Monday, October 17th, 2011
13 Ways to Ruin Your Life, the FREE book from Jarrod Jones
Monday, October 17th, 2011
Tuesday, March 29th, 2011
I read a quote today from a Newsweek article regarding matters of sex in the Bible (blog cometh!). The quote was from the book, Unprotected Texts: The Bibles Surprising Contradictions About Sex and Desire by Jennifer Wright Knust.
She states, “The Bible doesn’t have to be an invader, conquering bodies and wills with its pronouncements and demands. It can also be a partner in the complicated dance of figuring out what it means to live in bodies that are filled with longing.”
The quote carried my thoughts to the Lady Gaga song, Born this Way. Here are a few lines to give you some context:
I’m beautiful in my way
‘Cause God makes no mistakes
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way
Don’t hide yourself in regret,
Just love yourself and you’re set
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way, yeah!
Believe it or not, to a degree, I agree with the author and Lady Gaga. I have a body full of inner longing and desire. Indeed, I was born with longings to sleep with women, lots of women, who are not my wife. I’ll be the first to admit it. I was truly born that way.
God utterly outdid Himself when He gave us the gift of sexual desire and experience. He could have made the act of procreation (sex) as bland as a handshake. But instead He gifted us with intimate sexual encounter and experience with the passions and longings to boot. And once upon a time those sexual longings were perfect. Perfect, until the enemy whispered, “Did God really say…?” to Adam & Eve (the same thing it seems that Knust is doing with her book). And when Adam and Eve ate the fruit, sin fractured the world, right along with our longings and desires. Holy sexual longing and experience between one man and one woman fractured and spider-webbed into adultery, homosexuality, pornography, pre-marital sex, child molestation, bestiality, and whatever else the fallen human race can dream up.
So now, what are we to do with our “bodies full of longing”? To Knust’s chagrin, the Bible does have “pronouncements and demands” to “flee” and “put to death” sexual immorality (1 Cor 6:18; Col 3:5). Praise God for those commands. Why? Aside from the separation it brings us from God, the untold pain it brings to us emotionally (and in many cases physically), it’s because pursuing and acting on fractured sexual longing never brings freedom and satisfaction, only slavery and emptiness. Lust never satisfies. It only enslaves. And the experience of emptiness and slavery is sought to be self-medicated through more pursuing and acting on fractured sexual longings, which brings heavier chains of slavery and deeper emptiness.
Round and round we go with sex and anything else that becomes “god” in our lives.
So what about those “pronouncements and demands” of God? They are pronouncements and demands to freedom and joy. God radically and ruthlessly loved me in Christ to the degree that He was butchered on the Cross to have me. How could I not but trust Him when He says that I should “flee” and “put to death” longings that may feel “natural” but could ruin and destroy me and everything I love. No, I believe with my whole heart that He is for my joy, freedom, and pleasure, even sexually. Do you?
Yes, I was born this way–with fractured desires. But I was born-again–with new desires. Desires to chiefly love Christ with my all of my heart, mind, body, soul, and strength because He first loved me
(1 John 4:10, 19). And born-again with the covenant resolve to have eyes only for my wife, to have sexual intimacy only with my wife, and to fight against sexual desires that would come between me and my wife.
Being “born this way” may give you license, but being “Born-again” brings you life. Being “Born this way” may give you “freedom” but it leads to slavery and emptiness and fleeting pleasure. Being “Born-again” destroys your slavery and emptiness to bring you freedom and joy and pleasure forever (Psalm 16).
So who are you? “Born this way”? Or “Born-again”?
I pray you won’t settle for just being “born this way.” Be “born-again” in the gospel of the God who first loved you so that you can declare: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. And this life that I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
Friday, June 25th, 2010
The other night I was in my camp “hotel” room in Texas following the camp’s worship gathering. I’d been in bed for about 20 minutes. Then I got a “bang” on my door. I’ve been getting those for two weeks. Students get wind of where my room is and they oblige themselves. So, basically, I ignore the “bangs.”
But this time, for some reason, I decided to get out of bed and answer the door. It was a youth leader, a newly married youth leader. He had my 13 Ways book in his hand. “I’ve got to talk to you… right now!”, he said.
So, I told him to give me a second where I could put on a shirt and my flip-flops. We sat outside in 90 degree night-time Texas weather. Sweat running off our foreheads, he told me he was recently married but that he had another girl in his life that he’d been friends with for years who had just divorced. He said that she had been emailing him a lot. And he was emailing her back. Then she started texting him. And he was texting her back. And then with those texts came pictures (I don’t think they were “sexting” pictures but he didn’t clarify). He was walking headlong into emotional adultery.
“What should I do?,” he asked. He said he truly cared about this friend. That she was hurting. But he felt something wasn’t right about how things had escalated. I asked him, “What does your wife say about all of this?” His answer, “she doesn’t know.”
So I looked him right in the eye and said, “Dude. You need to end it… right now. Tell her not to email you anymore. Then don’t answer your emails. Tell her not to text you anymore. Then don’t answer her texts. And if needed, change your email address and mobile phone number. This is serious.” Then I waited for the excuses to come. But he really didn’t offer any. He knew the answer before he even came to me. That’s the way it goes, isn’t it? We often know the right thing to do but don’t do it. It’s like we hold out to see if we can justify ourselves, or find ourselves justified by someone else.
However, he was pained at the thought of “abandoning” his friend. I said, “What would your wife, think if she read those texts? Have you let her see them?” “No,” he said, “I deleted them.” I said, “Bro, you are in dangerous waters here. Tell your wife about the texts. Let her read the emails. Communicate my friend! Keep nothing from her. As a matter of fact, if you respond to further communication from this “friend,” copy it to your wife where your friend will see that you are willingly and joyfully including your wife on any further conversation. That should take care of lot it.”
I went on to say (and was a bit tough on him), “You are to love your wife as Christ loved the Church. There must be NO rivals! NO rivals. Does your wife feel honored, adored, protected, treasured, safe, by you? Bro, this friend that you have, you are not her “Messiah.” God doesn’t need you to help her or save her. You, and your wife, can pray for her. Give your wife your email passwords and access to your texts. Don’t delete anything questionable without her reading it first. Let your wife read anything else your friend sends. Copy your wife on any emails you send to her but you even need to end that pronto.”
I told him to read Proverbs 7, then I prayed with him. I prayed that God would guard his heart from finding his “manhood” or “ego” stroked and affirmed by another woman giving him “attention.” And that He would do whatever it took to cut the relationship and honor His wife.
Are you finding yourself in a similar situation? There’s one key word I gave him that the Apostle Paul gives us, that I’ll give you:
Saturday, December 27th, 2008
An Interview with Jarrod Jones
by Jeff Goins
There are a lot of Christian books about porn, sex, and purity. How is yours different?
My opinion is that most books deal with sexual sin but they don’t confront it. We are blasted at every turn by an immorally sex-crazed culture: Simulated oral sex on Prime Time television; “hooking up” on Reality TV; music videos where a rapper swipes a credit card through a woman’s backside. With that constant barrage of immorality we need a message that fights back with the same intensity. 13 Ways To Ruin Your Life does that. It’s a truth-driven read with a call to repentance. At the same time it doesn’t beat the reader over the head. I share a lot of my personal story, struggles, and experiences. It’s funny in some places and sobering in others. Still, I give a constant call—for the sake of Christ, and for your good. Repent. It’s a “finger in the chest” in some sense, without the yelling and anger. It’s a look in the eye that says, “For the sake of Christ, don’t ruin your life.” You don’t get that kind of balance in a lot of the purity books.
Out of the 13 ways to ruin your life, which do you think is the worst? What’s the #1 way to ruin your life, in your estimation?
That’s a tough one. On a practical scale I would say the Chapter 5 tip, “Take Just One More Look.” How many guys within the battle have done this? I would argue almost all. Me included. Temptation lurks especially when you want a break from life, an escape. Then upon giving in, guilt comes and you think, “What the heck? I’ll never win at this. Why even try?” So another look, and another, and another. Addiction’s fangs are sinking in.
How were you inspired to use the story of the “young man” in Proverbs who is tempted by the prototypical “adulteress” as the basis for a book about pornography and sexual addiction?
My pastor, Harry Walls, mentored me through it over a year ago. I was blown away. It disturbed me. I couldn’t quit thinking about it.
The language of the Proverb is gripping, jolting, blunt, harsh, and unapologetic. It’s King Solomon looking at his son and saying, “See that young man over there seduced by sexual sin? He’s ‘naive’ about what it will cost him.” That word “naive” can be translated as “stupid.” Talk about a finger in the chest! But we need to hear it.
He also says to his son in Proverbs 7:22-23 (my paraphrase), “Take another look. That young man is like an ox going to the slaughter. A bird headed to a trap. A deer caught in a corner with an arrow flying toward its heart. Without a clue it’s going to cost him his life.” The butcher could have raised the ox up from a calf: loving on it; petting it; feeding it. Then one day the butcher destroyed it. The bird could have played around the trap. One day it got him. The deer could have thought all was well and fed on the bait. Then, bam, the arrow strikes. And he didn’t see it coming. This is what sexual sin is and does. It’s deceiving by it’s availability. It’s deadly because it’s a feel-good escape. The Proverb brings that to life. It’s just so real, relevant, and disturbing.
For those who have “ruined” their lives through premarital sex, pornography, or other compulsive sexual behavior, what kind of hope is available to them?
Hope. That’s the glory of Jesus. There’s a guy who after reading my book went online and confessed to the online community about his struggle with pornography. His letter was heartbreaking. You could hear the repentance, regret, and fear in his words. He gave everyone permission to think he was “gross” and to abandon him. However, he received the opposite. People, friends and acquaintances poured in their love and support for him. They assured him of their love. I’m sure he still has to deal with some fallout over the sin, personally and relationally. That’s just life and consequences of sin. But the love that overwhelmed him is proof of the love, forgiveness, and peace of Jesus. Let the debris fall where it must, and cling to Jesus.
Is there a particular story of a person ruining his/her life through sexual addiction that has really stuck with you? What are some of the most powerful examples of purity and impurity that you’ve heard or witnessed?
I have a female friend and also a female family member who went through horrible divorces because their husbands were addicted to porn. What’s sad is that their husbands never saw a problem with it and enjoyed their sin. Yet these men destroyed the dignity and value of their wives and fractured the trust of their children.
Also, I hear stories about pastors, youth pastors, and worship leaders falling to sexual sin. Most are caught in adultery; others have their porn addiction go public. The fallout from this is devastating. They were platform people who have been followed, revered, respected, and trusted, and they destroyed their ministry. And they confused and hurt people deeply. People shouldn’t put these ministers on a pedestal, I agree, but it’s simply tough not to do that.
Powerful example of purity: A guy who doesn’t just want to be a “nice Christian,” but a Godly man. He wants to protect girls from himself. A guy who loves Jesus more than anyone and anything so that he might love and respect a lady the way she deserves—as a daughter of God. Girls are dying for these kinds of guys. I hear it all the time. “Where is he?!” they’ll beg. And I meet guys who feel the same about the ladies.
How do you balance the biblical call to personal holiness with the seemingly-inevitable fleshly struggle of sin? Undoubtedly, many young men and woman struggle with personal purity and often feel defeated. How can they overcome that feeling of defeat without delving into legalism or a sin-avoidance gospel? That is, in your own life, Jarrod, how does grace abound?
Christianity is impossible to live. That’s why you hear Jesus say, “Abide in me” (John 15). That’s why Paul says, “In view of God’s mercy” before He says, “offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God” (Romans 12). We are constantly pointed to grace, to mercy, and to love. That’s the power. Christian “rah-rah-ing” to “be more pure” is just dumb. We must know that God points to His Son and the cross before He commands us to do anything. And those commands come so that we might know our Creator deeply—all for His glory, and our good.
When I am tempted with my eyes I think, “lust will never satisfy.” That’s my mantra. Jesus is the bread that satisfies the burning hunger. Temptation comes but then conviction comes. The conviction is not, “Jarrod, you better not look! Do you hear me?! Boy, I’m telling you!!!” No, the conviction is the Spirit of Jesus saying, “Jarrod, my son. Look at me. Look at me. I’m better. I alone complete you. I satisfy you. Don’t settle for this lie. Look at my blood pouring down for you on my Cross. For you, Jarrod. So that you would be mine. So that you would be free. So that you would have life.”