Gavin Brand: Love and Lust start with the same letter

Posted by in Temptation | December 3, 2012

Editor’s Note: Gavin really blessed us this week with a letter to his younger self. His journey through life from a typical, struggling Christian kid to a strong man of God, confident in his identity and purpose, is a real testament to fighting the good fight. Gavin reminds us that we are washed in blood, and that where there’s blood, there’s battle. Thanks to Gavin for being a light in the city of Seattle and for his honesty in writing this post as a brother of IRON and FIRE.

Dear Younger Me,

You’re 15. You are running cross-country and making friends, but you are sitting under your brother’s shadow. God has a lot more in mind for you than you could ever dream. He is going to blow your mind – so get your boots on, and get ready for an adventure.

First things first. Recognize your enemy. At this point, you probably think it’s the guys wearing all black, dealing weed, or getting in trouble with the law. It’s not. As a guy who loves Jesus, your enemies are Satan, sin, and death. Scripture tells you that the thief comes to kill and destroy; so don’t freak out whenever the youth pastor starts talking about spiritual warfare. Just because mom and dad never talked about it, doesn’t mean it’s not there. It’s real; and if you’re not careful, it can put you in a hole. Satan loves to take what’s God’s and keep it in a cage. Remember this: You are God’s son, a son of the King, who was paid for in blood. Blood is a result of battle; so don’t think for a minute that you aren’t in one. Every minute of the day you need to be ready to fight.

Here’s the short of it. I know you struggle with porn. I know you wish to God that it would go away like a bad dream. I know you cry sometimes, and can’t fall asleep sometimes, because you’re so disgusted with yourself. I know that you sometimes rationalize your addiction saying, “Well, it’s not the hard stuff. I’m not actually addicted. It’s not like I’m as bad as the other guys.” I know the shame, guilt, and grief you experience every time you close your eyes to God and open your eyes to lust. So, here’s what you need to know. Love and Lust start with the same letter. Why? Because the enemy takes love and twists it to become evil. You’ve got an addictive personality; and when I’m telling you that you need to fight every day, I mean you need to fight every day. Fight with the full knowledge and assurance that the battle is already won. The thing about love is that it’s different than lust, it has a name: Jesus. So, make war with your flesh and with the spiritual forces of darkness. Turn from death (cause that’s what your sin leads to) and run, run, run, to Jesus.

How are you gonna do that? Call your two best friends tonight and say, “brothers, I need to confess to you a problem I’m having. I can’t fight it on my own and I need you to keep me accountable.” Next, talk to dad. Tell him what’s going on and ask him to restrict your access to the computer. Pray every day, all the time, not only that God would continue to free you, but to renew your mind to see women as he sees them.

The next thing you need to know is that God is the one who saves, exalts, and upholds you. Who you are is not determined by how well you run, how well you play, how good a student you are, how well you listen to mom and dad, or how involved you are at church. You are a child of the King and all of life is a gift from him. What does that mean? It means you can say, “Thank you,” to mom and dad for taking such good care of you. It means you can run cross-country because you love it, not because you need to prove yourself. It means even your study time is a gift to be stewarded. All of life is a gift; so never stop thanking, praising, and exalting the Giver. It also means that you can quit living in guilt, fear, and shame.

  • You don’t have to hide your sin. Jesus sees it.
  • You don’t have to blame others for your sin. Jesus took the blame.
  • You don’t have to make light of your sin when you talk to your friends. Jesus died for it.
  • You can own your s#!%, because Jesus set you free.
  • God is the one who will lift you up; so don’t squander his gift. Pray. Pray that the Holy Spirit would fan into flame the ember that God put there when you said yes to Jesus.

    The last thing I’ll say is to speak up. SPEAK UP! The world needs to hear what you have to say. Don’t ignore the voice in your head that tells you to reach out to the person sitting alone at lunch. Don’t ignore the voice in your head that tells you speak up about Jesus to your friends. Don’t ignore the voice in your head that tells you speak up about Jesus in class. Do ignore the voice that says you won’t ever succeed. Do ignore the voice that says you’ll never outgrow your brother’s shadow. Do ignore the voice that says that you’re too evil to save. And do ignore the voice that says that your identity is in what you do. Instead, listen to the voice of Jesus because it’s always the best way. Praise God that even your future is in his hands; and that even the flaws in this letter are covered by his Son’s blood.

    In Christ,
    Your Older Self

    Gavin Brand

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