Saturday, September 1, 2012

Finding Victory Over Sexual Temptation

Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 2 Timothy 2:22 NIV

We live in an age of sexual promiscuity. We have lost our innocence. We are bombarded by billboards, advertisements, movies, and TV shows that seek to draw us away from purity. The Internet, which can be used to do many good things, is often employed as a tool of the enemy to lock many into a prison of pornography. Our society has been blinded into believing that right is wrong and wrong is right.

But God's standard has not changed. Sex before marriage is still wrong. Adultery is wrong. And though it is not popular to say it, homosexuality is also wrong. God is a holy God, and He calls His children to walk in His holiness. What He calls us to do, He also enables us to do. We can all find freedom from the clutches of sexual sin.

Before I speak of the remedy, let me say that God designed sex; He is the author of it. Sex within marriage, between a man and a woman, is meant to be beautiful, passionate, and expressive. God wants us to enjoy this gift, and yet like many good things the enemy of our soul desires to pervert it.

When I was a teenager, I fell into the trap of pornography. Although I never had sex before I was married, I did have a problem with lust. When I became a Christian at age eighteen, these desires did not vanish. I struggled with sexual temptation well into my adult years. I did my best to resist temptation, but fell many times. I was afraid to tell anyone about my struggles, but one day I gathered my courage and spoke to a pastor about my problem. He told me my answer would be found in God's word. He encouraged me to saturate my mind with the truths from Scripture.

This is exactly what I did. I learned to quote the word of God in the face of temptation. I learned to keep myself from things I had no business watching. Little by little the stronghold of lust began to lose its power over me. Today, I experience a great measure of victory in this area.  I once saw beautiful women as objects of my desire, I now see them as precious to God.

Let me say that God loves all of us. No matter how far we've fallen, He loves us. He also does not consider one sin as greater than another. Homosexuality, for instance, is not a worse sin than lusting for the opposite sex. They are the same in God's eyes. All of us have been tainted to some degree. We live in a fallen world that is ablaze with perversion. But God has given us the power to overcome temptation.

1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful, he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” No matter how far you have fallen, God can pick you up. He will help you to overcome. Know that you are not the only one going through this. Your struggle is common to man. The Lord will enable you to win in this battle if you ask Him to.

You must fortify yourself with Bible verses that deal with this subject. Learn to quote them to the devil when you are being tempted (See Matthew 4) . Say, “I choose to flee the evil desires of youth. I choose to pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace. I choose to follow the Lord.” Declare that you have the victory over temptation in Jesus name. Know that God sees you as a victor. Besides fleeing from temptation, we are to pursue the fruits of the spirit, we are to replace the negative thoughts in our minds with positive truths from God's word.

It is also important that you confide with one or more mature believers about your difficulty. This person can help you, pray for you, and become one that you are accountable to. This can help you to gain the upper hand over your sin. 2 Timothy 2:22 says to flee the evil desires of youth (youthful lusts) and to pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace along with those that call upon the Lord with a pure heart. We are to do this in the context of the Christian community. We need to lean on each other in the battle.

My purpose in writing about these things is not to make you feel unworthy or defeated, it is not to bring you condemnation. Instead, I desire to encourage you to shoot for God's standard and to find hope and victory in this area. If you are having struggles in this area, take heart and know that God is with you. He will help you overcome. When He looks at you, He sees a champion. You are more than a conqueror in His eyes. Where you have failed, He offers forgiveness. He will wash you white as snow. Know that He loves you very much and He only wants the very best for you always.

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