by Jeff Shaw, Director of Out of Darkness
Men have historically been given a very limited role in anti-trafficking efforts, if any. And it’s hard to blame anyone for this. But as I read the Creation account, it is clear that God created both man and woman in His image, each bearing unique aspects of His character. And only through healthy relationships with both godly men and women can the fullness of God’s character be seen by someone on the journey of healing.
God’s calling on my life to Out of Darkness was very clear. In the world’s eyes, it doesn’t make sense. Shouldn’t God have called someone who has lived a life of complete purity and never struggled with sexual immorality?
But I think often on I Corinthians 1:28. “God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” God took me, a sexually broken man, to push back the enemy’s agenda to degrade and objectify women. Because of this, He alone is worthy of all the glory for what has been achieved.
I have also considered the life of apostle Paul. Paul was the greatest enemy of the Church and the spread of the gospel. He lived to persecute and destroy both. Yet as part of his redemption, it was to the Church and the gospel that the Lord commissioned him. Many of his letters were to the Church that he once persecuted telling them the Lord’s desires for them and exhorting them with truth.
And he also carried the gospel to those who had not yet heard it after spending his life trying to stop its spread. That just brings me back to the place of acknowledging that it is not unlike God to call us back with authority to minister in the very things that once enslaved us.
Now that being said, the enemy would love to plunge us right back into immorality, undermining what has been accomplished. So we must pursue purity. This is what it has looked like for me:
(1) Support – I have been in small groups of men for four years. We meet every Monday night to laugh, study the Word together, confess to one another, and pray for each other. “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” – James 5:16
(2) Accountability – I try to connect with one partner every morning on the way to work to talk about how we’re doing and pray together, and another guy in the evening to do the same. It’s not just about telling each other after we’ve messed up, it’s about doing life together and having somewhere to turn when the temptation first comes. “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” – Ecclesiastes 4:12
(3) Intimacy with Jesus – I can do Bible studies and accountability all day long, but my greatest source of victory is my time alone with God. Temptation has so little power in my life when I start the day in worship, Bible study, and prayer. It sets the stage for the rest of the day to be spent abiding in Christ. “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” – John 15:4-5
(4) Radical Amputation – If I leave the doors and access to sin in my life wide open, I am just waiting for a weak moment to overtake me. I have canceled my cable and internet at home, and I have parental controls on my phone that are passworded by my accountability partner. I want as many barriers between me and sin as possible. “And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.” – Matthew 18:9
(5) Destiny – I look forward to what God is calling me to instead of behind at what used to enslave me. The more I look back, the more my old ways begin to regain power over me. “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:13-14
So let’s do this men. No more excuses. No more feeling unworthy. No more staying paralyzed with shame. Let’s change the world.