Luke Gilkerson of Breaking Free posted earlier this week on the missing ingredient for many men when it comes to fighting for purity and freedom: Humility.
There are so many great tools and resources for men these days. There is a growing willingness among Christian men to admit their struggle with — or even addiction to — pornography and lust. There is, increasingly, a climate of healing and redemption that surrounds the addict, unlike in years past when confession of this sin usually meant you became a pariah.
In other words, there are weapons at our disposal to fight well.
However, as great as those things are, Gilkerson is right in saying that “Without a gut-level honesty and humility—one that says, ‘Yes, I have a problem; yes, I’m weak; yes, I can’t do this on my own’ — we aren’t likely to pick up any of these weapons anyway.”
A study from the Kellogg School of Management, led by Loran Nordgren, examined how one’s belief in his/her ability to control impulses (greed, drug craving, sexual arousal, etc.) influenced responses to temptation. The study found that people in a “cold state” (not experiencing hunger, anger, sexual arousal, etc.) wrongly estimate the amount of temptation they will be able handle in a “hot state.”
What is the answer to this? Nordgren says, “The key is simply to avoid any situations where vices and other weaknesses thrive and, most importantly, for individuals to keep a humble view of their willpower.” Three thousand years ago, King Solomon put it this way: “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).
i have seen that dynamic at work in my own life. The times when i am struggling the most with thoughts of giving in to temptation; the times when lustful thoughts are their strongest and the fight against them seems futile is when i have moved toward some sort of pride regarding my ability to handle this sin in my own strength.
When i get away from core practices of humility and depending on the strength and power of God in my life, it leads to trouble.