Skip to content

Will I Ever Be Free?

It is so difficult to keep climbing up a mountain when you think you should have already reached the summit.

You knew it was a lofty trek when you started, but with each mile, each false summit, each treacherous pass, more and more travellers are turning back, saying it cannot be done. Even some of your guides, men and women stronger and more skilled than you, are turning around.

How true this has been in the areas of marriage, sex, and sexuality as of late.

Even within the Church, many have grown numb to divorce, sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, pornography, and lust.

You who struggle personally travel an increasingly lonely path with fewer people cheering you on and crowds beckoning you to accept “reality” that the summit you’re after is out of reach.

Among the arguments beckoning you to give up, perhaps one of the most persuasive is this: If you’ve tried to change your desires and you’re still not free, it’s because you’re working against who you really are.

  • If you’re tempted by sex outside marriage, well, you’re only human.
  • If you’re tempted homosexually, God made you a gay man or lesbian woman.
  • If you’re tempted by porn or lust, it’s only natural for you to indulge.
  • If you’re tempted by divorce, you were meant for (God designed you for) a different spouse.

In other words, recurring temptation means something about your identity, that saying no to the desire is saying no to who you really are.

This is not so.

Can we experience freedom from persistent temptations? Yes, absolutely! And I pray you do! But the peak we’re after is not called Freedom from Temptation. The summit we’re climbing toward is Christlikeness.

Our goal is to learn to give ourselves as a loving, self-donation to God and others, just as Christ did and does.

Freedom from temptation is not the same thing as love.

We can feel so badly because we find within ourselves desire for that which God hates. Do these competing desires make devotion to Christ more difficult? Sometimes certainly.

But who demonstrates a purer love, the one who says yes to God because he feels drawn nowhere else, or the one who says yes to God despite feeling drawn somewhere else?  

It could be said, in fact, that those who experience recurring temptation and yet obey from the heart, these are demonstrating a greater love.

By all means, hope, pray, and seek freedom from temptations. And be smart to avoid temptations that you can. But do not be discouraged at internal temptations that persist. Remember, the pinnacle of Christ’s ministry, the summit of His love for you was demonstrated not on a cruise but on a cross.

Let us know if we can help.

I’d value hearing from you. What helps you keep going when you are tempted and tired of the journey?

With you,
Josh

9 thoughts on “Will I Ever Be Free?”

  1. Over the past few years of Regeneration, both as a small group leader and as a participant, God has been showing me that He wants to do so much more than remove my same sex attractions. He wants to heal me and meet my unmet needs. He also wants me to deal with the deeper sins in my life such as envy, pride, and self pity. As I deal with these deeper sins, the intensity, depth and pervasiveness of my SSA (same sex attractions) has diminished and no longer control my life as they once did. NEVER GIVE UP! With God, ALL things are possible, including healing from any type of life dominating sin, whether it is pornography, SSA, addictions of any kind, pride, envy, etc.

  2. When I tire in the journey I rest! I read His yoke is easy and burden light – so I say – Lord I give you my tired weary self. What would you have me know? How do You see this person, this situation? What would you have me do? Believe? Let go of? And He gives me rest, over and over. Lord I pray for Josh, Bob, Ann, and the others who are so giving and faithful to serve you in the front lines. Bring them rest in their weariness against the enormous tide if this broken sexual culture. Envelop them in your arms of love, security, acceptance, and nurture. In Jesus name. Amen.

    1. Thank you Josh.
      Your blog was right on time and exactly what I needed to hear.
      Thank you Deborah
      Your reply about resting in Jesus as we determine to obey His will for our life is perfect.

      12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Phil 2:12-13 ESV

  3. Thank you; this is even better than usual. I especially appreciate your identifying the true goal – to be like Christ in character and action.

  4. Another encouraging post Josh! Over the past several years I’ve seen several friends give up and give in to their temptations. Those decisions definitely negatively impacted me, some for years. I’ve come close myself more than once. I’m so thankful for people God put in my life who never ceased speaking the Truth to me in love. Challenging me to suffer well, and to minimize negative voices. “In Your unfailing love you will lead the people You have redeemed. In Your strength You will guide them to Your holy dwelling.” Exodus 15:13

    Keep them coming Josh!

  5. Dearest Ones. The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble & he knows them that trust in Him! Jesus said “if you love me keep my commandment. Many years ago Our Lord pulled me from the Mirey clay and woke me up. By faith I am a new creature. Please understand it is only by faith as I daily agonize over my flesh. “If any man will come after me let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me. God’s word is truth but my feelings are the struggle between my flesh and my spirit. Offer the sacrifices of righteousness and TRUST in The Lord. Resist sin and the evil ones. Like Paul…God’s grace is sufficient for me. Love you All.

  6. Well, said as usual! I used to say that “No one would apply the arguments justifying the sins/temptations that you mention to substance abusers, those who physically or emotionally abuse spouses or children, or pedophiles (but I don’t think we’re too far from people justifying that). It’s worth reflecting on Jesus’ baptism and his temptations in the wilderness. At Jesus’ baptism, his Father said, “This is my Son whom I love: with him I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17)” In the wilderness, Satan was at his side saying, “If you are the Son of God . . .” (Matt. 4:3, 6) And, I think it’s reasonable to think that Satan continued challenging Jesus’ identity and position (beloved Son) throughout his earthly ministry — yes, not a cruise, but a cross. Thank you.

  7. Thanks for the reminder that saying “yes” to God is possible no matter what else is screaming for attention. That’s what makes our love for him noticeable.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.