Day 29: Carrying His Cross
By Mike Nobrega Desert Stream Ministries Board Member
I came to Desert Stream for help almost 30-years-ago: I was unable to break the grip of persistent sexual sin alone. I had grown up actively Roman Catholic through high school and had an “awakening” experience with Jesus in my late teens. Neither regular confession as a Catholic nor a new relationship with Jesus “took away” my sexual obsession. I prayed and expected marriage to a godly woman would quench the thirst. No dice. I brought my brokenness into marriage.
God gifted me by not allowing me to rest in sexual brokenness. I tried good teaching, fasting, praying, and confessing/talking with brothers who loved me but really didn’t know what to do.
Through Living Waters and other Desert Stream relationships, I learned the good of pushing through shame and fear and coming into the light. I found trusted brothers with whom I regularly confessed sin and broke the power of hiddenness. They spoke against the lies of the enemy that sought to disqualify me under the guise that Jesus’ death and resurrection wasn’t enough. They truly washed my feet.
My ongoing reliance on others in deep weakness was the “small cross” that Jesus asked me to take up daily and follow Him (Luke 9:23). I had to die to the “social saint.” Like any cross leading to death, it was painful. Death hurts, but I accepted this death as my only way to abiding in His life.
It wasn’t instantaneous, but it worked. I changed. Through daily shouldering the cross (small as it was), staying in the light, hearing redemptive assurances that His sacrifice was enough, I started finding lasting victory over old and destructive patterns.
So – fast forward over 25 years now. I’ve grown up and become mature. No need to “take up your cross daily” stuff – right? NOT. I’ve come to know I must daily and thoroughly reckon with obvious sexual temptations but also to die to more subtle, sneaky attacks on my value as a godly masculine image bearer. It isn’t any easier to push through that shame. Death is just not fun.
Jesus has empowered me to be persistent. Through this intentional exchange of death to life, God is sanctifying and redeeming me as a masculine image bearer and empowering me to do this for my brothers. I have become an advocate for honoring women, especially my lovely wife.
‘Jesus, rouse the gift we are. Help us to attend to the treasure you summon from the trash. Free us from our constant faultfinding and free us for vestiges of paradise in our memories and in our lives today. We refuse the liar who tries to rewrite Eden out of our histories. Unite us to the home of our original dignity.’ ‘Jesus, have mercy on us as Your Church. We have abused weaker members, including children, and protected ourselves. We have violated the most vulnerable. In Your mercy, free us to superabound with justice. Grant us Kingdom discernment and courage to reform ourselves. May our repentance grant us Kingdom authority to strengthen the weak, discipline violators, and restore the violated.’