Self Assessment and Motive
Self assessment and motive are really components of a process of hindsight. Simply put, to learn how to assess motive in the current moment, we should go back and “practice.” Working backwards, we examine a past sin or weakness with our current wisdom. Simply put, we focus on a sin or a weight that we have already overcome by using what we know about ourselves NOW, as we recall who we were “back then.” For such a time as this, I will address my own struggles with fornication as a born again Christian.
Re-Focus Your Mind!
What I have learned via self assessment and motive is that what keeps us from walking in the spirit of holiness is self-consciousness. What I find that strongly affects our knowledge of why we fornicate, — a true motive or reason for fornication— is that we think way too much about sinning. Excessive thought of this kind plays a strong role in leading us to commit the very sin we fear and set out to avoid. What we must do is re-focus our mind from constant thinking about sexual sin to constant thinking about righteousness or “right living.” For those who live with their minds on the flesh will sin. (Romans 81-14)
A part of right living is right knowing of the fact that if we as babes in Christ fall into fornication, God Himself is righteous and He will move the Holy Spirit to immediately convict us. I know this conviction well. Godly conviction feels like a hole in your chest, a weight pressing hard from within, like the wind of God is blowing from inside your spirit.
As your mind is being renewed, this, hollow, oppressed feeling will immediately leave you and once again, you will feel as if you have been washed or cleansed from that sin. So all we need to do is simply believe the scriptures. Once we receive the truth, we can sin but we won’t sin! In child like faith, we simply have to believe and trust God on this. The problem with fornication is that it is instinctively addictive. Get too caught up in sex, the Holy Spirit will be grieved and you will not be able to experience His conviction.
My Personal Story
in 1981, I was a divorced, single parent. As a woman in ministry, I received what was meant to be a subtle message which was, “a woman in ministry needs a husband to cover, or oversee her.” So consistently pressured to marry, I also did not want to fornicate. So these issues were constantly in every thought and every prayer. As a result, in my mind, marriage was simply the safest way to minister to church folk as a woman, while successfully avoiding fornication.
Recently I was asked why I married not one incarcerated felon, but TWO! So I had to exercise self assessment and motive as I reflected on this question. Years ago, I would have journeyed down the noble road with a rather sacrificial, yet ministerial motive. I would have sincerely declared that because I was called to prison ministry, I needed a Christian husband who could serve in a couple’s ministry, providing both wisdom and authority to my sheepfold of male offenders who “have been there and done that crime,” an area of life where I only could attest to criminal justice experience.
Another verbal spin I could have conjured up is my sincere love and affinity for the downtrodden, the broken, the hurt, etc, etc, etc. My strong desire to be “Adam’s Rib” to someone who needed my help and support. Sounds good. I lived that role for 17 years with two different sociopaths. One marriage lasted 9 years and the last marriage ended after 8 years.
Yet looking back with a different self assessment lens today, I know now for sure that God did not call me to a prison ministry. So there goes my argument and the motive of my former assessment. Clearly, hindsight contradicts such an apparently credible motive or reason. Yet I perceive now that a subconscious motivation was at play 30 years ago. Why? Because the real truth is that I have never been “big on marriage.” Before I was born again in 1977, I simply wanted to date and have sex. I did not want to live with anyone. I am not really suited for marriage.
The honest truth is that becoming born again did not stop me from wanting to have sex ‘on occasion” as I was never sexually hot or “burning.” What became a new thing for me was an inner desire not to fornicate and a commitment to obey God’s word. So subconsciously, along with the devil’s help, “I inadvertently created a plan.” I perceive today that my choosing men to marry with long prison sentences conveniently enabled me to live as if single at home, but to be legally married on paper. To address its needs, my own soul actually sentenced me to 17 years of Fridays and Saturdays in prison visiting rooms, just to avoid fornication, while simultaneously remaining the one who wears the pants in my own house.
Not so noble, but its true. Even so, the truth has its own kind of nobility. For the truth is also righteous. Once I was ‘married,” I no longer had the inclination to focus my thoughts on avoiding sexual sin because adultery is not a temptation for me. In truth, I reveal NOW what may sound shocking. My biggest sin was putting my faith in visions, dreams and prophecies that did not come from God. With fornication, God forgave me, cleansed me and healed me.
By experience, I have come to learn that deception is much, much worst. Deception is to think and believe that you have not sinned, not knowing that you really have, and your life has been in grave danger but for the grace of God!