My Achan, Breakin’ Heart: How I Linedanced with Lust and You May Be Too
They started all the same: first a thought, then habitually thinking about what-if’s, finding ways to spend extra time, secret text messages. No man ever wakes up and says, “I want to screw up my marriage”, it’s more like, “I’m not satisfied.”
In my blog about porn addiction, I shared the staggering statistic that 1 out of every 5 men who attends a church is addicted to porn. Are you ready to have your mind blown again? EVERY man in your pews or auditorium has a problem with lust.
But Vic, how do you define every man?
Easy. If God gave you a male organ, then this includes you.
But Vic, I don’t have a problem with lust?
Fair. Then ask yourself this, how often do I take a second glance at a pair of lady legs, rear end in yoga pants, or any square inch of the opposite sex? If your answer is more than twice a day, you have a problem.
But Vic, I’m a guy. God made me this way; all guys do it!
Great! You just proved my point.
Stand By Your Man
There’s an Old Testament occurrence in the Bible where this young, up-and-coming leader named Joshua had just led a band of whiny babies in a major military campaign victory over Jericho. You might recall singing about this or watching the action unfold in flannel graph.
Coming off of this shot of confidence and massive testosterone boost, the next target was a city called Ai.
In comparison to Jericho, Ai was cake. So much so, the spies Joshua had sent out said to their commander, “We got this in the bag! Hell, just send the practice squad, and let the starters rest for a real battle.”
Now, God had told Joshua before all this went down that Israel was not to touch or take anything in Ai. As a matter of fact, everything was to be destroyed because it was set apart for God, which means completely dedicated to glorify Him. Translation: NO TOUCHIE!
This message must not have trickled down to my man, Achan.
But Israel violated the instructions about the things set apart for the LORD. A man named Achan had stolen some of these dedicated things, so the LORD was very angry with the Israelites. Joshua 7:1 NLT
The result: Israel got handed an old-fashioned butt whoopin’ by the JV team.
Just Another Guy On The Lost Highway
Joshua was so upset about the loss that he and the other soldiers tore their clothes (or it could have been a really hot day, or maybe they were shooting for the new cover of Israeli Mens Magazine). Either way, Joshua wanted to know why they got beat so bad.
Was it a tactical misstep?
Was it a resource management flaw?
Did God change His mind on his new fave group of peeps?
God called Joshua out. He said, “Get up and stop looking like a whiny baby! Great leaders don’t cry over spilled milk! Someone took my junk and lied about it and are hiding it in their stash, and if you don’t figure it out you can bet that Israel will be next on the chopping block!”
Talk about motivation to do some house cleaning.
So Joshua did just that. Clan by clan, he had them front and center; family by family, person by person. And there he was, flying solo in front of God and a bazillion eyeballs, Achan had nothing left but to sweat it out.
Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the LORD, the God of Israel, by telling the truth. Make your confession and tell me what you have done. Don’t hide it from me.” Joshua 7:19 NLT
I Like It, I Love It, I Want Some More Of It
I don’t know why I’m using old, popular country songs to make a point. But role with it.
What Achan explains next lays out the lust road map:
Achan replied, “It is true! I have sinned against the LORD, the God of Israel. Among the plunder I SAW a beautiful robe from Babylon, 200 silver coins, and a bar of gold … I WANTED them so much that I TOOK them. They are HIDDEN in the ground beneath my tent…” Joshua 7: 21,21 NLT
Saw. Wanted. Took. Hid.
Four stages to destroy a marriage. Four stages to demolish trust and demoralize a spouse. Four stages to heap personal shame and guilt so heavy that it might as well be called a grave.
Just like Achan, I SAW someone beautiful.
Just like Achan, I WANTED it.
Just like Achan, I TOOK it.
And just like Achan, I HID it.
What about you? What stage are you at with her? The seeing? No touchie, no harm, no foul, right? Except Jesus said that if you lust after a woman, you have committed adultery. Maybe you are like the thousands of men who believe that you can get close to the line, as long as you don’t cross the line. Until you get so close that crossing the line doesn’t seem like such a bad idea anymore.
Are you at the wanting. stage? Have you fantasized about what you will say the next time you see her? Do you think of ways to impress her, or worse, find more time with her?
The taking stage? You’re all in. Can’t use “I made a mistake” because that implies that you didn’t know what you were doing. You had to go through two stages before this one, remember? You have flooded your mind with so many fantasies and plans that acting on them is as simple as a text, a brush of the hand, capitalizing on breaking away — alone. No, this is premeditated. This is perpetration.
Maybe you’re in the hiding stage. The exhileration of sneaking around will soon be matched by the guilt and shame. The excitement will slowly fade, along with your ability to maintain transparency. You are either trying to find ways to not get caught, or not continue. Either way, it’s done.
Momma’s Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be …. Cheaters
In a culture where pop music, hip-hop, day time dramas and cinema glamourize, or at the least sesationalize, infedelity, the sting and scarlet letter aren’t as pronounced, but the damage and carnage done is as real as the hearts and families being ripped apart.
No one leaves intact.
What ever happened to Achan after he got called to the carpet? Let’s just say it didn’t end so well — for him, for his wife, his kids, the loot, even the family cow.
There’s a lesson in that as well. Lust will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.
It may be a personal matter, but eventually it will not be a private one.
The hope is that no matter what stage you may be at right now, you don’t have to go a step further. In most male church circles, authentic, messy transparent relationships are a fairy tale and unfortunately keep men in the dark strangle hold of lust. Why? Because most men feel that they will be ostracized, judged, vilified, or worse — sent to be set straight by a pastor who more than likely struggles with lust, but won’t come clean about it.
But if you are in the throws of lust, I hope you decide to do the following:
Confess: to a brother who you have a time-tested relationship with, and eventually as God leads you, to your wife.
Heal: in a group of men who desire transparency and freedom from the stronghold of lust.
Work: to restore trust in your marriage one day at a time. Intimacy with your spouse should not be the immediate goal, but intimacy with your God should be.
It will take time, and there are no promises. But the freedom you will have from being crushed by the guilt and shame will allow you to walk with the Holy Spirit as He has always wanted, and you’ll discover that is what you have always wanted too.
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Reposted from www.reagainyourground.com
I am a husband, father, blogger and men’s life coach for regainyourground.com. I help frustrated men end their cycles of destructive decision-making and addictive behaviors by discovering their identity and revitalizing their personal and professional relationships. I know how it is to fail big, but I also know how big faith can be in recovery. Together, I will partner with you in breaking the cycle of regret and regaining the freedom you were made for through biblical manhood.