Andrea and I have shared with you about our marriage. We have walked a journey for the past 18 years that has been both wonderful and heartbreaking at times. I can venture to say that it is not unlike many marriages out there today. Each of you has a story and journey that you are traveling. For some, maybe you haven't experienced the deep heartache that we have trudged through.
Maybe its more subtle:
He’s into hobbies and activities that leave you feeling alone…..
She doesn’t take care of the house and keep it clean…..
He doesn’t share feelings and hurts, but keeps it all bottled up inside….
She fights unfair by bringing up the past all the time…..
I could go on with all the little things in marriage that cause tension and division. Funny thing was that we didn’t seem to have those struggles.
Our communication was good
We both worked together to accomplish tasks
Fighting was not something we did often
Our shared interests complimented one another
OUR MARRIAGE LOOKED LIKE IT WAS PERFECT! I heard that so many times from the outside that I felt that image had to be upheld and sustained. When your image becomes your master then GOD loses his rightful place in your life.
I have shared about my addiction with pornography. This may sound off the wall but Porngraphy wasn't the problem....It was a sympton to a much deeper heart issue. Pornography was the part of me that I had to keep hidden from everyone in order to keep my IMAGE elevated. Erasing the history on the computer, swearing I would never look at that again and again, and trying to make sure I covered my tracks so that no one would ever know. It was exhausting. There may be some of you reading this right now that know exactly what I am describing. You are caught in that trap of keeping the outside looking good while the inside is decaying and dying.
On the outside I looked good. I was the guy that was leading a small group, helping lead worship, in leadership at our church, running a small business and the father of a wonderful family. I was doing all those things with good intentions.
I was pursuing a relationship with Christ.
I did love my wife and kids.
The problem was that I was not fully committed to all of it. I had not SURRENDERED my heart completely. I gave just enough to feel and look like I was spiritual and invested, but held the deepest parts back.
Imagine your heart being like your home. I welcomed Jesus in the front door. He was able to walk around my house. I showed him the living room, kitchen, dining room, and many other parts of the house that were kept neat and tidy. But when he asked to see the basement……that’s when I got nervous and said NO. That room is a mess, if I let you in there you would see parts of the real me. My image would not look so spiritual and put together if you saw what was stuffed behind that door. I kept that door closed to Jesus and everyone else. Its messy and dark down there. NO ONE IS EVER ALLOWED IN THAT ROOM.
Do you have a room like that? Where your secrets and sins dwell.
I kept that door locked for a long time.
God kept asking and pursuing me to get into that room.
I kept denying him.
The worst part was that the more I kept it hidden the more it grew.
Sin in darkness breeds more sin.
And as you become more desensitized to the nature of the sin it progresses to deeper sin.
At one time looking at images was the extent of my addiction. But like any other drug the need for something stronger persisted. It grew into actually making choices to commit adultery against my wife and God.........
That last line took me a while to write….It is still extremely difficult to share this part of my heart. It allows others to form opinions about who I am that are out of my control.
For so many years I cared about what people thought about me. Outside opinions defined who I was….That was the problem. Image was everything…..
The answer was surrender, confession, and forgiveness.
We want to share in the next few posts about how God pursued us, our marriage, and our hearts.
Take some time today and evaluate your heart. Are there parts that are hidden from others, your spouse, or even God? Are you fully known by HIM?