“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” Romans 6:1-2 (NASB)
We were born to worship. We have been created to worship God, but our sinful lusts have driven us to worship and idolize the things of the world. Anything that means more to you than God does, is idolatry.
If the things and people you hold onto are intended to meet your needs and make you feel better they may be idols of your heart. Many of our desires are not wrong but they can become idols because they often come to mean more to us than living life to glorify God.
A simply definition of idolatry is when you are willing to sin to get what you want.
Are you willing to sin to get relief from pain, to be happy, or to attain any of the other feelings mentioned above? If having your felt needs met has become so important to you that you are willing to violate God’s Word to have them, then you have crossed the line from desire to worship.
You will know that your desires have become idols when you think on them so often, and desire them so deeply that the focus on them leaves no room for worship of God. Your focus is concentrated so much on gratification of self that being gratified is all that matters to you.
The person who is described as having a sexual addiction is really an idolater. Their self-focused desire is fed by ads in magazines, on billboards, and on television that leads them to believe it is not okay to feel sad, unhappy, or “bad.”
When someone with an addiction of any kind comes to us we help them to see that what they are really dealing with is an issue of idolatry. This gives them hope right from the start because we are not telling them they have a medical disease that cannot be cured or something they need a pill or some sort of treatment for, they have a sin problem!
We are always quick to remind them that Jesus died for sin, even theirs. There is no unforgivable sin, and while some of their activities have been very unsavory their sins are not beyond the grace of Jesus Christ.
The person who struggles with idolatry of any kind must have a heart that is affected by the gospel for change to take place.
A gospel –centered approach to sexual immorality is all about change! The heart must be completely affected by the gospel and changed by the Word of God. The person must be willing and the heart must be willing to repent for there to be victory over sexual sin.
On the basis of who we are in Christ, we can stop any talk of continuing to live as a slave to sexual sin, and excusing sexual sin. Because of Christ and who we are in Him we are to live that position, and practice personal holiness of the heart that overflows into our actions.
If a person desires to continue to live in sexual sin, and they don’t desire to honor God then they don’t understand the gospel! They don’t understand that it is impossible for a person who understands their identification with Christ and IN Christ to live as a slave to their desires any longer (Rom. 6:3-14).
Since Christ was sinless and took our sin debt upon Himself and then placed His righteousness upon us, He has abolished all the claim sin ever had on us.
This also means that in this union with Christ we have a new life- His life and we are capable of manifesting HIS righteousness. We won’t have righteousness of our own, but we have HIS righteousness and His power and His ability to live as though we are dead to sin, and alive in Christ!
We have no excuse to live under the dominion of sin when we understand the gospel, for we are all ABLE to reveal the new life within us that we have in Christ.
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. (Romans 6:12-13).
Those who are in a situation either as a participant in sexual immorality, or as the spouse or parent of someone who is, you already know you cannot successfully threaten, beg, or plead with them to change.
The reason behavioral therapy for sex addicts fails is because there is no change of heart. You can tell a person how to change all day long, and for a while the person may be able to control their urges. But unless the heart of the person is completely affected and changed by the Word of God and repentance is applied to the heart for change, there will be no victory over sexual sin.
The thoughts of the sexual idolater must change from my wants, desires and lusts to, “How can I glorify God?”
They must retrain their brain to ask questions like, “How would God have me respond to these thoughts and desires I am having?” and “How would God be glorified in my heart and life in spite of how I feel right now?”
And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with self-control, right conduct, and devotion to God, while we look forward to that wonderful event when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. Titus 2:12-13 (NLT)
Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 1 Corinthians 10:14 (NKJV)
Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts. 1 John 5:21 (NLT)