The Covenant Eyes Podcast

From the Depths of Addiction to the Heights of Redemption: Steve Etner's Journey to Purity

January 10, 2024 Covenant Eyes, Season 3 Episode 2
The Covenant Eyes Podcast
From the Depths of Addiction to the Heights of Redemption: Steve Etner's Journey to Purity
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

 In this powerful episode of The Point of Purity Podcast, join host Karen Potter and Rob Stoddard as he interviews renowned Purity Coach and author Steve Etner, from Pure Man Ministry. Discover the transformative journey of overcoming a 30-year addiction to lust, porn, and masturbation. Gain insights into Steve's 12-week study on sexual impurity, "The Point of Purity," and learn the key principles to break free from the chains of addiction.


CONNECT WITH STEVE ETNER

Website:
https://thepuritycoach.com

My Purity Coach App:
iOS: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/my-purity-coach/id953747232
Google: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.subsplash.thechurchapp.s_HRJZF3&hl=en_US&gl=US&pli=1

Books by Steve Etner:
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=steve+etner&crid=7E6554759XXI&sprefix=steve+etner%2Caps%2C99&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Follow The Point of Purity Podcast:
 https://www.thepuritycoach.com/podcasts/index.html

Don't miss this insightful conversation on breaking free from porn addiction and finding hope in God's Word. Share this episode with anyone seeking support on their journey to purity.

#PurityCoach #AddictionRecovery #ThePointOfPurity #HopeInGodsWord

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Karen Potter:

Hi everybody, welcome to the Covenant Eyes podcast. I am one of the hosts, karen Potter, and I'm so glad that you are here, and if you are a new listener, welcome. We are so glad to have you joining us, and if you're somebody that's been with us for a couple of seasons now, we are just grateful that you are still here and enjoying the episodes and sharing them far and wide. We appreciate that. Please take a minute, drop us a line. We love to hear from you, our listeners, we love the feedback, we love the episode ideas and all the rest, so be sure to reach out to us. Our contact information will be in the show notes and with that I've got my co-host here, rob Stotter, joining me.

Rob Stoddard:

Hey, rob. Hey, I'm Rob Stotter and we do have a wonderful show today lined up for you. I want to start with. Our guest is Steve Etner. Steve is with Pure man Ministry. Steve is a national men's speaker, author, I think, of seven books, certified professional mentor, purity coach and your most recent book, I think maybe we'll talk about that today the point of purity is a 12-week study on sex and purity. So, steve, welcome to the show today.

Steve E:

Thank you, I am so honored and blessed to be a part of this All right.

Rob Stoddard:

Well, Steve, can you start out and just tell us a little bit about yourself and really how you got into this ministry and why?

Steve E:

Well, really the ministry kind of fed off of the fact that I came out of a 30-year addiction to lust and porn and masturbation, and it dominated my life. I was under the misconceived, deceptive idea that I had control over it and I could stop anytime I wanted to. But that's a lie from the pit of hell and, like I said, it dominated my life. It nearly ruined my marriage. I actually attempted suicide as a result of all of that. Sought out some counsel, actually sought out multiple times counselors, different counselors went to a pastor at one point and sat in his office and for close to an hour he just lambasted me, ripped me up one side and down the other, told me what an absolutely horrible person I was for what I was doing to my wife and my kids, which I knew. That I understood that that's why I was there seeking counsel. To his credit, I will say this, though, that when I went to see him, one of the reasons he was lambasting me was because, in the midst of the addiction, I was a pastor and so I had no business being behind the pulpit and teaching the Word of God, and I agree with that 100%. Just his methodology. He could have come at it a little different way. Another counselor we went to see was a professional. He had to put money on the table every time you went to visit and he had Christian in the name, and so we thought we're going to get some good, godly counsel. But the Bible was never opened and God was never talked about what I as a guy would call the mushy-gushy stuff. Let's talk about your feelings, let's talk about mommy and daddy. Those are important things, those play a factor in the addiction, but not to the exclusion of God. And so we only went to a small handful of those sessions and walked away saying we're not coming back, he doesn't understand, he can't help us, we're on our own, we've got to fix this on our own. And so I continued on to my sin. But you know, numbers 3223 says be sure your sin will find you out. And it's just as true today as it was the day God inspired it. And my addiction raised its ugly head again and I was caught and discovered again and marriage is hanging on by a thread. I had been involved in some multiple affairs and everything was just was horrible. So we went to see another counselor. This one was trained in biblical counseling. We opened the Bible, we studied the Word of God together, we prayed together. But in the midst of all that, there were more than once that he pointed his finger at my wife and said it was all her fault, that if she had only performed properly, if she only met my needs, this wouldn't have happened. Of course, in the mindset that I was in, I love that counsel, but, to be honest with you, it was bad counsel and it was destroying my wife, was chewing up from the inside out, and we got to a point where we were despondent and discouraged and said there's no one that can help us, there's no resource that's available to us. And right at that time, when we were at the bottom of the barrel, god brought a guy into my life named Roger. Roger's not a pastor, he's not a counselor, just a guy who loves God. And he sat down with me and met with me for an hour a week for 52 weeks and we just All we did was open the Word of God, we studied the Scriptures together, and Roger taught me the principles that I now teach to other guys, and that is simply this that the problem we struggle with isn't lust, it's not porn, it's not masturbation. Those are the byproducts. The real issue is a worship disorder. Who's sitting on the throne of my heart? I do what I do because in my heart I want what I want. I can't change my behavior until I change my heart. And so, as Roger taught me that from the Scriptures, god used the Scriptures to change my thinking. You know, as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. What I think becomes what I do. And so, nearly 12 years ago, god opened the door for me to begin this ministry called the Pure man Ministry, just kind of taking what Roger did with me and concising it to a 12-week program where I meet with guys on a weekly basis for an hour a week, and it's just he and I, one on one, and we go through the Word of God together and we learn what it means to be a man of purity, a man of integrity and a man of godliness, super excited about where God has taken us and where he's leading us yet to go.

Karen Potter:

That's an incredible journey and I'm sorry for the pain and the hurt that you and your wife experienced during that journey too and that's not uncommon, you know, as people go through this, finding the right help and the right formula. But I love how, in all of your resources and on your podcast, everything always points back to Scripture. Scripture comes through loud and clear. You had an episode, kind of, where you were just talking about idols and you know how the images can become those idols and then you have to ask yourself like who are you, who are you following, who are you worshiping? And it was a great episode. I also love like in one of your episodes I wrote it down because I thought it was really profound, but you said God is our teacher, life is our classroom, the Bible is our textbook. God's word is the lamp unto the our, to my feet, a light unto my path, which is Psalms 1, 19. Oh, five, 105. And how? How does keeping that perspective and God's word in front of us throughout this journey and remembering that God is our teacher, how does that help us in our addiction recovery path?

Steve E:

I think really it goes back to Matthew, chapter four, when the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And you know, for 40 days he's bombarded with every temptation mankind would ever experience. And Jesus could have very simply said I'm God, back off, leave me alone. And Satan would have had to have complied. But Jesus didn't do that. He kept saying it is written, it is written, it is written and used. Scripture, because Satan can't counter the scriptures and John 14. Jesus is talking with the disciples about what's about to happen before he gets to Jerusalem and goes through the crucifixion. One of the promises that Jesus makes there is that when he is gone, he's going to send the Holy Spirit, the comforter, and when the Holy Spirit has come, he will remind you of everything that Jesus has said. And I want to key in for just a second on that word remind. The ministry of the Holy Spirit is to remind us of what God says. One of the things I like to ask when I'm talking with a gentleman helping him on this journey Can you remember something you never knew? Well, I tried that in high school, I tried it in college, didn't work then, excuse me, it's not going to work now I have to hide God's word in my heart, and then the Holy Spirit gives me those tools to combat the temptation. I still have to be willing to use them. It's not a button that you push, it's not a switch that you flip. It's a relationship that you develop with the Heavenly Father.

Rob Stoddard:

Amen, and that is always so key. Steve, you have so much experience with men, be it through conferences and the one-on-one coaching, this idea of really a dilatory of ourselves in place of Christ on the throne. What have you found? How easy is it for you to help guys make that switch? That discipleship seems like that takes a long time for people to make that switch and draw closer and closer to Christ. What's your techniques there? What do you see that really works with guys?

Steve E:

Well, I think the key is twofold. Number one with every homework assignment that I give to a guy, the 12-week program focuses on being in the Word of God every single day, saturating your mind with Scripture, and it's not just random pieces of Scripture. We're very focused, very intentional on the passages of Scripture that the guys are going to study. So they have to be in the Word of God every single day. The second thing is they have to memorize God's Word and hide it in their hearts, and one of the things that I'm trying to do is teach them how to use the Scripture to take second Corinthians 10-5, demolish the arguments and the lofty opinions and take captive their thoughts Proverbs 4-23, above all else, to guard your heart, to protect your mind. But I think the primary key is the willingness to be vulnerable to God, the willingness to fall on your face before God and say I can't do this without you. Thank you, because Philippians 4.13 is so true I can do all things through Christ, who gives me the strength.

Karen Potter:

Absolutely. That is an incredible piece of scripture and I think that is super profound to the walk as people go through this. It's a good reminder to all of us. Now you have a purity app that you developed, and can you talk to us a little bit about how you use that in your coaching and what exactly does the purity app do and how does it help people go through this journey to freedom from pornography?

Steve E:

Sure, the purity app is simply called MyPurityCoach. It's available on any smart device and its primary focus is on scripture. It's a resource to go to when you're not sure what the verses are. You know, you're in the middle of the temptation and, let's face it, sometimes we're so caught up in the temptation that we can't remember the scripture, but we can't call it right back to the front of our mind. So this is a tool that you can open up and you can just find a whole bunch of scripture verses dealing with purity, godliness, integrity, prayer. All of my podcasts are available on the app. There is some videos of workshops that I've taught and some keynotes that I've spoken at Just a well-rounded resource tool. But one of the things that is the most key element of that app is a little button that says call Steve, and what that simply means is, if you need somebody to pray with, someone to help you, someone to answer the questions that are plaguing you, someone to hold you accountable, you push that button. It instantly rings my cell phone, which I keep on me all the time, and I will answer it and I will pray with you. I will encourage you answer questions whatever, just to help you through that moment of temptation and also, you know, just available 24-7 for any guy who needs me.

Rob Stoddard:

Steve, that's an incredible gesture and, I'm sure, pretty busy too, but that's wonderful. I mean, how do you keep up with all these different one-on-ones and these calls? How do you manage that?

Steve E:

It's a challenge, but I truly can do all things through Christ, because he is the one that gives me the strength. The thing that is most important to me is what I didn't have. I want to be there. I want to be a Roger to other guys. I didn't have the resources that are available today, not just through purity, pure man ministry, but through covenant eyes. There's other tremendous tools. I've used covenant eyes for years and swear by it. In fact, if any guy who goes through my program, one of the requirements is he has to have covenant eyes and he has to have me as his accountability partner, at least for the 12 weeks. Well, good.

Rob Stoddard:

I'm glad that's been helpful. For sure, if I can follow up, steve, you touched on it in the beginning of your story a little bit about the struggle your wife had gone through. You know, certainly one of the things we see so often at Covenant Eyes is guys who are struggling. They often don't understand the harm and the hurt that their wives are going through and we've also seen that so many men struggle with the fear of their wife finding out. So as you work through, you know with all your work with the men, how do you handle that situation of coaching them on. You know what their wives are going through, their spouses are going through, but also just how to acknowledge that or confess that to their spouse.

Steve E:

Sure. Well, the first thing to that I try to encourage guys is to understand the principle of Matthew 528. And if you look upon a woman with lustful intent, you've committed adultery already with her in her heart so many times. When guys first reach out to me, I don't understand why my wife's so upset. It's not like I hopped in bed with somebody. I've been faithful to her, I'm not having an affair. And these are the excuses, the arguments that are running through their heads that convince them that their sin isn't that bad. But when we go to Matthew 528, jesus says you look, you've touched, you look, you've committed the act. It's in your heart. Man looks on the outward appearance, god looks on the heart and out of the buttons of the heart the mouth speaks as a man thinks in his heart. So is he so unique to understand that you've, you've, you're guilty and she's, she's sensitive to that. One of the other things is, as a guy is going through the program, we often talk about the fact that you're you're experiencing change. The Holy Spirit is moving in your heart. She's not necessarily at the same spot you are, especially if she doesn't have someone going alongside of her and helping her and mentoring her. So you've got to give her that space, you've got to give her the the opportunity to heal. And the wound is deep, the wound hurts and she's been been scarred, and so you've you've got to give her that, that room. I remember in my own marriage, as I was going through the healing process and my wife was not up in the same place as I was, that she would accuse me, and you know how do I know you're not lying to me, how do I know you're not deceiving me? Still, and my initial reaction, my initial response, was to defend myself. But look at what I'm doing. I'm in the Bible every day, I'm meeting with Roger every week and and you should be seeing change, which was true, but the bottom line was, in her eyes, I must be guilty, because I'm having to defend myself. And so I had to learn and this is what I try to help my guys to understand is, as you're giving her that space, allow her the privilege or the opportunity to hurt and to take it out on you. You're her husband, you're, you're her soulmate. If she can't pour it out to you, who's she gonna pour it out to? One of the things that is exciting that we offer in our ministry is that, as I'm working with a guy, his wife can talk with my wife. My wife is it's not a counselor, she's, she's, but she's just a gal who loves God, who has gone through the rough spots, who has struggled with. I love him. I hate him. This, this isn't my fault, I didn't I. What's wrong with me? Why am I having to go through this? I didn't sign up for this. You know All those things my wife went through and she's able to to share with the wife Her own story and her own journey and be able to pray with her and and gently walk her through the healing process as well.

Karen Potter:

That's extremely helpful, I think, to the spouse. Obviously, having someone that's been there in the trenches and has experienced what you've experienced, I think that's amazing that you offer that as you're. You know, as you're talking about all the different ways that you support men and in the offerings that you have through your ministry, it's really clear to me that you're really Fostering that discipleship relationship with these guys. So I would imagine you're probably creating, you know, readers for their home churches all over the country, like people are coming into your program and you're getting them Help and healing and then they're going back into their communities, into their home churches and hopefully sharing that and being a disciple To someone else. Are you seeing that through the work that you're doing with the guys all over the country?

Steve E:

I am, and that is so Exciting and so humbling. Since the the workbook came out the point of purity workbook I have not just seen guys graduate from the program successfully, but guys have written, sent me emails or texts or called me and said I'm bringing another guy along with me, I'm revisiting the program. I have one gentleman that just reached out to me a couple of weeks ago that Graduated from the program last year. He's already taken five other guys through the program and two of those guys have already taken two other guys through the program. So it's, it's that's what I want to see, because it's not about me, it's about letting God take the truth that that is in his word and just spread it globally.

Rob Stoddard:

That's that's so true as far as churches go. We often see that that churches aren't addressing this issue Certainly enough or deep enough. Deep enough. When you have a chance to talk with pastors and leaders, you know what do you say. Well, how do you encourage churches to dive into this issue and do more, raising the awareness but also bringing real help to men and women in the church?

Steve E:

I think where it begins is the pastor. If he has a staff that the the assistant pastors, associate pastors, immense, ministry leaders they need to start just within their core group To dive into the word of God, to dig into the topic. One of the things that we do provide is is intensive training for pastors. We'll go on site or we'll do a zoom type call and walk them through our program and help them to see how this like. Like Karen, you had pointed out, this is discipleship oriented. This is discipleship focused, but it starts it starts at the top and if the pastor isn't in his right, in a right relationship with God, if he's not walking faithfully and keeping his guard up, he's not going to be able to lead anybody else. You can only take someone as far as you've gone. So one of the things that, because I was a pastor who went through this issue that I bring to the table is being able to meet with other pastors who are struggling with this addiction, who have the fear I can't let my board know, I can't let the church find out, I'll lose my job. So that keeps them quiet, that keeps them secretive. We want to be a sounding board. We want to be a resource for those pastors, to be a safe place to come to and begin the process of trying to think through their own struggles, so that they can then deal with their issue with the Lord. And then how does that impact the church? Where should we go from there, which is another whole ball of wax.

Karen Potter:

As you were talking about pastors and their own struggles, it just kind of reminded me of the stats that we saw a few years back. They're kind of dated now, but just talking about how many pastors and ministry leaders are really struggling with pornography specifically, but, I would imagine, different sexual temptations in general, what can we do as a church, as a church body, to really help these pastors and leaders find that safe place to get recovery and healing? Because obviously the longer they pack that down and they don't deal with that sin, it could really damage. The blast radius is huge. It could damage their church, their marriages, of course, and their families. What can we do, steve, to really help the church and these church leaders?

Steve E:

I think my advice to any church member is to pray for their pastor, and I don't mean just God, please bless pastor this week, but pray specifically for them. There are a number of things that you can be praying for, but pray most of all just for their walk with God, their relationship with God. As a pastor, I was in the Bible every single day. I was studying the scriptures daily, but it was for the next message, the next Bible lesson, the next whatever, and I wasn't in the Word of God for me, for my walk with Christ. So I think that's a key factor is just pray for your pastor. Another thing that we've done at our church with my pastor is I will walk up to him. I don't do this every week, but I will walk up to him and I'll hand him a nickel. And the nickel is just saying for the last five days this week I prayed for you, I've got you back. Sorry, I'm very emotional when it comes to that, because our pastors need that. They're so used to criticism and the congregation not liking something, and that's understandable. But a pastor's heart needs to be encouraged, and so not only do I give my pastor a nickel, but we've got a bunch of guys in our church that will walk up to him and just hand him a nickel, but just somehow letting your pastor know we've got you back, we love you, we're praying for you, and that can be a huge encouragement to him to not just as a pastor but as a man, as a human being, to keep on. And when the struggle, when the temptation's there, to not feel like you're alone, that I have no resource, I have nowhere to turn, that you've got some key people that you know are praying for you and you may not be able to go up to them and say, hey, I'm struggling with pornography. I need you to be praying for me, but I've got some personal issues that God's dealing with me on and I just I need your prayer support. I think that's critical.

Rob Stoddard:

Steve, I mean your humbleness of heart your pastor's heart just comes through so strong and your background. You are just eminently qualified to be talking into pastor's lives as well as men's lives, and just it's been wonderful to hear your story and just how you approach things. So, steve, if our listeners want to find out more and get more information about your resources or connecting with you, how do they do that?

Steve E:

Best way would be to go to my website. The website is thepuritycoach all one word, thepuritycoachcom and there's a ton of resources available. There's a way of being able to contact me as well. My Purity Coach app is another way of doing it. Some of the resources I have available. My podcast is called the Point of Purity Podcast. That's a weekly podcast. We've been doing it for about three years now. We're actually in season four as you and I are speaking. Another resource is just go to amazoncom and do a search for Steve Etner and find the. I've written seven books. The seventh one is in the process of being published right now and I'm actually writing another one as we speak, but so those are available as well. But you know, what I love is the fact that God says in the scriptures call to me and I will answer you. And so you may not be able to get ahold of a Steve Etner or a Rob Stoddard or a Karen Potter, but all you have to do is cry out to God, and he's right there. He'll hear you and he will answer you.

Karen Potter:

That is so encouraging and I think that's a really awesome way to kind of end today's podcast and for our listeners out there, we will be sure to put all the links to Steve's website, his app, his resources and some of the books that he mentioned. I would encourage you to take a look at what he has to offer in his ministry. It is powerful. And your podcast. Honestly, steve, listening to it it just felt so amazing. It was so rich with scripture and just I listened to that and walked away feeling just as a woman. I felt empowered. Just listening to it, I could tell you were a pastor in your heart and it was just really great. So, our listeners, please check it out. It's a great podcast. You'll feel uplifted and encouraged in your walk and that's really all we have for you today. Listeners, we are so grateful for you tuning in. Be sure to like the podcast, share the podcast and leave us a review. We love reviews and we love to hear back from you. So, for all the listeners out there, all across the country and even across the globe, thanks for tuning in to the Covenant Eyes podcast. Until next time, take care, god bless, hopefully with you.

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