Posted by: Arden Compton | February 16, 2014

Check Your Compass and Press Forward with Faith

I was recently visiting with a gentleman who I had been coaching, and he was doing very well. He was at a point where he was no longer wrestling with pornography/sexual addiction. He felt strong, very hopeful, and optimistic. There were no cravings in his life, he had no desire to taint his life with pornography. I love it when people get to the point where they are no longer struggling with addiction. However he had a concern that over time he could slip back into it. This is always a dangerous possibility for any person. We live in a world where we are surrounded by desensitizing media that lures us into forbidden paths. Media sources try to convince us that we need to watch or see something that we shouldn’t. Media tells us things are important that are not important. The media leads us to believe that not only is it OK to view porn, but that we should view it, that we will be missing out if we don’t see it.
So how do we stay clean when media sources are constantly bombarding us with this message? Here is a parable that I hope will help. Imagine that you are traveling a great distance by foot through a thickly wooded area. It is a cloudy area so you rarely see the sun. But you do have a compass, and you know that if you travel north consistently you will reach your destination. So as you begin to walk, you will of course check your compass, and recheck your compass often as you move forward. It would be foolish to walk all day and then look at your compass to see what direction you had been traveling. Not only will it not be able to tell you for sure what direction you had been traveling, you won’t know what direction you need to go to get back on track. You are very likely to get lost and wander into dangerous paths. This is what many people do in life. They aimlessly go through life without really knowing where they are or where they are going. They aimlessly surf the internet and other media. They go with whatever comes up. But we do have a compass. Some people call it a conscience. I like to think of it as God’s light within us. Some refer to it as the light of Christ, that guides us to truth. When we are connected to light and truth, we are moving in the right direction. How do we know if we are connected to this light?
Think for a moment about the qualities of light, think about how a person feels when they are feeling light. When we are connected to light we tend to feel certain emotions. Think about it. What emotion do you feel when you feel light? Most people tend to feel emotions like hope, peace, happiness, joy, love, gratitude, kindly, patient, confident, motivated, purposeful, optimistic, etc. We are more likely to enjoy the company of others, and see in them their divine infinite worth. A person is more likely to perform selfless acts of service when connected to this light.
Now let’s think for a moment about how darkness feels. What does a person feel when they are feeling emotions of darkness? How about fear, stress, depression, anger, hopeless, despair, worry, doubt, self-pity, unloved, lonely, hurt, discouraged, overwhelmed, powerless, etc.
Can you see the difference between connecting to light rather than darkness. Light and truth go together. You know when you feel emotions of light in your life you are connected to the truth and moving in the right direction. If you feel emotions of darkness, then you know you are not seeing the truth of the matter. You are believing Satan’s lies instead of God’s truth. You are moving in the wrong direction. You need to do something to connect to light and truth and feel the uplifting emotions that comes with it. This is how you check your compass daily, multiple times a day; how are you feeling? If you feel the emotions of darkness then change whatever you need to change and get back on course. With God’s help you can do it. To get our of darkness into the light can be challenging. Some of our fears are very gripping and it is hard to let them go.To get out of darkness there are a number of things a person can try. Try humming or singing an inspirational song. Think of something that brings you joy. Think of someone you love. Perform an anonymous act of service. Watch a funny movie. Read scriptures, pray. There is always a way to feel peace and hope in the most difficult circumstances. Sometimes we will need to change your forecast of the future, and believe that even though the challenges you face may seem overwhelming, with God’s help it is going to be OK.
So, as you move forward in life, check your compass often. Check in and see whether you are connected to light or darkness, multiple times a day. Develop a habit of noticing the first signs of slipping into darkness. It may be something small like feeling annoyed driving in traffic. If you can notice the first smaller signs of darkness, pull out of it and get back into the light, then when opportunities for porn type material crosses your path, you will be in the right frame of mind to see it in light and truth. When we see porn in light and truth it isn’t enticing, it is offensive, it is tragic. Why would ever engage in that? It is when a person is feeling the emotions of darkness (stress, anxiety, lonely, purposeless, unloved) that pornography seems attractive; somehow this thing which is so filthy seems like a good idea. When we are in darkness we get reversed; dark seems light and light seems dark. We loose our ability to discern until it is too late.
So check that compass often, be honest with yourself as you check in and see how you are feeling. Be honest with yourself about what you need to do to get back into the light. You may have to apologize to someone. You may have to take responsibility for something you have been blaming someone else for. Do whatever it takes. Because when you learn to live in light and truth most of the time, life is so much enjoyable, and your pornography problem will be a thing of the past.
Sometimes I like to think of pornography like the Niagara river, above Niagara falls. If you go canoeing in the river 100 feet upstream from the falls, you are in trouble. The river is much too powerful, and you will go over the falls. But if you are standing on solid ground five feet from the river, even though it is powerful, it can’t pull you over the falls. You can walk away from the river. It is much too powerful to play with. When you live in light and truth, you are far away from the pull of that river, and you can be at peace. That is my greatest desire you! And as you continue to check to compass of light and truth, you don’t ever have to stumble into that river again!

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