Let's now learn about slavery, our slave masters, and how we can be freed from this form of slavery.
In John 8:34, Jesus said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin." Repeated sins quickly enslave us, much more than most people realize. Sins quickly begin to affect us and those we love, put distance between God and us, and increasingly control us.
In Romans 6, Paul explains about being slaves to sin. He said that as Christ died for us, we must put to death our old sinful way of life and "should walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:4). To grow spiritually, "we should no longer be slaves to sin" (Romans 6:6). In Romans 6:12, he concludes: "Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts."
Paul goes on to tell us we have a choice. We can choose to be a slave to sin with the eventual consequence of death or a voluntary slave to God which leads to righteousness and eternal life. In Romans 6:16, he wrote: "Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?"
Our evil slave masters
Without God, we are slaves to the downward pulls of our own human nature. Jeremiah described it this way: "Who can understand the human heart? There is nothing else so deceitful; it is too sick to be healed" (Jeremiah 17:9, Good News Bible). "What human nature does is quite plain. It shows itself in immoral, filthy, and indecent actions" (Galatians 5:19, GNB). We must resist the "pulls of the flesh."
The pervasive and insidious influence of the corrupt world around us is another slave master. The apostle John wrote, "For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world" (1 John 2:16). Without God, we're "in bondage under the elements of the world" (Galatians 4:3). In Romans 12:2, Paul wrote, "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."
The third and most powerful of the evil slave masters is Satan, "our adversary the devil" and "the tempter" of mankind (1 Peter 5:8; 1 Thessalonians 3:5). He is called "the prince of the power of the air; the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience" (Ephesians 2:2). That indicates that his evil influences are broadcast to everyone who "tunes in" to him. Remember James 4:7, which says: "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you."
Satan is "a liar and the father of it" (John 8:44). He's such an effective liar that he "deceives the whole world" (Revelation 12:9).We must identify Satan's lies and with God's help be willing to root them out of our hearts and minds. We must replace them with the truth of God's Word and move away from irrational thinking to rational thinking. One phrase used by Alcoholics Anonymous that describes it well is "stinking thinking."
Here are some common lies that Satan influences addicts to use: "I work hard all day" and "my wife doesn't fulfill my needs" and "I deserve this" (pornography, phone sex, affairs, strip clubs, etc.). "I have a very high sex drive, that's the way God made me." "I'm just looking at pictures (or chatting on the Internet)." I'm not actually doing anything harmful." "How can sex be a problem? I choose to look at pornography, masturbate, Internet chat, and I can stop anytime I want."
Whatever lies one may have bought into, they must be identified and they must be discarded.
So we have to contend with three powerful slave masters in addition to our own genetic predispositions for addictive behavior! We have only one hope for survival and liberation—"our great God and Savior Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13). But if we rely on God to fight our battles for us, we can be "more than conquerors through Him who loved us" (Romans 8:37).
The perspective I share with you is the one I believe is the most effective and beneficial to a person coming out of any form of sexual addiction or behavior pattern.
To be emancipated from slavery to sin, we must admit to ourselves and God that we need His help to overcome the powerful grip of sin and to break free from Satan. This coincides with the 12 step philosophy of recovery programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA), and Sexaholics Anonymous.
In my 30 years of counseling experience, I have found that the most powerful change agent in the recovery process from addictions is the role of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. It is obvious that the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous and the subsequent 12 step programs found the spiritual component essential to the process. Have others succeeded without this spiritual component? Absolutely, but the programs and processes that have endured the longest and helped the most have had this spiritual component.
Step 1: The first of the 12 steps is one of acknowledgement. We admit we are powerless over our compulsive behavior and that our lives have become unmanageable.
Step 2: As Christians, we believe that power comes from the Creator God, the God of the Bible. True Christians know that through repentance (sorrow and a change of direction) of our sins, including pornography or other forms of sexual sin, we can receive God's forgiveness, grace and blessings. In John 10:10, Jesus said: "The thief [Satan] does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."