There’s something you keep doing that you know you shouldn’t be doing. Or perhaps you’re not doing something you know you should be doing. It’s like there are hooks in your brain that keep you going in a certain wrong direction regardless of how hard you try to do something different. Your heart cries, Why do I keep sinning the same way?

Take the area of sex/sexuality. You might be struggling with using porn, or being sexually attracted to someone you know you shouldn’t be, or getting trapped in emotional affairs, or withdrawing from sexual intimacy with your spouse, or multiple sexual relationships. You keep “trying” to quit, but it’s not working.

It’s one thing to say, “That’s sin! Ask God to forgive you, and quit it!” That’s true; it is, and He will! But does it work? Can you quit? If it did, you’d probably have quit already. You know God forgives. And you know He calls you to live right. So what’s missing? What do you do about the shame? The continued failures? The hooks in your brain that keep messing you up?

For our brand new course Sexpectations we interviewed a number of men and women who experienced various kinds of brokenness, but who have found wonderful transformation through Jesus. Whether or not sex/sexuality is your struggle, these common elements from their experiences will be necessary for you to stop your unhealthy patterns and find the transformation you need and want.

  1. It’s about matters of the heart

Simply “trying harder” to change behavior only gets you so far. Behavior has consequences, but gritting your teeth and putting in more effort doesn’t change the hooks in your brain. It’s not until you get under the surface and address the inner matters of the heart that things change.

Jesus taught that. “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” (Matthew 15:18-19)

David C said, “I felt called into the ministry, but there was this compartment over here that I kept hidden. But I knew about it. Jesus knew about it. I had to deal with it.” Getting to the matters of the heart may seem scary, but it’s the key to real change.

  1. Something happened to you

You didn’t wake up one day and decide to be messed up. You didn’t intentionally choose those hooks in your brain that keep pulling you down. Something happened to you. That may have been things you learned growing up, painful or abusive experiences, distorted messages and lies, or any number of things.

Tamira said, “In my mind the trauma was the reason I was the way I was, but the anger and fear had never been dealt with.” You responded, and continue to respond, to what happened to you in sinful ways. But looking at your story and what happened to you will be a critical piece of breaking the power of those pathways in your brain.

  1. You need people

Intellectually you probably believe you should be connected with other followers of Jesus. But you may be balking at that. You may have tried, and it just hasn’t seemed to “work.” But if you are stuck with some deep sinful hooks in your brain, change is unlikely to happen until you do the hard work of connecting deeply with others. Among the people I talk with who are struggling with some addiction or some habitual sin, this is often one of the hardest things for them to embrace.

About connecting with people David H. said, “There will be people who share your experience more than you thought. Keep coming back! You’re not alone.” People are messy. Family – church family – is messy! But don’t quit until you develop the kinds of connections that help you grow and thrive.

  1. Jesus works from the inside out

Jesus does not do His miracle-working transformation as an arms-length transaction. You need to invite Him in. It’s only when He is allowed to be that close that you begin to experience change on the inside that then changes your behavior.

Sula said, “Time with Jesus brings so much healing. He knows what I’m ready to confront. I’ve learned, when I get triggered, to run to Him. Let Him love you, so you can experience the new life He has for you.”

“I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Hebrews 8:10) That’s what Jesus wants to do for you too!

Addressing Your Story

How have you dealt with the matters of your heart? How are you dealing with them now?

If you are experiencing hooks in your brain that you struggle to be free from, habitual sin that seems impossible to stop, this may be the very key to finding the glorious freedom Jesus wants for you.

And our Sexpectations online course will help you do exactly that. You look at your sexual story with honesty and compassion, experience the deep heart change you seek, and write the next chapter of your story with hope.


Your Turn: Are you struggling with the same sinful problem over and over again? Will you choose the courage to face the issues under the surface in your heart? Leave a comment below. 

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  • If you keep on sinning the same way over and over again, it’s almost certainly not about behavior, but about matters of the heart. How are you dealing with what’s under the surface?  Tweet that