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.
Zephaniah 3:17 says, “For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
Let those words wash over you, encourage you and bring you joy. The LORD your God–the Almighty, all-powerful, most holy Creator of the Universe, Heaven’s victorious and Mighty warrior–is with you! He not only dwells within you, but He also surrounds you. He hasn’t left you. He hasn’t forsaken you. He hasn’t given up on you, and He never will.
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 week 2 of a brand-new series focused on discovering from Scripture the Point of Purity and how to get there!
Listen my friend, you can count on the fact that God not only has the power to free you from the enslaving habit of sexual sin but has given you that same power. Don’t take my word for it though. Listen to God’s promise to you in 2 Peter 1:3 which says, "His divine power has given us everything we need for living a godly life.” Now think about that. God has given you “His divine power!” What kind of power is this talking about?
That's the kind of power God has given to you! Now let me be quick to clarify. I’m not saying you have been given the ability to walk on water or stop a tornado in its tracks or raise the dead to life. That’s not the point here. God has given you the power to be free from sexual sin – from any sin for that matter.
So why are you still struggling? Why do you tend to give into the temptation more times than not? Most likely, because you haven’t learned yet how to use the tools He has given you. You haven’t learned how to submit to God, resisting the Devil, and then watch as the enemy turns tail and flees from you (James 4:7).
It is my deepest passion and greatest prayer that as you listen to each and every episode of this podcast you will find yourself drawing closer to God. As we just saw in Zephaniah 3:17, God already takes great delight in you. He longs for you to see His awesome miracles displayed in the most spectacularly outstanding masterpiece He has ever created. I’m referring to you. Yes, YOU! God wants you to realize and recognize His unfathomable love for you. We’re talking about a perfect love that is not based on your performance. God doesn’t love you more because you’re improving at resisting temptation. His love for you isn’t contingent upon your “success rate” at being a person of integrity, godliness, and purity. He loves you just the way you are! Listen closely to the following verses that declare God’s perfect love for you.
The simple fact is, God is crazy about you! There is absolutely nothing you can do (or not do for that matter) to make Him love you any more or less right now than you could’ve a moment ago or a year ago or tomorrow or even five years from now. And because of His unfailing, uncompromising love for you, He is ready, willing, and able to lead you to freedom from your sinful habits.
As we dive deep into this study together, you will be taught Biblical truth and godly principles throughout every upcoming episode. However, we’re not going to discover or create a “checklist” kinda thing. It’s not about “if you want to be pure you need to start doing this and stop doing that.” I don’t want you to turn any of this into a set of laws or rules that you must try to keep in order to be “good” or pleasing to God.
Now, having said that, please don’t misunderstand me. There are definitely some things we have to stop doing, and others we need to start doing; and in time we will cover all of that. However, that’s only a small slice of the whole purity pie. We don’t want to go through life dependent upon a set of rules, especially if they are not Biblical.
In Colossians 2:20-23 the Apostle Paul writes, “Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: ‘Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!’? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.” (Colossians 2:20-23 NIV’84)
You see, rules all by themselves will not make you “pure.” Just following the rules won’t quench the thirst that we talked about in last week’s episode. This podcast is not about rules. If we focus all our attention on rules, then when we break one of them (which we are prone to do), we will feel like we’re a failure. The enemy will chime right in trying to convince us we’re never going to be free so why bother. I’m not wanting you to learn a set of rules, just for the sake of following the rules. That’s not what will set you free. In fact, the rules will just put you into a different kind of bondage.
I’m talking about changing your way of life, starting from a changed heart. Our ultimate goal is real, genuine change from the inside out. So, I promise you that if you prayerfully apply yourself to what I’m going to teach you, you will discover that you can truly be the person God designed you to be. You will discover the abundant life that Jesus talked about in John 10:10; a life that is deeply satisfying. You will experience His perfect, loving, and holy touch of healing.
Let me tell you a little story here. This story is taken from Acts 3:1-19 and it goes like this:
He had been a cripple since birth. Born with twisted feet, incapable of walking without help, society branded him an outcast. Unable to work, he was reduced to the daily task of begging for money just so he could feed himself. And so, every day–as far back as he could remember–he sat next to the Temple entrance, head bowed low, basket raised high above his head, begging the passing worshipers to find it in their hearts to give him something–anything.
On this particular day, a day no different than the one before, or the one before that, or the thousands before that, the beggar sat in his usual spot, crying his usual cry, expecting the usual result. However, today his life was about to drastically change forever; change in a way he could never have anticipated. Never in a million years.
It was nearly three in the afternoon, and Peter and John were on their way to the temple to pray. As they arrived at the entrance, the two Disciples stopped, looked down at the beggar, and did something no one had ever done before. Everyone else ignored him. Everyone else gave him a wide berth, pretending he didn’t exist. Everyone else averted their eyes, shook their heads, and rushed past. But Peter and John stopped to talk to him.
“Look at us!” Peter instructed. Shocked, the beggar slowly raised his eyes toward the two men who dared speak to him. “Money, we do not have, so money we cannot give.” Discouraged, the beggar lowered his basket and began to look away. “However,” Peter continued, “what we do have, we freely give you.”
Reaching down and grabbing the beggar’s hand, Peter spoke in a clear and authoritative tone. “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Instantly the beggar felt something he had not felt before. Strength began to flow like a mighty river into his ankles and feet. Then he did something direct from the pages of his wildest dreams. He jumped to his feet and began to walk all on his own. Something he had never done before in his life.
Giddy with excitement and awe, he followed Peter and John into the temple, all the while jumping, spinning around, and shouting for joy. The commotion inside the normally quiet Temple drew a large crowd. Many of the people recognized the beggar. News spread fast that the cripple who had been sitting at the Temple entrance for all these years was now inside, walking and jumping. Yes, jumping! Truly a miracle had just happened.
Seizing the opportunity to give God the glory, Peter spoke up. “Men of Israel!” Pointing to the beggar who was still jumping for joy he continued, “Why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we made this man walk? God did this! And He can do the same thing for you!”
Peter paused, looking into the eyes of everyone in that room. Taking a deep breath, he shouted “Repent, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord!” (this is my personal take on Acts 3:1-19)
I challenge you to stop and think about the true story you just heard. You see, you and I are just like that crippled beggar. On our own we can’t walk the path of purity. Let’s face it – you’ve tried, but you cannot because you are crippled by the sinful desires of the flesh. You’ve been sitting by the wayside crying out for help, but up to this point it feels like you’ve been ignored.
Even now, as you’re listening to this podcast, you’re hoping against hope that this time something will be different. Well, if you will allow it, it will be. Not because we’re offering some great program or method; and certainly not because this guy named Steve Etner is some awesome purity guru. No. I cannot change you, but here’s what I can do: I can lead you to the only One who has the power to totally change your life (2 Peter 1:3). There IS hope – there IS help–there IS freedom, and it comes only from a right, vibrant, growing relationship with God! And He wants to give it to you if you’ll let Him.
I want to make absolutely certain you understand this point. Your hope, help, and healing won’t come from me. It won’t come from this podcast. It won’t come from your pastor, nor any human being, book, or resource or tool that man has created. We are just instruments that God will use to guide you along the way. Only God can (and will) help you have lasting victory over this beast in your life.
The key – the critical, vital, essential point you must not miss; the piece that puts the whole puzzle together is found in Peter’s words to the Jews in the Temple the day God healed that beggar. “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord!” (Acts 3:19 NIV’84)
Before you can experience forgiveness and healing you must repent. What does it mean to “repent”? Repentance involves a whole lot more than just saying “I’m sorry.” To repent requires changing direction. It demands a conscious choice to turn away from one thing and toward another.
Now think about this: When you are turning “to” something, it also means you are turning “away from” something else. For YOU specifically, to be sexually pure, what must you turn away from? Why is it so critical that you turn away from that specific thing?
The goal is simple enough: stop lusting, stop looking at porn, stop giving in to sexual temptation! Right? You’re tired of the battle. You just want to be free. But every time you’ve tried to get serious about this, you may do well for a little while (a few days or maybe even weeks of alleged “freedom”) but at some point, you mess up and fall right back into the same old habits again and again.
It’s important that we take a few moments here to talk about the motivation of your heart. Your “motivation” for doing something is the reason (or reasons) you have behind a particular choice you make or action you take. Almost everything we do has a motivation behind it. You typically eat because you’re hungry (or at least think you are). You sleep because you’re tired. You bite your fingernails or bounce your leg because you’re anxious about something. And so on. Even your sinful choices have a motivation behind them. You have been lusting, looking at pornography, and masturbating for a reason.
I wish we could be sitting down together right now, person-to-person, face-to-face, and have a heart-to-heart chat because I have three very important questions to ask you here. Even though it’s not possible for us to be in physical proximity to each other at this moment in time, it’s still vital that you answer them honestly–straight from your heart. Don’t try to give answers you think are the “right” ones. If it’s not coming from your heart, it’s a wrong answer. Avoid the urge to impress anyone with your responses.
Question #1: Do you want to experience real victory in your life over sexual temptation and sexual sin? That may seem to be so fundamentally basic that you wonder why it even needs to be asked. It’s almost like asking do ducks quack and is water wet? And yet, I ask again: Do you–with all your heart–want to be victorious? Now, before you offhandedly answer, “well of course I do,” I encourage you to second-guess yourself (maybe even third and fourth guess as well.) Do you truly want to experience real, lasting victory in your life?
Okay, so I’m going to assume you answered yes, or this is going to be a very short podcast. Consider this: simply wanting something doesn’t make it happen. As of this recording, I think I want to lose 25 pounds. But unless I actually DO something (like change my daily routine to include a specific diet and exercise program) losing that weight just isn’t going to happen; no matter how much I may think I want it. In other words, if my heart isn’t in it, it won’t happen.
For many years I thought I wanted victory in my life. I was under the impression that my deepest desire was to be free from the vice-grip that lust, porn, and masturbation had on me. Yet my daily actions and everyday life-choices said otherwise. My day-to-day behavior was shouting loud and clear that I didn’t want purity bad enough. My “want to” was actually a “won’t do” resulting in a clearly unmistakable “don’t do.”
Please don’t misunderstand me. The “desire” for purity was definitely there (I hated the person I was becoming), but I was enjoying the perceived pleasures of my sin (see Hebrews 11:25) way too much to take it any further than a token acknowledgement that yes, I had a problem and probably should deal with it sometime sooner than later. There was still a strong part of me that just didn’t want to let it go. I didn’t want the victory more than I wanted the war. And so, the battle in my heart raged on.
So, Question #1 is, do you want to experience real victory in your life over sexual temptation and sexual sin?
Question #2 is this: What do you want to be victorious over? Again, you may wonder at the simplicity of this question, but there is a point here. I want you to be specific. Precisely what do you want victory over? What needs to change in your life? Now, I know this may be a big step for you – a hard step. It’s not easy to expose these things. But, as we will see later, sin loves darkness (John 3:19). This beast wants to stay hidden in the shadows where it can continue to do the most damage. So, as you threaten to reveal it, you can expect it to fight back. One step in the path to genuine victory is to expose our sin to the light.
As long as our struggles and issues remain vague and nameless, we won’t know exactly what it is we’re up against. When you don’t know what you’re fighting, you don’t know how to combat it. The result: you end up taking potshots in the dark, swinging aimlessly at nothing but air; hoping against all hope that maybe, just maybe you might connect and strike a blow. This can be discouraging, not to mention exhausting. Exactly what the enemy wants you to feel.
By keeping your sin nameless, by keeping it in the shadows, hidden in the dark recesses of your heart, you’re giving it exactly what it wants, anonymity and autonomy. So, question #2 is What do you want to be victorious over?
Question #3: Why do you want to be victorious? What are your real reasons for wanting this victory? Now here is the crux, the foundation upon which everything else is built. Your honest answer to this question will reveal much. You see, it is upon the real motivation of your heart that you are building all your efforts and hopes for victory. Your answer to this question determines your success or failure. So, think carefully and then answer … Why do you want to be victorious?
I want you to think very carefully about the reasons you just gave in answer to question #3. Those reasons represent your core values, your heart’s motivations for change. Those reasons are the foundation upon which you have been trying to build a victorious life. So, what is your heart revealing to you?
Let me share with you the reasons I originally gave when my accountability partner asked me that same question:
Again, let me emphasize the importance of honesty here! It’s not about being honest with me, not even with your pastor or accountability partner or even your spouse (all of which are important). You need to be honest with yourself. To experience real change, we need to take a close, long, hard introspective look. If you were candid and sincere in the reasons you gave, you are beginning to catch a glimpse of your heart.
Think for a moment about my list. Does anything stand out to you? What one word repeats itself in every point? Where was my focus? It was all about King Me! Now as you think about your reasons, let me ask you this: where is your focus? Who is sitting on the throne of your heart and why?
In John 8:36 Jesus says, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” This verse promises us that when Christ sets you free, you are truly free! Imagine for just a moment what a genuine freedom from the lure of lust, the pull of porn, and the magnet of masturbation would feel like. Can you picture yourself standing up in church and singing from the bottom of your heart to the top of your lungs “my chains are gone; I’ve been set free”?
OK, we’re going to hit the pause button here until next week’s episode as we look forward to continuing this study. Until then, 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 please let your friends know about this Point of Purity Podcast. Help us help men and women across the globe win their war for sexual purity and live in freedom.
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.