Helping those struggling

Recently I was asked for suggestion from a man who was trying to help other men who were struggling with purity issues.  I thought I would share my response–with some editing.

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Let me start with the underlining question about your friends. The reality is that there is no short-cut to intimacy with God. The guys I have worked with on purity issues and other relational issues—tend to want a quick fix. They want to read a book, use a computer program or have someone be an accountability partner. Those are all good—but the only way to truly “overcome” or begin to have victory is through regular time with God. Getting a better understanding of who God is, and learning to live in moment by moment utter dependence on Him—no short cut. It is very rare that someone who acknowledges a problem has victory in a few weeks.

Other than the small group you are leading—where are they in meaningful connection with other believers? Where are they in intentional relationships for growth? Where are they in intentional interactive learning environments?

What I have done is challenged guys—to see how serious they are—has been to ask, what they are willing to give up to spend time with God? If they have a commute to work—are they willing to listen to scripture rather than sports radio? Are they willing to replace time playing video games, surfing the web, etc.—in order to carve out time with God?

If they make excuses—usually there is nothing we can do.
If they are willing to take personal responsibility—make changes, begin to be intentional about their walk with the Lord—more than simply getting victory over a sin—they will begin to have victory over sin.

But you are right—they must take responsibility for their own walk. They cannot flee lust without pursuing life in Christ.
2 Timothy 2:22 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. (ESV)

I think the three elments of this verse can help the guys you are talking with–Flee, Pursue, With.

One misconception about accountability groups is that my problem becomes the group’s problem. No, someone who shares a problem should be encouraged, but they need to take responsibility. Others can call, email, text—to encourage, challenge and check up on them. 

In an intentional relationship for growth we want to create an environment that is safe but not comfortable.
“It’s okay not to be okay—
but it’s not okay to stay there.”

So the small group should be welcoming and encouraging but must also willing to confront and challenge.

Let me encourage you in two areas—
1. While you are helping others is when it is easy to be tempted as well. So keep your time with the Lord fresh. (Galatians 6:1)
2. While you are trying to help others—you can easily become overwhelm. Your responsibility is to “spur one-another on to love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24) and to help them carry their burden (Galatians 6:2) but they must be willing to carry it themselves (Galatians 6:5).

What you are doing a great thing in ministering to these guys, don’t grow weary, make sure that you are being refreshed in the Lord daily, and make sure you have some relational contexts where you are being ministered to. I would even challenge you to seek a couple prayer partners/warriors who will commit to pray for you as you minister to these guys.

Resources
http://www.albertmohler.com/2010/02/01/hijacking-the-brain-how-pornography-works/
http://www.salvomag.com/new/articles/salvo13/13hilton.php

Reading
Joe McIlhaney and Freda McKissic Bush, Hooked: New Science on how casual sex is affecting our children
William Struthers, Wired for Intimacy: How pornography hijacks the male brain.
Steve Arterburn and Fred Stoeker, Every Man’s Battle
Randy Alcorn, The Purity Principle
Gordon MacDonald, Rebuilding Your Broken World
Doug McIntosh, God up Close (Out of print, but available in the library)

Movie
Fireproof (and the book The Love Dare)
Courageous

Website
http://www.everymansbattle.com/

External accountability
Faithful and True Calvary’s men’s purity group

Filters
OpenDNS.com (filtering for your wireless router)
OpenDNS is installed on your router (rather than your computer) and thus filters all internet content, including wireless in your home.
K9 Web Protection ( filtering http://www1.k9webprotection.com/)
Blue Coat’s Web filtering technology enables you to block entire categories of content, such as pornography or gambling, or block specific web sites.

Accountability solutions
X3Watch (FREE) (http://www.x3watch.com/x3watchfree.html )
X3watch is an accountability software program helping with online integrity. Whenever you browse the Internet and access a site, which may contain questionable material, the program will record the site name, time, and date the site was visited.
X3WatchPro ($7/month)
iPhone, iPad and Android apps available
Replaces primary browser—free or if you want to include accountability with filtering—$7

Covenanteyes.com $9/month for accountability Filtering is free
Provides both accountability and filtering software. It usually is rate the top of the line but is a little more expensive. It does have mobile solutions for iPhones.

Online resources and Bible Studies
http://www.pureintimacy.org/
http://www.settingcaptivesfree.com/
http://x3watch.com/x3pure.html

Sexual Detox, By Tim Challies (Print, Audio, PDF, EPub)
Summary: http://stevekilgore.com/fluency/476/pursuing-purity/

Resources for accountability groups
http://www.maninthemirror.org/biblestudy/register.htm
http://www.menatthecross.org
http://www.x3pure.com/

Counseling resources
Day 7 Counseling Services
OASIS Counseling Services

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