I stood in the parking lot of our local community college over 35 years ago, listening to a preacher gently urging me to receive Jesus Christ as my Savior. Life was good at the time: I was doing well in school, I had stopped using alcohol and drugs, and I was engaged to a beautiful, loving woman. But there was unrest in my soul that I knew was deeper than circumstances and human relationships. And what this radiant believer was telling me was being met with agreement deep in my soul: yes, I was a sinner; yes, I deserved judgment and punishment for my sins; and no, I did not want to die and go to hell. And most important, Jesus Christ had died to pay for my sins, not just the sins of the whole world. So there on April 6, 1984, I repented and received Him as my Savior and was born again.
What really happened on my part? I surrendered. I gave up. I couldn’t save myself so I surrendered to the Lord Jesus Christ. I can’t, He can. I couldn’t, but He did. If you are born again, the circumstances of your conversion were unique, but the basic attitude of surrender was similar to mine. There was a decision to receive Jesus Christ and to turn your will and life over to Him. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12).
But over time, you found yourself in bondage to pornography and sexual sin. How does Step 3 help in the process of getting free?
As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him (Colossians 2:6).
While receiving Jesus Christ for salvation is a one-time event, it is to be a pattern of how we walk with Him as believers. Surrender to Him daily. Turn your will and life over to the care of God today. Many of us received Jesus Christ by faith and then in our actions essentially said, “Thank you God for saving me. Now I will handle the rest of life on my own.”
Clearly, this is not God’s will for us. He wants a daily surrender and dependence on Him that parallels what happened at salvation. As you received...so walk in Him. I can’t, He can. Jesus makes this clear when He said, “For without me ye can do nothing.” The great apostle Paul renounced his dependence on his own religion, skills, and talents when he said, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God” (2 Corinthians 3:5).
Step 3, then, should not be looked at as a one-time decision to move on from. It should be a “one day at a time” step; and when necessary, more often than that. Even our sinless Savior had a moment-by-moment dependence on His Father:
I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me (John 5:30).
Step 3 says that we are turning our lives over to the care of God. Does God care for me? Does He care about my addiction and the problems that it is causing me and my loved ones? Some of us believe that God doesn’t care because He hasn’t “taken it away” and “healed” us. But let’s make it clear that God does care:
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you (1 Peter 5:7).
The shame and self-loathing of sexual sin has a perverse way of keeping us away from the very source of freedom: the God of all grace and power. We think that we have to “clean up our act” and attain a certain level of mastery before God will help us. Nonsense. If you had that attitude about salvation, then you may not be truly saved.
1 Peter 5:7 is actually the end of a complete sentence; here is the first part:
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time (1 Peter 5:6).
Did you humble yourself when you received Christ as your Savior? Did He give you an exalted place as a child of God? Now let’s follow that same attitude of surrender and dependence on God for freedom over lust and sexual sin. Not one time, but moment by moment. God, I can’t, but You can. Surrender to Him, follow His leading, and He will exalt you to freedom in due time.
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