Sins of the Mind – Intro

Now that we’ve examined the tactics of the enemy, we need to understand what they do to us–in our minds, hearts, and actions.  We must expose the deeper sins that spawn inside us and in our conduct because of the enemy and the choices we make.  Isn’t that obvious, you ask?  Isn’t this all about “lust” and adultery?

Well, no actually.  Those are just the fruits that are visible on the surface.  The real battle, as we’ve already seen in a small measure, is waged in the mind and in the heart.  The real victory, therefore, will not be visible to other people before it is visible to God and to yourself.  You must defeat yourself in order to win the fight against the things holding you back from the life God wants you to have.

What about the enemy and the eight tactics we just exposed?  Yes, it’s vital to understand these tactics, and to fight him in those areas.  But when a person has fallen victim to sexual sins (or any addictions) and been immersed in them for too long, many other debilitating beliefs, attitudes, and actions (or inactions) take root and turn what started as a little patch of mud into an endless swamp full of nettles, insects, tree roots, slime, and filth.

These beliefs and attitudes are often dismissed as misunderstandings, or ignorance, or confusion, or even labeled as “mental illness,” and it is falsely believed by some that education, medication, or visiting an accountability group will clear them up.  It is also falsely believed that if you can just get rid of all the external, visible expressions of our addictions, then the internal stuff will follow.

Big mistake.  This is probably another tactic of the enemy, actually.  We could call it false confidence, or the delusion of freedom.  It’s like being in prison on an island.  After great struggle and tireless exertion, the prisoner breaks out of his shackles and escapes the building housing him.  But outside the walls, he remains as much a prisoner as before.  Sure, he can walk around the island, out in the sun.  But that land far across the water–is that a mirage?  It’s so far away.  He’s still trapped, and this trap is actually harder to overcome than the first one.

Let’s look at a few quotes from Pornified, Pamela Paul’s book introduced earlier.  These are from men who have become addicted to porn, or from the author, as she sums up certain observations from her investigations.  And be aware, most of these quotes can easily apply to any other addiction as well.  I inserted the blanks in place of porn for this reason.  (And any underlines are mine, not the author’s).

“We have this empty hole inside and ____ fills it.  In the long run, it never works and you keep coming back, but in the short run, it’s a powerful, quick cure.”

“Once you use ______ as a way to cope with stress or anxiety, you’re exhibiting high-risk behavior.”

“It would be three in the morning and I had no idea time had passed.”

“Often, men describe the high as a numbness, which is followed by shame, self-loathing, and frustration, particularly for addicts who have tried but failed to stop.”

“My rationalization was that if I didn’t pay for it, I didn’t have a problem.”

“Others felt as long as they didn’t hurt anyone, there couldn’t be anything wrong.”

“What excites eventually pleases, what pleases eventually satisfies.  And satisfaction sooner or later leads to boredom.”

“I’m very big into escapism and leaving reality behind.”
-teacher convicted of showing child porn to his teenage students

This is just a small sample, but if you’ve struggled with this or any other addiction even slightly, some of these quotes resonate with you.  We can see in these statements the deeper, more entangling kinds of beliefs–sinful ones–that make escaping any addiction so difficult.

I have identified five primary sins of the mind, each of which perpetuate the “cycle” of addiction: craving, indulgence, despair, change, hope, the delusion of freedom, and back to craving.

Five Sins of the Mind:
-Hopeless discouragement
-Dehumanization of the woman

Now, undergirding all of these is fear and the lack of faith that coincides with it.  I didn’t include that here because we already looked at it in detail, and will return to it again later.  But when you try to really stand up to any of these five sins in your own strength, you will find yourself afraid of a life without them, and this too is a battle you must fight.

I encourage you to read about all five and think deeply about how they might be affecting your life.  These sins are at the root of this evil, and God will forgive you and change you if you turn to Him in repentance, and expose them honestly.