As Pure as the Driven Snow
Here a few tips on keeping pure in your thoughts and in your sex lives. Let me share two personal observations. First, this may be a struggle no matter how old you become.. 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 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)
Seek cleansing. Deliverance comes from God in response to your faith and discipline. Claim the Lord’s promise. “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 God can make more than a conqueror.
Demythologize sex. In the movies, 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 eventually lead to action. It destroys families and persons.
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) He was describing the attitude to take toward impure thoughts. Like a surgeon removing a cancerous tumor, cut it all out. 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 entertainment? Would you call your married friends and ask to come over to watch them have sex? Why? Because it’s sick. 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.
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.
Get accountability. Develop a relationship with a same gender friend who will ask you hard questions and demand honest answers. Meet with him or her regularly.
Avoid a negative obsession. Saying, “I will not think about sex” guarantees you will think about sex.
Redirect your thoughts. Use displacement to fill your mind with thoughts about something else. Picture Jesus dying on the cross. Imagine his pain. Make it as real as possible.
Turn temptation into spiritual power. Use each temptation as a call to pray for others. (I pray for other pastors.) 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.
Never give up. If you fall, get up, confess it, receive God’s forgiveness and start fighting to be pure again. God will help you.