Sex is literally everywhere. The billboard in your neighbourhood. The radio. The TV. The paper you buy. The Internet you browse. The books you read. The stories you hear. It’s like the air we breathe! So the question was, I’ve already gone too far. Is there hope for me? Does God hate me? Will I ever come out of this rut of regret? The answer to those is yes, no and yes respectively.
Is there hope for me?
They say that the Christian army is the only army that kills its wounded. I first laughed when I heard that but it struck me cold to realize that I could be one of the people who actually pull the trigger. Why do we come to Jesus? Why do we accept him as Lord of our lives? The answer: because we are terrible people! Anyone who comes to Christ gets to the realization that they are a mess. They tend to forget that as they stay longer in the faith. Christ died for sins once for all to bring us to God. He was put to death in the body and made alive by the spirit. That does not mean that we are better people. It means that we are just forgiven! Our lives do change yes and we become new beings with a desire to please God. But just because we changed and became better because we found Christ, gives us no jurisdiction to think we are better than others.
Paul put it like this. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit but in humility, consider others better than yourselves. Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)”
The moment you became a follower of Jesus, you made a statement.”I admit that I am weak, morally terrible and I need help from a God who is greater than anything I know or will ever know.” The moment you think, you’re not that bad, you are the number one prime candidate for pride beloved. Jesus was God yet the Bible tells us “Yet he did not consider equality with God something to be grasped.” If Christ did not consider himself of rank, why would you?
How does that tie with sex and having messed up? Like this. We will sneer at Carol the innocent-looking choir member who got pregnant and thank God that we are still virgins. At least as far as intercourse is concerned. God says in Ephesians 5:3. Not even a hint of sexual immorality should be present in the believer. So if you watched the Spanish soap opera last night with Alejandro and Maria locking lips, I hate it to break it to you that you and Carol are in the same league as far as sin is concerned. We however, do not justify Carol’s actions but we accept her as a fallen soldier.
Jesus tends the flock that was lost all night and has found its way home. If the shepherd accepts the lost sheep, why should I, a fellow sheep, reject them? The moment fellow sheep accept fallen fellow sheep, we have a fellowship. If your fellowship is made of perfect people, there might be a problem. The smiles are too wide. The grins are too hard and the hearts are probably hurting. Stained glass masquerades, Mark Hall puts it.
Therefore should everyone in the fellowship have had a sexual experience? No, beloved. I actually thank God for believers who have a testimony that says in a perishing decadent world where their peers fell, they stood strong. I believe this is the greatest of testimonies. There’s nothing to celebrate about having messed up in life.
There’s only celebration in returning to the first love; Jesus, whether we have “messed up” or not, we are still messed up people. Jesus is coming for a clean, pure bride. He is not coming for a self-righteous bride who thinks she is better because she hasn’t messed up. Neither is he coming for a bride who is too proud to accept his forgiveness because she is wallowing in the self pity of having messed up. He is coming for a Christ-righteous bride.
Does God hate me?
The answer is no. He hates the sin in you. The true sign of repentance is change. If sexual sin is a problem or constant temptation, you need to make intentional decisions. Those things don’t go away naturally. We need to be very intentional in our dealing with temptation. John says “If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, then we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus his son purifies us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:6-7)
Will I ever come out of this rut?
If you have accepted Christ, you have already won. You see, God fights our battles but we still need to go to war. How will he win a battle if the vessel is not wielding a sword? When temptation is knocking, our consciences play a good part in telling us that we shouldn’t answer the door. This conscience many a times is God talking to us. These steps have proved useful in my life when dealing with temptation.
Don’t set yourself up for an ambush.
James 1:14-16 tells us that temptation comes when we are lured by our own evil desires. One of the best ways to avoid temptation is to stay away from it in the first place. Don’t go to her house. Don’t go to his place even when people are around. Don’t go online past 6pm or if you’re alone in the room. Don’t light the candles and say it’s just a special dinner to celebrate your dating anniversary. Don’t pray with her in the closet. Don’t listen to his sorry life story and comfort him. We must find out our weaknesses and be careful not to set ourselves up. Stay out of wrong conversations, wrong company and situations that will put you in an awkward situation.
Everybody needs help.
Another super counter attack against temptation is to commit yourself to a small group of friends who are willing to ask you the kind of hard questions that make you squirm sometimes: “Are you still using an Internet enabled phone yet you’re struggling with porn?” “Isn’t this the same kind of decision that got you into a bad situation before?”
Remember who your friends are.
If you sleep with dogs you will get up with fleas! If you find yourself itching maybe it’s time to start thinking about the kind of friends you have. Are they helping you in your walk with Christ, or are they making it tougher. Good water + Bad water= Bad water. Good water will never change bad water, no matter how much you pour of it. God puts it like this in 1 Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be misled: Bad company ruins good character.”
Make up your mind BEFORE you’re under pressure.
Don’t wait until you’re in the back seat to start thinking about your sexual standards. When the heat’s on and the hormones are screaming, it’s not a very good time to start deciding if you should kiss on the first date. Those kinds of decisions are worked out when you have time to think, time to pray-and with lights on!
Most importantly pray, read the word and practice it
Jesus said in Luke 11:28 that blessed are those who PRACTICE the word of God. He said in John 13:17 “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” If you don’t do it, you might as well forget about defeating any form of temptation because it won’t work. By praying and spending time with God, Jesus prepared to defeat temptation. By practicing Jesus defeated temptation. Reading and practicing are inseparable. You have to practice after you read and you can’t practice if you don’t read. If we keep in close touch with God through prayer, quiet time and Bible study, it will be a lot tougher to wander off without some bells ringing.
David wrote in Psalm 119:9, “How can a young man [or woman]keep his [or her]way pure? By living according to your word.” Basically, what this means is that the best defense is a good offense. Don’t just spend time running from temptation. Think in terms of running towards righteousness. 2nd Timothy 2:22-Flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace together with those with a pure heart call out to the Lord for help.
James 1:12-18, 1st Corinthians 10: 12-13, 2nd Timothy 2: 22, Luke 4: 1-13, Deuteronomy 8:3, Hebrews 2:18, Hebrews 4:15