Sex and the Single Person
May 17, 2011
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“As a single Christian, how can I fight the temptation to give up on sexual purity? How can I stay pure?”
The Bible makes it clear that these battles are fought and won in your largest sex organ – your brain. Keep your thoughts pure and you can keep your actions clean too.
Your Life is God's Masterpiece
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5, New International Version)
Allow me to start by sharing two personal observations about keeping pure in your thoughts and in your sex life.. First, this may be a struggle for you no matter how old you become. Years ago , I knew a man in his late 70’s who still fought to keep his thoughts pure. Second, these temptations aren’t constant. Once you are consistently victorious over them they will subside. However, they will come back when you least expect it and often with a fierceness that can take your breath away.
- Confess any impure sexual thoughts as sin. An impure thought (lust) is a thought that if acted out would be sin. Remember what Jesus said about lust. “Anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28) Call them what they are – sin.
- Seek cleansing. Deliverance from lust comes from God in response to your discipline. Claim the Lord’s promise for your thought and sex life. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) This will not be an easy victory to win but you can be more than conquerors through the Spirit’s power.
- Demythologize sex. In the movies and on TV, you seldom see the consequences of sex and lust. Think through the results of impure thoughts. You will get hooked. They are addictive. Lust will block your usefulness for God. It will eventually lead to action.
- Starve the sources of impure thoughts. Trace the roots back and cut them off. Jesus said, “If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” (Matthew 5:29) Did he mean that literally? No, he was describing the attitude we need to take toward impure thoughts. Like a surgeon removing a cancerous tumor, cut it all out. Cut off the cable to your TV. Give away your TV if you need to do it. Block porn sites from your computer. Throw out the magazines, books, videos and CD’s that stir up these thoughts and feelings. Each person is unique. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you as you identify the sources of temptation in your life. Then be pitiless, hard-nosed and thorough. Starve the sources.
- Stop thinking of sex as entertainment. Have you ever thought about how sick it is to watch people having sex as a form of entertainment? Would you call your married friends on a Friday night and ask to come over and watch them have sex? Why? Because it’s sick and you’d lose friends very fast. But we’ll turn on the TV or plop down our hard-earned money to watch a couple of actors go at it. Sex is more than entertainment and recreation.
Seek to be pure as sunlight in God's grace
- Read, study and memorize the Bible. Fill your mind with God’s truth, especially verses that attack the world’s warped view of sex. Write out the following verses on small cards or slips of paper to carry with you. Read them several times a day. (Matthew 5:27-30; Proverbs 6:25-29; 2 Corinthians 10:4-5; Philippians 4:8)
- Get accountability. Develop a relationship with someone who will ask you the hard questions and demand honest answers. Meet with him or her regularly. This should be a same gender friend.
- Avoid a negative obsession. Saying, “I will not think about sex” guarantees you will think about sex.
- Redirect your thoughts. Fill your mind with thoughts about something else. The most powerful way to displace sexually impure thoughts is to picture Jesus dying on the cross for you.
- Turn temptation into spiritual power. Use each temptation as a call to pray for others. (I pray for other pastors who may be tempted to lust or sin sexually.) Pull out your Bible verses and read them. If you pray and read the Bible every time you’re tempted, the devil will be less inclined to tempt you.
(Good advice for married couples from Michael Hyatt)
Perhaps others can share more advice in the comments. If this post has helped you or if you believe it might help someone you know, please share it. Thank you.