To repent is to express sorrow over sin that leads to a change of mind and heart.
But why is repentance so essential to living a life of integrity? Can't we just "do the right thing" without having to express sorrow over our sin?
The Backstory on Repentance
God's Word tells us plainly that human beings are made in His image. This makes humans distinct from everything else in creation. We bear a "resemblance" to God that is unique in the world; we were made to reflect His holiness throughout all of creation.
God's instruction to the first humans was simple: freely enjoy everything I have created, but don't cross this one line. We know how the story went. They crossed the line, and so have we ever since.
This disobedience to God is called sin, and it divides us from God and each other. It distorts God's image into something that doesn't look like Him or act like Him. Whereas God brought life, sin brought death.
The good news, though, is that God loved us. He didn't want us forever separated from Him. So, He enacted a redemptive plan to reconcile us to Himself. And this plan only required one thing of us: faith.
Where Faith Comes In
Faith has always been the central requirement for an intimate relationship with God. It was true in the Garden of Eden before humans sinned. And it's true now after we sinned.
But faith, although it is simple, is not that easy. There are all kinds of things that want to keep us from exercising faith: pride, fear, anger, lust, materialism, and so much more.
For faith to be "activated" we must repent of our sin. In other words, faith that truly makes a difference in our lives is not merely a mental assent that God exists; it is an active dependence on the Creator who made us and redeemed us through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
This active dependence on God is where repentance comes in, and this must involve a true brokenness over sin.
King David in Psalm 51 said this after he was confronted with his sin of adultery, "For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you [God], you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge." (v. 3-4)
And the apostle Paul in the New Testament reminded the church in Corinth of the good fruit that comes from godly sorrow:
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. (2 Cor. 7:10)
Repentance is borne of a deep sorrow over sin. This is what prepares our hearts and minds for the humble dependence that leads us to faithful obedience and a life of greater integrity.
Let's look now at how repentance is essential to a life of integrity.
3 Ways Repentance Is Essential to Integrity
1. Repentance reminds us of our need for help
When we look honestly at our sin, it at least has to reveal that we aren't perfect. In order to have integrity (the "state of being whole") we must recognize how far short of God's standard we fall, and be ready to seek help.
If we never ask for help on our journey of life and faith, it is highly probable that we are not engaging in the discipline of repentance, and thus not living with integrity. Daily repentance will reveal our broken hearts and the areas in which we need the most help.
2. Repentance acknowledges God as our source of holiness
When we repent of our sin, we are saying to ourselves and to God, "I blew it! I missed the mark of holiness you expect. Apart from you I cannot live the life you require of me. You are my only hope."
We are not capable of living the life God requires of us -- because of our sin! But when we repent we are reminded of the great love and grace and mercy that God has given to us through Jesus.
Jesus did live a holy life. THE holy Life! And, by faith, he freely offers His life to us. Celebrate this amazing truth!
3. Repentance trains us to worship God, not ourselves
The root of all sin is pride, the belief that we can thrive independent from God. In essence, sin is self-worship.
When we repent we are starkly reminded that God alone is holy and we are not. He alone is worthy of worship, we are not. The very first of the 10 Commandments sums this up: "You shall have no other gods before me." (Ex. 20:3)
There is a rich and rewarding humility that emerges from repentance. And from this foundation the desire to actively depend on our Creator grows. Over time, this produces a life that looks more and more like the Image it was meant to reflect.
Repentance is essential to a live of integrity. Let's commit together to daily express sorrow over our sin that leads to a change of mind and heart.
Written by Jonathan Daugherty
Founder of Be Broken Ministries
by Gerard Terry
Kids from Single Parent Homes
We have all read the statistics – kids from homes with single mothers have life complications. They have more problems at school, are susceptible to teen pregnancy, and experience more substance abuse. The bottom line? Kids need two parents. The uncontested conclusion is that dads matter and quality time with kids is critical. Untested, is exactly how much time. Regardless, we know that more time is better.
Pornography Takes Dads From Their Kids
Pornography takes a dad away from his kids. Whether dad is sitting at a computer at work viewing pornography or at home doing the same, he is not interacting with his children. He misses their life experiences and they adapt. Another result is the dad who gets so involved in porn that he engages in sex with a prostitute or has an affair. The end result is predictable, as divorce follows and the family splits up. Then, dad is not home when the kids wake up or when they go to bed. Time with kids is lost.
Let’s Look at You
So, are you devoting time to pornography in place of time with your kids? Are you coming home from work late? Are you stopping off at an adult book store along the way home? Have you chatted sexually with another woman or met someone for sex? Are you robbing your kids by leaving their mother after meeting another woman? Have you exposed your wife to an STD and threatened not only the emotional health of your home, but its physical health as well? Your wife and kids will not escape unstained by your sexual sin. There is a toxic overflow from this nasty habit and it spills onto your loved ones.
We are foolish when we think, “this is my problem and I can insulate my family from the effects of my porn habit.” Choosing to involve yourself in pornography will necessarily rob your family of time with you. Kids are a treasure and gift from God. So is their mother. Have you considered the consequences of eroding your relationship with them for a temporary thrill?
Your Family Deserves all of You
You must deal with this issue for your children’s sake and for your marriage. Don’t look back 10 years from now on a wasted life full of regret. Your family is your greatest responsibility. Too often, we men are slowly drawn into changing our schedules and loyalties without notice. Porn is sneaky and dangerous. It can change your work schedule, when you get home, and your attitude toward your family.
Have you ever resented your wife or kids for interfering with your desire for pornography? Have you ever been possessed by shame or anger over the time you wasted with porn? Your kids and wife suffer when you snap at them, avoid them, or are absent from home or activities. Your heart matters too – you can’t fully love your family and a porn mistress at the same time.
Don’t be one of the men who chooses his porn and lust over his family. Make the decision today which you will never regret. Start seeing a counselor, join a men’s support group and attend a Be Broken Ministries weekend intensive workshop. Your family needs what only you can give: your time.
(Now, re-read this blog post inserting "self-idolatry" for the word porn or pornography. Maybe this will come closer to exposing the real heart of the issue...)
by Jonathan Daugherty
Recovery is a process of healing from compulsions and growing in our God-given identity, for the purpose of serving others with similar struggles.
There is a process to recovering fully from sexually addictive patterns. It is simple: Heal --> Grow --> Serve. In a previous post I wrote about what healing looks like in this process. In this post I want us to explore the next stage: Growing. This stage focuses on three primary areas of growth: emotional, spiritual, and relational.
No one struggling with sexually addictive patterns is emotionally healthy. You might want to pause and reflect on that statement for a moment. You might even want to argue with it. But in my many years of hearing thousands of life stories of sexually addicted men, I have yet to meet one who exhibited emotional health in conjunction with their addictive lifestyle. Emotional health and addictive lust just don't go together.
Therefore, it is essential that emotional health be a high priority when seeking to grow into a man of sexual integrity. This means "growing up" and leaving childish ways behind.
1 Corinthians 13:11
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
Most sexually addicted men act like children emotionally. This is largely due to the fact that lust teaches a man to be self-centered, controlling, ill-tempered, angry, and deceptive. Just like a 2-year-old. But in order to be a mature man of integrity, he must give up such childish ways.
Often, counseling can be very helpful in understanding and overcoming childishness. Also, getting into a group of mature men can help sharpen these emotional skills.
The bible promises that if we walk by the Spirit of God we will not gratify the lusts of the flesh (Gal. 5:16). But how do we "walk by the Spirit?" By deepening our intimate relationship with God through Jesus. We must grow in our dependence upon God.
Most of us know the things to "do" when it comes to "spiritual growth," but few engage these activities in the way God had in mind. We know to pray, read our bibles, feed the hungry, care for orphans and widows, and serve the poor. But too often we engage in these disciplines with a "box-checking" mentality, not with a heart eager to know God.
Spiritual growth never occurs through activity alone. God is a Person, to be related to intimately, not as something we do, but rather as Someone we know.
"And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Spiritual growth is about knowing the Way, not as a religious ritualistic journey, but as one knows a Person. Jesus is THE WAY! On this journey of growth as a man of integrity, you must know Him. May this change how you engage prayer, bible study, and fellowship with others. These are not means to an end, they are ever-present points of contact with the living Jesus.
Every sexually addicted person has damaged relationships. Lust and love are not synonyms. Therefore, in order to move forward to a life of integrity, you must grow healthy relationships. You must learn to relate well with others.
1 Peter 4:8
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.
Healthy relationships require stuff that doesn't exist in addiction. Stuff like sacrifice, forgiveness, sharing, communication, honesty, faithfulness, patience, and lots and lots of love. These are not characteristics that tend to come naturally, especially if you have had lots of practice being a self-centered, addicted jerk. But there is good news! These are skills, therefore, they can be learned.
The best context to grow relationally is -- in relationships! Duh. So, talk to your wife. Spend time with your kids. Share your story with someone. Connect, connect, connect. Don't worry about "messing it up." There is no such thing as a "perfect" relationship. But you can have healthy ones, if you will work on growing in the area of relating well with others.
Growing is essential in becoming a strong man of integrity. There are no shortcuts on this journey. But from a solid foundation of healing, you can grow into the man you always wanted to be. And from there, well, some pretty amazing things can happen...
by Gerard Terry
I found a new TV series the other day and have been watching several episodes to relax. The program is rated PG at worst, so I thought it was ok to watch. Although there is no nudity, the content models moral values inconsistent with the standard of Godly living I want for me and my family.
I have been amazed that during the day I unconsciously think of the program, its characters and its fictional small town setting. I daydream of what it would be like to live in that town. Surprisingly, I am even starting to imagine doing some of the immoral things which the characters do – not just in the fictional setting, but in real life, with real people. The show is affecting the way I think.
The Building Blocks of You
I once heard an old saying that you and I are the people we are based on the books we read and the people we meet. To modernize the quote, we become like the people we hang out with. Today, we hang out with our friends, family, authors of books, and producers of videos, TV, music and movie shows. These are the people who influence us and shape who we become.
Regrettably, I often let influencers into my life without first screening them to ensure the message they will be sending is consistent with who I want to become. In other cases, when my conscience tells me (or my wife, who has better instincts) I should not be watching a video or show, I ignore my conscience’s alarm and move forward anyway, certain I can screen out any improper influence. Anxious for some excitement in my sometimes boring life, I allow myself to be influenced and programmed by men and women with opposing values. Looking back, I am only fooling myself if I think I can avoid their influence in shaping who I am.
Defining a New Reality
If you are not yet convinced, consider the fantasies, dreams and thoughts you have. Where do they originate if not from those you interact with? Why else would advertisers pay a million dollars for a 30 second football game ad? Who inspires you to take risks and try new things? Who fuels your thought life? What do you see in your mind when you close your eyes?
What we see portrayed by others becomes our reality. We start to formulate our goals and conduct based on our interactions with others. When these interactions occur with movies and television, we are unconsciously being programmed to adopt their version of what is real and acceptable.
In the powerful world of sexuality, where our brains release chemicals with sexual pleasure, we can quickly learn a false reality. After seeing hundreds or thousands of nude women whose only desire seems to be to please men, we start to think every woman wants us and our body. We eventually think we deserve a woman who will engage in extreme sexual acts. Eventually, we act on these false assumptions, and experience conflict with our wives, or the destruction of an affair, illicit sex or even a sexual crime.
While society is permissive with those who send us these destructive messages, it is unforgiving once we act as programmed. Courts are filled with men caught sending nude images of themselves over the Internet or who met with an underage girl. Men expose themselves to women and are truly surprised to find themselves in handcuffs. I have seen the epidemic of men living this false reality paraded through courts and sex offender treatment centers. They wonder how they could have drifted so far.
Shame and Guilt are Your Friend
I know many anti-porn groups teach that shame and guilt are bad. I disagree. Shame and guilt result from the collision of your true reality (Godly living) and the false reality (worldliness). Working hand in hand with shame and guilt, our conscience is designed to convict us of our ungodly behavior. This God-given emotional / mental cue is trained and strengthened through years of Godly living and Godly influences. Yet, like ignoring a smoke alarm, you can become conditioned to ignore your conscience’s warning and eventually not hear it.
Pornography will quickly dull your conscience, shame and guilt. Continued involvement in this destructive habit is perilous and sure to result in harm to your family, career, and freedom. Only by retraining a Godly conscience can you again hear the warnings of this essential defense mechanism, put in place for your protection.
There is a reason we don’t let our children hang out with kids who do drugs, use profanity or engage in premarital sex. We know that our children will be influenced and eventually fall into these same destructive habits themselves. Isn’t it time that you and I follow our own advice to our kids? What business do men who love their wives and children have hanging out with destructive porn producers, actresses and actors?
Be intentional about what goes into your mind. You are the product of your environment. Make it a good and Godly one.
“The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.” Prov. 11:3
Life is stormy sometimes. How is that for a gross understatement? The seas of life get choppy, though. It could be an illness, a job loss, the death of a loved one, a secret addiction, a difficult marriage.
There are numerous things in life that can create waves. So, what is the anchor that will keep us from being capsized in these storms? How can we weather the storms of life well? Let me suggest godly integrity.
Horatio Spafford knew about storms in life. He was a successful lawyer and real estate developer in the late nineteenth century in Chicago.
The first “storm” to hit Spafford’s life came in 1871 when his only son died. Shortly after his son’s death, the great Chicago Fire wiped him out financially.
In 1873, his family planned a trip to Europe. Spafford, however, was delayed by business and sent his wife and four daughters on ahead of him. While crossing the Atlantic, the vessel carrying his family was struck and sank rapidly. His four daughters died. His wife, who survived the shipwreck, sent a telegram to Spafford which simply read, “Saved. Alone.”
Horatio Spafford’s life was overwhelmed by storms in a very short period of time. How could one respond to such devastation?
Losing a son, losing your livelihood, losing all your daughters? What pain, what torture of the soul. What could possibly hold a man steady in such storms? What could possibly guide a man to safety in such turmoil? Godly integrity is what carried Spafford through.
Shortly after receiving the news of his daughters’ deaths, he boarded a ship to meet his wife in Europe.
When the ship reached the approximate place where his daughters died, the captain shared this with Spafford. His soul overwhelmed with grief and sorrow, he picked up a pen and poured out his heart to God…
When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
I can’t imagine what it must have been like for Spafford to write (or even think) these words, but somehow in the “calm” seasons of his life, integrity and faith in Christ was fashioned into a strong, consistent structure that carried him through the worst storms of his life…and he found peace.
For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
What is going to guide you through the storms of life to the peace of Christ?
“The integrity of the upright guides them.”
What are you doing in the “calm” seasons of life to prepare your “house” for when the storms hit. The storms are coming. Will you have the anchor and compass of godly integrity to see you through?
Written by Jonathan Daugherty
Founder of Be Broken Ministries
by Jonathan Daugherty
Obeying God will eventually clash with the culture, no matter where you live on the planet. We in America still live in a free country and enjoy the great privilege of worshiping God freely without threat of reprisal from the government. But even so, to live a life of faithful obedience to God will require some tough choices.
Chariots of Fire is one of my all-time favorite movies. It tells the true story of Eric Liddell, a Scotsman who was a tremendously fast athlete and also a devoted Christian. He gained much notoriety through his athletic accomplishments while at the University of Edinburgh, even setting a world record of 9.7 seconds in the 100-yard dash. But in Liddell’s mind, he was a Christian first and an athlete second. This conviction, however, would be challenged on the largest athletic stage in the world.
The 1924 Olympics were held in Paris and Eric Liddell was to participate in two races, the 100-meter and 400-meter. The 100-meter race, however, was scheduled to be run on a Sunday, the Lord’s Day, a day of rest. Liddell had never run a race on a Sunday out of reverence and commitment to the Lord. He was now being asked to break such a commitment, and the world was watching. He didn’t flinch. And he didn’t run. But he still won…
The 400-meter race was not scheduled on Sunday, and therefore Eric ran in it. It wasn’t his strongest race and no one expected much out of him. But as he stepped up to the starting blocks on the day of the race, an American slipped a piece of paper into his hand that had 1 Samuel 2:30 scribbled on it, “Those who honor me I will honor.” Eric ran every step of the race with that piece of paper firmly gripped in his hand. And he not only won the race, but set a new world record!
Do you think Eric Liddell enjoyed the difficulty of the decision he made in Paris in 1924? I doubt it. I’m sure his flesh rose up and wanted to run in that race, in spite of what it would have meant to his conviction before the Lord and testimony before a watching world. We have all been there. That is why it takes courage to obey the voice of the Lord. It takes guts to say “no” when everyone else is saying “yes.” But let us encourage one another, just like the American encouraged Eric, that our obedience to God will honor Him, and ultimately He will honor us.
Run the race of life with courage!