JOSEPH WRITES: Sometimes I feel sexually tempted, and I’ve discovered that it leads to a lot of sin if not dealt with correctly. How should I, as a Christian, deal with these feelings? I know that part of it is hormones, but there has to be a way to keep it fully under control.
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I’m positive there are gonna be a lot of practical comments and more helpful advice coming, so I’ll let some other people write those. In a nutshell, love Jesus Christ more than anything. (I know, easier said than done. Let me explain…) The more we love Jesus and the more we pursue Him and follow after Him, the more we desire to do as He says, which includes sexual purity. The best way to deal with temptation is to beat it through, as John Piper says, superior pleasure found in Jesus.
So in those times of struggling with temptation, really focus even more on loving Jesus and following Him. It’s far easier to stay on track when your eyes are fixed on your goal.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out before us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning at the shame, an sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Heb. 12:1-3)
I love this, Taylor! When I was going through a time of giving in to temptation, the one thing that pulled me out was a deep focus on my savior, and He literally rescued me from sinning against my own body. “Fixing my eyes on Jesus.” He was so gracious even though I was sinning against Him by lusting and being prideful. Then He led me to brutal honesty with trusted friend and family, throwing off my hinderances and entangling sins, and running into freedom.
Yes! Jesus Christ is so much better and more powerful than any number of tips, tricks, or formulas. 🙂 Encouraging story, Naomi! Thanks for sharing it.
Run away!! Literally, if possible. I once heard a story of a pastor dude who had a lady over to his office for counseling. Well let’s just say counseling wasn’t what the woman really wanted and the dude literally jumped out a window (on the first floor) and ran away. I get that it’s not always possible to do that, but when you can, do it lol.
The very fact that you realise there is a problem and are wanting to help solve it shows that there is still hope for recovery. As long as you have The Spirit within you, there is always hope for recovery.
The first step, as scary as it may be, is to ask someone close to you, a mentor of yours, for help with the situation. Try to ask for help from another man. They will probably give you more helpful advice than anything you can find on the internet.
Secondly, learn what triggers you. When does the sexual temptation occur? Is it tied to a time of day? An activity? Find out where you are hit hardest and avoid that trigger point as much as possible, completely removing it from your life if at all possible.
Finnaly, the root of the problem lies in the mind. The longings of the flesh try to overpower the will by distracting you and taking your focus off of who you are in Christ. To counter this, you must flood your thought life with things of God,
“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Col 3:2
remind yourself each day, on a moment by moment basis, that you are His ambassador, counted righteous and holy becasue of Christ.
18Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a man can commit is outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. 19Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God with your body.… 1 Cor 6:18-20
This verse helps me in the same or similar struggle to yours, Joseph. This fight will be difficult, but worth it. Even if there is no end to the attacks, know this: that there is no end to God’s love for you, There is no end to His power, and you don’t fight alone.
God bless, brother, and i’ll be praying for you.
When you start feeling the temptation, RUN!! Anything to get your mind off of it. I know this is hard. Try praying every time you are tempted.
Amanda T. (not me :)) and friends have an awesome blog at breakingfreeindeed.org that is extremely helpful in this area. The posts are written by real people who have struggled with the same things.
I’m not sure if I have any advice that would really help but here’s two videos from Paul Washer on this subject, I haven’t watched/listened to these videos but he’s my favorite pastor and I trust that he gives good advice. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwG7uT5guzg https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsmOumG8g70 I hope this helps!
How are you doing, Tatiana?
I’m pretty good, I’ve had my ups and downs lately but right now I’m good. : ) I’ve been working on a really long blog post, babysitting, trying to finish up this school year and attempting to revamp my schedule. Yourself?
Not bad… I’m graduating high school this year and starting college this fall. 🙂 Oh yeah! It hasn’t been an easy year by any means, but it’s been good.
Short term: cut off your eyes and hands (Matthew 5:29-30), i.e. crucify them: avert your gaze from the object of lust, and guard your hands from committing any sexual sin.
Long term: the more you are tempted, the more it is indicative that you are called to be married at some point in your life, i.e. when opportunity arises (1 Corinthians 7:2, 5). Learn how to court/date properly, find someone, and then eventually get married (this means, among other things, get a job and work diligently if you don’t have one).
Go to God with it. At the moment you are tempted, pray for strength to resist it and God is really faithful in helping. Also look at 1 Corinthians 10:13.
Being occupied or busy (in a good way) as much as possible. Idleness is the devil’s workshop, and I can tell you that both from the bible and experience. As for keeping you mind focused, build a playlist of worship songs and sing with it. If you praise God every time you are tempted, the devil won’t try that route much longer. Praying works like this as well. And always avoid temping locations, routes, sites, etc. If you have too, get off the internet for a period of time, have you parents check your email for you, drive a different route to work, avoid checkout lines at grocery stores, use the self checkout or family lane, distance yourself from groups or friends that don’t chase Christ with everything, downgrade from your smartphone to a flip-phone. And above all, put God in every part of your life. If your outlook doesn’t change, then all of this only amounts to legalism, because it isn’t the habits or checklists that give you salvation, only Christ does that. Finally, don’t be discouraged when you slip back, because God forgives, and he pulls you back on the right track.
Hey Joseph 🙂
I tried to comment yesterday, but I think a couple of the words I used got my comment caught in the site’s word filter, so I’m gonna try again… 🙂
Taylor and Andrew make some excellent points.
Right away, I want to say that being tempted is not sin. So don’t beat yourself up for it or anything. We are all tempted, and we can’t necessarily avoid it, but we can learn to avoid what makes it harder and we can learn to say no to it when it comes. Just because the thought crosses your mind does not mean you are a bad person. You’re simply human. And really, even if you do give in, you aren’t some lesser person or broken beyond repair. God’s grace is bigger than it all. But you don’t have to give in 🙂
Furthermore, s*xual desire is not sin either. God made that act and it is a beautiful thing between a husband and a wife. Desiring it is not wrong, that is also something He put in us. But because of sin, s*x has become twisted and we have to fight to treat it respectfully and purely, with a motive to glorify God and not to simply gratify ourselves. So don’t condemn yourself for seeing s*x as a good and desirable thing – it is! But don’t let your emotions and desires drag you away and control you. That is where the battle comes.
(If you hadn’t noticed, I’m the Amanda mentioned that started Breaking Free Indeed.) I recently wrote an article specifically on how to fight temptation. In fact, I wrote it in the middle of facing temptation that I couldn’t seem to shake. So I sat down and began praying through and searching scripture for how and why I knew I didn’t have to give in. I think one of the biggest reasons we loose the temptation battle is we try to just hold out on the temptation, kind of like a staring contest. That wasn’t how God intended for us to fight though. It is not by staring longer, or by trying to focus on something “over temptation’s shoulder” so to speak, but by turning our back on it completely and whole-heartedly running towards God – not even looking over our shoulder to see if the desire is following us – that we win. I go a lot more in depth here if you would like to read: http://www.breakingfreeindeed….
We also just had a powerful testimony shared on our site, showing how the correct application of battling with prayer truly does bring victory:http://www.breakingfreeindeed….
Don’t feel guilty for facing temptation, but don’t lose hope either 🙂 God is capable of removing that temptation from your life. And it is okay to ask for that. Be open to His plan though. He is sovereign over your life in all areas, including this. He will work in you in the way that brings Him the most glory, if you will allow Him to. He may choose to let you walk through this for a greater purpose, and if so, then walk through it knowing that you are victorious because you have Jesus on your side. If you are a born-again child of God, then all power than sin had over you is gone. You have a choice now, so choose freedom. Choose God. As Taylor said, you will choose God more when you love God more. If you truly believe He is better than what this world has to offer you, then you will see the temptation for the lie and the trick that it is. That love and that belief that God is better comes from knowing Him more. So start with prayer and truly set aside time to just sink into His Word. And then continue in that regularly, not sporadically. Seek God for who He is, not for what He can give you.
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:8-10
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” – James 1:2-4
“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” – Titus 2:11-14
“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” – 1 John 2:1-2
Another big thing in this battle will be searching your heart and life. Look for patterns, like Andrew said, so that you can begin to find the root issue. A big thing I have seen in my life especially is that I have one or two deep root issues in my heart, fears that I have, or really…lies that I believe. These strongholds in my heart manifest themselves in various way throughout my life. Maybe s*xual temptation, maybe anxiety and depression, or through self criticism and harm, and so the list can go on. If I stop at “don’t lust” or “don’t hurt yourself” then I may or may not eventually succeed in modifying my behavior, but even if I do manage to stop that specific behavior, until I address the issue at the core of my heart, it will just pop up somewhere else in my life as a struggle with a different name. So go deep 🙂 and use God’s Word as your guide. Even if you don’t have the answer or necessarily know where to start, know that there is an answer. And God is it, and He will give you what you need to find the path of victory to walk in.
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. 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 endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven,f Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” – Hebrews 4:14-16
There is one more article link I will leave directly that addresses several common roots for dealing with p*rnography temptation/use. Maybe this can be a starting place for you on your journey. Also, remember that God knows your heart. David asked God to search his heart and reveal what He saw (Psalm 139:23-24). You have that help from Him too if you ask:)
I know this has been long, but I hope it was helpful. I would be happy to talk with you more if you would like 🙂 feel free to shoot me an email through the contact form on our site! I know this is a deep and complex issue, but I also know our God has already overcome it all.
Walk in freedom and grace
I love all those verses! Thank you for your wonderful comment. You made a very good point that I think most of us forget: temptation is not a sin. Jesus was tempted and He is sinless and perfect. Thank you for the great reminder! 🙂
Oh you’re welcome:) I am always grateful when God can use my story and struggles to speak to others. And yes, hang on to that truth! Instead of feeling like we should never struggle, let those struggles and temptations be a reminder of your need for God, which is a beautiful thing because it glorifies Him, and let it push your closer and closer to Him.
Thank you so much for that! 🙂
Great answer, sis! You could publish that comment on BFI cuz it’s so long! 🙂
Thanks 🙂 haha I could, couldn’t I!
Been praying for you lots. It’s been a while since we talked, I hope you’re doing well.
Thank you for praying!!! Yes, I am actually doing very well!
Wow. This is powerful. God has blessed you with some pretty amazing wisdom and humility. I can’t wait to see where God uses you next. Thank you for taking the time write this. The way you said it shows that you really do care… and that there’s hope in Jesus.
Aw:) thank you!
You are so right, it is all God! He is our hope, He is our victory, He is our redeemer, and it’s such a blessing to be able to share that with people.
Wow, Amanda. Your wisdom and humility never ceases to amaze me. 🙂 Thanks for this! (haha I just realized that Trent said basically the same thing… but it’s true! :P)
Aw thanks <3 always happy to share:)
OK, so like Amanda T., I tried to write this comment yesterday and the filter caught some of the words I used in my comment. So, here is my second attempt!
Joseph, I just want to tell you that I am so proud of you for wanting to face this sin! I have had to do this in my own life, and it truly changed me forever. I pray that the battle will change you.
In my own battle with s*xual sin (mainly pornagraphy and fantasy), my journey did not start until I confessed the struggle. I started by confessing to a trusted older mentor, and then eventually to my parents. Honestly, this was, by far, the HARDEST thing I have ever done in my entire life. Talk about doing hard things. How about confessing five years of hidden sin to your parents who never caught you?
But honestly, Joseph? It was so worth it. I have commented here on the Reb a lot about confessing and fighting sin (I also wrote an article about it), because I am a person who has experienced the indescribable FREEDOM that comes with forgiveness and redemption.
After confession, the other very consistent theme in my battle with s*xual sin has been weekly accountability. The mentor that I originally confessed to have talked in person or on the phone every week for nine months. Every week we discuss our failures and successes in this area, our temptations, our goals, and then finally, our prayer requests. And at the end of every conversation, we pray. The thing is, accountability only works if you are brutally honest. You have to find someone who you trust with the scariest, most embarrassing, and most intimate struggles and questions, and you have to be BRUTALLY HONEST.
Finally, I wanted to post some links to some articles right here on the Reb that have been so instrumental in my journey.
Write down your relationship goals. For example, I am 16 and my goal is to only date one person. So in this stage of my life I am striving to keep true to my goals. Of course my friends think I’m kinda crazy, and I am definitely the only one of my friends who has not dated, but for me it is worth it. Of course I have temptations! I am a 16 year old girl, BUT for me and my life, this is what God has called me to do.
Also if you are dating, or want to, you can set boundaries for yourself, or your relationship. Such as we will not kiss until the wedding, or we will not be alone in a room together. These things will help you control your desires.
Hi, Joseph! Before I became a Christian and even as a young Christian, this was a huge problem for me, I struggled with sexual sin for almost 2 years. I also caught my father who had been texting non PG rated things to multiple girls, which was very rough but that’s a different story. I’m so blessed that I am able to say that I am no longer addicted to a life with sexual sin but I am tempted from time to time. I’ve learned that memorizing verses helps every situation. When I am tempted, I repeat Acts 24:16 to myself over and over. “I strive to keep a clear conscience before God and before man.” And of course, I pray. Prayer is the most powerful tool known to man because it allows us to talk to our Creator, who is the only one that can help us overcome temptation (or any sin for that matter.) The only way we can ever control our sin to a certain extent, is to rely on God. We will never be perfect on this earth but like Paul said, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” -Philippians 3:12. So my advice to you would be to find verses for when you are tempted and never face your sin on your own because God is the only one that can help you.
I’m dealing with this same thing but for a time, I was not aware that it was because of hormones. I kept my feelings bottled up inside me, I would cry myself to sleep because I thought that if a told anyone they wouldn’t love me anymore. Finally, I told my mom about my feelings and she explained all about it being hormones and how she went through the same thing when she was my age. Now, when ever I am faced with temptation, I talk to my mom about it and she helps to guide me.
That is wonderful, Julia. I am glad you were able to open up. I know from personal experience that sharing your troubles with someone you love and trust always helps. 🙂
Yeah, it really helped me. It felt like a giant burden was lifted off my back. 🙂
It should be my name instead of Joseph.
Hey there:) You submitted this? It’s been a bit since this question went up, mind if I ask how you’re doing? I still pray for you. And if you want to talk but maybe not somewhere so public feel free to email me through breakingfreeindeed.org/contact-us
I’m not the same Joseph above, but I feel exactly the same.