The Struggle is Real - Matthew 18 (Part 2)
Today’s blog is Part 2 in a 3 part series on Matthew 18. If you haven’t read “Part 1 – Healing My Past”, than please read that blog before reading this one… I promise it will help this one to make a lot more sense. In today’s blog I want to share about how ‘The Struggle is Real’ even after the healing of my past was received. AND, the section of scripture we will be focusing on can be found in Matthew 18:12-14, which talks about how Jesus is the good shepherd that will leave the 99 for the 1 (Me & YOU).
As I said toward the end of my last blog, “While at Celebrate Recovery, I shared the fullness of my testimony with the brothers that were in my recovery group. As I was sharing, my voice was trembling, and my tears were soaking the ground beneath me. The tears that poured out were healing tears and Jesus began to embrace me and heal the wounds of my past. This was that moment where I gave the other hand that was behind my back to Jesus and He then became the Lord of my life.” This was one of the most amazing moments of my life to date. Truth be told, it felt great to have the good Lord take away the unnecessary burden that I had been carrying for so many years. It felt so good to have shared the fullness of my rough past with other brothers and realize that I was still loved and accepted by them… in fact, most of them loved and accepted me even more because I was so real and authentic with them. This is such a beautiful moment that I feel everyone should take a step of faith to experience.
Now for the big question…. Do you think that I lived happily ever after and never had a struggle with sin again after that? I would love to say that I never sinned sexually (porn, masturbation, or sex) again from that day forward, but reality is, the enemy came at me full force as he hated to see me experiencing my healing and true freedom. I would make it several months or even at times a full year without a sexual slip up, but then I’d get myself in a situation that I shouldn’t be in, and I’d somehow slip up. This would start that terrible cycle of guilt, shame, anxiety, and depression all over again and eventually I’d have to run back to the Lord for forgiveness and strength. And you know what was so beautiful? He was always there waiting for me. I was the prodigal son running back to his Father (Jesus) and being accepted in His loving embrace. He is the God that will NEVER leave me, nor forsake me.
One thing I love about Jesus is said in this scripture, “If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish” (Matthew 18:12-14 NIV). I have been that lost sheep in life more times than I can count, but I am so thankful that I have a shepherd (Jesus) that is there to find me, cheer me on, and bring me back to safety. Now, I am so deeply plugged into Celebrate Recovery where I have amazing accountability partners around me and where I am encouraged to seek out Jesus for strength and victory over temptation and sin. I have not slipped up in sex, porn, or masturbation for a very long time, and I praise God for continually giving me wisdom and strength to stay strong in my sexual sobriety.
In conclusion, I do want to make sure that you folks understand that with all of my slip ups, I am not saying that it is okay to LIVE in habitual sin. I feel that some think, I’ll just go on ahead and sin and ask for forgiveness later. It says in Romans 6:1-2, “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” Our goal should be to get complete victory over sin through the strength that comes from our Heavenly Father. That’s why I decided to seek out a ‘Christ Centered’ Recovery Group (Celebrate Recovery), and why I have so many accountability partners and my mentor. I am doing all that I can to have complete victory over sin. But, if you happen to have a slip up, please, don’t beat yourself down and live in guilt, shame, anxiety, and depression because of it. Rather, run to your loving Fathers (Jesus) arms, ask for forgiveness, and get your victory over that struggle/sin next time. I love you all so much, and I know you can do this! Receive your victory over sin through the strength that Jesus gives you. Stay tuned for Part 3 of my 3 part series blog on Matthew 18, as I will be posting it next Wednesday (5/29/19).
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