Day 20 – Three Questions for When You’re Struggling

Today, we are going to dive into three key questions to ask yourself when you are struggling.

As we’ve covered extensively in the lessons leading up to this one, contrary to our intuitions, our sexual compulsions not to come from an overactive sex drive, but from the deeper place of longing to be loved. 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer famously said, “The pursuit of purity is not about the suppression of lust, but about the reorientation of one’s life to a larger goal.”

When you are struggling or you are wrestling with negative thoughts and feelings that typically lead you to be tempted, the answer then, is not simply to push your sex drive down, but to recognize your true, deeper needs, and address them. In the words of Chip Judd, a longtime Christian counselor, we must learn to R&R—to receive and rest in God’s love. To that end, Chip gives us three key questions to help us “R&R” through these difficult moments. They are as follows. 

1. How do you see God?

The way we see God will often determine whether we run to him in our time of need, or if we turn to other things. If we view Him as distant, disappointed in us, and waiting to get us when we mess up, we will find it nearly impossible to run toward him when we are tempted. However, if we view Him as a loving Father whose heart toward us is good and who understands our weakness, we will find ourselves running to him when we are not feeling very loved. 

2. How do you see yourself?

Make a list of words that come to mind when you think of yourself. Do you see yourself as a failure? A disappointment? Loved by God? Pleasing to God? Dirty? Clean? Weak? Strong? Be as specific as possible, and just be honest. Then ask yourself a follow-up question—do the words you feel about yourself align with how God sees you or are they coming from somewhere else?

3. What do you have to do to please God and get your needs met?

Do you feel you need to do something to please God or do you feel that God is already pleased with you? Counselor Chip Judd likes to say that religion is spelled “DO” while Jesus-centered Christianity is spelled “DONE.” Are you resting in the finished work of Christ and seeing yourself as the object of His love, or do you see yourself as having to earn His affection by your behavior? Oddly enough, trying to behave differently to earn God’s love typically has very little impact on behavior, while learning to receive His love and rest in His affection for you tends to empower you to change.

When you find yourself struggling with the temptation to look at porn or to give into another sinful habit, it helps to get up, flee whatever situation you are in, and pull up these three questions. Answer them honestly and prayerfully, inviting the Holy Spirit to speak to you in the process. These questions will not only help you to understand where the focus of your struggle is—they will also help you shift from trying to push your sexuality down to focusing on what’s really going on in your heart. When you learn to reorient yourself in God’s love rather than just suppress lustful desires, you will begin to experience a big shift in your battle against porn.

Here’s the thing. God isn’t waiting on you to get free in order to love you. He has already chosen to love you unconditionally. He loves you as much on your worst day—the day you feel furthest from Him—as He does on your best day. And He won’t love you any more when you are completely free than He does right now, in this very moment. In fact, the reason He wants you to be free in the first place is simply because He loves you. His heart breaks when you struggle because He loves you, and when you walk in victory, His heart rejoices because He loves you! Either way, He loves you. For many, just breaking out of this mindset that we have to somehow earn God’s love is a critical step toward freedom. Learning to R&R—to receive and rest in God’s love, is an important part of that process. 


Day 20 Freedom Work

Scripture Reading — Read Matthew chapter 3 and John chapter 17. As you read, ask yourself how God sees Jesus and how God sees you. 

Journaling Exercises — Answer the following questions at length in your journal. Use the cues from the lesson above and aim to write for about 5-7 minutes per question:

  • How do you see God right now?
  • How does God see you right now?
  • What do you need to do in order to please God and get your needs met?

Prayer — Father, I don’t want to have any thoughts in my head about me that aren’t in your head about me. Help me to identify thoughts and feelings that are not from you, and help me to replace them with thoughts and feelings that align with your heart. Break any negative patterns of thinking and help me to rest in what you say about me. I so deeply long to be loved and to know that I am pleasing to you. By your Spirit, reveal the depths of your love to me—especially when I am hurting and struggling. Thank you that I do not need to earn your love, but that you give it to me freely and lavishly. Amen.

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Dr. Joseph Serwadda's Story

Over the past decade, numerous pastors and leaders from all over the world have been crying out (and even begging us) for discipleship resources in their language. This may sound extreme, but in America we have an abundance of books and resources that are available to us that are often taken for granted. In many ways, we have access to excess.

In some developing nations, people have never seen a book in their language. When leaders from these nations are given a book, they treat it as sacred gift! They even hand-write books and Bibles word for word so that they can spread this message of hope to others in their sphere of influence.

Dr. Joseph Serwadda, a leader from Uganda who oversees a group of churches that number approximately 27,000, echoes this need among pastors and leaders all over the world: “Our biggest need is not money or bigger buildings, but solid teaching. We lack literature for people to read and study on their own. The more people we have in church who are less instructed in the Word of God, the less solidity we have. Come and help us preserve the harvest. This is a Macedonian call!”

Pastor Yassir's Story

Over the years, Cubans have long suffered under the oppression of a single message: communism. Despite this challenge, Yassir is committed to sharing a new message with his people, a message of transformation that can lead to national revival.

Cubans, in general, have been conditioned toward communistic consumption. That’s why Yassir wants his people to embrace a new identity: a life defined by what they can give. This shift requires growth and maturity that can only come through a new perspective.

He explained, “The Cuban church is strong and filled with passion. But I believe it’s important that we shift our mentality. We need to see how the Gospel goes beyond our own needs. Ultimately, we need to take responsibility for ourselves and our nation, and not just wait for outside intervention.”

There aren’t many Christian resources in Cuba. So, Pastor Yassir’s church, along with many other churches throughout Cuba, have been profoundly impacted by the resources Messenger International has provided for them in their own language.

In our conversations with Pastor Yassir, he often cited an ancient proverb: Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you’ve fed him for a lifetime. He sees MessengerX as a tool both to feed his people and teach them to fish.

It’s become evident that after many years in our ministry, the most effective way to transform a village or town is not to construct a church building. This just keeps the local leadership dependent on us.

We are much more effective if we give the indigenous leaders such as Pastor Yassir spiritual knowledge that will empower them to influence their village, town, or city. Such knowledge helps produce the faith needed to grow and sustain the work, which, if necessary, will include buildings and other resources.

Stories like Pastor Yassir’s fuel our mission, because we believe that everyone deserves to know life-transforming truth!

Nura's Story

Before Nura became a follower of Christ, her life was a living hell.
After the death of her husband—from whom she endured many years of abuse and suffering—she became a widow with four children. In search of peace and inner healing, she sought solace in religious places and practices, which only led her deeper into depression and financial debt.

Her last resort was Jesus.

“I came to the Christian church and begged for help! I accepted Christ after I heard of the promise of peace and healing that is found in Him,” Nura wrote. “I slowly began to recover, but there was one thing hindering my healing—unforgiveness.”
Filled with regrets, Nura struggled to forgive her husband. But the grip of offense began to weaken when her pastor handed her a copy of The Bait of Satan.

“I forgave my husband after I learned how much I, too, needed forgiveness,” shared Nura. “Now I am healed, and I have peace for the first time in my life. Some even say I look ten years younger!”


Pastor Raphael's Story

Pastor Raphael was raised in Kenya, immersed in a culture of darkness. As a child, he lacked affection because his father believed that strong men don’t show love. He continually witnessed his father beat and belittle his mother. Everywhere he looked, insidious behavior was practiced toward women and infants—families were being destroyed and lives were ending before they had a chance to begin.

This was the destiny Raphael was headed toward.

But everything changed when truth entered the scene. The first area to be transformed was Raphael’s heart—which, in turn, transformed his marriage and his family. And with a strong and healthy family, his whole outlook toward life has changed.

“Through the resources of Messenger International, a relentless passion was ignited in me to see the people of my country free from lies,” shared Raphael. “I discovered my purpose to train up others and bring God’s transforming truth to remote villages.”

Raphael has trekked miles through mud and rain to reach people, often rising early and returning late. He would travel over 50 miles a day with his bicycle—but through the generosity of the MessengerX community, he was given a motorcycle, which has enabled him to double his efforts while easily transporting the resources and supplies he needs to facilitate his classes. Raphael has seen over 200 of his students graduate in the villages he serves.

“Thank you for investing in my people,” expressed Raphael. “Each day tribal warriors are transformed into children of God, marriages are infused with love, and the innocent are protected. Your generosity has given us the tools we need to rewrite our story and reclaim our humanity.”

Dahlia's Story

Formerly a Muslim, Dahlia fled to Turkey after she was expelled from her Iranian school and excommunicated by her family. Her crime? Becoming a Christian.

You can now find Dahlia in a refugee camp, far from what she once called home. But despite the upheaval, she has found purpose in her pain. On a daily basis, Dahlia walks through her makeshift town and prays over the people. They have become her people—the audience of her message.

Dahlia has become a messenger, and she is often spotted lovingly serving those around her and sharing her faith with them. Despite language barriers, people are drawn to her because they see something different in her. And what’s amazing is that she’s not only reaching the people in her refugee camp, she’s also impacting those she left behind in Iran.

“I’ve had calls from Iran,” writes Dahlia. “People who mocked me because of my faith now believe in Jesus and want to know more. So, I tell them about MessengerX, which has a lot of translated discipleship resources.”

As we continue to provide people like Dahlia with life-transforming truth in their own language, we’re helping them grow in their faith and discover their purpose—and we’re equipping them to make a difference in their world.

“I am beyond thankful for all of the books that I’ve been able to read in my language, such as Driven by Eternity, translated in Farsi,” shared Dahlia. “I read them again and again. The messages keep me company in this lonely season, and they inspire me to reveal Jesus to the hurting people all around me.”