Do you watch TV, go to the movies or read the covers of fashion magazines? If so, you may be led to believe that your sexual appetite drives your daily life. Why? Because this is a central message of popular media.
Well, move over Freud, this doesn’t have to be! Even though our culture is obsessed with serving up sex on every possible platter, we don’t have to give in to these tantalizing temptations. It is possible to live in a sexually saturated society and overcome temptation. Here are eight tips to help you.
- Know what the Bible has to say when it comes to dealing with sex. What you read and see in media will not typically line up with biblical instruction. The standards are different. Jesus knows the emotional, physical and spiritual fall out people experience when they cheapen sex and reduce it to pure pleasure. Therefore, His guidelines are not meant to be restrictive or puritanical, but protective. They lead to healthy relationships and help people maintain dignity and self-respect. Spend time searching the Bible for instruction concerning sexual temptation.
- Remove sources of sexual temptation. Temptation is not a sin, but acting on it is. If you find yourself lustfully fantasizing and engaging in behavior you know to be morally wrong, then identify the source of that temptation and remove it. The Internet may be one of those sources. Although we hear more about men being addicted to Internet pornography, women also struggle with this addiction. Purchase a good filter and monitor your viewing habits. The Bible instructs us to flee from sexual temptation, not log on and hope it doesn’t bother us.
- Be obedient. Don’t be ruled by passion. No matter what you feel, act with your brain and not your emotions or your body. Scripture is clear that sexual behavior is always subject to the will. Use your will to resist temptation and say no to sex outside of marriage.
- Renew your thoughts. Think on things that are noble, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8). This must be a daily practice that we do o intentionally. It is easy to become distracted by sexual temptation because it is all around us in the media. It is easy to allow our thoughts to wander and fantasize.
- Don’t put yourself in the position to be tempted. In the same way that a recovered alcoholic shouldn’t go sit in a bar and try not to drink, don’t position yourself to be tempted (e.g., go to X rated movies, read steamy sexually explicit novels, hang out in bars, get drunk, etc.). When Satan tempted Eve, she engaged him in conversation. Instead of telling him to go crawl somewhere else, she entertained his conversation. Learn from her mistake.
- Use God’s Word to resist. When Satan tried to tempt Jesus in the desert, Jesus’ defense was to speak the Word. Satan could not argue with Scripture and gave up. This speaks to the importance of knowing and memorizing scriptures. If Jesus, who was the Word, fought temptation with the Word, what better line of defense could we employ?
- Don’t lie to yourself. Most of us think we can handle a lot more sexually explicit material then we can. We aren’t always aware of the subtle influence and desensitization that happens with regular exposure to this material. We deceive ourselves and think we are above these influences. If you are human, you are not!
- Stay intimately connected with God. Spend time in prayer, reading the Bible and worshipping God. Remember, when you are weak, He is strong. Most of us give in to temptation when we are out of touch with God. Even though He never leaves us, we can stop communicating with Him. Stay connected and dependent on Him to give you what you need to overcome and He will. The more intimate you are with God, the more power you will have to overcome.
The next time you walk by the grocery store magazine rack and are tempted to focus on “six sizzling ways to have an affair” or “ten new turn ons for men”, divert your eyes and attention to the groceries in your cart. Then think about this. It’s just as important to feed your soul with good things as it is your physical body. Pay for your groceries and remind yourself, with Christ, you can do all things–that includes overcoming sexual temptation.