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leading to lasting victory over sexual addiction through a growing, vibrant, powerful relationship with Christ.
James 1:25 says, “The man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:25)
How are you doing with that? Are you looking intently into God’s Word? I’m not talking about casually glancing at Scripture. I’m not referring to doing a brief “devotional” every morning at breakfast. We are to stoop forward, leaning into God’s Word in order to look at it closely.
Welcome to The Point of Purity Podcast. I’m your host, Steve Etner, Author, National Speaker, and Purity Coach for The Pure Man Ministry. This is episode #47 and today we continue our mini-series on How to live FOR Christ by discovering together that it’s “Time to Lean In!”
Picture looking at yourself in a mirror. Imagine that you notice something on the end of your nose. What do you do? I’m willing to bet at the very least you lean forward, getting as close to the mirror as you can so you can see it better. The fact is, the closer you get, the better you can identify what it is and deal with the problem.
James 1:25 tells us that when you’re looking intently into Scripture, you’re leaning in (if you will) so that you can look closely at what God is revealing to you. You are investing the time to actually dig into God’s Word, comparing Scripture with Scripture, reading commentaries, talking with godly Christians, praying for wisdom, all for the purpose of discovering what God wants you to do about what you just read. In other words, you’re dealing with the problem.
Have you ever stood in front of a mirror with the lights out? What did you see? Silly question, right? You don’t stand in a darkened room to look in the mirror; you turn a light on. Without the light, you cannot see the problem—you cannot properly deal with it.
Not only is God’s Word a mirror, it’s also a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. (Psalm 119:105) Think about that. God’s commands are a lamp, His teaching is light. (Proverbs 6:23) Every time you open the Bible, every time you read the Scriptures, every time you are exposed to God’s truth and then choose to walk in obedience to it - you are coming into the light. Jesus Himself said that “those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.” (John 3:21) The light of God’s Word will expose the issues you need to deal with. Paul reminds us that “when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light.” (Ephesians 5:13-14)
Let’s say, for illustration’s sake, that you bump your chin on something and it begins to bleed. You go to the nearest mirror and step in front of it. Why? You want to see what’s causing the pain and how to deal with it. Leaning forward, you notice an open wound. What are you going to do?
I assume you would open the medicine cabinet, grab some ointment and a bandage. You then wash off your chin, gently dry it, apply the ointment, and put on the bandage. Over the next few days you periodically look in the mirror to see how it’s doing. You clean it up again, putting on more ointment and a fresh bandage. You continue to do this daily until the wound is healed.
Addressing your spiritual blemish or wound requires more than just confessing it to God. It involves going to the Word of God and finding the truths in Scripture that apply to that issue in your life. You then study it, memorize it, meditate on those truths, and choose to live them out in your everyday life in such a way that you never accommodate that sin again. (if you would like to learn more on this topic, I encourage you to go to our online academy and enroll in the class on “How to Overcome ANY Temptation” in your life. You can find this online Bible course at www.ChristianGrowthAcademy.com)
Oh, my friend, God has so much He wants to show you in His Word. Within the pages of Scripture, you will find God’s truth about who you are, who He is, and how you are to live that life of integrity, purity and godliness you are seeking.
At times that means His Word is going to show you things that need to be dealt with - maybe a nagging sin that needs to be removed; or an attitude that needs to be changed; or a thought-process that needs some adjusting. Other times He just wants to show you His amazing grace, mercy, and love. No matter what He wants to reveal to you, a cursory glance at the Bible will not uncover the depths of His truth. It’s only when you invest the time to look intently into the mirror of His Word that you will see your true reflection.
Let me illustrate it to you this way: Think about a big, yellow sponge—the kind you use to wash your car. In one hand you hold the sponge, in the other a bucket of water. The sponge is dry. The water is wet. Setting the sponge on top of the water, what happens to the sponge? It begins to soak up the water around it.
Once the sponge is full, it sinks to the bottom of the bucket. It cannot soak up any more water. In order for that sponge to absorb more water, what must be done to that sponge? Squeeze it, of course. Wring it hard to force out the water that’s in it. Then, when you place it back into the bucket of water, what happens? It’s able to soak in more.
That’s what God expects of you. You’re that sponge. Read God’s Word. Soak in all of the truth that you can. But understand, God doesn’t want you to sit, soak, and stay there. Never are we to sit, soak, and sour.
God will allow situations in your life that will wring that truth out of you. Every test, every trial, every situation you find yourself in, God is bringing those into your life so that you can live out the truths you have been absorbing from His Word.
Each day of your life will bring new things. Each day of your life you will discover ways in which the things you’re learning from God’s Word can be lived out that day. What are you going to do with them?
The prophet Jeremiah wrote, “Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart.” (Jeremiah 15:16)
David exclaimed, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth.” (Psalm 119:103)
Here’s a question for you: How fulfilling would it be to sit down to a banquet, with all manner of mouth-watering, delectable choices of food placed in front of you, only to sit there and stare at it? How satisfying would it be to look at the food, talk about the food, smell the food, but never once consume the food? That would be silly, right?
Unfortunately, many Christians today are spiritually starving even though God has provided them with an amazing, sumptuous banquet of Truth from His Word.
In Psalm 119:97 David declares, “Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.”
King David was a man who truly loved the Word of God. He saw Scripture as a meal to be consumed—food fit for a king. In fact, he said that the one who experiences genuine happiness is the one “whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law meditates (he feeds upon) day and night.” (Psalm 1:2)
So, how are you doing with that? Do you love reading your Bible? Do you delight in studying God’s Word? Do you meditate on it daily?
To experience the kind of happiness David is talking about—to be truly blessed of God—we need to “delight” in God’s Word. A person who is “delighting” in God’s Word is finding great pleasure in it—to the point of longing for it constantly.
Listen as I read Psalm 1:1-3. “Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.” (NLT)
According to verse two, the word David uses to describe how the one feels who is in God’s Word day and night is “delight.” According to verse one, when you delight in God’s Word, you will not follow the advice of the wicked, you will not stand around with sinners, and you will not join in with mockers. You are going to lead a totally different kind of life. According to verse three, you’ll be like a tree alongside a flowing river, bearing fruit and leaves that never wither, and you will be greatly prosperous.
Please note the fact that David doesn’t say here that the one who appreciates God’s Word, or the one who respects God’s Word will be like a planted tree, yielding fruit and prospering. He doesn’t say that anyone who brings a Bible to church and does daily devotions is the one who will be blessed. It’s the one who delights in God’s Word and meditates on it daily. Are you that person?
God’s Word reveals God’s heart, and it’s His heart that will capture you! In Psalm 112:1 we read, “Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments!”
I submit: You and I should long for the time each day when we can sit down with our Bible and listen to our Heavenly Father speak His heart to us. Every day you should be anxiously looking forward to the moment when you can open Scripture and cling to your Father’s every word.
In fact, I want you to take a few moments here to think about that point. Why do so many Christians struggle with this? Why do we tend to feel the opposite of sheer delight when it comes to reading our Bible? Why do we see it as a chore or a task to be done?
In Psalm 119 David prays, “Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight ... I delight in your commands because I love them ... if your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.” (Psalm 119:35, 47, 92)
How we see our Bible makes all the difference in the world. If we see God’s Word as irrelevant or boring, if we see it as cumbersome and a chore to be done by “good Christians,” we will be hesitant to spend time in it. We will choose to put off reading it as long as we can, in favor of other things we perceive to be more enjoyable and relaxing. Then, when we do pick up our Bible to read it, we’re doing it more out of a sense of duty than to develop a deeper relationship with the Father.
However, when we see Scripture for what it really is—God speaking to us, telling us how much He loves us, giving us a glimpse into who He is and all He has planned for us; when you understand that it is God sitting down with you to share His heart with you—you become anxious to invest your time drawing closer to the One who loves you so much.
Consider this: The Bible is God’s Word to you, not to be read and understood, but to be eaten and digested.
Some fast-food restaurants offer what’s often called a “value meal.” It’s simply a grouping of items on a menu that are offered together at a lower price than they would cost if you purchased each item individually. All too often that’s how we approach the Word of God. We see Church as a “fast food restaurant” where we can take in a dash of worship songs, a large helping of Bible teaching, and a side of fellowship—all for the price of an hour on a Sunday with a couple of dollars put in the offering plate.
Reading God’s Word is never to be treated as a value meal. It is, however, a meal full of great value.
1 Peter 2:2 says, “Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.” (NASB)
Pause for a moment and consider what I just quoted to you. What milk is to a baby, the Word of God is to your soul. It’s the food that nourishes you spiritually. But you must eat! Listen carefully here—I’m not talking about an occasional snack on God’s Word. This isn’t a one-day on Sunday kinda thing.
Think about it this way: a baby has a passion for milk that will not rest until its hunger is satisfied. When a baby wants to eat, nothing else matters. The world as we know it comes to a screeching halt until baby is fed. Baby doesn’t care whether or not you have to set aside your priorities. Baby doesn’t care if mama is exhausted. The time of day (or night) means nothing to the child when it’s hungry. The fact is, when it’s time to eat—it’s time to eat!
Is that how you see God’s Word? Do you hunger for it the way a baby hungers for its milk? Do you come to the point each day when you want to feed on Scripture and nothing else matters?
There are times when a mother tries to pacify her baby with fake food. You’ve seen it. Baby is crying, mama isn’t ready to feed him yet, so she sticks a pacifier in his mouth. Voilà! Baby is quiet—for the moment. However, at some point, baby begins to wise up to the fact that what he’s sucking on isn’t producing the desired effect. That’s when it spits out the fake and screams out, “I want the real thing, and I want it now!”
Focus on 1 Peter 2:2 ... the verse I just quoted to you. Just like a newborn baby craves his mother’s milk, so you must crave the “pure milk” of the Word. Now, we need to stop for a moment and let that one sink in. Are you craving the pure milk of Scripture? Or are you content with a spiritual pacifier?
Too many of us are spiritually undernourished. Why? Because we are sucking on make-shift pacifiers instead of feeding on the real thing. We are content to sit in church on Sunday and listen to the preacher feed us from the Bible—regurgitating the spiritual food he’s already chewed upon and eaten—instead of digging into Scripture for ourselves. We think it’s okay to read Biblical principles out of a devotional book without ever opening the Bible to discover God’s truth for ourselves.
Now, don’t misunderstand me. Going to church, learning from the teaching of others, reading great devotional books, are all good things to do. But if you are dependent upon those things to feed you spiritually, you’re sucking on a pacifier. You’re allowing someone else to chew up the food for you. They are spitting it out and you’re gobbling it up. That’s not enough. That alone will not give you the spiritual nourishment you need to grow.
One thing I’ve learned in raising four children, and in watching my kids raise our grandchildren, is that babies don’t drink all the milk they can in an hour on Sunday—then go the rest of the week without eating. They have a feeding schedule. They eat every few hours. Why? Because they can hold on to just so much food at any given time. As their body consumes and digests, it also burns up energy. Eventually they need more nutrients to keep going.
What’s your spiritual “feeding schedule”? We need to consume God’s Word daily. Do you really think that you can stuff yourself on Sunday’s regurgitated meal and live your Christian life off of that one feeding for the rest of the week? Of course not! Yet that’s exactly what many of us try to do spiritually.
Christians who aren’t daily consuming God’s Word are trying to satisfy their hunger with pacifiers. As a result, they are severely malnourished. It’s not enough to sit under a Bible teacher for an hour a week—no matter how great that preacher may be. The meal he’s serving up behind the pulpit should be just the appetizer. The main course should be consumed all week long. We need to be in the Word daily for ourselves!
“I have not departed from the commands of (God’s) lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my daily bread.” (Job 23:12, addition mine)
Before I wrap up today’s episode, I have a request of you. If you’re a subscriber to this podcast, then you know that I very rarely mention this. So, please understand that the fact that I am talking about this indicates its vital importance.
Our time here on earth is quickly running out – of that I am most certain. All too soon God’s trumpet is going to sound, and our Heavenly Father is going to call His children home. And as His child, I feel the irresistible urge, the undeniable draw to make these last days ones that are completely and unreservedly focused on glorifying God in every aspect of my life. I am firmly persuaded that God has given me a very specific focus – a for-the-rest-of-my-life assignment.
In Acts 20:22, 24 the Apostle Paul says “I am bound by the Spirit ... I don’t know what awaits me, But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.”
For me (Steve Etner) I am bound by the Spirit to the task of pointing men and women toward the power of Christ and the impact that God’s Word can have in their everyday lives. I am compelled to show them from Scripture how to live in victory and freedom ... specifically, from the lure of lust, the pull of porn and the magnet of masturbation.
You see, I was under that bondage for over 30 years of my life. God set me free, and now - for the last 10 years - I’ve had the distinct privilege and honor of daily meeting with men literally all over the globe – teaching, counseling, and coaching them in how to be men of purity, men of integrity, and men of godliness ... and I am doing this primarily thru our ministry known as The Pure Man Ministry - aka The Purity Coach.
I don’t know how many more years God is going to give me – but I am committed to dedicating every one of those years to this ministry ... and I’m asking for your help.
Tuesday, November 30th 2021 - is a day known across the globe as Giving Tuesday. Its purpose is to encourage individuals and churches to support a specific cause or ministry they believe in.
If you share our desire to see men and women walk in integrity and live in purity – I am personally inviting you to join our team of ministry partners! We have set the goal of raising $42,000 on Giving Tuesday (November 30th) to cover our cost of ministry for 2022. This will take a group effort to get there – but the impact YOUR donation will have to this ministry is incredible!
Through your financial gifts – The Pure Man Ministry is able to pour into the hearts of both men and women, investing in their lives, their marriages, their homes and even their churches - training them from God's Word how they can live free from addiction to porn, lust and masturbation ... all to the glory of God.
Without compromise The Pure Man Ministry shows men and women how to have a continuous relationship with Jesus that is real and personal. To that end we are asking for your financial assistance to partner with us in providing hope and helping men win their personal battles. Help us raise $42,000 .
Your gifts to this ministry are deeply appreciated - and are tax deductible!
You certainly don’t have to wait until November 30th to give! You can visit our website at www.thepuritycoach.com and click on the “Donate” button in the upper right corner to give your tax deductible donation today - and help us reach our goal so we can reach the world with the message of hope. THANK YOU!
And if you have not yet subscribed to this podcast, let me encourage you to do so today so you won’t miss any of our upcoming episodes!
So, until next time this is Author, Speaker, and Purity Coach Steve Etner reminding you that if you are going to glorify God in your everyday living, He must first be glorified in your every moment thinking.