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You Must Work for Your Freedom

 

 

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Carl Thomas

Pastor | Live Free Founder | Lover of Jesus, Philly sports, fitness, tattoos, sarcasm, and craft beers.

Freedom. It sounds great but how many people actually find it?

Take for instance addiction, especially porn addiction. How many people find lasting freedom rather than immersing themselves in a life-long battle of binging and purging?

Is freedom that elusive?
Is it a complete fantasy?

Or is it something else?

Last week I asked the question, “Do you really want freedom?”

In other words, have you gotten so comfortable with the “comfort” that your addiction brings you that the idea of freedom actually scares you? Today, I have another question for you.

Are you willing to work for it?

Recently I received an email from a guy struggling with sex addiction. It was pretty simple and to the point. It read, “I’m so psychologically damaged from porn it’s too late, I can’t shake the guilt.”

That was it.

An email like this sounds pretty hopeless so all I could do was encourage him.

This is what I wrote back:

“It’s never too late. You may be damaged but you can recover. You just need to find some good help. If you think that your situation is that severe then maybe you should consider finding good counseling. Trust me, the shame is a lie. You may feel shame but that’s not God’s desire for you.”

Simple. Encouraging. Right?

REAL PEOPLE. REAL COMMUNITY. REAL FREEDOM.

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Apparently not. This was his reply:

“Carl, you seem to poop-poop my feelings. I’ve been messed up for a long time, seems like you kinda like to bully people around. Maybe you guys can help me out and help me find a counselor. Maybe somebody can help me via email or something.”

Bully? Me?

I honestly was really taken aback by his response. How could what I wrote be considered “bullying?” On top of that, apparently, the only way I could really help him was if I did everything for him. 

I had to find him a counselor.

I had to find someone who would email him daily. 

He didn’t want the responsibility.

Here’s the thing. The problem was that this guy didn’t want an answer.

He didn’t want the truth.

He wanted an “out.” He wanted someone to say, “Yes, you are too far gone, so you are ‘off the hook.’ Keep doing what you are doing because there’s nothing else you can do.”

Listen, freedom isn’t free (to quote a line from any bad patriotic country song). It costs something.

Want a free country?  
You need to fight.
You need to shed some blood.
You need to put in some work.

Want to be financially free?
You need to budget.
You need to invest.
You need to put in some work.

Want to be free from obesity?
You need to eat right.
You need to exercise.  
You need to put in some work.

Want to be free from porn addiction?
It’s no different.
It takes some commitment.
It takes some discipline.

Ultimately, it takes some work (and by “some” I mean a lot).

Now, I know it’s tempting to get all super-spiritual and pious here and say, “but it’s God that changes someone? You’re taking God out of the equation here.”

Not true.
Yes, God changes us.
He changed me. 

Recovery that’s rooted in our own efforts is bound to fail. 

But Jesus isn’t into food stamps.

He’s not a lottery.
He’s not a magic wand.

Guys who don’t want to put in the effort want the magic wand. They don’t want the responsibility.

God will change you.
But you need to show him that you really want to change. 

Jesus will give you freedom. 
But you need to show him that you are willing to put in some work and make some sacrifices.

Freedom can be yours, but you need to want it badly enough to do something about it and not just look for a way out.

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