I am sure it will come as no surprise that remaining sexually pure in our society is not easy. There are numerous ways a person can be tempted and more ways than ever to indulge in lust. The ubiquity of mobile devices has certainly made pornography more accessible and more anonymous than ever before. As an individual and as a parent, guarding our minds, hearts, and eyes and those of our children against that which is impure is more challenging than ever. Here are a few suggestions that might help you as you strive for sexual purity in your life and home.
Know Your Enemy
The first step in developing a strategy for victory is to know what we are up against. How dangerous and destructive are sexual sins?
Well, we don’t have to turn far in Scripture to find all sorts of deviant sexual behaviour including polygamy (Gen 4:23), lust (Gen 5:10), nakedness (Gen 9:20-23), homosexuality and incest (Gen 19). Clearly, what God intended and created for good has been corrupted by the fall of man through sin.
Sexual sin is not something that only affects unbelievers; it is rampant among God’s people as well.
- David, the man after God’s own heart, committed adultery that led to murder and resulted in rape and more murder among his own children (1 Samuel 13).
- Solomon, the wise man who ever lived and wrote about the dangers of sexual sin (Proverbs 5 and 7), married 700 women and had 300 concubines that worshipped other Gods and eventually turned his heart away from God (1 Kings 11:1-6).
- Samson, the strongest man in the Bible, was brought down by his love of prostitutes and women who did not know or love God.
Clearly, sexual sin is something that is very destructive and something that all of us must be on guard against. It like a fire that burns all who touch it (Proverbs 6:27-29), and so we need to be aware of the fact that Satan uses it to destroy many lives, keep many people defeated and guilty, and distract us from serving the Lord.
A Good Offence Is Better Than the Best Defence
When trying to not eat unhealthily, the key is to replace bad eating habits with good ones, rather than attempting to eat nothing all. The same is true with any sin or work of the flesh; it should be “put off” and replaced with something good that glorifies God (Ephesians 4:22-32, Colossians 3:8-14).
So often, we attempt to stop this and stop that, but we never replace the bad with the good. The same is true for sexual sin. James 1:13-18 describes how sin takes place. It begins with wrong thinking about God and His dealings with us (v.13), then it proceeds to thinking we need certain things and looking for a way to fulfill those desires/lusts (v.14). Those lusts will look for some satisfaction and once we give in to those lusts, we have sinned, and ultimately that sin will bring forth death (v.15).
The key to defeating that lust is to expose the lie (v.16) and to remember that every good and perfect gift is from God (v.17). We have to change our thinking and fill our minds with the truth about who God is, how good God is, and how He knows what’s best for us and has given us everything we need.
Another way to describe this process of changing our thinking is to “renew our minds” (Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:23, Colossians 3:10). This is basically getting into God’s Word and learning and choosing to believe that what God says is true regardless of what lies are passed off in our world as truth.
If you think about it, this is what led to the first sin. In Genesis 3, Satan convinced Eve to sin when he got her thinking that God was holding out on her, not giving her what would be best for her and that what God said was wrong was actually something that would be good and pleasant.
So, the way we resist the pull of sexual temptation is to…
- Get into God’s Word regularly,
- Read and believe what God says is true,
- Dethrone the lies about illicit ways of indulging our sexual desires,
- Learn the truth about the right purpose and place for sex, and
- Realise that in Christ we already have the victory and just need to live it out with the Spirit’s power.
Stay Open and Humble Before God and Man
In Ecclesiastes 2:9-10, Solomon tells us that “Two are better than one.” One of His reasons for this observation is that “if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow.” He says, “woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.”
The principle is seen all through Scripture and all through life. Those who cut themselves off from good friends, the church, and God are in danger of falling into sin.
We need one another, and we need to help one another. To this end, it is important when it comes to sexual temptation to talk to one another and to talk with our children about God’s plan for sex, about the Devil’s plan to destruct God’s plan, and about the ways in which we can follow God’s plan.
Even though it can be awkward to speak to our children about these things, it is important that we share with them what God’s Word says before the world gets to them first.
And we need to continue having conversations about this. Several tools can be helpful for monitoring and filtering internet content such as Covenant Eyes, Disney Circle, and Bark. These are not the “be all” and “end all” of sexual sin, but they do enable us to have ongoing conversations about the issues and any struggles.
When we share our struggles within the safety of family relationships, the local church, and Christian friends, we bring sin out of the darkness and dispel the lies/shame with the truth and light of the gospel.
Though we need to use wisdom and be appropriate in how and with whom we share, James 5:16 expresses the purpose of confessing to one another, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” The purpose is for prayer, encouragement, and healing.
Have A Plan
I hope that, if anything, this article will encourage you to have a plan to fight sexual temptation. Many are deceived, enslaved, defeated, and discouraged over sexual sin. Satan wants to use the pull, the pain, and the guilt of sexual sin to keep us from serving the Lord Jesus Christ.
He came to set us free. And His truth makes us really free. “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free…If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8:32,36)
So, let me encourage you to have a personal plan for purity, to set appropriate boundaries/guidelines to protect you and your family, to pray for and care for your Christian family and your children, and to realise that we can live righteous and godly lives in this world through the grace of God.
Titus 2:11–12 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world…