody else. Those are all ways that you can help to consecrate this time of year. And as you do that, you might find over time that sexual temptation actually decreases this time of year is developed as you develop these new patterns and new habits. And above all, above all, if you have a sexual fall, this Christmas, please don’t spend time beating yourself up. It’s Oh, you know, I ruined Christmas. Not so not so why? Because Jesus came not for the healthy but for the sick, not for the righteous, but for the sinners. And so that doesn’t mean that you should go out and fall for that reason. But if you do fall into sexual sin this Christmas, then turn quickly to the one who came for you. This is what the season is about. Because we couldn’t get to him. We couldn’t do it right. We can’t accomplish all these things. We can’t fix our lives on our own. And he came to save you. So if you have a sexual fall, turn quickly to Jesus, confess what you’ve done, acknowledge that it was wrong, and then pick up quickly to walk in peace with him in whatever time you have. Jesus, we consecrate this Christmas to you. We need You, Lord, what’s your will be done in our lives this Christmas as it is done in heaven. Pray these things and even the Father, Son, the Holy Spirit. Bless you brothers and sisters.