Earlier today, some of the brethren and friends from our church visited us. It was a fruitful and blessed moment when the LORD led us to a discussion about the common struggle of young men and even older men concerning sexual immorality.
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.1 Peter 2:11
As Christians, pilgrims, and strangers of this world, we should expect that we will encounter temptations. We are in a lifetime of struggles. We will always struggle with sins in different shapes or forms. To say that a time will come during our Christian walk when we will not struggle with sin is a lie. So here are some of the things we talked about that I personally do whenever faced with this sin:
- Meditate upon God’s word and promises – The battle begins in the mind. We fall into temptation not primarily by acting upon it but by thinking about it. The moment that your mind lingers in that temptation, you are sinning. You must repent quickly! One of the best ways to battle sin is through God’s word. Whenever thoughts about sexual sins molest you, there’s no other way to fight against it but through the Word and the Spirit. As you pray for the Spirit to help you, Go to the Word and reflect over the passages that will help you to overcome sin and temptation. Here are some of the passages.
- Psa 119:9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.
- Psa 119:11 I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
- Php 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
- Col 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
- Memorizing a passage or even passages (chapters) and bringing it to mind (even reciting and meditating upon it) during temptation helps you to triumph over sin. Try memorizing 1 Cor 6:9-20 and see the blessing of having the Word of God on your mind.
- John Piper testified, Memorizing Scripture makes God’s word more readily accessible for overcoming temptation to sin, because God’s warnings and promises are the way we conquer the deceitful promises of sin.
- Through the Word and by the Spirit’s grace, we’ll see the glorious and supreme beauty of Christ. That is at stake! Don’t replace it with the garbage pleasures of lust and sin!
- Make no provision for sin – Rom 13:14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
- We must mortify (put to death) our sins. In our sanctification, we must kill sin (mortification) and live by the Spirit (vivification), Anything that might cause us to stumble on sin must be put aside. We should not make room or even give time to a situation where we are the weakest. We should not lay ourselves open to temptation. Run from it! You must run away like the way Joseph ran away from Pharaoh’s wife.
- If you are in a situation where sin bites the strongest and the devil has his hold the toughest, you must run for your life. If you love your life for whom Christ died and if you love Christ who died for you, run! Never turn back!
- Face it Christocentrically – John Owen said that “Our blessed Savior knows full well our state and condition; he knows the power of temptations, having had experience of it” (Kapic & Taylor, Overcoming Sin and Temptation. p. 167)
- Rom 6:11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
- The very first imperative in the book of Romans is the word “consider”. You must reckon yourself as dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. You are no longer a slave of sin in Christ. You are a slave of Christ and righteousness. Why would you serve something that is not your master?
- Meditate on what Christ did to take away sin and what sin did to Christ. If sin caused the death of your Savior won’t you do all things with all your might by the Spirit to kill the sin that crucified your Savior?
- “Set faith at work on Christ for the killing of your sin. His blood is the great sovereign remedy for sin-sick souls. Live in this, and you will die a conqueror; yea, you will, through the good providence of God, live to see your lust dead at your feet.” John Owen, On the Mortification of sin
- Face it with the church – 2Ti 2:22 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
- The Scripture is clear that you (and we) cannot do it alone. If you think you stand, take heed lest you fall! While praying, and crying to the Spirit to give you enabling grace to withstand temptation for Christ’s sake, find someone whom you trust, and whom you have seen walking and serving the LORD faithfully (he can be your pastor), who can pray for you and to whom you can pour your hearts and confide your struggles.
- Paul exhorted Timothy to flee youthful passions. But he didn’t end there. The young Timothy is told to pursue holiness along with those who call on the LORD from a pure heart. Do not deprive yourself of the blessing that you can have with the people of God. If you are struggling with sin, don’t face it alone!
Consider this whenever you are fighting against sin:
Lust is a sexual desire that dishonors its object and disregards God. It disregards the promises and the warnings of having or losing the beauties of Christ. The lusted-after woman or man in your head or on the screen or on the street is dishonored — not treated as a sacred, precious, eternal person in the image of God whose eternal destiny is always paramount and whose holiness we either long for or ignore. (John Piper)
“Sexual sin remains to be the primary cause of many a pastor’s (even young Christians’) downfalls. We have to guard ourselves against this destructing sin. Countless lives have been damaged due to sexual sins.” The points above should be used in everyone’s battle against sin. The stake is high!
If you want to devote days to actively and intentionally fight sexual sins, you can use Tim Challies 31 Days of Purity.
How about you? What do you normally do when you struggle with sin?
May the LORD help us in this warfare!
To God be the glory!
- This blog also contains insights from our pastor.
- Owen, J., Kapic, K. M., Taylor, J., & Piper, J. (2015). Overcoming sin and temptation. Crossway.
- Piper, John. If My Words Abide in You. (2009, January 4). Desiring God. https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/if-my-words-abide-in-you–2
- Piper, John. You Are Not Addicted: The Power to Resist Pornography. (2017, August 15). Desiring God. https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/you-can-say-no-to-porn/excerpts/you-are-not-addicted?fbclid=IwAR3lXMHjNvyPoL090oQGkN-r_nFnS-YLLtyd7DGdMmmnr8icQrLYvttmaB4
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