Covenant Eyes
Covenant Eyes

John Doyel / 10 MAR 2015 – Why is recovery from sexual sin so incredible difficult? I believe millions of Christian men and women have realized that they have become hooked by this powerful sin and feel so defeated because it seems like no matter what they do they keep coming back for more. I know because I wrestled with it for 41 years.

One piece of the recovery puzzle is realizing what you are up against. We all have a “flesh” or “sin nature.” We all live in a fallen world that has made access to sexual materials immediate and limitless. We are at battle not with flesh and blood but with the principalities and powers of darkness.

However, let’s dig a little deeper and reveal some spirits or attitudes that we have developed over time that only cause stumbling and make recovery more difficult.

1. The Spirit of “I Don’t Care”
This spirit springs to life at the most inopportune times. When we are stressed by other things and driven by busyness it whispers, “Hey, you deserve a break from all this. Acting out will make you feel good.” Your Prefrontal Cortex of your brain shuts down as the animal instinct of your Amygdala kicks in. Reason has left the room and you act on instinct.

2. The Spirit of Curiosity
This spirit tends to show up when we are bored. Online for no specific purpose or channel surfing late at night is the breeding ground for curiosity. What can I find? I’ve got news for you…you can find anything and everything you want but should not want to find. There is a master fisherman who will cast a lure near you hoping to catch your attention, but the lure will always have a hook hidden inside.

3. The Spirit of Denial
How long have you been in denial before realizing that you really have a problem and you need help to break free from sexual sin? I lied to myself for eight years believing I could stop and that I was not addicted. Also, while in recovery we may have a slip or a fall—and denial keeps us from taking a serious look at what led to the fall. Denial is always pulling us back into isolation and screams into our ears when we are trying to head into the light.

4. The Spirit of Self-Loathing
There is an image that I found online that sums this one up. It is a cartoon of a man pulling his head apart and there is a parrot inside where his brain should be. The parrot is saying, “You are sh*t.” We heap condemnation upon ourselves and wonder why we are feeling so horribly about ourselves. You probably have a library of condemnation tapes playing in the background.

5. The Spirit of Fear
Fears are the chains that keep us in isolation. We live in fear of someone discovering the truth about what we have done. We panic at the thought of our lives becoming a train wreck. The shame of our failures being revealed keeps us from telling the truth. If I had been a better man I would have admitted long ago that I had a serious problem and gotten help. My silence only took me deeper into my sin and caused even more pain.

6. The Spirit of Pride
Pride is thinking too highly of yourself. It is believing that you are more important than you are and more important than others. Its counterpart is false humility, which is a form of pride by appearing that you are less than you really are. Pride keeps us out of touch with reality. It tells us we are really good at this recovery stuff and we are not as bad as all those others. So, we really do not have to do the hard work of recovery.

7. The Spirit of Laziness
A spirit of laziness will take us to a place where we are fat, dumb, and unhappy. This creates more feelings of self-loathing and more urges to act out. As this takes place over the years, a little bit at a time, we find ourselves in horrible shape mentally, physically and spiritually.

I have only touched briefly on these spirits. A fuller discussion on all of them can be found either in eBook form on Amazon Kindle or on my blog: 180blog.org.


John Doyel was a pastor for 26 years before resigning his position of Senior Pastor due to his sexual addiction. For the past 6+ years he has been living one day at a time, experiencing the grace and healing of God in his life, his marriage, and in his family. He began a ministry at Vineyard Columbus in 2009 called 180: Helping Men Return to God. He has written three devotionals for men to help in their recovery: 40 Days of Purity, 31 Ways Your Father says “I Love You” and Unconditionally Surrendered to the Spirit.

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