Counseling One Another

Helping you grow in God's all-sufficient truth and grace

Counseling One Another

March 24, 2017
by Paul Tautges
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The Key to Spiritual Fruitfulness

When God saves our soul he doesn’t intend for us to just coast to Glory. Jesus didn’t go to the cross to simply purchase our ticket to Paradise. For the rest of our days, God calls us to bear spiritual fruit. And not just a little; we’re to bear much fruit. When we bear much fruit, God is glorified.

What’s the key to much fruit-bearing?

Jesus gives us the answer in John 15:1-11.

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

For hundreds of years, Israel was God’s vine and vineyard. They were the focus of God’s electing love and attention. Now, the true vine is Jesus. “I am the true vine,” he says in verse 1. Jesus is the source of spiritual life and energy and growth in the Christian life. Eternal life, spiritual growth, and fruitfulness come through Jesus. The vine isn’t alone, but has branches. Life-giving nourishment flows from the vine to the branches, which then bear fruit.

In this passage, we also see the vinedresser who is identified as the Father. The vinedresser cuts off the branches that don’t bear fruit, and prunes the branches that are bearing fruit, so they’ll bear more fruit. God prunes the true branches by removing anything from the branch that would drain their spiritual energy and prevent them from bearing fruit. In this whole picture, God’s concern is for the fruitfulness of his branches. His goal is not just fruit, but much fruit (vv. 5, 8)! Abundant fruitfulness should mark every believer in Christ.

What is spiritual fruit?

It seems clear from the context that fruit has to do with the kinds of results and effects that come from being vitally connected to and nourished by Jesus, the vine. It’s what comes along with being a growing disciple of Christ (v. 8). In the context of this passage we see several examples:

  • The result of effective prayer in Jesus’ name (v. 7)
  • Heartfelt obedience to Jesus’ commandments (v. 10)
  • Biblical, Christ-like love for one another in all its forms (v. 12)

We could name other kinds of fruit as well:

  • Conversions – seeing true disciples made (vv. 26-27)
  • Fruit of the Spirit – Spirit-wrought character qualities ( 5:22-23)
  • Spiritual growth, growth in Christ-like character, life-transformation
  • Conviction of sin and repentance
  • Praise and honor and glory to God
  • Sacrificial love that meets the needs of others, and so on.

But Jesus said we can’t do anything of eternal value, we can’t bear any fruit at all, apart from Him. Apart from Jesus, all our effort is fleshly and mixed with dross. “…As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me…apart from me you can do nothing (vv. 4-5).

If we’re simply going through the motions, “playing church,” our ministry and our Christian life will be driven by fleshly effort, mechanics, and duty. We can’t expect blessing from God and spiritual fruit in those circumstances. We need to abide in Christ.

What does it mean to abide in the vine – to abide in Jesus?

First, believers are by definition abiding in the vine because of our conversion. Christ has given us life. We were grafted into the vine, given eternal life – spiritual life – where before, we were spiritually dead (Eph. 2:1-5).

But there’s also a volitional aspect – a lifestyle of closeness to Christ. Abide in him. Live in him. Put on Christ (Rom. 13:14). Let his words abide in you (vs. 7). Let the Word of God transform your thinking, your heart and your actions. Let it sink deep into your heart and then walk in it.

You and I need to stay plugged into the vine. We stay warm by staying close to the fire. Don’t neglect the basic spiritual disciplines that nurture your walk with Christ and keep you spiritually warm and close to the Lord. Be careful of trying to do the Christian life and lead your ministry apart from complete reliance on the Spirit of God and fervent prayer. That will lead to the bearing of fruit in a couple more ways.

  • It’ll maximize your joy!
    These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (v. 11).
  • And God will be glorified.
    By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit” (v. 8).

That’s the bottom line, isn’t it? The deepest desire of our heart is that God would be glorified and his Kingdom would be advanced. Stay connected you will be fruitful.

[Today’s guest post is from Ed Fedor, associate pastor at Cornerstone Community Church in Mayfield Heights, Ohio.]

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March 24, 2017
by Paul Tautges
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NUGGETS (March 24)

Marriage: God’s Good Idea? – Many who think about marriage and family wonder if the idea came from the jungle story, “Me Tarzan, you Jane; come with me to live in my tree house.”

Are Homeschool Families More Likely to Experience Divorce? – A challenge from Dannah Gresh: “As with most research projects, we can usually learn where our weaknesses are if we are able to swallow our pride as we revel in our strengths.”

The Common (Yet Neglected) Problem of Burnout – I am really looking forward to reading David Murray’s new book and being corrected and helped by it.

NEW BOOK FROM MATTHIAS MEDIA: The Path of Purity: Navigating sex and dating as a teenager

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March 22, 2017
by Paul Tautges
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6 Truths about Forgiveness

“Over and over again in the New Testament, Christians are reminded that God has forgiven all their sins through Christ’s death. And time and again, too, Christians are commanded to forgive.” So writes Julia Marsden, author of the little 10 of Those book entitled Forgiveness. As Julia begins her book, she clears up some misunderstandings about forgiveness and then draws five truths from Jesus’ parable at the end of Matthew 18, and then a sixth truth from the overall teaching of the New Testament.

  1. Forgiveness means it’s over. The debt which is owed is cancelled. “Forgiveness means that you let go of the file of that person’s sin. You stop holding on to it. You stop holding it against them. It’s over.” The book’s cover image of a chalkboard that has been erased beautifully portrays this truth.
  2. Forgiveness is pure grace. It is totally undeserved. “Forgiveness is pure grace. The person doesn’t deserve it. That is the point. And because of this, there are no limits to forgiveness. You never reach a point where you can say, ‘That’s too much, now.’”
  3. Forgiveness is a two-sided transaction. It take two to complete it. “Forgiveness is like giving someone a gift, or giving someone the hand of friendship. I can offer it. I can put out my hand to you. But if you don’t receive it, if you don’t put out your hand to accept mind, there is a sense in which forgiveness remains only half done.”
  4. Forgiveness is a decision of the will. You choose to do it. “I think we tend to think of forgiveness as an emotion. But the Bible talks about forgiveness as a decision of the will….Emotional change may follow, but forgiveness itself is a decision.”
  5. Forgiveness is like a key to a door. Its aim is to open the way to a restored relationship. “The context of Jesus’ story in Matthew 18 is reconciliation within the church family. Forgiveness is never an end in itself….Christ dies to end the divide and restore the relationship. Our forgiveness of others should have the same aim.”
  6. Forgiveness is possible because sin is fully and finally paid for. “When God forgives me, when He forgives you, He does so because our sin is paid for. Jesus paid for it as He died on the cross. He was paying the price for our sin, bearing the punishment our sin deserved.”

Pass the file to God…

The author wraps up her little book with this admonition:

When God calls on me to forgive, He is not calling on me to rip up the file of that person’s sin. He is asking me to let go of it and give it to Him to deal with. He is saying, “Pass it to Me. Leave it with Me. You can trust Me to deal with it.” You can trust Me to deal with it.” We find it hard to do that. But actually God is inviting us to walk in a pathway of great blessing. He is inviting us to give up carrying around the burden of that file, which pulls us down towards bitterness.”

We must take the matter of an unforgiving spirit seriously, for “refusing to forgive someone is spiritual suicide.”

“Forgiveness” is available from 10 of Those, and is also in Kindle format.

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March 22, 2017
by Paul Tautges
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NUGGETS (March 21)

Have the Difficult Conversation – Concerning confronting someone you love, Heidi Jo Fulk asks, “What might have happened if during that progression someone had confronted a friend about a change of mind or action they noticed?”

5 Things Infertile Couples Want Others to Know – “Childless couples want some help and support, but they are often silent about their struggle. Churches know the issue exists, but often don’t quite know what to do about it. What we’re left with is the proverbial elephant in the room.”

Marry Wisely, Marry Well – A new discipleship guide to prepare young men and women for marriage.

From the Archives: Suffering and Singing

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March 21, 2017
by Paul Tautges
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Making the Wisest Use of Our Time

Every week, each of us has 168 hours. If we were to try to account for those hours, we may allocate about 56 hours to sleep and 40-60 hours for employment, including commutes. That leaves 50-70 hours/week for shopping, education, family, church, and household responsibilities. Once all of that is factored into the equation, the Wall Street Journal recently concluded the average American still has 5 hours and 13 minutes a day for leisure activities. That should lead us to ask ourselves a few questions.

  • What do we usually do with those hours?
  • What did we do with them this past week?
  • How much time did we spend intentionally heeding the command of Scripture to live the Christ-centered life? If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth (Col. 3:1-2).

If you and I are honest, we must admit that nothing is so easy to do as waste time, nothing is easier than simply coasting through the Christian life without the intentional pursuit of Christ. And yet, as new creatures in Christ, living for Him is our calling. As 2 Corinthians 5:15 states, Jesus died so that “that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”

We find the same message in the book of Ephesians. After spending three chapters lifting up the glory of God our Savior, the apostle calls us to walk in manner worthy of our calling in Christ (Eph. 4:1). Ephesians 4 then provides numerous examples of what attitudes and behaviors should characterize this new walk. Then, in the fifth chapter, we are called to walk in love, walk in holiness, walk in light, and walk in wisdom.

But what does it mean to walk in wisdom? In part, it means to use our time wisely (but we’ll get to that in a minute). To walk in wisdom means we must continually walk two ways.

Walk with care (vv. 15-16).

The apostle commands us to look carefully how we walk. The KJV says, “circumspectly.” The word means to walk by a strict standard. Kenneth Wuest, in his Greek Studies in the New Testament, illustrates the word this way: “It is like a motorist accurately following on the right side of the center line dividing traffic.” Walking carefully means heeding 1 Thessalonians 5:22, to abstain from every form of evil. Our walk is the conduct of our lives, which should not be unwise like Nabal in the Old Testament, who was known for being a foolish man, or the five foolish virgins who did not prepare for the future, especially eternity.

Instead, we are to walk with wisdom, which refers to applying the knowledge we have acquired. A wise man is one who lives by a strict standard, a standard that is established by his study and understanding of God’s Word. This is what it means to walk carefully. An anonymous author described the circumspect life in his or her poem entitled Be Careful.

Be careful of your thoughts
For your thoughts become your words.
Be careful of your words
For your words become your actions.
Be careful of your actions
For your actions become your habits.
Be careful of your habits
For your habits become your character.
Be careful of your character
For your character becomes your destiny.

Walking with care means making the best use of the time. This phrase means to buy up at the market place; i.e. seize the opportunity. Why? Because the days are evil. We live in a day when evil is more than passive, it is active evil; evil in active opposition to good; moral corruption. The world is evil and needs the Lord. We must seize the day, using our time wisely for the advancement of the gospel (Col. 4:5). Our days are limited. We must use them for the sake of Christ.

Walk with understanding (v. 17).

The apostle continues his call to walk in wisdom by saying we should not be foolish; i.e. without understanding, senseless. The word refers to imprudence, folly in action, stupidity. In other words, the apostle is telling us it is senseless to live our lives without conscious thought of the will of God. Instead we are to understand the will of the Lord. This spiritual understanding is something we gain from the Word of God, but also through prayer (see Colossians 1:9-10).

Spiritual understanding begins with a posture of reverence toward God and His Word. Psalm 111:10 says, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, a good understanding have all those who do His commandments.  Understanding the will of God comes when we offer our life to him as a living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1-2).

Life is short. It is too short to waste in the pursuit of our own will. Therefore, how will we use the hours and years the Lord gives to us? Will we use them carefully and wisely?  Or will we spend them foolishly? This poem and prayer by A. B. Simpson has always convicted my own heart. Consider its message.

God has his best things for the few
That dare to stand the test.
He has his second choice for those
Who will not have his best.

It is not always open ill
That risks the promised rest.
The better often is the foe
That keeps us from the best.

Give me, O Lord, thy highest choice;
Let others take the rest.
Their good things have no charm for me
For I have got the best.

[Adapted from last Sunday’s sermon.]

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March 20, 2017
by Paul Tautges
Comments Off on 10 Ways to Strengthen the Partnership between Home and Church

10 Ways to Strengthen the Partnership between Home and Church

A strong partnership between the home and the church is essential in helping develop young disciples.  Children’s Ministry in general, and especially Sunday School, is one format of discipleship that offers a unique opportunity to bring the joy of the gospel to the younger generation.  A strong partnership of parents (and grandparents) and Sunday School staff is essential to the spiritual growth of our children.

If you’re a parent, here are a few practical ways for you to take advantage of the partnership with the church in helping your child grow spiritually:

  • Before coming to Sunday School, pray together for their time in Sunday School. Taking time to pray builds a bond between your child, their teachers, and other children in their classroom. It helps prepare their heart to receive biblical instruction. And these prayers will also help strengthen their faith in God as they see God answer their prayers.
  • Pray for the Children’s Ministry, and specifically your child’s Sunday School teachers.  Perhaps you could even ask the teacher if there are specific ways you can pray for him/her and for the class.  Make this a part of your family prayer time or your own personal prayer time.  Pray for the teachers as they prepare during the week and for their teaching on Sunday morning. Pray that the children’s hearts will be soft, will respond at a young age to the gospel, and will grow and wisdom and Christ-likeness.
  • Get to know your child’s teachers and help them get to know your child.  Share with them about your child (e.g. their spiritual condition, their struggles, what helps them focus, any disabilities, medication, allergies).  It can also be helpful to share any pertinent family information such as a death in the family, chronic illnesses, or other difficult trials. These bits of information will help the teachers not only minister most effectively to your child, but will also help them know how to pray for your child.
  • Bring your child to class on time. Sunday School starts at the same time as the worship service.  Arriving late means everyone loses out on an important part of the morning and to some extent disrupts others.  Before dropping off your child be sure to take them to the restroom.
  • During the week review the GIFT Workbook (Growing in Faith Together workbook that your child brought home in September).  These pages (which correspond with the lesson taught the previous Sunday) will help you partner with the church in teaching your child sound doctrine and Scripture.  Going over these pages together will help your child put into practice the truths they learned in Sunday School.
  • During the week learn and review the church-wide Scripture Memory Verse with your child.  Memorizing can be done through repetition, games, competition, or activities.  Make sure to include ample discussion and application regarding the verse.
  • Offer to help. Ask the Children’s Ministry Director if there are ways you can help the Children’s Ministry. This might include teaching or helping in a classroom, providing snacks, decorating the rooms, preparing materials, or planning events.  Children love to see parents involved in their activities.
  • Let your child’s Sunday School teacher know you’re grateful for their ministry and sacrifice.  Teachers spend hours of their own time preparing the curriculum and sacrifice their own time in the worship service to teach each month.  Encourage your child to also express their gratitude to their teachers.
  • Reinforce with your child what kind of behavior will honor God and their teachers.  Teaching a room full of children can be a challenge on many levels.  Dealing with disrespectful or uncooperative children disrupts the entire class. Talk to your child about their behavior and participation in the Sunday School classroom.  For young children it will be helpful to remind them of this each week before they go to class.  If the teacher shares a concern about your child’s behavior, take time to understand the situation, talk with your child in a loving, but firm way, and let the teacher know you want to help make their job easier.  It might be helpful to talk to your child along with the teacher so that the child cannot make excuses and knows that both sets of adults are on the same page.
  • Make Sunday worship and Sunday School a priority.  Many things today compete for our time and attention.  Missing church not only means missing important teaching, worship and fellowship, it also conveys to children what is or isn’t most important in life.  Keep the Lord’s Day the Lord’s Day!

God has given us a wonderful plan for partnership between parents and the church by which we can implant the Word of God into children’s heart. What a unique blessing for children to grow up with their parents and their church working together to show them Jesus!

[Today’s guest post is written by Bobette Hatteberg, Children’s Ministry Director at Cornerstone Community Church in Mayfield Heights, Ohio.]

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March 18, 2017
by Paul Tautges
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NUGGETS (March 18)

CANCER: “My Diagnosis Led Me to Worship God” – “Now years later and cancer free, I celebrate that the Lord is a continued song in my heart.”

HELP! Someone I Love Has Cancer – A wise, compassionate mini-book from a Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse.

Why Christians Don’t Love the World – “As Christians, all of us have felt the sting of losing brethren to the world.”

KINDLE DEALS The Whole Christ (most important book I read last year) is $3.99 today, as is Missional Motherhood, and Praying the Bible.

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March 17, 2017
by Paul Tautges
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The Best Definition of Gossip

“Gossip” is a hard word to define, almost like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall. Some say gossip is passing along information that is not true, while others say it is simply the passing along of any information about another person, regardless of accuracy. But I think Matt Mitchell, pastor of Lance Evangelical Free Church in Lanse, PA, hits the nail on the head in the best definition of gossip that I’ve found. Matt defines gossip this way: Sinful gossip is bearing bad news behind someone’s back out of a bad heart.

Matt Mitchell is not only a skilled interpreter and teacher of God’s Word, he’s also a loving shepherd who has known the pain of gossip, personally. In the Introduction, he encourages his readers by sharing, “As a pastor, there have been times when I’ve been the subject of gossip in our little community….One time, when the gossip was at its worst, I thought seriously about quitting the pastorate altogether. But I’m glad I didn’t. God has been faithful to me, and He will be faithful to you, as well.”

Think with me for a few moments about the three key elements of Matt’s definition of gossip, and how what we may call “New Life Communication” (developed in Ephesians 4:25-32) stands in stark contrast.

Bearing bad news…

Gossips don’t share good, edifying news about others. Instead they run around saying wicked, denigrating things. This explains why negative people with critical spirits are often gossips, too. Mitchell says this bad news always includes at least one of the following: bad information (information we don’t take time to verify), bad news about someone (true information, but not something that should be shared), or bad news for someone (projecting bad news on someone). Gossips mean to harm, not help.

Behind someone’s back…

Gossips will not tell you what they are thinking to your face, even if you ask them if something is wrong. Instead they find delight in whispering about you to others. This keeps them exalted above you in their own mind. A good gauge as to whether or not you are gossiping is to ask if you would say the same thing if the person you are talking about was in the same room.

Out of a bad heart.

“Gossip is caused by something that is wrong at the core of our beings” (see, for example, Matthew 12:34). Gossip, as defined above, is sin. There are no two ways about it. Therefore, the presence of gossip in our own lives should drive us to repentance and renewed commitment to walk in love— both of which are fruit of the Holy Spirit’s work in our hearts.

It would be nice if we could speak of gossip as only being a danger “out there” in the world. But that’s not the case. Much gossip takes place in churches among professing Christians. Surely we have all been guilty of speaking gossip and, sadly, we have all been the subject of other people’s wagging tongues. Therefore, it should not surprise us to find extensive teaching about godly communication—the kind of speech that should characterize new-life believers—contained in letters written to churches!

NEW-LIFE COMMUNICATION

In contrast to bearing bad news behind someone’s back out of a bad heart; the communication of those who are new creatures in Christ should reflect we are progressively putting off old, sinful ways and putting on the practice of new life in Christ. According to Ephesians 4:25-32, this New-Life Communication is:

  • True (v. 25)
  • Self-controlled and solution-oriented (vv. 26-27)
  • Healthy and health-giving (v. 29)
  • Edifying to others (v. 29)
  • Time-sensitive (v. 29)
  • Grace-dispensing (v. 29)
  • Fueled by anger or bitterness (v. 31)
  • Not loud and obnoxious (“clamorous”) (v. 31)
  • Not abusive (v. 31)
  • Kind (v. 32)
  • Wise and compassionate (v. 32)
  • Forgiving (v. 32)

How do we learn to communicate this way? We must repent of harmful speech and put on love which edifies, builds up, and does not tear down others. In short, we must put off Self, and put on Christ. We must put off pride and put on humility.

Last month, as part of our commitment to personal growth in sanctification and shepherding, our team of elders began reading through Resisting Gossip: Winning the War of the Wagging Tongue. How about reading it along with us? In the coming months, I’ll post thoughts from time to time.

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March 17, 2017
by Paul Tautges
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NUGGETS (March 17)

Can Christians Marry Non-Christians? – “It’s far better to live without a spouse and within the company of the church, than with someone who is living for a life that’s not eternal.”

He Is My Own Son – A beautiful adoption testimony.

A Definition for Biblical Counseling – I love John Henderson’s balanced definition of the personal ministry of the Word, which we call biblical counseling/discipleship.

Upcoming Conference: Called to Counsel in Dallas, TX

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March 15, 2017
by Paul Tautges
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Your Secret Weapon Against Pornography

In the battle against porn addiction, Tim Challies persuasively argues that there is one secret weapon many men never take advantage of; that is, a mentoring relationship that will provide accountability and encouragement to continue fighting the fight. As I promised a couple days ago, I want to revisit the counsel given in Tim’s book, Sexual Detox: A Guide for Guys who are Sick of Porn. As he wraps up this little book with a chapter entitled Detox for Your Soul, he focuses on the soul-work necessary for a life of holiness. He writes:

“Before concluding, I want to add one more factor to the mix. This has got to be the most unused secret weapon in the church today, and all the more ironic because this “weapon” is an extremely tangible gift from God, a gift presented specifically to help us all grow in holiness.

If you truly want to overcome pornography, talk to your pastor.

Consider all the resources the church has produced to battle lust and pornography. Consider the hidden-in-plain-sight fact that everyone knows sexual temptation is a huge issue, for nearly every male, for at least part of his life. Why then do we overlook a principal gift from God designed to help us grow in sanctification? Why do we neglect the wisdom and insight of men who are called and gifted to shepherd God’s flock?”

Be Willing to Ask for Help

Remember that the power of secret sin lies in its secrecy. For sin to be defeated, you must bring it into the light. Challies, writes, “Be willing to go ask for help. Set aside your pride and shame, and humble yourself. Don’t let the fact that pornography and masturbation are hidden sins delude you into thinking they are uncommon sins. The male struggle against sexual temptation is essentially universal. Do you think maybe your pastor will respond by saying, “I’m just shocked. You’re the last person I thought would ever have this struggle.” Trust me, that won’t happen. Instead, I can almost guarantee he will empathize with you and be both willing and eager to help you fight and win.”

Don’t Seek Help from a Peer

Some men make the mistake of seeking help from a friend, someone who is more of a peer than a man with spiritual maturity and authority to help. Worse yet is when the one who needs help seeks “help” from a fellow brother who is struggling with the same sin. While you will find empathy and understanding there, you will not find the help you really need. Challies writes, “In all likelihood, you’re going to need help. So cross that bridge, and make a commitment to seek help from your pastor. The local church is the ideal context for battling this kind of sin. There you will find the authority and the support to help you fight and, ultimately, to help you win. I know some people don’t have easy access to their pastors. In that case, find a trusted, mature, Christian man (make sure he meets all those qualifications!) to whom you can talk. You are not likely to have much success if you meet with a peer, someone your own age or younger. Go to a Christian man whom you love and respect and tell him what you are dealing with. It will be humbling and humiliating in all the right ways.”

The Danger of Accountability Relationships

Over the years, I’ve seen accountability work for some men while being totally ineffective for others. The key is understanding its purpose and limits. No outside pressure can or should even attempt to replace the inner soul-work that is required to successfully pursue righteousness. Challies writes, “Let me offer a warning about accountability relationships. Although I am convinced that in many cases they can be very helpful, they also present a subtle danger. It is possible that we can come to fear an accountability partner more than we fear the Lord. Fear of God can take a back seat to fear of man as our desire to honor God is overshadowed by our desire to have only good things to report at our next accountability meeting. I’m not even talking about the temptation to lie at the meeting. I’m talking about what goes in your heart as you fight against sexual temptation. One day you’re fighting for God’s glory, and the next you’re fighting to avoid shame before man.”

The Value of Mutual Support

Finally, you need to remember that sanctification is a group activity. That’s one of the reasons for the local church. God knows you cannot fight this battle alone and win. You need others who also care about holiness and the fear of God. Challies writes, “We should want to grow in sanctification, not to impress others or reduce personal discomfort, but to honor God increasingly in all things. Writing of the value of mutual support within a local church community, Paul Tripp says, “The purpose of the relationship is not to catch the other person doing wrong, but to motivate and encourage him or her to do what is right. We minister to one another knowing that while the law is able to reveal sin, only grace can deliver us from it!” Find a person who is motivated, not to catch you in your sin, but to encourage you, pray for you, and rebuke you if necessary. In other words, find yourself a true mentor.”

A personal accountability relationship is not a silver bullet for winning the fight against porn. You need to be part of a member of a solid, biblical church which holds the Scriptures high and lovingly helps its members pursue holiness in the fear of the Lord. If you don’t have a church, and need help finding one, feel free to contact me via the “Contact” tab above and I will recommend a few trustworthy websites with church search options.

Get Sexual Detox in print copy or Kindle format.

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