Helping men and women find hope, help, healing, restoration and redemption
leading to lasting victory over sexual addiction through a growing, vibrant, powerful relationship with Christ.
Do you desire to please God with your life? Do you also struggle with sinful thoughts and habits? There’s a conflict going on there, right? On the one hand there’s a desire to please God. Yet on the other a strong desire to please self.
Every day of your life you choose which mirror you will look into for your identity. Either you will look to King Me and your sinful behavior, or you will look to God and His word to see yourself the way He sees you.
Welcome to today’s episode of the Point of Purity Podcast. A weekly study filled to the brim with the all the tools from Scripture you will ever need to build a lasting life of Biblical purity.
I’m your host, Steve Etner, Author, National Speaker, and Purity Coach for The Pure Man Ministry. This is episode #25. Come on in and join us as we continue our deep dive into Psalm 27. In today’s episode we are encouraged to “Hold Strong to your Stronghold!”
In last week’s episode we began our study of Psalm 27 by looking into what David meant when he said in verse 1 “the LORD IS my light and my salvation.” If you have not yet listened to that episode, I strongly encourage you to do so. It was a powerful look into all that God IS to you and me.
To begin this episode, let’s go back to our base text in Psalm 27:1. I want you to note here that not only is the LORD our light and our salvation, but David also goes on to say, “The LORD (Jehovah, the Almighty, all-powerful, most holy, sovereign, Creator of the universe who cares about you - the LORD) IS the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
Before we go any further, let me remind you of the critical importance of that little, two-letter, present tense word “is.” Jehovah IS the stronghold of my life. Are you catching this? He IS my stronghold, right now. Right now. Right now. Present tense. Never ending. Never quitting. Never ceasing. Never failing to be my stronghold. Never. The LORD IS the stronghold of my life.
So, grounded upon that statement of fact, based upon that declaration of truth I submit that we can safely say that when you are not in the safety and refuge of that stronghold, it is not because God has somehow failed you. It is not because, for some odd reason, God – at that moment – ceased to be a stronghold for you. He always IS the stronghold. That never changes. The problem is not with God.
Not only does this phrase define for us the character of God – He IS my stronghold – but it also describes my position with God. When I state with confidence that the Lord IS my stronghold, I am boldly declaring that the enemy cannot touch me because I am - right here and right now - totally safe and completely secure within the protection of that stronghold.
I also want you to notice that David says Jehovah is THE stronghold of my life. Don’t let the importance of that emphasis slip past you. The LORD is THE stronghold of my life, not “A” stronghold but “The” stronghold. The only one. There is no other.
Next, I want you to consider this question: Why is this truth (why is the fact that Jehovah IS THE stronghold of your life) why is that so significant to you in this battle for purity? How can that fact help you be and stay pure?
It’s important here that we develop a working definition of a stronghold. You see, a stronghold is a fortified place of safety and refuge, a strong and impenetrable fortress that the enemy cannot infiltrate. That’s what God, that’s what the LORD, that’s what Jehovah IS to you. The Lord IS my stronghold.
Think about what I just quoted to you. Here’s a fact: You can take refuge in your relationship with God because He IS your stronghold. OK, great! But what exactly does that mean? Let me remind you what a stronghold is. A stronghold is a place of safety and refuge, a strong and impenetrable fortress. My friend, that’s what God is to you. Let’s dig into this for a moment. Let’s unpack this and learn a couple of things. First, as your stronghold, the Lord IS your place of safety, He is your refuge.
In Psalm 91:2 the Psalmist writes, “This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him” In Psalm 46:1 he says, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” And in Deuteronomy 33:27 we read, “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He will drive out your enemies before you.”
Second, in declaring that The Lord is the stronghold of my life, David is proclaiming that the Almighty God is your strong and impenetrable fortress. The prophet Samuel writes, “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer.” (2 Samuel 22:2) The Psalmist writes that “He is my loving God and my fortress” (Psalm 144:2 NIV’84). And we read in Nahum 1:7 that “the Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.” (NIV’84)
I challenge you to truly think about what I just said. Let me ask you: Can you take refuge in lust, porn, or masturbation? Will they act as your fortress, protecting you from the enemy? The obvious answer must of necessity be a resounding “NO!”
God IS your protection and strength as you stand and face the beast of your sexual impurity. Though it shakes you, though it rattles you, though it roars for attention and foams at the mouth, gnashing its hungry teeth at you, though it swells up and appears larger than life – you can resist it because God is your fortress, your deliverer, your rock in whom you take refuge. He is your shield. He IS your stronghold.
At the risk of repeating myself, I feel it’s important to re-emphasize that you can “say to the LORD, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:2) Why? Why can we say this with such confidence? As Psalm 27:5 says, “He will hide (you) in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal (you) under the cover of his tent; he will lift (you) high upon a rock.” This is what The Lord, this is what Jehovah, this is what the almighty, all-powerful, most holy, sovereign, Creator of the universe – the God who cares about you – this is what He does!
Now I know that sometimes (maybe even most of the time) when you are listening to these episodes and I read to you a lengthy passage of Scripture you can sort of zone out for a moment and get lost and your mind can drift. Realizing that is a distinct possibility, I still have two passages of Scripture I would like you to listen to. So, try hard to intentionally focus your attention and listen closely as I read to you some select verses from Psalm 59.
“Deliver me from my enemies, O God; be my fortress against those who are attacking me. Deliver me from evildoers and save me from those who are after my blood. See how they lie in wait for me! ... They return at evening, snarling like dogs, and (they) prowl about (my) city. See what they spew from their mouths – the words from their lips are sharp as swords, and they think ‘Who can hear us?’ But you laugh at them, Lord; ... You are my strength, I watch for you; you, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely. God will go before me .... I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. You are my strength, I sing praise to you; you, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely.” (Psalm 59)
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to read to you that passage of Scripture. Now I would like to apply that text specifically to your battle for purity. I have taken that prayer in Psalm 59 and have personalized it to my own battle with the beast. I would like to share that prayer with you right now, and I challenge you, I strongly urge you to make this your prayer as well.
Father, deliver me from the beast of sexual temptation. O my God; protect me from the fleshly desires that rise up against me. Deliver me from lust, porn, and masturbation. For that 3-headed dragon lies in wait for my heart; fierce to consume my passions and pleasures – turning them toward evil and wicked desires. Every day it comes back, howling like dogs, prowling about in my mind. Bellowing with their mouth – whispering deceit into my heart with swords in their lips. “God doesn’t care about you,” they whisper. “He won’t answer your prayers,” they say. But you, O LORD, laugh at that beast; you hold it as nothing. O God my Strength, I will watch for you – I will place all of my focus upon you, for you, O God, are my fortress. I am convinced that my God in his steadfast love will meet me right here, right where I am at. I know God will let me look in triumph upon lust, porn and masturbation. O God, for the deception and lies that this beast utters daily to my heart, consume it in your wrath; consume the dragon until it is no more, that everyone may know that God rules over my heart – that the Lord IS my stronghold. Yes, every day my lust comes back, yes it howls like dogs and prowls about my heart and mind. It wanders about for food and growls loudly if I don’t feed it. But I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my temptation. O my Strength, I will sing praises to you, for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love.
Hmmm. Powerful. I love the words of Nahum 1:7 that say, “The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.” OK, hopefully you’re thinking something like: “this is great stuff ... but!”
Let’s be honest. Some of you are listening to this episode thinking “yeah, right. That’s not been my experience. I cry out to God for help, I ask Him to be my strength, I try to trust in Him to help me defeat the beast; what good has it done for me? I still give in. The beast still wins. Sure, those verses may be true for most guys, but not for me.” Can you relate?
Well, let me assure you, I hear you loud and clear because I used to think and feel the same way – big time! If you choose to continue listening to these episodes, if you choose to stick with this podcast, I promise - you will begin to discover a core reason why you’ve not yet experienced this truth as a constant reality in your life.
For now, let me just say that it all starts with what we discussed in our study of Psalm 25. You must daily lift up your soul to God. You must daily, moment-by-moment surrender every aspect of your heart and life to God. You must willingly and willfully choose to trust Him with everything. You must reject King Me, turn your back on the darkness and choose to walk, every moment of every day, in His pure and perfect light!
And I promise you, as you learn to live this surrendered life, as you develop the mindset of living to the glory of God instead of the sinful pleasures of King Me, you will discover that God “IS (your) steadfast love and (He IS your) fortress, (your) stronghold and (your) deliverer, (your) shield and (the One) in whom (you can) take refuge.” (Psalm 144:2) You will be able to say, as Samuel did in 2 Samuel 22:2 “The LORD IS (not will be, but He IS) my rock and my fortress and my deliverer.” And as you stay consistent in your daily walk with God - at the end of your life you will also be able to say, as David did in Psalm 61:3 “you HAVE BEEN my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.”
Once again - going back to our base text of Psalm 27:1 - after declaring that the LORD, Jehovah IS my stronghold, David goes on to say, “Whom shall I fear? ... Of whom shall I be afraid?”
When I was a young boy, I was convinced that a child-consuming parasitic creature of goo lived underneath my bed. I firmly believed, contrary to my parent’s insistence otherwise, that this devourer of my soul had the uncanny ability to blend in with its environment so that you couldn’t see it. However, in the darkness of night – though totally invisible to the naked eye, its presence was strongly felt. That imaginary creature had tremendous power over me, freezing me literally motionless in bed; not because it was really there, but because I was convinced it was there. It had authority over my life not because of what might be, but because of what I imagined could be.
For over 30 years of my life, I lived with another fear. I was terrified of surrendering my sinful habits of lust, porn, and masturbation over to God. I was convinced that if I gave it up completely, I would be a miserable man. I firmly believed that God wanted to take it away from me and, as a form of punishment for my lack of faith, He would let me be sexually miserable the rest of my life. That beast, that 3-headed dragon had authority in my life, not because of what might be, but because of what I imagined could be. Can you relate?
That’s the deception of the enemy. He skillfully keeps you forever stuck in the trap of your own irrational fears. He preys on your insecurities, anxieties, and doubts. He tries to persuade you that God is powerless, indifferent, or even distant from you – that God has better, more important things to do than worry about your petty self-centered illusions and delusions. He convinces you that God will abandon you, He will forget you, He will hide his face from you and you’ll be stuck suffering instead of enjoying the pleasures sin has to offer.
One of the biggest reasons most of us struggle with entrusting our soul, our life, our sinful habits and addictions to God is the fear of what might happen if we do choose to fully surrender. We worry that God will take it away and leave us with little to nothing in return. We fear that whatever God does give us in return will be less than second-best. Oh, my friend, nothing could be further from the truth.
Your fear of losing out is based largely upon a wrong understanding of who God is and His immeasurable, impenetrable love for you. Listen closely as I quote to you the following verses. Allow the truth of God’s amazing love to wash over you and cleanse away your fear.
Here’s my point: God loves you, my friend. Of that you can be most certain. That love He has for you is so deep and so expansive and so precious that there is absolutely no way He would ever give you less than the best of anything! You have nothing to fear!
Jesus says in Matthew 7:9-11 “You parents – if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? (What’s the answer? Of course not!) Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly father give good gifts to those who ask him.”
Why would the Perfect God, in His perfect love for you, take away something that is bad for you and not give you something better, something absolutely perfect for you in its place? I submit you can stand secure in His love – you have nothing to fear. 1 John 4:18 tells us “There is no fear in love, but perfect love (God’s love) casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”
Yes, God wants to completely remove the 3-headed dragon from your life. Yes, it will be hard and even “painful” at the start - not because God is causing the pain or God is punishing you, but because King Me is kicking up a royal fuss as he’s being ousted from the throne. Remember what I just read to you: “Fear has to do with punishment.” In God’s perfect love you have nothing to fear because the punishment for all of your sin was already given and received at the cross of Calvary!
1 Peter 2:24 tells us that Jesus “personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed.” And Isaiah 53:5-8 reminds us that “he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.”
I want to share with you two very powerful passages of promise here. Listen carefully as I read them to you. Consider what God is saying to you about your fear of losing something precious when God removes the beast from your life. (Note: both of these texts are probably familiar to you. Do not let that familiarity breed contempt. Make sure you’re concentrating on this, listen to them both all the way through. Ask God to show you how these truths apply to the death of the 3-headed beast in your life.
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on (or what will sexually satisfy you when you give up your habit and addiction). Is not life more than food (more than lust, porn, and masturbation), and the body more than clothing (and more than a sexual release)? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing (or about your sexual gratification)? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? (Will He not make sure all your needs are met – even your sexual ones?) Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ (or ‘How will I get my sexual gratification?’) For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:25-34)
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:1-6)
A few years ago, a man - inspired by God - wrote a beautiful song about standing in awe of his Heavenly Father. He wrote, “You are beautiful beyond description, too marvelous for words. Too wonderful for comprehension, like nothing ever seen or heard. Who can grasp your infinite wisdom? Who can fathom the depth of your love? You are beautiful beyond description. Majesty enthroned above. And I stand, I stand in awe of You. I stand, I stand in awe of You. Holy God, to whom all praise is due I stand in awe of you.”
Can you say that? Do you stand daily in awe of God? Are your thoughts drawn to Him? Is your heart inexplicably pulled toward Him? Are you standing, not just in awe of the Lord, Jehovah, but in utter and total confidence in Him and His perfect love for you?
OK, now let me refresh your memory about what David writes in our base text of Psalm 27:1. “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” The word David uses for “fear” here refers to standing in awe of someone or something. That person or thing is to be revered, respected, honored.
So, let’s consider what David is saying here. The God who deeply cares about me IS my light. He is the One I am to follow. He IS my salvation. He is the One – the only One that I am to revere, respect, honor, and stand in awe of. No one else and nothing else is worthy of my worship!
Only God truly knows your genuine needs. Only God will perfectly meet those needs – every need, every time. Only God. As you cast all of your cares on Him (1 Peter 5:7), He will (Philippians 4:19) “supply (He will meet, He will take care of) every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Now wait a minute ... how many needs will He meet? How many of your needs will He supply? How many of your needs will He take care of? All! And don’t forget that “All” means all and that’s all “all” means! Truly “the LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.” (Psalm 23:1)
The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 8:32 that “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”
The key here, the answer to your “fears,” is to choose daily to stand in awe of the right person; to revere, respect, and honor the true King. Psalm 37:4 gives this awesome promise: “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Now, we will dive deeper into this verse in a future episode, but for now I want to make sure you catch something powerful here. So, let me quote Psalm 37:4 to you again. Listen closely. Then I will unpack a powerful truth. “Delight yourself in the Lord (in Jehovah, in the God who cares for you), and he (Jehovah, the Almighty God who cares for you) will give you the desires of your heart.”
Here’s what I want to unpack for you today. I want you to notice what this verse is NOT saying. It is not promising that if you delight in Jehovah then God will give you whatever your heart desires. Nope. And for that we should be eternally grateful. Remember: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick.” (Jeremiah 17:9) And Jesus tells us in Matthew 15:19 that “out of the heart come evil thoughts, adultery, and sexual immorality.” No, your heart cannot be trusted to consistently and continuously desire good and godly things.
So, Psalm 37:4 is not promising that the one who delights in the Lord will get whatever their heart wants. It IS, however, a wonderful promise that as you daily focus your entire being around worship of the Almighty, all-powerful, most holy, sovereign Creator of the universe – He, the God who cares for you – He will place within your heart the right desires. As Jesus put it in Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
And finally, looking one more time at our text in Psalm 27:1, I want you to note that David goes on to say, “The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” With God as your stronghold, you need not be afraid of the beast! The Psalmist, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote, “God is (your) refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore (you) will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah” (Psalm 46:1-3)
With God as your stronghold, you will experience His protection and strength every time lust, porn, and masturbation attack. As we saw earlier, though the beast bites you, shakes you, rattles you, roars for attention and foams at the mouth, gnashing its hungry teeth at you; and though it swells up and appears larger than life – you can resist it because God is your fortress, your deliverer, your rock in whom you take refuge. He is your shield. He is your stronghold.
You can (Psalm 91:2) “say to the LORD, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.” Why? Because “He will hide (you) in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal (you) under the cover of his tent; he will lift (you) high upon a rock.” (Psalm 27:5) You truly have nothing to fear!
If you would like to learn more about today’s study, or if you’re interested in learning more about our ministry, be sure to visit our website to see the multitude of resources we’ve made available to you. These resources include a Bible reading plan, Scripture memory, our free APP for your smart device, helpful videos and devotionals, free e-books, other recommended reading to help you grow in your daily walk with Christ, and so much more. You can find our website at ThePurityCoach.com.
Thank you so much for listening to today’s podcast. If this has ministered to you, if this has blessed you, challenged you, or encouraged you I ask you to do two things. First of all – would you please let your friends know about The Point of Purity Podcast. Would you help us help men and women across the globe win their war for sexual purity and live in freedom.
Then second, and this is so important, please take 30 seconds right now to go over to Apple Podcast and rate our program and this episode – why? because every time you do, your rating lets Apple know this podcast is important, it is valuable, and your ratings helps us get this program and this ministry into the ears and hearts of people just like you. So, until next time this is Author, Speaker, and Purity Coach Steve Etner reminding you that in order to glorify God in your everyday living, He must first be glorified in your every moment thinking.