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Where God Is

Whew! Breathe. Digest. Process. What did you just read? For the ones that know me, I imagine you are viewing me in a different light than you once did. Some of your think this is me spilling the tea on myself. Most of you are asking, “Why would you share that?” If I could summarize it, my answer would be “to show you that God is everywhere, even in the places we don’t want Him to be,” but I know that answer will require detail, so let’s get into it.

What you have just read is one of the lowest points in my adult life. It is a rebellion against God, fostered by years of resentment, confusion, lust, loneliness, and anger all in one. As I said, I had become dissatisfied.

What I was experiencing at the time was warned against in Galatians 6:7-9. “Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow. If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up.”

What I had been sowing in my years of addiction to pornography was a warped view of women. I looked at women not waiting for sex, and even going so far as to record themselves doing sexual things and posting these things for the world to see. Instead of fleeing these images, I let them convince me that women were more willing to participate in sin than I had anticipated. Therefore, I laxed on my respect of them, which is exactly what the devil wanted me to do.

Men, we must stop teaching each other that getting women to have sex outside of marriage with us is a victory. We must stop fornicating and committing adultery like we’re in competition with each other, as if body counts merit manhood. We must have more respect for women and ourselves. We must admit that these escapades are indeed evil, and we risk a punishment far worse than we can imagine from participating in these sins.

I had heard of men cheating on their wives and girlfriends, and helping women cheat on their husbands. I have heard of men viewing women as prostitutes with different price tags and prized additions to an already high body count. I had heard of men involving themselves sexually with multiple women at the same time, calling them a “team”, playing different roles until one by one, they were bedded and then removed. We must stop entertaining these stories of sexual interactions (“conquests”), and these analogies of relationships with women. We must, in fact, correct each other in love and stop each other. We are better men than this.

At the time of this story, I was still a virgin, in my early twenties. Men, we must be more aware of the impressions we impart onto those who hears these stories about our exploits with women. I thought I would never view or deal with a woman in such a manner, and yet my arrogance proved all the more my weakness.

Ladies, I apologize. There is no excuse for my thoughts that night. There is no justification for what God saved me from in that strip club. I needed God to save me, and am ever grateful that He did. I understand if you never view me the same again. I understand if you are angry, upset, and guarded with me. I offer no pleas of forgiveness to you. I will not even ask you to read anything else beyond this point. I can only say I apologize.

There are men who have the thoughts I had I More Than a Tease every day, and there are men who never think like that. It is not fair that you live in a world where men only see you for the sex they can have. It is not your fault that God made you all so desirable. I can only ask that you be careful around us men. Learn how to vet the good ones and the bad ones properly, so that you do not become a target, and are hurt.

If you think it is easy to spot a man with foul intentions, please understand that I was going to church every Sunday at that time in my life. I was reading my Bible several times a week. I had never thought to pay for sex before, and I haven’t since (praise God). I was considered by both men and women to be a good man. I was talking about God everywhere I went and in every conversation I had with anyone, even in strip clubs. The friend whose birthday it was became my friend because I talked about God in class. Anyone who knew me outside of my thoughts knew me as a good man.

What you read was a look at, again, my rebellion. That was the first time I intentionally rebelled since I had given my life to Christ at age eleven. I had been walking with God for over a decade. As you saw, none of that mattered that night.

I had viewed a woman I never truly knew as an opportunity for sex, and nothing else. I took what I had learned about some strippers and applied it to all of them. Some would have sex with you, not all. Yet, that didn’t matter to me, knowing full well I had met women who truly used that occupation as a means to an end. I had even met a stripper I thought was a good person, which shouldn’t have been so shocking. We all have our struggles. As bad as a rep that strippers get, they taught me a little bit about women.

Women are strong. It is not easy to hold one’s self up on a pole. Women are brave. I couldn’t imagine being nude or almost nude in front of a lustful audience. Women endure things they shouldn’t have to from men, and still have the audacity to try and love us. I don’t have the strength to get fondled several times a week to pay for school so that I can live a better life and, perhaps, love a spouse for the rest of my life. If I was a stripper, I’d had a hard time believing women were capable of lifelong love. I can’t imagine how much worse it is for women, even without being a stripper. I fear we’ve failed women in every way. After all, strip clubs and pornography wouldn’t exist in a world that didn’t demand it, and you see the thoughts that some men have and act on with women, especially with adultery.

I was a part of the demand that gave room to the supply. I was the reason a woman had to drink in order to get through her shift at the strip club. I was the reason a woman had to be on drugs to be around men. I, a church boy, was one of the reasons an industry catering to lust continued to provide new material.

You are never too far in your walk with God to rebel or sin. Think of Moses[1], who struck the rock twice instead of obeying God after having led the Israelites out of Egypt. Think of Jonah[2], who ran away from because he knew God would save Nineveh. Think of Peter[3], who had witnessed Jesus perform miracle after miracle and still denied Him in the midst of others. Think of Samson[4] and David[5]. These men saved nations, walked with God, and spoke to Him regularly, yet deep into their walk, they rebelled.

God did not leave these men, and He did not leave me. That is the point I would like for you to remember. You saw where I was, you saw what I intended to do, and you saw what my thoughts were. Yet, God was there with me in that dark moment, and saved me. Even now, He saves me from things my flesh desires and things I don’t know are trying to attack me. I am not the man I was on that day, but I am not so naïve to think I am so far from backsliding.

I have not entered a strip club in years. I have had no interest in watching pornography. I cannot say that I am a virgin, another story you will hear about, but I do not look for women to have sex with. I look for one woman, and that is my wife. I shout with expectation for her arrival, and those who are not her, I respect, even more than they respect themselves. I am restored.

Even in the months that followed that night, God restored me. I did not visit strip clubs, or dance clubs. I did not drink. I did not interact with women. I saw the depravity I had reached, and to be honest, it terrified me. I am no fool in thinking I am above men who do such things. As I tell my friends, the only difference between a saint and a sinner is a decision. That night, I made a terrible decision, and it scared me. So, I followed it with decisions that bettered my soul. As a result, I fell out of love with strip clubs.

The point of this book is in its title Where God is. The short stories that follow are not as messy, except for one, and they tell of the beautiful exchanges I have had with God. Not all of these places were good spots to be in. Not all of these places were bad spots to be in. I have discovered that God is much more involved in our lives than we think, and while I can’t reasonably share everything, because there are too many instances, I can share something.

I decided long ago that my life, and my life alone, is a lesson for those who come after, just as the lives depicted in the Bible are lessons we have learned from. There is a man out there who needs someone to relate to the evil thoughts he has been having, so that he knows he can overcome them, just as God helped me overcome mine – that he is not alone in his sin, but God is there, wanting to pull him out. Give God a chance, and He will pull you out of your sin, even in the midst of it. There is someone who needs to know that God is with them, even in their rebellion, just waiting for them to return to Him.

Ladies, if you’re still reading, God is helping men, right now, to sort out their wicked perceptions of you. God is dealing with men’s hearts on your behalf. God is showing off your radiance, beauty, and potential so that a man knows how to properly see you. God is defeating the desires of lust, abuse, and tyranny for you even now. God is walking these men out of it!

God can walk with you through, literally, everything. He can see you at your worst and see you at your best, and still be the authority, guide, friend, father, mother, counselor, God, deity, spirit, and even fire marshal if need be. He is not limited by our knowledge of Him. Constantly, He finds ways to expand His image in our eyes.

That night, my understanding of Him was heightened beyond comprehension. I could hide no thing from Him, and eventually, I no longer wanted to. I no longer wanted to dismiss God while I went out and sinned, but rather, I wanted Him with me to pull me away every time. I wanted Him by my side like He was that night, because who knows what horrors I was capable of? Who knows what people would think if they knew what He saved me from?

To the person addicted to pornography, let Him help you break that addiction. To the men lusting after women, let God show you what He thinks of a woman. They are not tools for sex, ever, even the prostitute. Even if they want to be tools for sex, they never will be. Let God help you to stop treating them this way.

I was pathetic on that day. Still, I wouldn’t trade that moment of weakness for anything. God showed me He was with me through the muck and the clean. He was there for me when I was singing praise and worship, and sinning in my heart. He was there when I was the “good” man, and he was there when I was evil. He showed me that day that there was nowhere I could run to that would take me away from Him. He was closer to me than any person who read More Than a Tease and judged me.

Long before I hated myself, He loved me. Long before I judged myself, He forgave me. Long before any other name could be spoken against me, He called me “Child of God”[6] and “My Son”[7]. Take whatever time you need to process each of these moments in my life. They are not easy to read or easy to understand, but I pray they are Spirit-led to help you. Be patient with me. I have some things I wish to show you about our God…

[1] Number 20:1-11 [2] Jonah 4:1-3; 1:1-3 [3] Matthew 26:31-35, 69-75 [4] Judges 16 [5] 2nd Samuel 11:1-2nd Samuel 12:23 [6] Genesis 1:26-27; Galatians 3:26; 2nd Corinthians 6:14-18; John 1:1-13 [7] Galatians 4:1-7; Romans 8:1-17

****If you were blessed by this reading, please HEART it, and SHARE it with your many friends.

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