I am blown away. This morning I listened to one of the VOX chats, which is an event, a talk, a discussion that is held at the Wind Farm Café, which is linked to the Daily Audio Bible (DAB). I mentioned the ministry of the DAB in a previous post 'Called & Appointed but...’ and have been so blessed by listening to the word of God as Brian reads a yearly reading plan. The greatest blessing for me is the sense of community that the ministry has created, as you can hear people from the prayer network, leaving requests, calling to support others and bringing praise reports.
So the VOX event forms a part of the DAB (you can also view the events and Café via live stream at the website) and months ago I remember hearing that a speaker by the name of Nat Larking was going to be talking about sex addiction. Well I thought that’s bound to raise a few eyebrows in the Christian community as such matters are usually kept well behind the skeleton in the wardrobe. I also thought it would be the usual approach (as per my experience) which gives lots of scripture and verse that we foundationally need but often the heart of the issue/message can be lost within that. At times one can be left feeling that you have checked the boxes and you are either free of that particular issue or sin, alternatively it leave you realising that you need help in an area, but have not been told where to get it, apart from the usual mandatory – ‘at the foot of the cross’. Well I have been at the foot of the cross on other issues and I can tell you, it can get cold and wet lying there waiting for the answer or more to the point – someone to show you the way.
Well today, I actually listened to that VOX talk and was blown away. I was truly inspired by Nat’s openness and honesty in what has clearly been life changing battle. As Nat talked about the issue of having been a pastor who had struggled in this area, he also opens the door way for people who are struggling with other equally addictive issues that people have to battle with and the shame of it is that they quite often have to struggle on their own. Nat in my eye’s was definitely showing the way.
You see, I am not talking about (nor was Nat I believe) the usual suspects, you know, the people who quite clearly present as having a life destabilising, incapacitating habitual issue that is clearly presenting as a support/care need that needs to be met. I am talking of the stealth, covert, secret issues, that only the ‘me, myself and God’ can see and to all extent and purpose, you would never likely know someone is struggling with the issue. Nat’s issue was sex addiction, others could be alcohol, some drugs, but let’s not forget about issues such as a controlling addiction, manipulative, lying and so on…
Well before I really go off track, let me rein it in. One of the clear messages I received from Nat’s talk was that Jesus never meant for us to go it alone, it is not just a personal issue with you and God, but that it is in fellowship we beat our adversary, remember:
Revelation 12:10-11 New King James Version (NKJV)
10 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.
The blood of the Lamb we know is Jesus, but think about this, it was a two-pronged strategy, the second part was about the word of YOUR testimony. You do not testify to yourself but unto other and so here we see an example deep in scripture about this not being a ‘by yourself’ issue. Jesus says (Matthew 18:20 New King James Version (NKJV) 20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” There are numerous other scriptures that show the way forward through unity and is that not one of the major themes of the word of God itself anyway?
I ask the question of ‘how’, how do we get to a place in our fellowship where it is safe to be open and honest about deep issues with a select few and receive freedom… sidenote – I advise that you use wisdom in regards to who you are sharing with and seek Gods direction in the who and the when to share your issues – church leader should be a good starting point…. I think of Job again and his friends, many would see Jobs friends as very critical, at times condemning and at the very least – harsh. I see Job’s friend as those who loved him and were concerned about the situation their friend had found himself in, they wanted to find rational answers in order that their friend could be restored and this I believe comes from loving your brother as yourself. We should always remember that his friend came and sat with him for seven days and seven nights in mourning and wait for it… and no one spoke a word. That is true friendship, I would probably blow it after a couple of hours, but they knew how to truly come alongside a friend.
So brother Don, what are you saying??? Do you know I have had to ask the Lord to keep me on track so much with this…
The point I wanted to make is twofold; one, was to link men and women to the ministry of Nat Larkin for those who maybe battling with the direct issue of sex addiction and two, to give general reflection on addiction (whatever it may be towards) and the way in which we can overcome – in unity and not in isolation. With a title such as ‘Transparancy’ I guess I also wanted to air a word of caution, as I am not advocating broadcasting your personal issues and challenges without considered prayer first. People are people and have the potential of not always meeting the expectations of others. Put in a simple way – pray and ask God who to share your stuff with, after all even Peter having just declared Jesus as the Messiah in Matthew 16 verse 13 – 20 then was used by satan from the same chapter and verse 21 to 23 to deter Jesus from His purpose.
The walk is thwart with trials and tribulations and some issues are very deep within, but Jesus can heal, deliver and restore you. You do not have to do this on your own, if you ask God, he will bring the right people around you to support, care and love you.
God bless you
The Lord be with you – ‘Immanuel, God with us’
Love Brother Don
1 Thessalonians 5:21 (New Living Translation)
‘but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good.’