A young woman wrote in asking me why there couldn’t be a twelve-step program for breaking free from pornography. How many of us would jump at the offer of “Six Easy Steps to Break Free From Pornography”? It would be great! A best-seller, and a world-changer…
But that’s not how it works.
Our Golden Cow
We like easy. We wish that freedom were easy. We want freedom to be reliant on our own strength. Really, we want to maintain some semblance of control. We want to know what we have to do to break free.
If you’ve ever read through the story of Israel as captured in the Old Testament, you will see multiple instances of idolatry. Many of these times occur immediately after encountering God.
When God descends onto Mount Sinai, the Israelites are in awe and fearful of his presence. Days later, we find the Israelites dancing around a golden calf. The scene repeats itself in 1 Kings. Jereboam, in order to prevent the people from going to Jerusalem to worship, constructed two golden calves. He declared that these were Israel’s gods, the ones who had rescued them from Egypt.
Why? Because it is so much more palatable to reduce the almighty power of Jehovah into a little gold idol.
It is so much easier to take all the truth of Gospel, all of the resurrection power and grace of Calvary, all of the truth of our depravity and the holiness of God, and boil it down into six easy steps.
It is our little golden cow- behold, young woman, the six steps that save you from lust.
But we have to be careful to not reduce the journey of freedom into a series of steps. Freedom is not a checklist.
The Journey of Freedom
Ever notice how God sanctifies in a process. Idol worship is easy- come to the idol, no matter what you’ve done, throw some food on it, set it on fire, dance around, have a party and leave unchanged. But the presence of God is a changing presence; it is a sanctifying presence. It is a process.
Four years ago, when I started writing out my story on a blog, you would not have been able to convince me that I would still be writing four years later. What story takes four years to tell? Well, the one that doesn’t end.
That’s the beauty of the story of grace; it’s also the problem we have with it. We want answers. We want freedom now. We want to know where this is going. We want to see the end. We want to know exactly what is necessary for freedom and exactly what steps we need to take when in order to get there.
Checklists are nice that way. We can see the first step and the last step and all the steps in between. God doesn’t work that way. He is more concerned with telling us how to walk our journey than to disclose where exactly He is taking us. ‘
Without the journey, though, there is no need for grace. If a checklist were all we needed to break free from sin, Calvary would simply be fire insurance. It would save us from hell and that’s it. Yes, facing Calvary means facing our absolute inability to stand on our own merit before a holy God, but it also means experiencing grace.
So, put away the golden cow and the desire for this to be easy, and kneel before the mighty, holy, loving, just, powerful, fearful, awe-inspiring Jehovah Mekoddishkem (the Lord who sanctifies you).