Is addiction to sexual sin unforgivable sin?

A pastor I sometimes like to listen to is John Piper.  Here is a sound clip of him talking about whether pornography addiction is an unforgivable sin.  Is Porn the Unforgivable Sin?  I think it’s a pretty good clip.

It’s helpful to us as Christians who sometimes fail with crossdressing.  I know that in my own experience I’ve doubted my own salvation countless times after crossdressing failures.  I knew crossdressing was sinful, but knew that I’m forgiven for my sins in Jesus.  And yet I failed so repeatedly in the addiction in the past, that I wondered if I was willfully sinning and actually not a true Christian, or if I was committing sin to the extent that it was unforgivable.

Pastor John reminds us that God is long-suffering and patient with us.  It’s not too late.  If you struggle with such a question that means you are not giving up, which means God is moving you to repentance.  Repentance is the key.  As long as you always have true repentance you are a child of God and enjoying God’s mercy.  If you find yourself unrepentant of sin, and at peace with your sin, that is when you should wonder whether you really have a relationship with God at all, whether you’ve been transformed by the love of Christ.

But, if we are in Christ, we keep making war against our sin of crossdressing as long as it takes, no matter how long it takes!

Crossdressing and The Lord of the Rings

In this post I want to analyze the similarities between my struggle with crossdressing and the power of the one ring in The Lord of the Rings books.  I am not writing this as a logical argument against crossdressing.  I’m just writing out of my own experience of what my crossdressing addiction was like for me in the past.  If this post does not resonate with your experience, so be it.  But what I describe is how I felt and how I perceive crossdressing, and I know from many conversations with other crossdressers, that they often feel this way as well.  If you have not read the Lord of the Rings books, this post probably won’t make much sense to you.  I did not feel like trying to summarize such an awesome and epic story, so I’m just writing for people familiar with the story.

Disclaimer – I am drawing an analogy between crossdressing and the one ring, but I am not perfectly equating them.  All analogies break down somewhere.  Obviously crossdressing is not the epitome of evil as the one ring is in the story.

 

I believe that Sauron’s one ring of power is a good symbol or analogy for any habitual sin of compulsion that we deal with, whether that be drugs, pornography, alcohol, or crossdressing.  Choosing to take hold of and bear the one ring seemed good, but it was really the way to destruction.  Similarly our sins might seem pleasurable but they lead to destruction not only in our lives, but also in our relationship with God as they are sins.

Some of the similarities between the one ring and crossdressing are obvious.  As the one ring weighed Frodo down, so these compulsive sinful addictions weigh us down.  They confuse us and corrupt us as the one ring did to Gollum and Frodo.  The one ring was very hard to resist, as these sins also are in our lives.  Over time the addictions get worse and worse, the more that we give in.  In the same way the hold the one ring had on Gollum and Bilbo and Frodo increased over time.  Their addiction to the ring became worse and worse so that it was harder and harder for them to be apart from it.  They wanted it more and more as we want our compulsive sins more and more.  Giving in to the temptation of putting on the one ring, only made the bearer want to wear it even longer and more often.  Giving in to our sins doesn’t take away the temptations but makes us only want them all the more often.   And the longer the bearers had the one ring, the more precious it became to them, so much so that they called it “their precious.”  I think the same thing happens with crossdressing, and the crossdresser’s image or alter-ego or clothing become precious to him.  The bearers of the one ring became very angry when they did not have possession of it.  How many of us crossdressers have become angry and irritated when we aren’t able to give in to our addiction?  The bearers of the one ring became very isolated socially.  I think this also often happens with crossdressers.

Just analyzing those similarities shows me what crossdressing was really like in my life and gives me the desire to destroy it once and for all as the fellowship needed to get rid of and destroy the one ring.  When you wake up and realize that crossdressing has a hold on you similar to how the ring had a hold on gollum, you stop wanting to give in to it so much.

 

Here are a few lessons I found by comparing crossdressing and the Lord of the Rings story -

1. Everyone is tempted by the ring in the story, but not all of them give in.  Some resist the temptation and so they remain uncorrupted, and actually gain strength in a small way over Sauron by resisting his temptation.  This is a good reminder to me that we do not have to feel guilty and weighed down just because we have crossdressing desires.  Temptations are not sins.  Giving in to temptation is sin.  Gandalf and Galadriel wanted the ring but did not give in and were not corrupted.  If we do not give in to the crossdressing temptations, we will not become corrupted either, and we don’t need to feel guilty.

2.  The one ring deceives the characters in the story, much as crossdressing deceives us.  The bearers of the ring feel good and powerful while wearing it.  But when others see them, they see the corruption and confusion and possessiveness.  Sometimes the corruption actually frightens those who look at the bearers.  The ringwraiths are the prime example of this ultimate corruption, but even the flashes of anger in Bilbo and Frodo frighten Sam.  Much of the time Bilbo and Frodo were deceived and didn’t realize how much the ring was really changing them.  Crossdressing is often the same way.  It feels so good to us.  But it is deception.  We see a woman, and other people see a very confused man.  People try to get us to stop, but we don’t listen.  We create our own reality.  When I was crossdressing, I was stuck in a self-delusion about what I was doing, and the activity itself was causing me to have many secrets and lies and attempts to hide things from my family and later wife.

The ring also deceived people in that so many of the characters imagined using the ring for good.  Frodo thought of using the ring to rescue his fellow hobbits from the Barrow wights.  Boromir wanted to use the ring to save his people.  With all the characters, the ring whispered deceitful messages about how they could use it for good.  But in reality, the evil that they would do would far outweigh the good.  I am the king of rationalization.  In the past I rationalized so many times why crossdressing was either harmless or actually good for me.  But that doesn’t undo the sinful nature and destructive power of it.  I was deceived.

3.  The one ring and crossdressing about both about envy.  The lure of the one ring was about wanting power that people didn’t have and didn’t deserve.  It was a shortcut to becoming powerful and famous.  Crossdressing is about envying what women have and what women are.

4.  Gollum reminds me of crossdressers who have gone all the way, and been totally corrupted by their desires, destroying their lives, bodies, and marriages.   From my perspective they are people who have become utterly lost in their delusions and confusions. But like Frodo learned from Gandalf, these people deserve our pity, not our anger.  Many characters in the books wanted to kill Gollum because of how corrupted he had become, but Gandalf seemed to hold out hope for even him to change. At the very least Gandalf and Frodo had pity on Gollum because they knew the power of the ring and that it was the ring who messed him up.   Frodo understood this best because of his own experience with the ring and it gave him great compassion and pity for Gollum, knowing that what happened to Gollum was happening to him.   I am trying to have this same pity and compassion on crossdressers, knowing that but for God’s grace, I could have been just like them.

5.  The one ring might have had special powers, but it was a wearisome burden.  This was what crossdressing was like for me.  It was like a rock in my life that depressed me and gave me shame and put a cloud over everything.  When I finally gave up crossdressing it was like I shed 100 pounds.  I felt light and free and on top of the world.  And today I still enjoy this same freedom and joy at having this burden out of my life.

6.  The bearers of the one ring started to put all their thought to the ring.  It became an idol in their lives consuming all their time and energy.  This was definitely the case for me with crossdressing.  Giving in to the sin consumed all the time I could possibly give to it.  The remainder of my time was spent planning how I would dress, and how I could have the most time to give to the activity.  It was definitely an idol in my life.  The one ring finally became the only reason Gollum continued to exist.  It controlled his every action and decision.  I’m not sure crossdressing would ever get us quite to that point, but surely it was heading in that direction in my life.  The bearers of the ring thought they couldn’t live without it, and how many of us crossdressers have felt like we can’t live without crossdressing?  Or felt at least we couldn’t live happy lives without crossdressing?

7.  The desire for the ring didn’t always make sense to the characters in the story, just as our crossdressing desires don’t always make sense to us.  Frodo at times wanted to put on the ring and he didn’t even know why.  A voice in his head told him he shouldn’t, but at times he still wanted to resist his conscience, give in, and put on the ring.  How many times did I just feel drawn to put on a skirt or dress, like a magical or magnetic pull?  How many times did I want to put those things on and I didn’t even know why.  I couldn’t put any logical thought to it at times, I just knew I “needed” to do it.

A quote from the books about Frodo’s desire to put on the ring – “Something seemed to be compelling him to disregard all warnings, and he longed to yield.  Not with the hope of escape, or doing anything, either good or bad: he simply felt that he must take the Ring and put it on his finger.”

8.  Because of the one ring’s influence, Gollum becomes a divided being, speaking to himself as if he was two people.  Gollum was with the ring so long that he came to identify himself with it, so much so that he called both the ring, “my precious,” and also himself.  This is eerily similar to crossdressers believing that they have both a male and a female persona.  A man can crossdress so much that he identifies his very self with the fake female persona he has created.  Thankfully my crossdressing never reached that level.

 

At the end of the story, Sam and Frodo trudge up Mount Doom at the end of their strength.  But then Frodo is unable to reject the temptation of the ring, and he decides to keep the ring and not destroy it.  Thankfully, God, the hidden character, in his providence, still has a good plan to save everyone.  And what happened was that Gollum bit the ring off of Frodo’s finger, fell in the lava and was destroyed with the ring.  Finally Frodo was free and the world was saved.   From the end of the story, I want to draw out a few more similarities or lessons.

1. The solution of the problem of the ring was not power, but weakness.  Relying on power was only folly.  Powerful characters would succumb to use the ring instead of getting rid of it.  It was only small hobbits that could accomplish the task.  But even at the end, Frodo could not do it on his own.  It is not our own strength that beats temptation.  It is only God and the transformation of our heart.  Thankfully, Gollum’s presence made up for Frodo’s failure at the end.  But the lesson I think still stands.  We cannot expect to beat temptation on our own.  Frodo couldn’t and his matter was far more important.  By our own strength we fail.  We need God’s strength.  We need to recognize that we are weak, and rely on him.  We need God to empower us and transform our hearts.

1 Corinthians 1 – 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.  26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

2 Corinthians 12 – But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2.  We need accountability.  We need community.  The ring would never have been destroyed if Frodo tried to do it on his own.  It took a whole fellowship.  The need for help stands out most at the end.  There were many times that Frodo was about to give up, stop moving, and just die, but Sam kept him moving.  Sam kept Frodo from giving in to the lies of the ring.  Sam kept feeding Frodo and giving him energy.  Sam kept on reminding Frodo of the goal and the importance of reaching the goal.  At times Sam even physically carried Frodo up the mountain!   And last, Sam gave Frodo hope.  He kept up the hope that they could make it, that things could be okay.  Without hope, Frodo could not have kept going.  Without Sam, without the fellowship, Frodo would have never made it.

If we try to give up crossdressing on our own, I would venture to say that we will not make it either.  We need to have friends who will give us hope that we can indeed actually give up crossdressing for good.  We need friends who will keep us moving.  We need accountability partners who will help us sort out the lies from the truth.  We need partners who will give us encouragement, remind us of God’s forgiveness, and even carry us at times when we feel so weak.  We need friends who will remind us of our goals.  We need to fight this addiction together, not by ourselves.  We need friends who will give us hope.

3.  When Frodo was finally free of the ring, he felt free and unburdened.  But we find later in the story that he still had some lingering pain from his wounds.  He eventually was able to go to the undying lands because life for him was still hard even after the ring was gone.  There are some comparisons and contrasts here with my own life.  Firstly, I have some residual wounds.  The addiction is gone, but sometimes I still have to pay for the consequences of what I have done in the past – the lies, the bad memories, and the wasted time.  Secondly, there are still lingering desires that come up every once in a while, especially in dreams.  They are reminders of the addiction and reminders that I need to be vigilant.  I’d love to be 100% free from these desires, but I will have to be content with being 90-95% free of them.

But unlike Frodo, I do not have wounds that make me unhappy and needing to escape this world.  Not at all.  I am able to live an abundant joyful worthwhile fulfilling life now that the crossdressing is gone.   I hope for the same for you too!

4.  We can’t force someone to give up crossdressing just as no one could make another character give up the ring.  A quote of Gandalf speaking to Frodo – “Already you too, Frodo cannot easily let it go, nor will to damage it.  And I could not ‘make’ you – except by force, which would break your mind.”   We need to let people have the freedom to continue to crossdress.  We can’t force anyone, only counsel them.  It’s ultimately between them and God.

 

 

On a last note, let me mention something from The Silmarillion, another book by the same author.  In The Silmarillion we see an account of the creation of Middle Earth.  Even though it is fiction is a beautiful account of creation, and it makes me praise God for the way he has made our world.  God brings creation into existence through a song, and his angels take part in making the music, thus taking part in making the creation.  While harmonious music is the author Tolkien’s analogy to creation, discord in the music is his analogy for the Fall into sin.  Melkor, an angelic spirit, wants to create his own music theme and creates something that is not harmonious with God’s music.  But God, being all powerful and awesome, is able to take Melkor’s discord, and weave it into his music so that the final result is even more beautiful than it was to begin with.  Thus God takes even our mistakes and our suffering and weaves it into his plan so that the result is even more beautiful than before.

In this view, Tolkien’s view of sin is that it is always just a perversion of the good, not something created anew.  I think that this has ramifications for crossdressing as well.  Let me give a quote from “the Gospel according to Tolkien” and then I will explain.

“Tolkien demonstrates, exactly to the contrary, that sin is always a twisting and distortion and perversion of the Good.  “Marring” is his favorite metaphor for the work of evil.  It cannot destroy or undo goodness, but it can certainly tarnish and blight it.  Since evil lives always as a parasite off the Good, the demonic Melkor was unable to produce any original or free creatures.  He could manufacture only parodies and counterfeits.  In addition to the carnivorous trolls that he bred in scorn for Ents, he has made the hideous orcs in mockery of elves.  ‘The Shadow that bred (the orcs) can only mock,’ Frodo observes deep within the interior of Mordor, ‘it cannot make: not real new things of its own.  I don’t think it gave life to the orcs, it only ruined them and twisted them.”

This quote makes me think of crossdressing.  God created male and female, and they were and are beautiful.  Humanity in its two forms was the crown of creation.  But we as crossdressers, what we do is mock the good creation.  We mock the female form that God has made.  We try to produce our own counterfeit females.  We pervert that which was good.  We pervert ourselves, males made in the image of God, and mock females made in the image of God.  We end up with a mixed form which is a perversion and fits neither beautiful form that God had made.  I want to uphold the beauty of God’s creation.  I’m tired of marring it.  Instead of trying to compete with God’s song, let us sing harmoniously with God’s melody.

Guest Post – Don’s Testimony (anti-androgen medication)

By Don

For most of my life I dreamed of being a girl.  It started when I was 5 years old when my mother threatened me several times to put a dress on me when I was bothering my sister.

The thought of that gave me a funny feeling and the more I thought about it the more I liked the idea.  Eventually I tried on my sister’s skirt and from that point on I was hooked.  I felt unloved by my parents and sisters and unappreciated by boys at school and in my neighborhood.  This was the first good feeling I had ever had at that age.  I could write a whole book on the ‘WHY” of me wanting to be a girl, with all the circumstances and the corresponding trauma, but suffice it to say, I had in my mind decided that I would be better off and be able to survive as a person better as a girl.

I followed the same course that many crossdressers do and continued to dress in secret while I lived with my parents.  I was very immature socially, and was afraid to do anything about my wanting to be a girl, and had my first date going to my senior prom.  I dated that same girl for 3 years and then married her.  During that time, the good feelings of someone loving me kept the crossdressing at bay.

Fast forward to 10 years ago and a second marriage later and the crossdressing developed into full blown late onset transgender. I hated being a man and wanted everything that women have.  When I crossdressed I did not want to get excited sexually but was only doing it so I could spend time being a girl.   I tried 3 times to leave home, go on hormones and tried to live full time as a woman.

After a few months each time I was on the drugs, I lost all interest in being a woman.  Each time I got very depressed and all I wanted was to go back to the comfort of my wife, who although hated what I was doing, would take me back.  After a time of being off the drugs, eventually I was right back to where I started, wanting so much to live as a woman.

After the third time I finally got it.  I was not transsexual but just a garden variety crossdresser.  The drugs had caused me to lose my sex drive and the desire to crossdress.

Mind you, all of my life, I received counseling and antidepressant drugs to help me with my problem.  I spent years in Christian addiction recovery groups and Sex Addicts Anonymous.  I attended a whole weekend with a sex addiction specialist for $3600 with one-on-one sessions.

The drugs I was taking for MTF transition were estrogen and an anti-androgen used by many transsexuals, spironolactone.  Together they work very well for increasing estrogen levels and reducing testosterone and my T was near zero while I was taking them within a few months.  When I had failed for the third time a light bulb lit up above my head.  I did not want to go back to the intense transgender feeling that I had.  I decided to continue taking the anti-androgen Spironolactone only.  I knew that I did not want the estrogen so as not to develop breasts, which had started to form.

When I did this, my estrogen levels went back to what a normal male has, and my testosterone also went back to my original levels, but there was one big difference.  My sex drive, although there was some there, was greatly reduced.  Before taking any drugs, I felt like I wanted to have sex every day.  I used to have to masturbate occasionally just to relieve the physical pressure in my lower body. 

With the Spiro, now that the strong desire to crossdress and be a woman was gone, I could appreciate my wife better that I ever could before.

Here is my theory of why it works so well.  Unlike other anti-androgens that will bring your T down to nothing, Spiro only acts on your testosterone receptors especially in your brain.  It interferes with that part but does not reduce T.

Now here’s the part that will scare some of you away.  After two years, I did get a little breast growth, but now I am also taking an anti-estrogen also and that is working well.  Just to let you know, from the very beginning, all the drugs I was taking were prescribed by a doctor and I get blood tests every six months to make sure that all my other body chemicals are normal, so I do not feel that this is too dangerous to my health.

In fact, there are some positive side effects.  I am 68 years old and just like most men that age, it gets harder to urinate as you get older because your prostate enlarges and many men end up with prostate cancer.  With the Spiro now, I am able to urinate like a young man again, and my PSA level, used to measure possibility of prostate cancer, is near zero.

Spironolactone is normally prescribed for high blood pressure; the anti-androgen part is a side effect.  My blood pressure has always been okay, but now it is even lower.  It’s not too low, but lower, so my heart is not working as hard as it would.

A third benefit is that I am much less easily upset.  I used to have a temper that would flare, occasionally, and it was caused by very small matters.  In psychology terms I am now less aggressive.  Little things don’t bother me, not traffic, not mistakes my wife makes, not being insulted.   We know that too much testosterone makes men very aggressive and again the brain T receptors for anger are affected by Spiro.

So there is much upside to this and very little downside in my opinion.

I am including some web links at the end of this article supporting my treatment.  Look at the purpose of anti-androgens including Spironolactone with regard to Paraphilias (Yes, that is what crossdressing is classified in psychology).  Most professional help does not know about this or has heard that it does not work but there is enough information out there that anti-androgens do work.

I believe that most men want their cake and eat it too. They hate their addiction but are not willing to give up any part of their physical sexuality.  After all, we are sex addicts, we love sex so much and that’s what gets us into trouble.  Jesus said, “If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out”.  I choose to do that, but only enough to make it easier to resist temptation.  I take (3) 25 mg pills of Spiro a day.  You can, with the help of your doctor find the right level where you get as much relief as possible and still function as a man.  It won’t be every day, but it also will not be once a month.

I am not saying this is for everyone, but for me it is the only way I can live a normal life as a man without the constant daily obsession of wanting to be a woman and fighting it.   I still have the same thoughts and desire to be a woman, although much less often and there is no torment like I used to have.  I still have the same brain with the same likes and wants, that will never be erased, but I learned that I can’t do it because of experience of trying it out.  Nothing has changed regarding what I think I want, but now, with a reduced libido, I am able to resist temptations, obey God, and be content with my life as it is.

I tried with will power, prayer and programs for the last 50 years and I gave up.  From what I see in the Christian crossdressing community, even the men that are having success and long term abstinence still have to work at it very hard and still in some ways fail. 

I still have to do all the right things.  I have to stay in The Word every day, stay close to Jesus in my life, and I can’t ignore my past and fall back into it.  I have to maintain an active life of building caring relationships so I am not isolated, keeping myself from having too much freedom and alone time, maintaining healthy relationship with men’s groups in church, and doing all the things that I read on this blog that are helpful, but it is soooo much easier to do and be successful. 

The last two years have been the happiest I have ever had.  Whenever I see a woman I admire and would still like to be, I think about the consequences of trying to be a woman, and this stops the thought in its tracks. 

If you want to stop struggling and fighting to resist crossdressing  than this works.  If you love your sex drive so much, even though God has now given you a way out from your temptations, just as God has given us doctors so we can get well when we are sick, then how do you expect prayers to be answered for God to help you stop crossdressing?  Don’t think you are doing this without Him.  He is giving you a way!    If you want to use faith, have faith that this will work, and He will protect you from harm.

http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Antiandrogen+Drugs

http://www.health.am/sex/more/biological_treatments_for_paraphilias_and_paraphilia/

By Don

Guest Post – Testimony by Anonymous

Written by Anonymous (originally posted as comment on blog)

 

TO WHOM THE LORD LOVES

I am a 57 year old, former minister and I want to tell you my story and how the Lord opened my eyes to the destructiveness of cross-dressing. I tried to keep it simple and not belabor it, but unfortunately it is still too long.

Heb 12 says:
And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.” If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? … Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

On a particular day, I was checking out of a store when I suddenly felt weak and dizzy as if I was going to black out. I took deep breaths and was able to recoup and get home. But the sensation continued and so I went to the emergency room. Blood test, EKG and x-rays revealed all was well so they concluded it was dehydration and released me.

Then a week later, the symptoms returned, and I felt in a constant state of nausea and dizziness. I was praying to God for relief but felt as if my prayers went only as far as the ceiling. No one was listening.

The symptoms continued with a vengeance. My heart was racing, I had to take deep breaths and I felt like I was constantly going to black out. My wife took me to the emergency room and again after all the tests, they could find nothing and released me.

I was very anxious now and crying out to God for answers. I was walking in a cloud of uncertainty and in an overall sense of fear. I had a horrible night’s sleep and woke up around 3 am, not able to get back to sleep. I was seeking the Lord the best I could, but deep in my gut it felt futile. I began to suspect that this was the hand of God’s chastisement on my life, for I had plenty to be chastised over.

The next morning I walked into the bedroom and my body had the sensation as if it was now completely shutting down. I felt myself not just blacking out but feeling as if my heart was going to simply stop. I actually said to my wife, “This is it. My life is over.” I crumpled on the bed and began to say my goodbyes to her. My goodbye was pathetic. It was one continual apology. I apologized for being such a lousy husband and not treasuring her, I apologized for not being the man of God I should have been and I apologized for not giving her the life she deserved and so on. She brushed all that aside and just told me to take deep breaths. The physical sensation subsided a bit so she called the ambulance.

On the way to the hospital, not knowing if this was my last day on earth, I say with shame that I was scrambling for a prayer. You see, the guy in the back of that ambulance was the biggest fraud on the planet and the game was over. I was a Christian hypocrite who portrayed a life of Godliness, who could battle anyone in the arena of theology, who could talk the “Jesus Talk,” but was living a double life.

For decades I lived this cyclical routine of pursuing Christ in prayer and scripture, and generally living as I thought a believer should, only to swap it out when the desire arose in a lustful, sensual world of cross-dressing (mostly in nylons, panties and slips but other times in full female outfits). You see I have been cross-dressing since kindergarten and since I discovered masturbation through it, it was now a permanent part of my life. It was my secret hidden life that was with me all through my youth, marriage and pastorate. It was my security, my safe haven, my place to go when the pressures were too much or when I felt depressed, or I was facing problems. It was my comfort, my warmth, my home. I had a love/hate relationship with it but apparently more love than hate. Suffice it to say, I was living a double life and my mind was corrupted, trying to serve two masters, both Christ and the base desires of the flesh. And as a Jesus said, it cannot be done.

I could be spiritual when I needed to be spiritual, would seek Christ in prayer (and truly mean it) but would have to admit that Wesley’s hymn described my failure:

I have long withstood His grace,
Long provoked Him to His face,
Would not hearken to His calls,
Grieved Him by a thousand falls.

I have spilt His precious blood,
Trampled on the Son of God,
Filled with pangs unspeakable,
I, who yet am not in hell!

I my Master have denied,
I afresh have crucified,
And profaned His hallowed Name,
Put Him to an open shame.

I moved onto pornography, mostly sites of women sensually clad in lingerie, nylons and the like, but then moving onto sites that are too embarrassing to discuss. Though I was not committing adultery in the literal sense, I was guilty of the same, for this is a sin that takes place in the heart and mind, not necessarily in the arms of another woman. I found excuses for my sin, spiritual excuses and I found these excuses because in the end, I loved my sin. It was a pleasure too much for me to give up. There were times I would fight against it, truly seeking Christ for that deliverance, knowing it was destructive to my relationship with Him, but in the end, I would give in under the pretense that it was just too difficult a battle to maintain. Truthfully, it was blatant idolatry.

I would justify it by thinking:

“Well, I’m a guy, I have needs.”
“Things aren’t going good in my life, I guess I’ll just escape the reality of what is.”
“Seems like God doesn’t really care about my situation. Oh well, I’ll just balance the scales on my own.”
“One of these days my walk with Christ will be what it ought to be, but for now…”

When it came to this particular sin, I would have to shelf Jesus, so to speak. I was a man in bondage, sometimes unwillingly, many times willingly. I was a slave of corruption as the Apostle says. “For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.” (2 Pt 2:19)

Later, I would turn back to Christ with typical religious guilt and pseudo-repentance. Other times my repentance was deeply sincere, times when I really meant business spiritually only to do as the Apostle Peter describes, return to my sin as a dog to its vomit. I believe this is why God removed me from the ministry years ago and why he put me on the shelf in return. Christ only uses pure vessels. He didn’t need this filthy one. This is why my life never amounted to anything spiritually. How could it? The prophet Jeremiah says: “Your iniquities have turned these things away, and your sins have withheld good from you.”

I was living a roller coaster Christianity, up one day, down another day. It was a pattern of life I became use to. I didn’t know any other way. And yet, through it all the hand of God was still gracious and the goodness of God still evident. But I was doing what Paul accused the Romans of: “Do you despise the riches of God’s goodness (kindness), forbearance (patience), and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God is meant to lead you to repentance? (Romans 2:4).

Little did I reflect upon the fact that I was putting myself in spiritual jeopardy. Paul goes on the write: “But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good (i.e. pursuing Christ)… but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil… For there is no partiality with God. (Romans 2:5-11)

So here I was now, in the back of this ambulance, knowing only that this could be my last day on earth, and I would soon face Christ to give an account for my failed life and why I kept choosing the path of sin over obedience to Christ. My confidence of eternal salvation was weak at best, and I was scrambling for every prayer I could think of. I was pleading the blood of Jesus, I was begging his forgiveness, I was trying to claim verses but in the end, I knew I was found out. My peace was gone, my assurance had eroded and I was scared, literally, about death. This should not be the way a true believer in Christ should face death, and I knew my sin had found me out.

The most horrific experience in the back of that ambulance was “regret.” Regret over a wasted life. Regret that I treated the most precious gift of the Gospel as if it were one of many items in a toy box. Regret that I had played around with Christianity rather than experienced it in all the Resurrection glory that Christ intended I should. Regret that I was not the man of God, living to the potential that I should have been with my wife and children. Regret that I traded out prayer time for selfish living, regret that I assumed upon the mercy and grace of God and abused it. I am convinced that the worst thing about hell is that one keeps his memories, because regret is unbearable and unchangeable and it plagues the mind incessantly.

I was possibly facing my last day in this world in the back of that ambulance and I was not anywhere near having that “abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Pt 1:11) God could not have been further from my senses than he was that morning.

Once again, to my chagrin, the doctors could find nothing. Absolutely nothing. They suggested maybe thyroid, possibly anxiety, but this would require further testing with a physician outside the hospital.

This was, beyond the shadow of a doubt the chastising hand of God. The scourging of God as it says in Hebrews 12. Physically, I was experiencing everything King David felt when he was chastised by God for keeping silent about his own sins of adultery and murder.

Psalm 38
2. For Your arrows pierce me deeply, And Your hand presses me down.
(I felt an invisible heaviness on my life, pressing down on me).

3. There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your anger, Nor any health in my bones because of my sin.
(I was feeling all out of sorts, nothing seemed right in my body, my health felt depleted).

6. I am troubled, I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long.
(I was vacillating every day between depression and anxiety, fear and weeping. I could not take control of my emotions).

7. For my loins are full of inflammation, And there is no soundness in my flesh. I am feeble and severely broken; I groan because of the turmoil of my heart.
(I could find no peace, no rest, no comfort in anything spiritual. I felt like a broken man even though there was no physical evidence of it).

10. My heart pants, my strength fails me; As for the light of my eyes, it also has gone from me.
(My heart palpitations kept coming and going, I was gasping for breath. Everything seemed hopeless, I couldn’t get work done, I was weak, no energy, no appetite and had to just lay on the bed).

Psalm 32
3. When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long.
4. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was turned into the drought of summer.
(I had constant dry mouth even after drinking water, I groaned inwardly over wondering what was happening to my life).

So that day, I went home from the hospital and just sat on my bed. The house was empty and I began to weep. Not so much because of my physical condition, but because I squandered a life, a whole beautiful gift of God, for what? The deceitful lies of the world? I felt the hollowness of it in the back of that ambulance. I could not say that Jesus was the Pearl of Great Price, that wonderful Treasure, in my own life. I was what James called, the “double minded man unstable in all his ways.” I convinced myself I wanted Jesus but gave a wide berth for the lust of the flesh. I was the one whom Paul spoke of in 1 Cor. 10:12, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” I deceived myself into thinking that I could have a relationship with Christ, periodically interrupted to feed the flesh monster, and then go back to Christ. How could I be so blind? “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ IF we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end.” (Hebrews 3:12-14). “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation…?” (Hebrews 2:3).

As I sat in that room and pondered all this, I turned to Psalm 51 and began to read it intently and started to weep through every verse:
1. Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your loving-kindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions.
2. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin.
3. For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me.
4. Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight— That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge.

I worked my way through all 19 verses no longer weeping, but now wailing, crying out to God with all my heart. I begged his forgiveness, I prayed for the washing of the blood of Christ, I confessed my sins in detail, I confessed my failures, my presumptions, my self-will, my waste of life. I admitted that I deserved the wages of unrighteousness. I prayed sincerely. I prayed fervently, probably for the first time in years. But I never prayed for healing. I prayed for a restored relationship with my precious Savior of whom I treated like some co-worker I would run into on occasion. I didn’t want healing. For the first time in a long, long time I wanted Jesus. I did not want my old life restored because I knew then and there I will never go back to that way of life again. I vowed that if I do survive whatever this is, I will never drag a bag of regrets and fear into the back of an ambulance again. I attempted no bargains with God, I didn’t offer any deals, I simply repented and left the outcome to him.

I then flopped on the bed and fell asleep.

Well, The Lord wasn’t done yet. That night I couldn’t sleep. I was watching the clock while I could feel my heart pounding in my chest. I had to gasp for deep breaths. I got up and paced. I tried to pray. It seemed God wasn’t listening. I lay back down. About 1:30 I woke my wife and said, “I can’t take this. Let’s get back to the hospital.”

This time they kept me in for 24 hour observation and a stress test. As I lay in the bed hooked up to the monitor, blood being taken, prodded by doctors and awaken by nurses, I can only say my bedfellows were fear and anxiety. Despite the feeling of futility, I kept praying to Christ. My prayers were now for, “time,”” time so that my life can bring forth the fruits of repentance. I wanted to make up to Christ all the years that I had so selfishly squandered. Not to earn my salvation but to allow him to do in me what he wanted to do decades ago.

About 4 in the morning a nurse woke me up to take more blood. When she finished, I just laid there staring at others in the emergency room, some in terrible condition. I felt like a fool to allow myself to think I could deceive God and get away with sin. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption (in Hell), but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” (Galatians 6:7, 8). God was making that crystal clear in that hospital.

As I lay in the bed, silently, just staring, the Lord spoke to my heart. “He who comes to me I will in no wise cast out. He who comes to me I will not drive away.” (Jn 6:37) I began to silently weep. You see, through this whole ordeal, I felt rejected by the Lord. I felt as if he had washed his hands of me. Like David in Psalm 51, I too prayed: “Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.” And this verse was the beginning, the crack in the ice, so to speak of hope for me. I held onto those words all day in the hospital repeating them over and over.

Well after several blood tests, EKG’s, stress test (echocardiogram) and x-rays, the doctors could find nothing wrong except with the possibility of maybe a thyroid problem which had to be checked out by a family doctor.

As the week progressed, my symptoms began to subside. Little by little, I began to feel more myself.

I was sitting in the living room scrolling through my phone checking out some bible verses that I had saved on it. And there were the words that helped me turn the corner. 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is long-suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Again, more tears.

I then thought, if God is not willing that any should perish, then God is not willing that I should perish. And if God is not willing that I should perish, then that tells me that what God is doing is designed for a positive change, so that in the end, I will not perish but have everlasting life! I slept very well that night knowing God was not out to destroy me, but simply to reprove me. I rested in that.

The next day I asked my wife to go for a drive with me. I poured my heart out to her and told her of all my failure which was not limited to just the cross-dress issue (of which she was not totally ignorant). I failed her as a husband, a prayer partner and as a believer for we are “heirs together of the grace of life.” (1 Pt 3:7). I owed this to my wife. I wasn’t going to sweep this under the rug and just move on, for it affected my marriage and it hindered my prayers as the apostle says in that verse. I wanted nothing between my soul and the Savior and I wanted a clean slate with my wife as I make a clean break from old habits. And my loving wife, of whom I do not deserve was overwhelmingly forgiving.

Well, time had gone on and after a blood test, as I expected, it was not my thyroid. I am confirmed more and more that I was specifically chastised by God, that this was the loving hand of Jesus Christ letting me know that to stay on this path will be sure destruction. It was as if God was saying, “Enough is enough. I’m going to give you a taste of what it will be like when you face your death apart from Me!”

I am here to testify that it is —–horrifying.

I seek only Christ now. I want Him. I want to know Him. I don’t care about “head knowledge” anymore. Let the others debate theology, let the others argue back and forth while putting up walls between themselves. Like Mary, I want to sit at the feet of Jesus and hear His word. I want “the one thing that is needed, and chose that good part, which will not be taken away from me.” (Luke 10:38-42)

I am re-discovering the grace and the love of Jesus Christ and am amazed that he did not just cast me away from his presence. This has been a supreme act of love on Christ’s part by not allowing me to carry this hypocrisy to the grave. And I am done with the idolatry of cross-dressing. That doesn’t mean I am no longer tempted, for I have been experiencing elevated levels of addiction withdraw. But I run to the love of Christ now as my comfort and security, not to the clothing that gave me a false satisfaction. When you stand on the cliff’s edge of your life and see the outcome of an eternity in question, you realize, no earthly pleasure is worth eternity apart from Christ.

Thanks
Anonymous

Guest Post – Andrew’s testimony

By Andrew

My name is Andrew and I have been in recovery for over 20 years from CD, sex, and lust. I have also been saved by the blood of Jesus Christ my Lord. I grew up in Chicago in a very dysfunctional home without a father till I was 8yrs. old and then my mother married what turned out to be an abusive alcoholic.  I made a lot of bad choices in my childhood and some of those choices made me a victim for many years. I began cross dressing in my mind along with masturbation at the tender age of 10 yrs. old and it wasn’t long after that I started to CD in private at my home and also at a “friends” house that molested me till I was 17 and went into the Navy.

The desire was very strong to CD and about 5 yrs ago I lived as a woman more than as a man. This brought much heartache to my wife and also my son, but as I was to learn CD is a selfish and self-centered activity. Even though I had been through many recovery groups and even though I was a Christian I continued to live in duality with my masculine self constantly warring against my femme self until there was a psychological break in my psyche. I ended up retiring with a disability and began to realize that although I had a strong faith in God and in Jesus, I still had a very hard time actually trusting God with my whole life.

A few years ago I had a major dream that shook me to my core and what happened after that has become one of my biggest blessings. I went to work on myself, my faith and my lack of trust and in 2011 I found this blog.

I would comment on various posts and I joined our prayer chain and over the years, I found that God was taking my whole life’s experiences and making them all work out for His good. I still struggle with temptation and will till Christ calls me home, but within these pages I have found a home and a family of men that I am blessed to know and have come to love as we fight this good fight. I realized that if I was going to be used by God to do some work for the Kingdom I had to commit to working on me and also taking my life’s experiences and sharing them with other hurting men.

There are many who come to this blog for relief from a sin that has had them in bondage and this blog and all it’s posts can be the sanctuary for many. Due to the worlds view that there are no absolutes anymore I have even had the opportunity to dialogue with others who do not hold to the same beliefs as myself, so we all get the opportunity to grow.

As I get further down this journey I see now how fragile our sobriety is. I am not perfect but I am better than I used to be and with that I can say that it is all good. Praise God!

Thank you for fighting with me

Andrew

                                                                                                                                              .

*Extra note from me, Thorin – Andrew has been a tremendous blessing to me from the Lord. He has encouraged me greatly and has helped me to manage this blog, approving comments, and commenting at times when I am busy with real life ministry. He also has been a great help in managing our prayer chain and praying for/encouraging the other guys.

Guest Post – Celebrate Recovery!

Celebrate Recovery!

by Andrew

It was between 9 and 10 years ago that my son was in a recovery program through a hospital here in Illinois. I prayed for his success and for him to come out of it clean and sober. Along the way there were things that the counselor suggested that we as his parents attend and one of those was a meeting with other addicts that had gone through or were going through the program.

I have been in recovery since my late 30s and I have been a part of church programs through Harvest, Willow Creek, online programs, telephone programs with Jerry Leach, and even biblical counseling. It seemed I was always going to meetings at some program or another so I fully understood why the counselor wanted us all to attend this program. My wife couldn’t make it but I got off work and went downtown to meet with these addicts and be with my son as he went through this journey.

When I arrived, there was the typical large room with a small circle of chairs and when the meeting started, a man or a woman would get up and announce their name and how they were an addict and then tell their story to us parents, friends and spouses of the addicts in recovery. It is always amazing to me how God has worked in my life and though I had attended meeting after meeting in my own search for recovery, I guess I just never heard any of what was spoken. It was like that feeling of being on top of the mountain with a choir of angels singing the Hallelujah Chorus as I really heard what these common garden variety addicts were saying. It all hit me like a ton of bricks as inside my head I was yelling “I do that and that and oh yeah that is a part of my cycle as well.”  All I had to do was to replace their drug of choice with mine and voilà I had finally found what was missing – honesty and accountability with people having the same habits I had struggled with. SEX & LUST

So after that I had to figure out where I could go to get into a meeting and I found a program called Sexaholics Anonymous. I went to that program for over 2 years and did some of the work, I got sober, a sponsor and the peace that I wasn’t alone, wasn’t a bad person and that I had to rely more on God for my recovery.

I went back out there as we say for about 3 more years. It was what I call my dark period. I went back to the meetings at SA, confessed things and at about that same time a friend of mine from Church was telling me about this program that he was trying to start called Celebrate Recovery. I was fairly jaded at this point so I wasn’t really interested in another program and especially one that didn’t have my signature sin of lust as a recovery point. After all, isn’t that important to have each group of recovering addicts with their own group? At least that is what I thought!

You see in hindsight, one of the challenges that I faced was that I was safe at SA and not in a good way for me. I didn’t really know these guys, we weren’t close friends, we didn’t see each other except on the 1 or 2 days a week that I went to a meeting so I could cheat. Now I did try to stay sober and I did try and do the work but not with the right attitude or spirit. Because even after all I had been through and all the pain I had put my family through, I still wasn’t ready. Ready for what? The actual work of recovery!

I knew the 12 steps and I had all the books but there was still something that was missing and that was Jesus Christ. I was saved at 8 yrs. old and believed with all my heart that He was my savior but I don’t think I trusted Him to do what He said He would do. It was that same dis-trust that laid dormant in my heart against all men and Jesus was a man to me so I had to overcome that feeling of dis-trust and begin in small ways to begin to trust God with everything in my life. I had to check out this thing called Celebrate Recovery and I went to a meeting.

I have been a member of CR for about 4 yrs. now and I am also part of what we call a step-study where I meet with guys every other Monday to go deep into our lives and our hurts, habits and hang-ups and where we can share with each other what is going on in our lives, what struggles we have had and what victories God has blessed us with. On Thursday nights we have an open share meeting where we get together as a large group of males and females to fellowship, worship, pray and break into our individual smaller groups of men and women to share. The great thing about CR is that it is Christ centered and it is through our relationship with Him that we are healed. I do not have a problem with any 12 step group but I think that for a Christian trying to survive in this world with a biblical worldview, CR is the place for any recovery. The following is from the website – Celebrate Recovery.

Celebrate Recovery is a biblical and balanced program that helps us overcome our hurts, hang-ups, and habits.  It is based on the actual words of Jesus rather than psychological theory.  20 years ago, Saddleback Church launched Celebrate Recovery with 43 people. It was designed as a program to help those struggling with hurts, habits and hang-ups by showing them the loving power of Jesus Christ through a recovery process. Celebrate Recovery has helped more than 17,000 people at Saddleback, attracting over 70% of its members from outside the church. Eighty-five percent of the people who go through the program stay with the church and nearly half serve as church volunteers.

Celebrate Recovery is now in over 20,000 churches worldwide!

I will be in recovery for the rest of my days here on earth and I praise God for that because I am a recovering sinner! How about you?

Andrew

Guest Post – XXXChurch.com

XXXchurch.com ?

by Andrew

Can you imagine a website where prostitutes are prayed for and where pornography is not heralded as a first amendment right? Welcome to XXXchurch.com I invite all who seek to be healed by God’s grace to investigate and support this very worthwhile ministry. I have had a lot of healing through it’s X3Watch which is both able to be downloaded as a free internet watch site and a premium paid site.

I went for many years thinking that I had no problem with porn because it wasn’t pictures that I sought,  it was stories and fantasy regarding CD and other things. I have even authored those same stories and believe me when I say that they are as addicting to the mind as any pictures could ever be because the mind can be a veritable cesspool if we allow it. One of the best parts about this site is the fact that once I signed up for X3Watch I named a couple of brothers as accountability partners that would get my reports every 2 weeks or so. These guys would see all my interaction with the internet for that period of time and in that report it would grade the sites I went to so that they would know if I went anywhere I shouldn’t go. It was that kind of accountability I needed because I valued their friendship and did not want to disappoint them.

Churches would benefit greatly from this site as well because as we know, to many men have this addiction to porn and other impurities that we know they would like to remove from their lives but don’t know how to do it or worse, think that they can do it without help. So this site also has some valuable workshops available for a nominal fee that can help  with this problem.

So here is the information on XXXChurch.com:

The organization launched in January 2002 when the founders, Mike Foster and Craig Gross, set up a booth inside the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas to promote the website as an alternative to porn, and it continues to attend porn conventions worldwide. The group has given out thousands of Bibles with “Jesus Loves Porn Stars” on the cover at these conventions, a facet of their ministry which has been featured in American national media.

In 2005, the independent film Missionary Positions was released, which documented the origins of XXXchurch. The film was produced and directed by documentary film maker, Bill Day. The film documents Mike Foster’s departure from XXXchurch in 2004.

The organization has received support from prominent Christian pastors such as Bill Hybels, Craig Groeschel and Rick Warren.

Craig Gross is also a published author, having written Questions You Can’t Ask Your Mama About Sex, The Gutter, Dirty Little Secret, Pure Eyes, Eyes Of Integrity, Jesus Loves You This I Know, Starving Jesus, and Open. Craig Gross appeared on an episode of MTV’s True Life, in which he counseled a man addicted to porn.

Programs

Porn debates

The founder of XXXchurch.com, Craig Gross, regularly debates porn star Ron Jeremy in an event called “The Porn Debate” on college campuses across the United States. In 2008, the debate was featured on ABC News’ Nightline both on air and online, with the segment becoming the most watched in Nightline’s online viewing history.

X3watch software

XXXchurch.com produces accountability software (specialized Web-surfing monitoring software) called X3watch. The software maintains a log of questionable websites that a user accesses based on content type, and then sends a report to an “accountability partner” of the person’s choosing. Such software can be useful for individuals trying to avoid pornography use.

The software works on Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Android, and iOS mobile platforms . There is a free version which does only monitoring, and a Premium version which also does filtering.

Podcast and radio

In 2008, the organization launched a video podcast that documents the current campaigns of XXXchurch, which is released every two weeks on XXXchurch.tv and iTunes. It also has several radio public service announcements airing across the US and abroad on various radio stations and syndicated programs such as RadioU, Refuge Radio, Malone University Radio, The Full Armor of God Broadcast and Fuel Radio

Media appearances

XXXchurch.com has been featured in Time, Playboy, GQ, The Today Show, CNN, Good Morning America, the CBS Evening News, The View, Anderson Cooper 360, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times and ABC News Nightline.

The organization’s “Porn and Pancakes” event was mentioned on the February 3, 2007 episode of Saturday Night Live during Weekend Update.

The organization was discussed in an episode of Penn & Teller: Bullshit relating to pornography and attempts to do away with it.

By Andrew

Freedom from Porn links, and organizations

I recently found some more links that might be helpful to many of you. First some links to help us think about pornography and masturbation and finding freedom from these addictions, whether they are crossdressing related or not.

1.  Porn-Again Christian:  a frank discussion on pornography & masturbation.  This book was written by pastor Mark Driscoll and it is free to read online.  I haven’t read the whole thing, but the parts I read were really good.  While Driscoll and I have some significant disagreements about what it means exactly to be a man or a woman (he seems to give in to a lot of cultural stereotypes), I really like a lot of what he preaches and writes.  And this free book could do many men a world of good.

2.  Porn-Free.org – This is another website with lots of great resources and ideas for being set free from pornography addiction.  I’m sure much or all of what is written could apply to addiction to crossdressing fiction or crossdressing photos.  The images we are tempted to look at might have slightly different content, but the nature of the addiction is the same.

 

For most of us with severe addiction, you are not going to get the help you need just from reading my blog.  Pray for courage and then contact one of these organizations to get the personal help that you need in order to be truly set free from addiction.  As you can see there is no shortage of Christians out there ready and willing to help you if you admit that you need help.  At each one of these organization pages, you can find links to other organizations and helpful websites, testimonies, articles and other resources for battling addiction.

1.  Here is an organization called – Prodigal Ministries.  From their description – Established in 1986 Prodigal Ministries supports men and women with unwanted same-gender attractions. The ministry’s helps have grown to include numerous issues surrounding sexuality including: sexual addiction, sexual abuse, trans-gender issues and extramarital affairs (homos-specific). Through a personal and dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ individuals can experience purity and wholeness. With Jesus anything is possible!

2.  Another organization/website called – Healing for the Soul.   From their welcome page – You’ve landed. You’ve arrived at a site dedicated to Sexual Addiction Recovery and help for Unwanted Same Sex Attraction.  You’ve probably got a sick feeling in your stomach. Or you may be scared, lonely, and ashamed, feeling sure no one can help. Maybe you’ve hit rock bottom and you feel no one can understand.  From the pain in your heart and mind you may be screaming, “Can anybody help me? Is there a way out?”   Yes there is. There is hope.

3.  Another organization called – Be Broken Ministries.  They seek to help people break free from sexual addiction and find healing by God’s grace.

4.  Another organization called -  Pure Community Ministeries.  From their about page – The vision of Pure Community Ministries is to help those who struggle with or have been hurt by sexual brokenness find healing.

5. Another organization called – Pure Desires Ministries International.  From their about page – Pure Desire is devoted to healing men and women who have become addicted to sexual behaviors harmful to their social, family, and spiritual well being. By supporting local churches, Pure Desire is setting men and women free, so they can walk in the saving Grace of the Lord. 

6.  Another organization called – Pure Hope.  From their about page – Our vision is a world free of sexual exploitation and brokenness, and we work toward that through our mission of providing Christian solutions in a sexualized culture. In short, we equip individuals, families, and churches to pursue sexual purity and oppose sexual exploitation.

7.  Another organization called – Hope and Freedom.  From their welcome page – Our mission is to show men how to get free from all compulsive sexual behavior permanently and, for those who are married, lead them in a process that can result in full trust being restored in their marriage.   Our process utilizes Three-Day Intensives that not only give sexual addicts the tools they need to get free from their dysfunctional behaviors but focuses on helping the partner heal from the trauma created by his behavior. Hope begins now. Freedom awaits!

8.  Another organization called – Operation Integrity.  From their about page – Our vision is to help people recover from addiction, leading to radical life transformation.  Our purpose is to create educational Christ-centered 12 Step literature, develop recovery and peer support fellowships, and provide public speaking and counseling services.

Can God deliver me from crossdressing?

Can God heal you or cure you from crossdressing?  Yes I believe he can.  Let me explain.  I believe God can heal us from this perversion in at least two or more ways.  The first way is the way that I have experienced.  This way is the gradual healing of our hearts and minds over time.  To define it, let me tell you my story.

Several years ago God gave me the strength to totally stop crossdressing.  Well, I actually think God had always given me that strength, but I just finally chose to trust him that he would help me stop.  Once I believed that I could stop with his help, I stopped.  It was as simple of that.  But over the past years, God has gradually worked more and more healing into my heart and mind.  The temptations were very strong and hard at first.  I had stopped crossdressing but I still craved it strongly.  But the longer I stayed steadfast and didn’t give in, the less strong the desires became.  Today once in a while the desires creep up, but largely they are no longer existent at all in my normal life.  I can look at my wife’s clothing and have no thoughts of crossdressing at all.  I can enjoy intimate time with her and only think about her.  Female clothes have lost their magical quality.  Clothes add to the beauty of women in a natural way, but they have ceased being a powerful fetish object.  I can hold my wife’s underwear when doing the laundry and not have any strange thoughts about putting them on.  I dream much more about sex than I used to, rather than only dreaming about crossdressing.  God has seemingly even cleansed out my mind, making me forget much of the crossdressing stories and images I have looked at over the years.  Would I say I am “fully healed?”  No I would not.  I reserve that for the time when I never have the least desire to ever again look at a crossdressing photo or thought.  While that is true most days, there is still the occasional time every couple months when that desire creeps up.  Those temptations are easy to dismiss at this point, but it would be dishonest to claim that I am fully healed when that still happens at times.  But the point is that I am far more healed than I was a couple years ago.  The amount of healing God has done in my mind and body and soul is significant, significant enough that I actually feel like a different person.  I have never felt more free.  I am no longer a slave to that addiction.  I am so much happier and joyful in my life than a few years ago.

 

The second way that I believe God can heal us from this perversion, is an instantaneous healing of our heart and body.  This I did not experience, but of course, it must be possible!  I realized recently that I am not giving God enough credit in my blog posts.  I only talk about the gradual healing and I set people up to expect that God won’t completely heal them.  I set people up to expect that they will always have these crossdressing desires till the day they die.  But who am I to limit God?  Who am I to limit the God that created the Heavens and the earth, the God who created Neptune and Saturn, the God who made this vast beautiful world that we live on just by speaking?  Who am I to say that God can’t take away someone’s crossdressing desires, the same God who raised people from the dead?  Of course God can do this!  This is the same God who convicted me of my sin, cultivated faith in me, gave me salvation through Jesus, and transformed my heart making me a child of God.  Of course God can change our hearts and minds.  He has done it for countless people throughout history and in Scripture.

So no longer do I want to limit God on this blog.  Will God always heal a crossdresser instantaneously?  No.  In fact, I think he usually will not.  Usually I think he will heal a person slowly through the long hard work of discipline, changing life habits, trusting in Him, empowerment by the Holy Spirit, accountability from the church community, dwelling on His Word, asking for help through prayer, and seemingly endless repetitive times of confession and thanksgiving for forgiveness.  This seems to be the normal way God heals people from sinful addictions, whether that be alcohol addiction, drug addiction, food addiction, television addiction, pornography, or crossdressing.  But even if that is the normal way, we should still keep on asking God for this immediate healing.  God has given these kinds of immediate healings to many kinds of addicts.  While most Christian homosexuals have to struggle with same-sex attraction for the rest of their lives, there are a few of whom God has miraculously healed them and taken away their same-sex attraction.  There are former drug addicts who were prayed for and released from addiction without going through long sessions of rehab and relapses.

So why wouldn’t we ask God for this healing ourselves as crossdressers?  I guess if God speaks to you, (which I believe he can still do), and tells you that your healing will be gradual and not instantaneous, than you should stop asking for the instantaneous miraculous healing.  But if not, you might as well keep on asking for that miracle. Don’t sit around and do nothing while praying that God heals you in that way. Start doing the hard work of the gradual healing process.  But while you do that hard work, ask God to heal your heart, your mind, and your soul.  Ask him to deliver you from crossdressing.

And then leave the results of your prayers up to God.  Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see immediate clear results.  God will answer your prayer and heal you to make you more like Jesus.  But he will answer it in the way he sees fit, according to his good plan for your life.  Romans 8:28-30  28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

God is able deliver us from bondage to crossdressing.  He can heal us.  He can take even our memories of our pasts and heal us from past wounds, and fill us with his love to the point that we no longer need crossdressing because we are so content with his love and purposes in our lives.

He will either heal you all at once, or he will heal you gradually as he has done for me.  He WILL respond to your prayers and work in your life.  We need to have faith.  But what kind of faith?  Not faith in ourselves.  Not faith that we know the future, and know exactly and specifically what God will do and when.  But faith in God.  Faith that God is powerful and can do anything.  Faith that God loves us and desires our good and wants to help us overcome sin and bondage.  And faith that God in his infinite wisdom knows the best way and the best time and the best method to give us the healing that we need.

Apocalyptic Crossdressing

Over the last few weeks, like normal, I have had just about zero crossdressing thoughts or temptations, besides of course when I log into my blog I obviously think about crossdressing.  But one strange occurrence happened that I’d like to write about.  I really like apocalyptic movies of any sort, movies in which a person is surviving alone in a broken world, or a small group of people surviving together.  Maybe because I’ve been watching movies like this lately, suddenly a strange thought occurred in my mind last week.  I suddenly thought about being alone in a world like this, and I asked myself whether I would crossdress in such a world?

Imagine this yourself if you can do so safely.  But be careful, I don’t want to cause lustful fantasies for you to struggle with.  Pray for God’s help first that you remain vigilant and don’t wander into lustful fantasy and masturbation.   I imagined that everyone died of a zombie apocalypse or disease outbreak or climate change, or what have you.  And if I was the only person left living in a city, would I go to the stores and find women’s clothing and put it on?   From this thought experiment I learned a few things about myself.

1.  There is still some latent crossdressing desire deep down inside me.  I could see myself giving in to temptation in a world like that.  It would be tough to resist, at least it would be hard not to fail at least once by going and getting fully dressed up as a woman wearing anything the heck I wanted from the mall with out anyone seeing me.  Hopefully I’m never in such a situation (for obvious reasons), but I would hate to face such a hard temptation.  I don’t know whether I would beat such a temptation or not.  I hope I would, but as I thought about it, I could see a big possibility of failure.

2.  I think this shows the importance of fellow Christians, the Church, and community.  Why might I fail in such a situation but am not even anywhere close to failing in the situation I am in today?  I think it is the strength of Christian community that God has given me, and us.  We don’t fail because others around us will see.  We don’t fail because of the expectations of others.  We don’t fail because others are holding us accountable.  We don’t fail because others are encouraging us, filling us up with their love, and supporting us.  Critics might say, “ah ha!  You are just not giving in because of what other people think.”  That might be partially right, and in one way I agree that it’s a sad truth.  We should want to live for God and as he wants, regardless of whether other people are around or not.  But that’s not the whole story.  Not failing because of other people around us is also a good thing.  Living in community helps us to better ourselves, and be more who we are supposed to be.  Living in community fulfills us.  Living in community helps us to live for God as he intended.  After all, God created humans in community.  It was not good that Adam was alone.  It was not meant to be just us and God alone.  It was always meant to be all of us together with God.  We need community.  We need it now, and we will have it forever in the New Creation, in everlasting life with God and each other in the New World.  So does living in community with others keep me from falling in to crossdressing?  Yes, to a pretty great extent.  But this is exactly how it should be and how God intended it.

Imagine a drug addict in a similar apocalyptic situation, if they had no community and they knew where limitless drugs were.  It would be a tough situation for them as well.  But thankfully, neither we, nor they, are in such a situation.  We have community, help, and accountability, and that is what God wants us to have.

3. I learned that the frustrating nature of crossdressing as addiction would still apply even in that apocalyptic situation.  Just imagining giving in to the crossdressing temptations in a world like that, I was frustrated by the addiction of it even in my fantasy.  It’s an addiction that cannot be quenched.  You give in, and you just want to give in more.  You give in with clothes, and then you want to find fake breasts.  You find fake breasts and then you want hormones or surgery.  You look at yourself in the mirror and ogle yourself, and you can’t pull yourself away from it.  You marvel at your own beauty but then you crave the feeling of others affirming your beauty.  It’s an addiction!  Even in the apocalypse I would detest this addiction.  I would either have to stop giving in completely or I would DIE because I would spend all my time distracted by the addiction instead of finding food and water and other necessities of survival.  I know that even if I did give in once to temptation in such a world, that it would probably be a brief episode which I would then quit once again.  I would re-realize the foolishness of the addiction and hate it once again.  It sucks your life away.  It is a farce.  It is a thirst which cannot be quenched by giving in.  It is a thirst that can only be dealt with by NOT drinking of it.  We instead need to live as the men we are, resist giving in, be filled up by God’s love, and live the life of purpose that he has for each of us.

It’s interesting to me that when this thought first occurred to me, it was a fantasy that I knew I had to resist dwelling on for too long, because it could become a lustful fantasy for me.  But as I thought about it I realized that I couldn’t even truly enjoy the fantasy.  The addictive frustrating component of it, the foolishness of it, was too much for me.

Thoughts?

Sad Search Term

At least for many people crossdressing is not a harmless fun activity.  It’s a warped addiction.

Search term on google someone typed in yesterday to get to my blog -

how to “lose muscle” for “crossdresser”

Sounds eerily similar to an eating disorder to me.
I don’t often look at these search terms, but because of seeing the search term above, I looked at the search terms that people put in who found their way to my blog, over the last 30 days.  It makes my heart hurt.  You would not believe how many type in things like “help, how to stop crossdressing“, “get rid of crossdressing“, “is it possible to stop crossdressing.”  It’s easy for me to feel like there are few of us fighting crossdressing addictions when I don’t get many comments on my blog.  But there are hundreds, if not thousands, of other men out there trying to quit.   I hope they might find at least a little help through my words, and the other blogs and links I have linked to.

Wired for Intimacy

This is a really interesting video sent to me by a prayer chain friend.  It’s about pornography addiction, but just watch it thinking about crossdressing and you’ll see why crossdressing can become equally as addictive as pornography.  I think most especially of addiction to crossdressing fiction or crossdressing photos.   This video explains not only how pornography connects to our desire for intimacy with other people, but also explains the various interactions of hormones and neurotransmitters going on during pornography watching and masturbation.  It’s very scary how we can bind ourselves to visual images or a sequence of visual images for our pleasure needs, in place of binding ourselves to a person.  Or in our place, many of us have bound ourselves to crossdressing as a way to arousal.

This video also pushes me much farther toward the view that masturbation is harmful in general, even if not connected to pornography.  It binds us to something other than a person that God has brought us together with.  Nocturnal Emissions should be enough to give us release.  I have edited my masturbation post accordingly.

Your Brain on Porn!

This is an excellent resource for those of us who struggle with crossdressing or pornography or CD fiction, or looking at pictures of crossdressers.  What I am referring to are any of these activities or similar ones that have become sexual addiction for you.   Check this site out – Your Brain on Porn.  This website is tremendously interesting and helpful.  Spend some time reading there and you will come to see why sexual addictions like pornography, especially those that are internet related, are so damaging.  These addictions and abundance of stimuli actually alter our brains.  This is why the addictions are so hard to break, and why they cause so many other damaging changes in our lives.

Let me tell you more about this site with excerpts from the about page at their site.

This site focuses on porn’s effects on the brain—male or female. However, since this has been predominantly a male challenge (and the self-reports are overwhelmingly from men), the site has a definite male slant.
This site will help you understand exactly how today’s extreme Internet porn can alter the brain. Armed with that knowledge, you’ll realize that some primitive circuitry in your brain is just trying to do its job when it pushes you toward porn. And you’ll see how to outsmart it and restore your balance.

I really suggest reading the whole about page, as it will give you a good introduction to the site and give you some explanation of resources you can check and videos to watch.  About page.

This page is really helpful to get you started killing the addiction that is destroying and sucking your life away – Rebooting Basics.

I think this page is really helpful too as it gives lots of tools you can use in combating the addiction and doing what it takes to really stop – Tools for Change.  There is also a lot on the site about masturbation and how to give up addiction to that as well.   There is even a whole page about understanding and dealing with fetishes.

Interestingly, it seems fairly common for pornography addiction to turn into other things.  This makes sense with what I’ve learned on the site.  Old stimuli gets old quickly and the addict continues to look for new pictures and new stimuli and maybe something just a little bit different.  A lot of heterosexual men have started to become addicted to transsexual pornography.  This site has a page about this as well as many testimonies of those who overcame this type of pornography addiction.  I’m straight, but attracted to transexual or gay porn (or gay attracted to straight porn). What’s up?

I myself have never been addicted to pornography of any kind, and never looked at it intentionally.  But the addiction to transsexual pornography described at the site in the testimonies seems sort of similar to my past addictions to crossdressing fiction, and to looking at pictures of crossdressers.  I think there are two main differences between my addiction and theirs.  1.  I didn’t look at nude pictures but rather pictures of clothed crossdressers.  2.  I had different motivation for coming to this addiction.  My crossdressing interest/addiction is what made these photos exciting and stimulating.  I’m not sure how heterosexual men who aren’t crossdressers would start to become addicted to transsexual pornography but it seems to be for different reasons than mine, maybe just accidental because of looking for new porn stimuli.    What we have in common though is that these internet behaviors escalated to more and more different kinds of stimuli that we never expected to be aroused to.  These porn addicts went from heterosexual pornography to transsexual pornography.  I went from stories about crossdressing to stories about crossdressing infused with homosexuality.  And in their case and mine, they become unquenchable addictions, always needing more and more, until finally after quitting cold turkey, we then had peace and life again.

No Condemnation

As Christians, we should not be living under condemnation.  In fact, we ARE NOT living under condemnation because of what Jesus did for us.  But we also need to make sure we don’t give in to feelings of condemnation after we fail with any sin.  When we sin, wallowing in shame and guilt and feeling condemned by God, that is actually to continue in our sin.  When we wallow in shame and guilt we are being un-Christian.  The good news of the Gospel is that we are forgiven in Christ!  Which means when we fail with sin we should run to God and thank him for his grace that we have experienced, we should enjoy his forgiveness, and we should then keep living for him with gratitude.

Romans 8:1-4

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh,  God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.  And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

I speak with experience.  This fight against crossdressing can be long and hard.  For many of us its a deep addiction.  To give it up sometimes takes many years of trying, with dozens or hundreds of times of failing, followed by confession and repentance, followed by trying again.  It is very important to talk about what we do and feel at those critical moments of failure.   Satan loves it when we give in to shame and we feel like we are too sinful to be close to God.   If we feel that way, then our failure is doing two damaging things.  It is not only a failure into sin, but then it becomes something that pushes us further away from God.  So we might fail with crossdressing and then feel too unworthy to go to church, or feel too unworthy to pray, or feel too unworthy to be used by God in other people’s lives.  But we need to be doing the very opposite of this!  When we fail, we need to run to God, not away from God.  When we fail, we need to take joy in our salvation and forgiveness, not wallow in despair.  This sin will NOT take away our salvation.  This sin will NOT take away our forgiveness, no matter how many times we fail.  This sin will NOT separate us from God.  We must stop giving in to feelings of despair.  We must stop feeling like we have to clean ourselves up before talking to God.  We must keep trying to resist sin out of gratitude to God for his forgiveness.  When we fail, we should confess, repent, take joy in God and his forgiveness, and then live in gratitude for him again.

This sermon captures the points I’m trying to make far better than I can. It’s quite a powerful sermon.  Please watch it and let these truths sink in so that you will be ready to run to God, instead of away, the next time you have a failure of any kind into sin.  It’s called Enjoying God – The secret to pleasing God isn’t beating yourself up when you fail – it’s learning to enjoy God.  Let grace replace shame as your primary motivator, and you’ll sin less, love more, and enjoy God like never before, by pastor Judah Smith.

Helpful Bible Verses 10

In my struggle with crossdressing over my whole life, many Bible verses have been helpful to me.  I’ve studied them, memorized some of them, and often read them after failures.  In addition to the ones I’ve already written about, I’ll periodically mention and comment on some of them and how they relate to my crossdressing struggle.  For those of you who are still struggling, it would surely help you to write some of these down and read them daily, or in times of temptation, or after a failure when you need to be built back up by God’s Word.

 

Hebrews 10:26-31

26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

This is a really difficult passage of Scripture to interpret.  However, it seems that it is not about Christians who are sinning, but rather about people who have heard about Jesus and what he did, but have still rejected him.  The readers of the book of Hebrews were likely Jewish Christians living among other Jews.  We can see that they were familiar with the Scriptures.  So I would infer from this that the author had in mind specifically Jewish people who heard the truth about Jesus but still rejected him (though it would apply to anyone who does this).

So why do I list this passage?  Well, I like this passage.  It’s a good counterbalance to our weak notions about love in our culture.  We talk about how loving God is a lot, and he surely is, God is love!  But God is also just.  And we have a false view of God if we don’t look at him as loving and as just at the same time.  This passage reminds me of God’s greatness, awesomeness, power, and holiness.  It reminds me of the seriousness of our sin.  I read verse 31 and shudder, but it’s a good kind of reverent shudder thinking about how powerful and holy God is and how much he hates sin.  So reading this passage makes me more respectful of God and makes me take sin more seriously.  Specifically, it makes me take crossdressing sin more seriously, whether in deed or in fantasy, and makes me take lusting after other women more seriously.

Verse 26 also reminds me that a true Christian doesn’t deliberately keep sinning over and over.  This is a tricky subject and bears more explanation.  Of course all Christians keep sinning.  We sin every day.  But we know from many different passages of Scripture that Christians don’t repeatedly sin without repentance.  A Christian is not someone who doesn’t sin.  A Christian sins, but continually repents, and continually is trying to do what is right, even though we often fail.  In that light, this verse is a good wake up call for those who like to think or profess that they are Christians, but who living in willful disobedient sins without any repentance or any effort to fight sin.  True Christians who have experienced the joy of forgiveness in Jesus want to live for him and fight sin out of gratitude for their salvation.   This is still a tricky subject and I would not want to judge any fellow Christian along these lines.  But personally, we can use it as a check and a wake up call for ourselves, making sure we remember the seriousness of sin, and making sure we are one of those people who is repenting and fighting sin in our lives as a true follower of Jesus.

 

 

Hebrews 12:1-16   –    Whew there is a lot of good stuff in this passage.  I’ll take it by sections.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Verses 1-3 are some of the most encouraging passages in Scripture.  Verse 1 begins by talking about the great cloud of witnesses.  These are the people of God who went before us and they are talked about in Hebrews chapter 11, one of my favorite passages in the Bible.  It’s very moving if you read all of chapter 11 and then read verses 1-3 of chapter 12.   People of God have went before us, people who have struggled with various kinds of sins, people who had to suffer for Christ, people who finally found their rest with God in Heaven.  We follow in their example, and find inspiration from their stories.  We are to persevere forward straining towards Jesus and Heaven, as they did.  We are to get rid of our sin.

Sin entangles.  We crossdressers know that so well!  Sin leads to more sin.  Sin leads to deception and cover-ups.  Sin leads to hurting relationships and broken marriages.  Crossdressing is a messy entanglement of psychological confusion, broken relationships, and physical mess and perversion.  We are to throw it off, cast if off.  We are not to gently set it down!  We are to throw it away and run! This is a race!  We aren’t sitting on a lazy-boy.  We are running a race! This life is our race.  We need to throw crossdressing behind and strain forward to the prize, to the goal, seeing our Lord Jesus face to face.

And who is Jesus? Hebrews says that he is the pioneer of our faith.  We would have no faith without Jesus.  Not only did he die for us to take our punishment and live for us to give us his righteousness, he is also the one who worked in our hearts so that we could have faith in him in the first place.   He is also the perfecter of our faith.  He continues to work in our lives each day to help us fight sin, grow in holiness, and learn how to love.  He is bringing us along, by the power of the Holy Spirit, in the process of sanctification.    By looking at him we can run forward in this race looking ahead to the goal.

We can look at him also as our example.  He had so much joy in knowing he was achieving salvation for us that he was willing to be scorned, betrayed, and killed on the cross, which also meant taking the wrath of God for our sins.  He was willing to go through that worst suffering the world has ever known, all for our salvation and ultimately for God’s glory.  Verse 3 says we are to consider him and the suffering he went through so that we don’t give up and lose heart.  In our struggles against crossdressing, we have not suffered what Jesus has suffered.  Our struggles are weak and paltry compared to what Jesus went through.  If Jesus did all of that for us, then surely in our joy that we have in Jesus, we can go through the suffering of self-denial of our perverse desires.  We should not grow weary, and not lose heart, in our battle against sin.  The race is hard.  We are sweating, we are tired, sometimes exhausted.  At times we wheeze and cough with the effort.  Once in a while we get a side-ache from resisting the desires because they are so strong.  But we must keep on running.  The race will eventually be over and we will be full of joy.  In fact, the reason we can keep on going is because of the joy we already have in Jesus.

 

In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
    and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
    and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.

14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. 16 See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son.

 

You can see how verse 4 connects to verses 1-3.  We are supposed to follow Christ’s example in running our race, enduring suffering, and resisting sin.  Most of us have not resisted sin to the point of having our blood shed.  Jesus did that, but we have not.  There are brothers and sisters in Christ around the world who are dying or being tortured for following Christ.  And here we are thinking it is too difficult to stop reading CD stories online, or stop trying on our sister’s dress.  Wake up men!   Stop giving in to the lies that you are doing all you can to resist sin.  You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.  Follow Christ, be willing to suffer for following him.

The rest of the passage is mostly about God disciplining us as his children.  I like to read this one after failing in some way with crossdressing or fantasies.  It reminds me that God has the power and freedom and even the explicit desire to discipline me as his child.  This doesn’t mean I expect God to strike me down with a lightning bolt.  This doesn’t mean I expect to be punished.  My critics think I refrain from crossdressing out of fear, but they are wrong.  My relationship with God is one of love and mercy.  If he disciplines me, it is because he loves me as his child and is training me to become more holy and loving.  His discipline is not the same as his punishment of judgment, which I will not get because of having Jesus as my savior.   It’s easy to worry about what God might allow in our lives to discipline us, but we must not think of it with fear.  God always has our best interests at heart and he knows what is good for us better than we do.  We can rest knowing that whatever he gives us or allows to happen to us, will ultimately be good in his plan.

Notice that verse 5 explicitly says that it is an encouragement to remember that God disciplines us.  That means when we suffer we should not assume God is out to get us, but God might be trying to teach us something.  I have come to a place where after I fail with CD in some way, I pray and repent, and then I expect that there might be some way God is going to discipline me to help me grow in holiness, and be able to resist sin in the future.  Sometimes that discipline doesn’t come in a way I am aware of.  Sometimes it does.  Sometimes the discipline is just God’s rebuke of my sin that I read in Scripture, or that he speaks in my heart.  Sometimes that discipline is God showing me the consequences of my sin, or allowing me to experience the natural consequences of my sin.   But if we wonder what God’s discipline could be, verse 7 makes it clear.

Verse 7 tell us to think of any hardship in our lives as discipline from God.  This doesn’t mean God directly causes all hardship in our lives.  No.  But since God is all powerful and in control, at the very least it means all hardship in our lives is at least allowed by God.  And he allows it for a reason, and one of those reasons is to discipline us to help us grow, to grow in dependence on him, to grow closer in intimacy to Jesus, to grow in our holiness, to grow in love, to grow in the fruits of the Spirit, and to grow out of sins that plague us.  Discipline might seem painful at the time, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be worth it.

I think of my marriage as discipline from God.  My marriage, in its unique way, combats both my wife’s idols and my idols.  My wife’s main idol is independence and self-focus and being married forces her to work against that idol, even though its painful and difficult.  My main idol would be over dependence and infatuation with a spouse, but since my marriage is not full of romantic love, my main idol is being attacked and thrown down, even though its painful and difficult to be in this marriage.  And in this marriage we have both grown in our dependence on God.  We have both learned how to love self-sacrificially.  We have both learned how to be flexible, how to be servants.  And many more things!  And we have discovered many fruits and enjoyments and pleasures of our marriage because of growing in these ways.  I tell you this as an example of what discipline from God might look like.  I’m certain that God also disciplines us to help us get rid of crossdressing addictions.  Feel free to share examples of ways God has used discipline in your life to help you.