What to Do When Lust Has You in A Chokehold

The (NEW) Ravi Zacharias Legacy
Ravi Zacharias, founder of the RZIM (Ravi Zacharias International Ministry), was known as one of the leading Christian apologists of our time—his ministry spanning over 40 years. Tragically, his legacy will not be his ministry but the recent uncovering of his sexual misconduct. According to a Christianity Today’s article, “Ravi Zacharias Hid Hundreds of pictures of women, abuse during massages, and a rape allegation”:

A four-month investigation found the late Ravi Zacharias leveraged his reputation as a world-famous Christian apologist to abuse massage therapists in the United States and abroad over more than a decade while the ministry led by his family members and loyal allies failed to hold him accountable.
          He used his need for massage and frequent overseas travel to hide his abusive behavior, luring victims by building trust through spiritual conversations and offering funds straight from his ministry.
          A 12-page report released by Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) confirms abuse by Zacharias at day spas he owned in Atlanta and uncovers five additional victims in the US, as well as evidence of sexual abuse in Thailand, India, and Malaysia.
          Even a limited review of Zacharias’s old devices revealed contacts for more than 200 massage therapists in the US and Asia and hundreds of images of young women, including some that showed the women naked. Zacharias solicited and received photos until a few months before his death in May 2020 at age 74.

Sadly, Zacharias joins a host of former highly influential Christian leaders who have fallen prey to lust.
          No man is exempt and any man who claims to not battle lust is a liar, and I will tell him to his face (after I stop laughing of course).

Rear Naked Choke of Lust

This week we interviewed Joe Rigney on the Men in the Arena Podcast. Joe is president-elect of Bethlehem College & Seminary in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the author of More Than a Battle: How to Experience Victory, Freedom, and Healing from Lust.
          In light of the Ravi Zacharias failure, his podcast is a great reminder that most men battle a pandemic far greater than COVID-19—lust.
          Women, do not turn a blind eye to the greatest battle your husband fights. Instead, assume he struggles, engage in open dialogue about lust, and become his trusted ally, not a perceived adversary he keeps secrets from.
          Pornography is only a symptom of the enemy.
          Reflecting on his past Joe writes, “As a Christian, I knew God called me to purity and holiness, but my life was marked by the opposite. Lust and pornography had me by the throat, and I felt powerless in the face of the raging desires that would awaken in my heart, mind, and body. Don’t get me wrong. I tried all sorts of methods to break free.”
          Does lust have you in a rear-naked choke, are you living in victory over it? Can you say, “No” to lust in its various forms or is it master over you.
          Does Galatians 5:16-17 describe you; “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh for the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please”?

Not Quite Yet Lord

As a young man St. Augustine, the most prolific Christian author the world has ever known, prayed, “Oh Lord, give me purity (but not yet).”
          Maybe you are fed up. Maybe you’ve been found out. Maybe you are on fire for God, His truth, and want total freedom of lust. Whatever the reason, you need to set boundaries as a guardrail against lust and make yourself accountable to a mentor. These act as a barricade between you and lust.
          Rigney writes, “Once you’ve identified some initial (artificial) boundaries, the next step is to establish some accountability. That’s what your mentor and the men in your group are for. Accountability works like this: First, clearly agree to the boundary. For example, ‘I will not be on the internet when I am alone.’ Next, if you cross the boundary, if you get on the internet alone, you've broken your word and need to confess it to your mentor and the other men in your group, even if you don’t look at pornography.”

A Leader who Lasts or A Leader Who Lusts?

Which will you be? Are you one neglected internet history erasure away from ruining your marriage? Are you engaged in dialogue with a woman that could be misconstrued as an emotional affair? Are you putting yourself in any sexually compromising situations?
          Are you living above reproach?
          Change your legacy now. God has called us to a holy life, set apart from the world around us. It is time to start living like it.

Boots on the Ground

Take the steps to find freedom and victory over lust. Confess your sins. Find a mentor. Establish guardrails. Dialogue with your wife.
          Check out my favorite quotes from Joe's book here.

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