recovery in Christ when life is broken

Can Desperation Be A Gift?

Many of us come to recovery out of desperation. After repeated failed attempts to get well on our own, our lives are filled with heartache and a succession of broken relationships with little hope of finding recovery. The desperation of pain can look different for each of us: addiction, sickness, frustration, anger, divorce, abortion, adultery, job loss, depression. Rarely is the desperation we feel considered to be a gift.

The fact is that God often uses the desperation we feel as a starting point to heal and change our lives. God loves us. He draws near to desperate hearts that are open to Him. Psalm 34:18 says, “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”  

New life begins when we face pain that we can’t fix on our own—when we reach the end of ourselves. Then, we become willing to listen to God and accept the help of others. Desperation makes us willing to do what is asked of us. Desperation combined with willingness propels us forward into God’s will. God brings new life to those who are desperate enough to trust and follow Him.

Three years ago I realized that I had reached the end of myself. My husband and I were filling out divorce papers to end our 8-month marriage. My roommate moved out. I lost my job and maxed out my credit cards. I was desperately looking for love and to fill the void in my life through drugs and sexual encounters. I believed the lie that even though last night didn't bring happiness, tonight would.

I walked into recovery not knowing what to expect. I didn’t even believe in Christ. All I knew was I couldn't “do this” anymore. What kept me coming back was hearing how others began to find healing in Christ at their most desperate times. I knew that the people at re:generation cared about more than just my struggle with drugs and finding my worth in others—they cared about my relationship with God. I needed to stop spinning in circles and look to the One who was calling my name. When I truly opened my desperate heart to God, He began to change me.

The grace of God (which is always pursuing us) picks us up at the point of desperation and leads us to life in Him. All we have to do is turn to follow Him. God can save us.

If you are desperate right now, here is a prayer for you to pray:

Dear God, please help me to trust you. Be close to my broken heart. Will You show me who You are? Will You heal my wounds? Help me to become willing to do whatever it takes to be well.

Know that no matter where you are, no matter how desperate you have become, God is pursuing you. He loves you and wants to heal you if you are desperate enough to invite Him to do so. There is recovery in Christ when life is broken.

-Rena L.

If you would like to hear more stories about how God met people at their most desperate times, listen to Gini's and Andrew's stories.

 

Is it OK to Masturbate if I'm Not Lusting?

If you (or “this friend you know”) want to know the answer to this question, let me first encourage you (and your friend)…

The fact that you’re even asking this question shows a personal concern for the holiness of God and a desire to live rightly—which is awesome. This is an anything-goes, follow-your-feelings day and age. There are millions of people, Christians and non-Christians, males and females, who are unashamedly looking at porn and masturbating without considering whether or not it’s sin.

Here is the lie…“I’m not hurting anyone; it’s just me alone with my computer.” But many people get hurt by porn and masturbation: sex-trafficked slaves who are not there by choice, your spouse (present or future) who you will be physically having sex with while mentally having sex with a partner from your fantasies, and you. Yes, you are hurting yourself. Porn hobbies easily turn into big problems. Combining the chemical high of an orgasm with the lie of a fantasy can drastically hinder your ability manage real human interactions in a healthy way (it can even leave men impotent, unable to be aroused by real human interaction). That’s not to even mention the greatest hurt – the sin that hinders your fellowship with God.

But you say, “Yeah, I don’t look at porn anymore. Frankly, I don’t even lust when I masturbate. I just think of baseball or something” (someone actually told me this). Right…so here is a public service announcement…if you think about baseball while masturbating, that’s how fetishes form. Whatever you’re thinking about during the orgasm, as the dopamine/endorphins floods your brain, will reinforce and tell you, “That was amazing!?!…Go get some more baseball!”

“But I don’t think about baseball,” you say, ”it’s just me in the shower, or in my bed because I can’t sleep, and my mind is just in neutral.” “And besides…God and the Bible doesn’t say anything about masturbating. There was that Onan deal, but that’s not the same (Genesis 38:8-10).”

Before you take matters into your own hands (oh yes I did), let’s look at God’s Word:

God says in Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

Let’s replace the “do everything” of this verse with some specifics for personal application:

Eat cupcakes in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God.” Check, I can do that. How about four cupcakes in one sitting? Probably not—that is gluttony.

Have sex in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God.” Double-check, say the married. How about sex outside of marriage? Nope. Want God’s gift; follow God’s instruction (Hebrews 13:4).

Married and masturbating in the name of the Lord Jesus? When you got married you became one with your spouse. 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 says that your body is not your own; do not deprive each other except by mutual consent. So, based on that, you’ll need to ask your spouse if he/she doesn’t mind you masturbating, because doing so would deprive him/her of the oneness God intended sex to be (How do you think that conversation will go?).

I hear that grumbling, single man. But did you know that God wired you to have an orgasm without sex or masturbation (Deuteronomy 23:10)? If you stop masturbating, you’ll have wet dreams (orgasm while sleeping) like you did when you hit puberty. A wet dream is not a one-time event. If it was a one-time event for you, it is likely because you haven’t gone a month without masturbating since puberty. “Have a wet dream in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God.” You bet.

Watch porn in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks….” Nope. Never (Matthew 5:27-30, Proverbs 5:15-21).

Do more than kiss my girlfriend in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving…” Getting personal now (1 Timothy 5:2).

Let’s go back your original question, “Is it ok to masturbate if I’m not lusting?” Well, plug it into Colossians 3:17: “Masturbate in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” That’s awkward even typing, let alone imagining praying to and praising Jesus during the act.

So, now answer the question…can you masturbate, even while not lusting, in the name of Jesus giving thanks to the Father?

You may argue, “Colossians 3:17 is no proof text for masturbating!” No, it’s a proof text for every aspect of our lives. Anything we do, say or enjoy should honor God, others and your body, God’s Temple (1 Corinthians 6:18-20, and 1 Corinthians 10:31, and 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 and Ephesians 5:3 and more…).

Remember, sexual desires are not needs. I know of no one who has died because they haven’t had a recent orgasm. Now, erase your browser history and go do something in the name of Jesus while giving thanks to the Father. God is good. He will provide everything you need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).

-John E.

 

For more information check out Masturbation in the Struggles section of the re:generation website.

 

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recovery in Christ when life is broken.