By Jeremy Shelton, Crosswalk.com
There are three basic reasons to muzzle a dog:
- To prevent barking
- To prevent eating
- To prevent biting
When you give in to sexual sin, the enemy muzzles you for these same three reasons. When you muzzle a dog, you take away its primary ability to communicate, sustain, and protect itself. When the enemy is given jurisdiction to muzzle a believer, it restrains these same abilities between him and his Master, God Almighty. The Bible tells us in Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” A Christian man struggling with sexual sin walks around with a muzzle strapped across his mouth. He is restrained from receiving God’s sustenance and care. He finds it difficult to speak to, interact with, and obey God. Eventually, he begins to believe there is no real point in trying. A muzzled man can’t fathom God would hear or even desire to be near him. Why? Because a man in sexual sin shamefully believes God is distant or against him.
1. “Barking” for the Lord
A muzzled man finds great difficulty in talking to God. Like a muzzled dog, he eventually finds a spot, cowers down, and begins to waste the days away. Think about this: Satan would be pleased if Christian men would simply find a spot on this earth, lay down, and shut up. He is completely against your “barking.” Men who pray and speak God’s promises over themselves, their wives, their children–hurt Satan’s ears. To him, it’s simply noise, and he aims to silence them. Men who pray and meditate on scripture? Barking. Men who ask God for His intercession and help in their lives? Barking. Men who praise and worship the Lord? Barking. Satan hates men who bark, and, if given the opportunity, will pounce at the chance to muzzle them. If he can’t muzzle them, he will leave. James 4:7 states, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” The enemy cannot remain in the presence of a man “barking” for the Lord.
2. Eating Spiritual Food
A muzzled man finds great difficulty eating the spiritual food contained in the Bible. Reading or hearing the Word of God doesn’t digest well for a believer who has committed sexual sin. Remember earlier when I referenced 1 Corinthians 6:18 and likened sexual sin to a self-inflicted wound? This is exactly what a man does when he sins sexually. He takes a pistol, points it toward himself, and pulls the trigger. As a result, he becomes a shattered mess, full of shame and guilt. It puts him in a state of unworthiness, and he finds it difficult to “stomach” God’s Word. The thought of it feels like dumping salt onto an open flesh wound. I once heard Bill Johnson describe the Word like this: “The Blood cleanses us from sin. The Word cleanses us from defilement.” Although a man in sexual sin hungers for what the Word offers, he just hopelessly gazes at it–much like a muzzled dog would stare at a piece of red meat inches from his snout. Incapacitated and with eyes full of despair, he can only stare at the sustenance he desperately desires to devour.
The muzzle also makes it difficult for men to confess or reach out for help. It’s why wives all over the world are dumbfounded and devastated when they find out their Christian husbands have been addicted to porn or have been hiding an affair. It’s why a pastor struggling with sexual sin continues in his work instead of rushing himself to the altar. He is ignorant that Satan is leading him to be slaughtered. The muzzle holds him in bondage and shame, restraining him from confession. This pastor, like many Christians today, begins to accept his struggle. Hidden and habitual sexual sin is a home run for the enemy. This grip restrains a man from seeking God and blocks him from receiving all God has for him. If you remain a Christian but fall away from God and His Word, you will become what the Bible calls lukewarm. In Revelation 3:26, God says he will spit you out of His mouth if you end up here: “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”
Men, His Word is nourishment to your entire body, soul, mind, and spirit. I highly recommend the book A Mind Set Free by Jimmy Evans. It’s a quick, one-day read full of power regarding how meditating on and absorbing God’s Word can transform and free you from bondage. The Word of God is fuel for your spirit! It is the sustenance many men are starving for. Sadly, when your spirit is closed off from receiving God and His Word, you will only be left with your flesh to feed and sustain you. God never designed you to thrive in this half-dead condition.
3. “Biting” Others to Bring Them Out of Bondage
If you muzzle a dog while in the presence of others, it’s often to prevent it from biting. Why would the enemy muzzle a man for this purpose? Wouldn’t this instead be in line with Satan’s tactics to hurt others? Yes, if the biting I’m referring to was meant for harm. But remember who Satan attacks: Christians. Why would Christians need to be restrained from biting others? Sexual sin is a hidden epidemic and every pastor in the world should be sounding the alarm on it. Christians muzzled by sexual sin find it difficult to reprove or, if you will, “bite” others and bring them out of bondage. A muzzled man cannot effectively call out sexual sin, reprove, or “grab hold” of others who are struggling. In other words, they have no biting power! Instead, they do their best to nudge or rub against it. Imagine a father who finds out his son is looking at porn but has no ability to call it out or “pull” him away from it. If he is also harnessed by it, how is he supposed to reach his son? This is no different from a pastor in sexual sin. He can only offer so-called grace with no solution to a young man who confesses sexual sin to him. However, a man without a muzzle is capable of biting. This man can truly take a stance against sexual sin.
I once heard author and evangelist, James Robison, say it this way: “Do you know why so few people get free today? Because it takes free people to free people!” I call these men Unmuzzled Men. Their assignment: Grab hold of men heading toward the slaughter. I believe that God calls all of us in this way.
Adapted from “UNMUZZLED: ESCAPING SEXUAL SIN, SATAN'S GRIP ON MEN” from Jeremy Shelton. Unmuzzled is available at https://unmuzzledmen.com/
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/lolostock
Jeremy Shelton, author of the book UNMUZZLED, is a man on a mission to directly confront sexual sin in the church today. He does so with the belief God is using him to grab hold of those heading toward a slaughter. He and his wife of eighteen years have five children and live in Texas.