Joseph Herrin (04-14-2013)
Assembling the Puzzle - Finding Answers
Recently I have received a number of correspondences from brothers and sisters in Christ who have struggled with besetting sin. One sister shared that she is a compulsive shopper. A man wrote to ask me for prayer and advice because he is addicted to sexual sins. He views pornography, is married, yet has had sexual intercourse with women from his workplace, one of whom is herself married. Another sister in Christ wrote and shared that she had entered into a sexual relationship with a man for five years before marrying him. When the marriage became difficult, she left her husband and moved in with an older man who was kind to her and began having sex with him.
Over the years since Yahweh called me into a ministry of writing, counseling, and teaching, I have encountered such examples frequently. Some of the brothers and sisters who write to me are in deep distress. They are fearful of the consequences of their actions. They report a sense of separation from God. They have difficulty hearing God’s voice, and they often write with great emotion pleading with me to tell them what they need to do.
The church today is overrun with sin. There is little holiness among God’s people. Consequently, many are estranged from God. He seems distant to them. They cannot hear His voice. The scriptures declare:
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord...
It is a terrifying thing to be estranged from God. Sin brings separation.
There is much confusion today regarding this subject. People write to me and ask “Why can’t I overcome this sin? Do I not have enough fear of God? Have I not been born again? Do I not have the Spirit of Christ in my life?” They cry out, repent, and ask God to help them not sin again, but they return over and over to the same behavior.
In this teaching I will share with you a revelation I received from Yahweh. It is a message I have not heard preached anywhere else. I invite you to ask the Spirit of Christ to guide you to truth and understanding as you read. What I share has the ability to transform your life, but the way is costly.
I was first exposed to pornography as a child of about 13 years old. My flesh was immediately enticed by sexual lust. I did not have to go looking for an enslaving desire. Sin was already resident in my flesh. It was awakened when I was exposed to pornography, and I began to entertain this sinful desire whenever I had the opportunity. As a young man of 15 I obtained my first regular employment in a small market. In the store was a magazine rack that contained a number of pornographic magazines. I would sneak them out back and look at them. I began stashing some behind the store and going back later and taking them home.
I fed the lust that excited my flesh. It was a love/hate relationship. I was a born again Christian, yet I was engaging in behavior that I knew to be ungodly. I would feel soiled, and sense the separation from God whenever I looked at pornography and entertained lustful thoughts in my mind. I was quite sensitive to the Father. I wanted to please Him. I usually found I could not even pray until the morning of the day after I had sinned. With a new day I felt like I could have a new beginning. I would repent before God. I would ask for His help. I would make a commitment to not look at pornography again, but my resolve did not last. I would sin again, sometimes the same day, and would be cast into despair.
This struggle continued into my thirties. Over the years I asked many ministers, church elders, and teachers, what the answer was. I confessed my sin to them. Yet none could help me. Even after I was married I continued in this behavior. When God gave me children my distress over my sinful behavior increased. I knew about generational sins. I did not want to pass along to my son and daughter the besetting sins I struggled with. I did not want them to defile their lives. As a father, I yearned for them to be pure and undefiled; to walk as overcomers in this life. I knew that I had to achieve victory over this sin. I cried out for the Father to help me.
When my daughter Kristin was just a couple years old I wrote the following poem.
Oh little child, dear child of mine
Fully wrought by loving hands divine,
Endowed with life and breath from above,
What will you receive from me, my love?
Your Heavenly Father, crafting with skill
Fashioned and formed you after His will,
Every precious detail according to plan,
What will you receive from me, a man?
An example of virtue, or an example of sin,
A heart filled with love, or dark thoughts from within,
Gracious words born of love, or thoughtless remarks,
What will you receive from me, my sweetheart?
Will your vision of God be clouded or clear?
Will your Father above resemble your father down here?
Will you approach Him in love, or hide out of fear?
What will you receive from me, little dear?
A shadow of God to you I will be,
But will it be godliness you see in me?
Will the outline I cast be of God or of man?
What will you receive from me, little lamb?
In answer to my cries, Yahweh drew my attention to the story of King David. In it He showed me the answers I needed. He also instilled fear into my heart. It was a holy fear; the fear of God.
II Corinthians 7:1
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
The account of David’s adultery with the wife of Uriah is well known to most Christians. Few, however, have discerned the patterns revealed through David’ life, or see how these things apply to them today. In his letter to the church in Corinth, the apostle Paul relates the experiences of the Israelites as they were led out of Egypt and through forty years in the wilderness under the leadership of Moses. The apostle then states:
I Corinthians 10:11
Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
Paul could have written the same words in relation to the historical account of David’s life. It too was given to the church as an example. It was recorded for our instruction. The Spirit directed me to consider David’s life at length. When I did I was left trembling. Understanding of Yahweh’s dealings with His sons, those whom He loves, was made plain to me.
For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.
David sinned by committing adultery and murder. David was repentant. He confessed freely his sin before God when the prophet Nathan was sent to confront him. David made no excuses. He gave no justification for his actions. He fully owned them. This permitted Yahweh to forgive David and remove the penalty of death. At the same time, Yahweh was firmly committed to teach David to hate the sin in which he had carelessly engaged. The means by which Yahweh taught David to hate sexual immorality and murder struck me with the force of a hammer blow. I cried out to the Father that He would help me to turn away from my sin before some similar discipline became necessary in my life.
David had a beautiful virgin daughter named Tamar. She was the sister of Absalom, whose mother was Maacah. David had another son named Amnon. He was the son of David’s wife Ahinoam. Amnon lusted after his beautiful half-sister even as David lusted after Bathsheba. Amnon’s attraction to his sister was illicit, and so too was David’s attraction for another man’s wife. Amnon used subtlety and deception to gain access to his sister in his bedroom and he raped her. Tamar was crushed.
II Samuel 13:11-14, 13:18-19
[Amnon] took hold of her and said to her, "Come, lie with me, my sister." But she answered him, "No, my brother, do not violate me, for such a thing is not done in Israel; do not do this disgraceful thing! As for me, where could I get rid of my reproach? And as for you, you will be like one of the fools in Israel..." However, he would not listen to her; since he was stronger than she, he violated her and lay with her.... Now she had on a long-sleeved garment; for in this manner the virgin daughters of the king dressed themselves in robes. Then his attendant took her out and locked the door behind her. And Tamar put ashes on her head, and tore her long-sleeved garment which was on her; and she put her hand on her head and went away, crying aloud as she went.
This event became known to David, but he did nothing to reprove Amnon. I have little doubt why David did not act. His own sin of adultery was fresh on his mind. He knew that it was his sin that had opened the door for this evil to be present in his own home, and among his own offspring. It must have grieved the heart of this man who had formerly been willing to risk his life to protect his father’s sheep, and later became the shepherd of Israel. He saw this innocent lamb, this beautiful virgin daughter, despoiled. Her purity was taken from her with violence. In observing this, David began to see the wickedness of the sin of unrestrained sexual lust.
The lessons were only beginning. Absalom hated Amnon for what he had done to his sister. Seeing that his father did not act to discipline Amnon, Absalom formed a plot and murdered his brother. Absalom was a beautiful son. The Bible says there was no physical defect in him. He was among the most handsome young men in Israel. He was a delight to his father, and greatly loved. Absalom fled upon killing his brother. After a time David’s anger waned and he missed his son. David permitted Absalom to return, but remained aloof from him.
Absalom’s resentment grew, and he plotted to take the kingdom from his father. He garnered support and raised an army. David was in peril and fled Jerusalem. David left some of his wives behind. Absalom was counseled by a cunning man to demonstrate to all Israel that there would be no reconciliation between Absalom and David. He was counseled to do something extremely odious. He took David’s wives and had sex with them openly on the roof of the palace. This was a fulfillment of the words of the prophet Nathan.
II Samuel 12:11-12
Thus says Yahweh, “Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household; I will even take your wives before your eyes, and give them to your companion, and he shall lie with your wives in broad daylight. Indeed you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, and under the sun.”
I don’t know which was a greater grief to David, that his wives were sexually violated by another man, or that it was his son Absalom who had committed this transgression. David still loved Absalom. When Absalom was slain in the battle that ensued, David wept bitterly for his son.
II Samuel 18:33
And the king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And thus he said as he walked, "O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!"
David understood that all this had come as a judgment from Yahweh. His daughter would not have been violated; His son Amnon would not have raped his sister and been murdered; his son Absalom would not have killed his brother, defiled his father’s wives, and himself been slain, had it not been for David’s sin that opened the floodgates for transgression to enter his home.
How David must have come to loathe the sin he had once embraced. When he saw his virgin daughter violated, his sons given over to lust, his wives publicly despoiled, he surely came to see the utter evil of unbridled lust. Never again would he transgress against the holiness of Yahweh to sate the sexual lust of his flesh. David hated this sin.
In horror, I began to consider how Yahweh might teach me to hate the sin that I was entertaining in my life. He had protected me and kept me from acting upon my lustful thoughts. I had committed fornication and adultery many times in my mind, but the opportunity had not presented itself for me to act upon my evil thoughts. I knew Yahweh’s hand had shielded me. What if He were to remove His hand and allow Satan to entice me to act out my evil fantasies? In a moment I saw myself committing adultery, and the sin being exposed. My wife, my children, fellow Christians, family members and in-laws, all would see my sin and shame would be my covering. It was so real at that moment that I cried out and asked Yahweh to have mercy and keep me from ever disgracing His name and bringing shame upon my family in this way.
My mind imagined other ways by which Yahweh could teach me to hate this sin. My daughter could be defiled by another man. My son could be given over to unrighteous behavior as were the sons of David. How it grieved me to consider that my children that I loved deeply might have their lives destroyed by sin. It greatly grieved me to think that I might be so stubborn, so casual about my attitude toward this sin, that it would take a great tragedy to cause me to hate this sin as Yahweh hates it.
The fear of God, the dread of His hand of chastisement, provided me the motivation to stop viewing pornography. In fear of God, I stopped entertaining thoughts of engaging in sexual relations with the women I came in contact with. I understood that if I continued to do so, the time would come when I would act upon those thoughts and Yahweh would reveal my sin to the world.
People of God, it may seem a shameful thing for a minister to confess that he has transgressed in this manner. I believe it is the Father’s will that I humble myself by sharing opely my struggles with sexual lust. Yahweh gives grace to the humble, and I need much grace in my life. It is also profitable for others to hear that a fellow Christian has struggled with sin, and to learn of the manner in which Yahweh led him to victory.
He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. How blessed is the man who fears always, but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.
Yahweh brought me to victory over viewing pornography back in the mid 1990s. A few years later, in 1999, the Father did one of the most beneficial things He could do for any son. He pressed me to embrace a life that would fortify me against the temptation of the adversary, and help me to remain steadfast in turning away from sexual temptation. What follows, is a description of one of the key elements to a life of victory over sin and temptation. You have perhaps never before made the connections that I will set before you. I encourage you to take the matter before the Father for His affirmation, for what I will share is that which He has taught me.
David’s life is set before the church today that we might not only know the consequences of sin and how Yahweh teaches His sons to hate sin, but to reveal how men set themselves up for failure, and how they might avoid transgression.
David Spies Bathsheba Bathing
A profound truth is revealed in the following four verses that open the account of David’s transgression with Bathsheba. Every word, every detail, is significant. Yahweh did not inspire holy men to record unnecessary information. Every jot and tittle of Scripture is divinely inspired.
II Samuel 11:1-4
Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel, and they destroyed the sons of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem. Now when evening came David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king's house, and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful in appearance. So David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, "Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" And David sent messengers and took her, and when she came to him, he lay with her...
People of God, please pay heed to what is revealed here. It was the time for kings to go out to battle, but David stayed home in Jerusalem. David was at ease, enjoying the comforts of a palace life. He had idle time, and was wandering about on the roof of his palace. This was the same place Nebuchadnezzar was when he sinned and Yahweh judged him.
All this happened to Nebuchadnezzar the king. Twelve months later he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon. The king reflected and said, “Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?” While the word was in the king's mouth, a voice came from heaven, saying, “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: sovereignty has been removed from you, and you will be driven away from mankind, and your dwelling place will be with the beasts of the field. You will be given grass to eat like cattle, and seven periods of time will pass over you, until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, and bestows it on whomever He wishes.”
Whether a man is a citizen of Zion, or a citizen of Babylon, he can fall in the same way. Ease and comfort, a failure to be where Yahweh desires and doing what He asks, is a sure way to open oneself up to temptation and grievous transgression.
David was appointed by Yahweh to be a warrior king. It was his divinely assigned role to lead in battle. Yet David remained at home, content to let others endure the hardship and rigors of warfare. After David sinned with Bathsheba, he sent for her husband, hoping to entice him to lie with his wife so he would think the baby was his own. Instead, David received a reproof from Yahweh. Uriah unwittingly prophesied, revealing to David what his own attitude and actions should have been.
II Samuel 11:8-11
Then David said to Uriah, "Go down to your house, and wash your feet." And Uriah went out of the king's house, and a present from the king was sent out after him. But Uriah slept at the door of the king's house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. Now when they told David, saying, "Uriah did not go down to his house," David said to Uriah, "Have you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?" And Uriah said to David, "The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in temporary shelters, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field. Shall I then go to my house to eat and to drink and to lie with my wife? By your life and the life of your soul, I will not do this thing."
As disciples of Christ, we are called to be about our Father’s business. There is work to be done. There are battles to be fought. Yet many of God’s people have chosen to remain at home, enjoying the comforts and pleasures of life.
II Timothy 4:5
But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
II Timothy 2:3-4
Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Yahshua. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.
I Timothy 5:6
Whereas she who lives in pleasure and self-gratification [giving herself up to luxury and self-indulgence] is dead even while she [still] lives.
In the book The Gate and The Way I shared the following:
In former years the saints in Christ were more amenable to suffering with Christ. I do not mean to suggest that there has ever been more than a remnant who have embraced such things, but at least the church spoke openly about such matters, even if only a few had the attitude of Paul expressed in the following words.
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body (which is the church) in filling up that which is lacking in Christ's afflictions.
In 1693 Thomas Shepherd wrote the first stanza to the hymn titled Must Jesus Bear the Cross Alone?
Must Jesus bear the cross alone
And all the world go free?
No, there's a cross for ev'ryone,
And there's a cross for me.
I recently finished reading the wonderful biography of Amy Carmichael written by Elisabeth Elliot. The title of the book is A Chance to Die. Ms. Carmichael left a comfortable life in England in the late 1800s to live among the native people of India as a missionary. She understood something about the ways of God, and the call of the body of Christ to share in the sufferings of Christ. The following poem that she penned gives eloquent testimony to her understanding and her experience.
Hast Thou No Scar
Hast thou no scar?
No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?
I hear thee sung as mighty in the land;
I hear them hail thy bright, ascendant star.
Hast thou no scar?
Hast thou no wound?
Yet I was wounded by the archers; spent,
Leaned Me against a tree to die; and rent
By ravening beasts that compassed Me, I swooned.
Hast thou no wound?
No wound? No scar?
Yet, as the Master shall the servant be,
And pierced are the feet that follow Me.
But thine are whole; can he have followed far
Who hast no wound or scar?
What a question to ponder in this hour. “Can he have followed far who hast no wound or scar?” [End Excerpt]
There are some like David who have grown weary of the battle, yet there are far more who have never enlisted as a soldier of Christ to be commanded and yielded fully to the King of kings and Lord of lords. One of the tragic consequences of choosing a life of ease when you have been called to the rigors of discipleship, is that you become prey to the snares of the adversary. Not only do you subject yourself to temptations that could have been avoided, but the person who is living a comfortable, abundant life, is insulated from a life of daily dependence upon God for provision, protection, and every necessary thing. It is this dependence that encourages a healthy fear, and careful walk, before Yahweh.
When a brother wrote to me recently and shared that he has been falling repeatedly into sexual sin, I shared the following with him.
You have not yet come to a place as a Christian where you have laid down your life in order to take up that life Christ has chosen for you... You too were called the moment you were saved to lay down your life and follow Christ wherever He would lead you.
One of the greatest helps I have received in my battle with pornography, lustful thoughts, and sexual temptation, is that by casting myself wholly into the Father's hands to follow wherever He would lead, I have been brought to a place of daily, often desperate, dependence upon Him. A man who needs Yahweh's favor and help every day will not willfully sin against God. He fears too much the immediate consequences of his actions. Like a man on a battlefield, he dares not do anything to bring separation between himself and God, for he knows the consequences could be immediate and tragic.
By continuing in the material life you have chosen, you have removed yourself from a daily dependence upon God. Because you have money in the bank, a regular paycheck, food in the cupboards, etc., you have developed a sense of security. You do not feel vulnerable and exposed like a man who has sold all in order to follow Yahshua wherever He would lead. This has caused you to become careless in your attitude toward sin. You do not fear Yahweh as you ought to...
There are servants of Yahweh who have laid aside their comfortable homes, and material lives, to follow Yahshua into battle. This is Yahshua's invitation to all who would be His disciples. This is what I have been directed to write about recently in my blog posts.
You have been gracious to share your money with those who are following the Lord into battle, but He is not satisfied with this. He wants you to be in the battle. By remaining at home, by choosing comfort and ease, you have placed yourself in the way of temptation. Your problem is not that you have not been saved. It is not that you do not have the Holy Spirit. Your problem is that the lifestyle you have chosen for yourself is preventing you from walking in that daily dependence upon Yahweh that would encourage you to fear God and not sin.
If you will listen to the Spirit of Christ, you will perceive that the things I am writing to you are Yahweh's words. He has brought you to this place of desperation and fear, for He knows how much your soul resists yielding everything you own, and your very life, to Him. You cannot follow Christ by degrees. By giving Christ only a portion of your will and obedience you are finding that you lack what is needed to walk victoriously and to overcome temptation.
Brothers and sisters, if you are finding yourself falling into temptation and sin; if you are having difficulty hearing God’s voice; if you lack spiritual power in your life; if Yahweh seems distant, perhaps it is because you are not where He has called you to be.
The message Yahweh has directed me to stress at this time is that the call to be a disciple of Christ is a radical call. Yahshua stated that a man must hate his own life to be His disciple. A person cannot choose the life their soul desires and be a disciple of Yahshua. The soul will choose comfort and ease. This was the experience of the inhabitants of Sodom, and it led to abominations in their lives.
“Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food, and careless ease... Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me. Therefore I removed them when I saw it.”
Don’t choose for yourself an indulgent lifestyle. You are called to a life of surrender. If you remain at ease in Zion you stand in peril of being overcome by sin. You may find yourself committing abominations and paying the cost for doing so.
Listen to the voice of the Spirit of Christ entreating you to surrender all and follow Yahshua. Taking up your cross and following Him is the only Way that leads to life.
May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.
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