“He takes no pleasure in the strength of a horse
or in human might. No, the Lord’s delight is in those who fear him,
those who put their hope in his unfailing love.”
Today during my time with the Lord this scripture just seemed to leap off of the page at me. Maybe because it’s along the same lines of a quote I heard about a week ago (by Pastor Chris Hodges) that I can’t stop thinking about: “Temptation is not a test of your will power. It is a test of your relationship”.
I have a new client who came to me after one visit with a different counselor. For her sexual behavior that has lasted nearly thirty years she said that the counselor told her they were going to work on some cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). I certainly am not opposed to CBT, but I believe that more than just a behavior needs to be changed for any type of addiction. Somehow, my client knew she needed more and questioned the counselor about meeting the underlying needs that led her to act out in the first place. She intuitively knew that just being strong and changing the behavior wasn’t the only answer.
Apparently the Word of God agrees. God is not impressed with our will power. Although at times we may be, He is not. This is hard for us to grasp in a society that embraces strength and a “do it yourself pull yourself up by your bootstraps” attitude. Those of us though, who have been at this game of recovery for a while know that white knuckling it and relying on our strength can only get us so far. We have an endless need at the core of our soul. An endless need can only be met by an endless Resource. There is only One endless resource, and that is our God and His unfailing love.
True transformation comes in the area of our addiction when we learn to trust in God’s unfailing love, not our own strength. I can almost hear someone thinking, “Well, I do rely on His love, Kim! Yet, I’m still stuck in my addiction”. If that’s you I’d like to challenge your thinking on that, as I’ve had to challenge mine. If we are really relying on His love we’re not going to need our sinful coping mechanisms. (For me currently God is dealing with me about this regarding food.) What does it look like practically to rely on His love instead of acting out sexually? Well, it looks like being raw and honest with God about our temptations. Ie: “Lord, right now I’d love to look at pornography. But I know that what I see in porn is a cheap substitute for Your plans. I don’t need to see a naked body God, that won’t meet my deepest need. Only You can meet my deepest need, God. My heart and my flesh feel that this is what they are crying out for. But truly my heart and flesh cry out for You. I will fight against this lie and stand here in tears if I must while I wait on Your unfailing love.” I’ve found myself doing this probably a thousand times. Sometimes in tears as I fought through my temptation to stand on God’s truth. I’ve gotten even much more explicit with the Lord than I’ve listed above. He can handle it. He isn’t ashamed of our sexuality like we often are.
There are many things that I’ve learned and have done on my journey of recovery. But learning to trust (and continuing to learn to trust) in His unfailing love has made the biggest difference!
Kimberly ~ Counselor, speaker, teacher, author and most importantly broken but beloved daughter of Jesus.