Born Again

“Born Again” is my theme for this year.

It feels a bit presumptuous to call myself “born again”, not least because I am still “in the closet”. It feels presumptuous to call myself “saved” or anything like that — although I know Jesus is there for me, and I am trying sincerely to be guided by His star at all times.

Having said that, “born again” is how I feel, and how I want to live from now on.

I have been concentrating hard on battling my demons.

I have not shopped for lingerie or dressed up since August 2016. I think I am out of the clutches of that demon — although I am not confident that I have escaped for the right reasons (see Resisting temptation for the wrong reasons. Does it matter?).

I was masturbating and using pornography up until late December last year, so those demons are very much still active (see Handling episodes of failure). I am determined, however, that they will not contaminate this new year.

I don’t really like the “addiction” narrative about pornography, but I remembered that I did used to smoke cigarettes (early 80s to late 90s). That was certainly an addiciton, and I certainly quit. So I now see using pornography and masturbating as habits like smoking was a habit. Like most people who quit, I “quit” smoking several times, but one last time I really quit. Well, (hopefully) I have now really quit masturbating and really quit using pornography.

I have also realised belatedly that by using pornography, I was training myself to look at women in a certain way, and that I couldn’t really defeat that demon while I was still using pornography.

So, there is no room for complacency, but I feel these demons are on the defensive. Now I want to turn to new demons, or new challenges, challenges to do with my work and, especially, to do with my wife.

I feel born again and I want to act born again. I want to draw on and use the new-found strength that knowing Jesus is giving me. Knowing Jesus is by me is a pleasure, and I want to rejoice in that pleasure and bring that light to the world around me.

What does that mean exactly? I don’t quite know. Solving problems at work, loving my wife — practically as well as adoringly.

We’ll see how it pans out, but the phrase “born again” will remind me of this ambition.

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8 Comments

  1. That’s a beautiful phrase for the year and for your lifetime now, David! It’s definitely not presumptuous to call yourself born again. This says so much: “Knowing Jesus is by me is a pleasure, and I want to rejoice in that pleasure and bring that light to the world around me.” I agree!

    Reply
    • Thank you! :) I’m torn between enjoying it and thinking “who am I to make such a claim?” … but I lean more to the enjoyment :)

      Reply
      • Just enjoy! None of us earn the claim; we just receive it by grace. It’s a gift of love that he wants us to accept like a child on Christmas morning. :)

  2. I’m so glad you’re pushing past your hesitancies regarding calling and believing yourself to be “born again,” David. It is evident in your life and in your changing desires. I agree that pornography use is, at the very least, a bad habit that can be just as difficult, if not more so, to overcome as smoking was.

    I’m sure you know this, but I always tell my clients that they can never kick a habit without replacing it with something better. I hope and believe that your focus on prayer and Bible study is taking the place of that bad habit. But there is also something your body is missing when you lose that sexual release. So I hope that you find other ways to release tensions that build up. I know that working on your relationship with your wife will, in time, help tremendously with that. But in the meantime, you might want to consider some kind of physical exercise to get the endorphins flowing in and the stress flowing out. Just a thought.

    I love the way you say that you want to love your wife “adoringly.” What a beautiful way to put it. Maybe you could write about what that might look like here or, if you’re interested, as a guest blogger at MM. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts here, David! I always enjoy my visit to your place.

    Reply
    • Dear Beth, thank you for your comment. Good point about a physical replacement. Soon as the weather improves I’ll be cycling to work again. Exercise would be better. When I was a postgrad I used to work out 3 times a week but there are no gyms near where I live now. Did yoga classes for a bit too – that would be a good thing to restart.

      Thank you very much for your invitation! I am a very scrappy writer. I take up your challenge though, to write more about loving my wife. David

      Reply
  3. And are you willing to be share a guest post at Messy Marriage on this subject? You could remain anonymous, if you’d like.

    Reply
    • Willing yes (and very flattered!). No need for anonymity. Let me think about what I can write.

      Reply

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