4 min read
By: Shane James O’Neill
Failure and Healing
When stats tell us 97% of men in the church have viewed porn, it’s safe to say nearly all of us have failed or fallen victim to over sexualization.
By looking at this struggle, the questions arise, “how should we handle failure?” and “how do we get past failure?”
Many of us have experienced healing, but we don’t see that same freedom in the lives of those around us. On the other hand, many of us struggle to get a week or even a day away from the sexual sin that haunts us.
Here is something God gave His people in the Old Testament which can help us move closer to healing and freedom in our lives.
Alters and Idols
In the Old Testament, certain objects would be placed in a specific location as a form of testimony. For instance, stones of remembrance were placed near the Jordan River as Joshua and the Israelites were preparing for the promised land. They hadn’t yet gained the land of freedom, which would be their home after 400+ years of slavery and wandering, but these stones were placed together as a testimony to show everyone what God had done and all that God continued to do.
As God’s people moved forward into a new hope, the Israelites saw God do incredible things. But they also experienced defeat, as they worked to align themselves with God’s goodness. These stones acted as a constant testimony of God’s faithfulness as His people fought for freedom and the stones stood as a witness for generations after.
Related: Are You Creating Alters or Idols
A Healing Witness
We still have idols and alters today, in our own lives. These are things and places which push us toward holiness or drive us into sin.
For instance, when I was in high school, I would hide porn images around my room, in case I wasn’t able to access the internet. From time to time, I would get these images out and give my body and passions to them.
On the other hand, there have always been older men in my life and when I’m around them then the desire for sin flees from my heart. Their lives are alters that witness to God’s goodness. I know they love me, and they reflect to me a life of gentleness, strength, and hope. I see in them the things I want God to form in my life and when I’m around them God is at work doing that very thing. They are stones of remembrance in life.
The Spirit of Prophecy
There’s an intriguing verse, spoken by and angel, at the end of the book of Revelation. It states: “The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy.”
Commentators have gone several different directions with this passage. However you interpret the verse, it’s true to say that Jesus is always the same and is always at work saving and redeeming, just as He was in the Old Testament.
A beautiful hope is communicated in this verse, namely, what Jesus has done, He will continue to do.
Perhaps you’ve heard of other people finding freedom, though you’ve never known it yourself. Or perhaps you’ve encountered real freedom in ways that others around you have not. Personally, I constantly find myself living at a place in between these two realities. Jesus has brought remarkable light into my life, yet I’m still unearthing chains in my mind and heart, like weeds that have grown deep, even as you dig around them to tear out roots. The roots are coming out, but, man, some of them run deep.
This verse gives me hope for two reasons. One, what Jesus has done in my life, He can do in the lives of those I love. And two, the beauty I see in others He is also working in my own soul.
Moving Beyond Idols
You and I, we have our idols. We know what they are and we’re experts at finding them. But who are the people in your life that stand as promises of God’s goodness? What are the things that communicate hope and healing?
If you want to move away from your idols, then you need to move toward God’s alters. In vulnerability, show yourself to those who have gone before you. Examine their life and allow them to speak into yours. And as God works freedom and healing into your life then in turn reflect your life as a witness of His goodness.
As you gain moments and days of victory, mark those occasions. Those are your stones of remembrance as you fight for the freedom of your soul and life. If you hold onto those moments, they will sustain you in the moments of defeat and failure as you continue to fight for freedom.
The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy: What God has done in other people’s lives, He longs to do in your life. And what God has done in your life, He longs to do for those who are hurting and trapped around you. Stop exposing yourself to porn and begin revealing yourself to His people. The way is clear, but the road is hard, build your stones of remembrance along the way, so that you don’t lose your way.
Join us at our October 19th conference in Lynchburg Virginia!
— axe throwing
— keynote speaker
— did we mention axe throwing??
Shane James O’Neill is the Editorial Director for Proven Men Ministries. He is currently working on a graduate degree in apologetics at Liberty University’s Rawling School of Divinity.