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February 3, 2021 1:00 am
When you're in a war, like pornography, it makes sense to have a strategy for the battles. On FamilyLife Today, hosts Dave and Ann Wilson talk with Dr. Joe Rigney about how to overcome the enemy and walk in victory.
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There are a lot of husbands who have a lot of messed up ideas when it comes to their expectations from marital intimacy. Joe Rigby says there's a good reason for that. What happened is for a number of years you have been taking sex ed curriculum from liars and incompetents as a pornography as you have been conditioned to think that this is what sexuality is and then you get into marriage and you go that's not how it is. That's a lie that's artificial it's fake and yet you conditioned yourself by the choices you've made and now you need to unlearn some things.
This is family life today. Our hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson on Bob Lapine. You can find us firstname.lastname@example.org there are lots of things about sexuality that many of us need to unlearn on lots of things about dealing with our own lust that many of us need to begin to practice really talk about both of those things today stay with us and welcome to family life to the thanks for joining us.
I remember speaking to a group of men about 1500 guys and we were talking about lust and temptation, sexual sin, I ask every guy in the room to stand up beside everybody stand up except the single guy singled as you can stay seated. Just all married guys stand up nice. I want you to sit down. If since you got married you have not had any ongoing struggle with pornography or lust going sit down and maybe four guys in the room set down Sears and four guys had not struggled since everybody else had it right now. I said the single guys I wanted to do this for you because I want to do single guys who were thinking.
I got the struggle going on in my life.
But when I'm married – and when I'm able to be intimate with my wife regularly, and then the battle will go away. I want them to see. Here's the testimony of the tribe is not going to go away.
That's not the cure you're looking for that stock affixes for you and by most women that are engaged in their fiancé has come and talk to them like a this is been a battle in the past and he's usually reassuring but I'm sure when we get married it will no longer be in battle I can think is important for her to know this could be something that we need to battle together and it's not an easy conversation to have in your fiancé almost certainly has had exposure to pornography and the question is, what's that ongoing exposure look like and how is this can impact your marriage waiting. We need help I do the doctor and got Joe Rigby is joining us this week on family life today. Joe welcome back. It's great. Joe is a pastor in the Twin Cities.
He is an associate professor at Bethlehem college and seminary and he's written a book called more than a battle which is a battle plan for guys to know how you get free from what is a battle for all of us and Joe.
You talked about your own struggle with this issue. One of the things you say in the book is the whole idea of what it means to walk by the spirit was kind of a revolutionary game changer for you that you you heard about walking by the Spirit for years, but some light came on that affected your battle was born.
So there's this great text right in Galatians chapter 5 or Paul says walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Now, in the original Greek is actually an intensified negation. It's walk by the Spirit, and you will absolutely not gratify his eyes. Flesh is amazing promise that immediately comes back and he says for the desires of the flesh are against the spirit and the desire to spirit against the flesh that you don't do the things that you want to interpose to each other for a long time I thought what that sounds like is great promise realistic walk back like posters and a few of us. You will do this at all, but you still can't or will you like desires or less there to be a war in your to loosen and by the way you just described.
Most men's Christian walk. Yes yeah he's kind will yes oh man I we got here. The rest does so with the game changer was is I had a friend in seminary who is working on that passage and he said you know, if you flip it around kinda keep the logic of the passage. The logic of the passages walk by the Spirit you won't gratify the desires of flesh because there's are opposed to each other and you don't do things you want he said flip it and so what you what he said was the desires of flesh against the spirit desires spirit against lefties are opposed to each other.
Therefore, walk by the Spirit you won't gratify the desires of the flesh, and it was like the light just went and what it meant was it's not that you have this promise, and there's a realistic walk back.
It's that you wake up every day in a war that is not your Christian spiritual desires or fleshly desires there opposed to each other's if this pitch battle. So what should you do well walk by the Spirit, and there's a promise you won't gratify the desires of the flesh, and that was a major think so then what it signaled was we started a war. The destination that were going for is not gratify the desires of the flesh, which isn't the same as not having any desires that the language of gratify is basically desires want to take you someplace desires and ties and they pull you right desires want you to go someplace if you let them take you there. That's called gratifying the desire or indulging the desire and the promise is not that there won't be a desire but that you won't gratify. And so then what's the bridge between where we start and our destination, answer, walk by the Spirit, which means that the question what is that even mean becomes massively important in terms of our sanctification. How do we get from this warfare will were frustrated to the measures of victory that maybe we can imagine you so Joe, what is that even mean I wrote a book about it. I think one of the things it means is it really orients us to the kind of struggle that this is I'm borrowing this from the late Dr. David Palace and he was another game changer in 2004 I heard him give a message called making all things new. At the desiring God national conference in Minneapolis.
I came up as a college student, and he gave a talk on making all things new. I eventually turned into little book Crossway publishes little book in an expanded version of that and in that talk. He basely said look, this is a longer war.
This is a deeper war. This is a wider war. This is more more, and and and it just opened my eyes to things in my life that I had no idea had anything to do with the struggle against sexual sin, but absolutely did and so I leaned on him heavily to really get a vision of hate part of walking by the spirit is recognizing this is a long obedience in the same direction.
This is not a flash in the pan. You just know God suddenly flipped a switch is not gonna zap you probably know, maybe he knocks you off you work your horse like Paul, but more likely it's gonna be you waking up day after day and making certain choices by the spirit of God to be confronted with the temptations and to walk away. So there's there's layers of the fight and walking by the spirit is by the Spirit's power. There's a lifestyle there's a way of conducting yourself a way of of walking in the world that fits with the spirits desires and that's for after Edison seen a mean Paul's get Nan Joe your your development so well that the answer the victory journey is not horizontal. It's S spirit.
It's not my human spirit. It's almost like a mean when you're talking as I can I picture a human being with a plug in his hand. You know, without looking for an outlet down to get my power source in what Bob said earlier when those men stood up you know is we think if I get married.
Yes I plug this into marriage of my spouse will really have sexual intimacy. The struggles going to go away. So that's gonna be my power and then it isn't is not legal in your plugging like okay it's in what you're saying Paul is saying is that has to go vertical. Yes, you'll never win this battle in human spirit. It's Holy Spirit power walk by the Spirit yes and you said that means were making daily choices.
Yes helpless that a guy listen going okay. I believe it, but I still don't know what that looks like how I win this thing.
Let me add this to date because it's a battle that's going on, not only in the husband's life, but it's the wife's life as well because there's a battle taking place to pull us apart from one another, and so for women, we tend he didn't know how do I battle alongside my husband because this topic draws S pulls us away as partners but also our whole family. We as women can become so resentful you so angry.
So now that we want nothing to do with our husbands and at that point, Satan went right.
So one thing is that the story Bob told, I think in a weird way ought to encourage women you said it's depressing it actually is but for a wife then who has a husband who is dealing with this. She needs to know is not about her right. This is not hard to go there now. You assume is about. It must be me. There must be some flaw in me some failure if if I was different. He wouldn't do this right. That's not true. Many women will say he's basically having an affair with another woman could trap real right so I think for wives. One of the things to get straight on is that this is my fault and therefore I have to be able to entrust him to God.
This is between him and the Lord.
Fundamentally, the reason why single guys who were dealing who are over neckdeep in porn think marriage can affix it is that they think that intimacy is intimacy that sex is just sex, but is like know what what's happened is for a number of years you have been taking sex ed.
This is a quote from a pastor in my sex ed curriculum from liars and incompetents as a pornography is right. You have been conditioned to think that this is what sexuality look like and then you get into marriage and you goat that's not how it is.
That's a lie that's artificial it's fake and yet you conditioned yourself to be aroused by that and therefore making love to a real woman just doesn't work and therefore you get stuck, and so doesn't. So part of it is you been conditioned wrong by the choices you've made and now you need to unlearn some things right about what women are, who women aren't and what man, oh what a man is all the stuff so for a wife she needs to go.
This is ultimately between him and the Lord and therefore my role is supportive and I need to be worried about me.
What's the where's the trap you. This is this is one of the main things that talk about the book is the schemes of the devil pauses great phrase the schemes of the devil were not unaware of his schemes and the idea is the end of the old TV show 24 Jack Bauer. I have like you watching that show you nose 24 hours to watch that show, and about our six if Jack's closing in on the bad guy. You know there's about to be a twist right you know that he can't catch them. Now we get 18 more hours to go so it in our six you know that there's about to be a deeper plot revealed.
And then our 12 there's gonna be a deeper plot revealed and is always in me deeper plot. That's how the devil is and so in a marriage plot number one scheme number one is coming to get this guy to fall to get a look at pornography.
Once that's accomplished success for the devil is not like East packs up and goes home he goes. I got another plot now to get them to hide it say that when doesn't work that he comes clean.
It's okay, I got another plot now menus at the tears marriage. Part, work on is why phenomena stoke the fear and that resentment and anger in her.
So you're the target of the spiritual attack.
It's not just that you're watching your husband fall into sin.
There's a danger for a wife and this is what you get mutually feeding spousal sins.
His temptation to lust and your temptation to anger and fear is going to create a dynamic in the marriage that's gonna build a massive wall and part of walking by the spirit is not being ignorant of the devil's schemes. Something to some of that's just training your mind and being. And again, the mentor can really help you yes understand that that scheme that pattern.
What goes on and what the deception behind it. But you just mention some that I found intriguing in your book the connection between anger and lust. You mention it with the white being angry, but in book you talk about a man's anger sometimes connects or spurs on a lustful desire. Yeah, about that yes so this is an insight from counseling Jay Stringer, who wrote a book on the subject on sexual brokenness with Jay on the program voted you great, so his books very very helpful. You know he's he did all the research I just got the benefit of it right but he talks about how it's interesting the way that he says he's never met someone who has a a lust problem, who also doesn't have an anger problem and often time this is why especially is as sort of the pornography epidemic is sort of multiplied that the photography that guys are getting into these days is much more degrading because there's an anger involved in is that it's again we talked earlier, the desire for validation that guys feel that that that's a part of the craving that they're seeking to satisfy through pornography as I want to be known and admired as a man, and so the anger is I'm not known and admired as a man in my daily life at work when my marriage with my kids wherever it is in the in life. I am not known enlargement and that makes me angry, to go get admired by woman or to go to great a woman in my imagination and so again this is where if you only treat this as guys like to look at naked women and you don't recognize there might be a deep anger at the world and it God, and it wife that as a as a mentor I'm going to be keen on that because until you defuse that little timebomb. It doesn't matter how much you talk about software programs and things to help keep that away as valuable as those may be. Those are treating symptoms gonna go down for the roots. Yeah, I found you know as I sit with him in my church. I've also found in you just mentioned it. There's an anger toward God. Yes like God hasn't come through my relationship with him is not what I thought it would be the power that is in the walking in the spirit. I haven't really experienced and so it's almost like you know you haven't done for me. Got him to go somewhere. I know I shouldn't go but is concealed it yes and so it's like feeding that.
Have you seen that is why absolutely yes so that the angry goddess is true to be true merit of AmeriGas could be true for single guys. I want to be married in the Godhead and provided the, the woman yet and so I'm going act out by looking at something you can actually punch God in the face. But what I can do is what I can do this I can defile you. I can go seek satisfaction over here as a way almost of getting back at me now course sin so subtle we don't recognize that until after the fact.
All that's what I was doing. But this is Oregon wise mentors can sort of say I see I see the temptation it's coming down the way here where you're at. This is the thing that's coming next. One things for mentors with the marriage question is helping husbands and wives who are in this to have honest guided conversations, you know, here's a visible practical one because men and women are different.
We experience attraction different and so my wife and I would get tripped up like in our first year marriage when she would say we attracted to that. The waitress you look like you noticed we we attracted to her and I will yeah she's she's attractive how could you say that we mean your tractor like toilet house opposite you mean you're not attracted to other men and she's like absolutely not unlike no hole in timeout.
You don't think that other men are attractive and she does know I totally think of the mentor attracted I'm just not attracted to them and I went that that's not computing my categories. You're saying there attractive, but you're not attracted to them and in her mind, those are radically different things she could recognize that man is handsome but have no desire or draw to him in a certain kind of way because typically was in need to be more emotionally fueled) so we were just missing each other and there was fights and tensions in the marriage that somebody else needs to come in and say okay hold on.
This is just a vocabulary problem. You'll we needed somebody to come help us work through that. Otherwise, we were just get stuck thinking it's so easy to do that as a man, if you're struggling with corn because you don't look at women as women.
Yes, you have to understand what it does to your mind yet it is not pure you send a book. It's immoral and it really is because you look at people different.
A woman that says he's attractive and not attracted to those like the they probably have never allowed that to distort. Yes, some say yes if that's what happened. Hi I had a guy one time who in this was helpful.
He said two things he said. First of all, most of the women who are involved in the creation of pornography are having to take drugs to deal with father doing right. These are not happy women. These are women who are destroying their own lives and then he said, and they are somebody used the girl somebody's daughter and he said if somebody came along and said you know what it be okay with you, your your daughters cute would it be okay if if I just ask her to take off her clothes so I can look at her as a dad, you'd say absolutely what are you talking about you, your skin will any woman you're looking at is somebody's little girl you and that was kinda one of those home you don't you don't think of them as real people have we talked for the body mentioned but like you, some of the mental one right, the being transformed by the renewing of your mind. Part of that renewal is what walking by the spirit includes is a a reorientation on what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman.
Women are not objects for male gratification and men are not beasts who prey upon limit. That's what pornography teaches men are just animals and women are just objects and if you commit the catechism that's what you're taught your your condition to think this is what men are so mark which would you think of yourself that way as a man, I'm just a beast and I need to be put in a cage and a wife is going to then feel like you do and and it's going to condition is can affect the way that you engage with other women and it's good distorting all kinds of of relief messed up ways in churches where a guy who has conditioned himself to view all women as objects doesn't know how to relate to real women if he's a certain kind of man he might become predatory meaning he might be trying to look for more than just a screen. He might be looking for an affair. Adultery, on the other hand, he might be so ashamed that he has no idea how to even have a conversation with an attractive woman is not his wife and that his wife can we go. Why can't you just talk to my friends like a normal human being and it hurts. I just be nice to them and he's going I don't want you to think that I am interested in them. Are you interested in them coming.
Hope it's a trap and its emerging out of this distortion pornography is fitting right into that and this is again where you gotta have wise men and wise women. This of you mentioned earlier about the importance of older women who can say I know what you're feeling here. I know the anger that you're feeling the fear that your feeling about your husband. I get it, but it doesn't have to be this way let's let's taught us work through it and then you get the guy that will say is I've I've had him sit in my office look me in the eye. One guy even wrote it down. He said I know it's right but I can't do it I find something in my soul that keeps me from doing what is right.
I want to do it's right but I can't do it here.
Don't with yeah oh yeah yes that's Roman seven notice on the quoting Romans seven is also Paul wrote that I think a lot of men read that time on your book. As I go.
I he battled get out of jail finder then it's right. So hey you know how they settle I just being a guy they get it right when the thing about Roman seven. It's interesting is that in Romans seven the spirit doesn't show up in that struggle is like I know the good thing I did I do what I hate, and all that wrestling the spirits absent the spirit shows up in Romans is a reviewing there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus for the law of the Spirit of life has set you free. So yes I think Paul is giving voice and we can identify and say I know what the okay Paul gets it. He knows on feeling in this this battle but we can't stay there. Joe was your victory in this issue, and instantaneous miraculous or was it remission over a period of time. I would say in terms at one level, there was kind of immediacy was the shock awake, of I'm getting married.
This is now serious. This is there's other people involved and I don't want to hurt anybody. I want my wife to be hurt, and so that was kind of like a wake-up call, but the actual process of like unlearning things of reorienting of having my mind having my body. All of that kind of long-term. It was a long road and there was stumbles in the sense of like your condition in certain ways certain things I noticed and I think this one, things that guys miss is, it didn't get easier. One of the analogies I picked this up from palace and I think he talks about of video games and when you're playing a videogame, and the first level the bad guys are super slow is just super slow like and you're kind of driving for how to thumbs work right and so that their easy bad guys because you're no good, but the level to the bad guys get better because your little bit better and it gonna keep working up the same thing is true in a fight with sin. The easiest sin to defeat is actually the like going to the strip club or the or the affair because those are things you have to actually find somebody else there's all kinds of effort to do it the hard one is the double take part in is what do you notice about a woman the 1st m it's a different level. It's a much more subtle form of the sin.
And so you should expect that as you get victory don't think I will get easier is probably any harder, you're going to feel like wow it's there and I'm fighting it a different level. And that's not a defect that's God growing you up into maturity and so embrace that and keep pressing on.
Don't quit and one of the principles that play here is where you choose to fight is where the battle will be fought.
And here's the thing I'd say to all of us in this battle. On the days you wake up and go all I'm not really going anywhere today.
I don't need to put my arm around I'm not really going to be in the battle today I'm I would be home alone. You know how much trouble can you get home alone. If you're not armoring up. This is Ephesians 6. If you're not putting on the whole armor of God, engaging in the spiritual disciplines. If this is not a part of your daily ongoing reaction to this, then don't be surprised when you find yourself suffering arrow attacks in the middle of whatever yet I think it we've Artie said this, but I think it's also key to understand I'm not.
Romans seven on Romans eight that's right I'm not defeated. I was and I really didn't have the power to beat this, even though I might win here and there. I couldn't when I am Romans eight I am in Christ. I'm a warrior I can put on the armor. I couldn't put it on before yeah the battle drill. Paul says everybody gets a Romans 81. He says there is no condemnation in Christ. I can walk by the Spirit of God. Today is the day you gotta take this step you've got to come out of the dark picture standing from your wife and kids someday looking them in the eye and sin. This marriage is blowing up because I didn't win my point about that's where this is going and you gotta remind yourself I can stop that starting right here right now. Get the mentor get the buddies start walking by the spirit and let our lives. Victory Island on this to my wife Scott had the last to get it and I think it's a woman I used to think I wish David put his armor on, and yet we don't have control of our husbands, but we have control of our own lives in one of the greatest places that we can do battle is on our knees like this is on us to let the battle for our families less battle for our husbands.
Let's battle for our children on our knees get girlfriend to St. let's take this home back for Jesus in the power of the spirit unlocking the spirit. Joe, thank you for your transparency. Thank you for the book you for helping all of us in this battle is my pleasure. And let's hope that a lot of our listeners will get in touch with us and get a copy of your book more than a battle I were making it available this week to any family like today. Lester would like to get a copy and can make a donation to support the ministry. Whatever your donation is ask for your copy of Joe Rigney's book more than a battle and plan to get multiple copies plan to go through this book with other guys. Whether it's a small group that you've got.
Or maybe you just need to get a group of guys together and say this is something I've been wrestling with.
And I know that sounds threatening, but this is how you get help.
This is where hope comes from get a group of guys say I've been struggling with this. I don't know if you are, but I'm guessing most of us have been struggling with this. And even if you're not maybe you can be a mentor to me. Get your copy of Joe Rigney's book more than a battle.
It's available when you make a donation to family life to the and what you're supporting when you make that donation is this program being heard in your community and in communities all around the world. You're helping us bring practical biblical help and hope to marriages and families every day of the year we got more people than ever listing to our mobile app listing online listing on this local station you make that possible when you support this ministry can donate email@example.com or you can call one 800 FL today to donate again ask for your copy of Joe Rigney's book more than a battle when you make your donation were happy to send it to you as a way of saying thank you for your support and we look forward to hearing from you that tomorrow morning to talk about what is the essence what's the core of real leadership is that look like you want to be talking to somebody who is seen guys who have been leaders in the sports arena for many years. Jason Romano from sports spectrum, but he's got a lot to say to us is husbands dads to all of us as we seek to lead in our marriages and then our families so hope you can tune in for that I want to thank our engineer today. Keith Lynch along with our entire broadcast production team on behalf of our hosts Dave and Ann Wilson about the pain. We'll see you back tomorrow for another edition of family life today family like to use a production of family life of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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