This past weekend I was privileged to attend a conference at my church. The keynote speaker was “Steve Gallagher”:http://www.purelifeministries.org/About/gallaghers.htm, founder of “Pure Life Ministries”:http://www.purelifeministries.org/, an organization that seeks to help men trapped by sexual idolatry gain victory over their addiction and begin to live lives free of immoral behavior. The Men of Purity weekend was broken down into three sessions, the first of which was held on Friday evening and the last two on Saturday morning. The final session was followed up by a brief challenge from my pastor on how to affair-proof your marriage.
It was such a blessing to hear Steve’s testimony. He himself has been rescued from sexual addiction, and God challenged him to begin a ministry of reaching out to other men likewise trapped and show them the deliverance that only God can bring. Pure Life Ministries has been in existence for the past 20 years and has touched the lives of countless men. Steve’s assistant Justin Carabello also spoke during the conference and shared his own testimony of deliverance from sexual idolatry.
I think that the the most refreshing part of the conference for me was hearing clear, concrete principles about the root causes of sexual addiction _as well as_ receiving basic, fundamental solutions for breaking free of the habits and decisions that are such an integral part of that degenerate lifestyle. Steve may well be the first person I have ever met who has been able to provide a complete and thorough understanding and answer to the problem of sexual addiction.
Most men I know have, at some time or another, wrestled with this problem. We are not helped by the fact that our culture is oversexualized. Provocative imagery is everywhere, and the general philosophy of nation is that, so long as it doesn’t harm anyone, people are free to pursue whatever sexual desires they want however they want. So, for Christian men who want to do what is right and live a life of purity, such a task is made exceptionally difficult. We cannot interact with our culture for more than a moment or two without coming face to face with images that tempt us to give in to our selfish sexual cravings. Far too many of us fail to shun the temptations, unfortunately, and the vast majority of us who fall into sexual addiction are never able to find our way back out.
Steve is, quite literally, a Godsend. Pure Life Ministries is situated on a 45-acre campus in northern Kentucky, and in addition to regular speaking engagements, Steve has established a 6-month live-in residency program for men trapped in sexual idolatry. Here, these men are able to immerse themselves in the Word, allowing it to change and reshape their minds and their thinking onto the things of God, so that they may re-enter the world and the lives of their families stronger, Godlier, and better able to be spiritual leaders.
I was also fortunate enough to pick up several resources in an offered package at this conference – At the Altar of Sexual Idolatry, which I am currently reading, Intoxicated with Babylon, How America Lost Her Innocence, and a 4-sermon disc set entitled Breaking Free from the Power of Lust. Included in the package is a 24-week Bible Study called The Walk of Repentance, aimed at refocusing one’s mind on the things of God and on holy living. I’m looking forward to working my way through each of these books and CDs and sharing some of the things I discover through this journey. The lessons contained within are valuable, not just to those men struggling with sexual addiction, but to every believer alike as we strive to be more like Christ and follow Him in all things.
This conference has made me more aware of all the sexual stimuli surrounding me and caused me to see the need to be more proactive in guarding my heart. One way in which I have started doing this is by using Firefox’s wonderful ability to block images from various websites, particularly the sensual banner ads littering so many websites now for the plethora of dating services that exist on the web. I have taken it upon myself to try to filter out as much of that content as possible because as one who has once struggled with sexual addiction myself, even such ‘tame’ images can be enough to make the battle much harder than it needs to be.