8 Ways Both Men & Women Need to Combat Sexual Sin
It can be harder than ever for Christians to fight sexual temptation and sin in a world oversaturated with every sort of lust for the eyes, mind and heart. However, God has promised us in his Word that no temptation has seized us that is uncommon, and he will make a way out for us. Here are eight keys God has given each of us to be able to use in the fight for sexual purity and freedom from temptation.
Sexual sin is not a new struggle for believers. It didn’t just appear this decade or even this century. No, it’s long been a struggle that has brought many Christians to their knees in shame and embarrassment. Further, modern-day convenience and access to pornography have created extreme challenges in maintaining sexual purity. Decades ago, even using the term “sexy” may have been considered a bit taboo, but today, not at all. In fact, everything is sexy. Turn on the Home and Gardening Television and furniture is sexy. Location is sexy. Flip over to the Food Network and even food is now... you guessed it... sexy! With the constant saturation of sex in almost every facet of life, what do both men and women need to do to effectively combat sexual sin? Consider the following:
1. Embrace a healthy view of sexuality.
Having walked through sexual assault for many years as a young girl, my view of sex was distorted at an early age. This view parlayed into my teens and early twenties, as I entered into sexual relationships before marriage. My internal battle to honor the Lord and the struggle that led me to fail miserably was one I didn’t share with anyone for years. Is it any wonder that my view of godly, healthy sexuality was also distorted?!
Sex was not a topic for the church, it seemed. It was dirty, worldly, and certainly didn’t honor God. It took me years to understand that God’s design for sex was good, honoring, holy, and righteous. Until we embrace healthy sexuality, seeking help for areas where we may struggle, it will become increasingly difficult to combat future sexual sin.
2. Establish boundaries and stick to them.
Boundaries will look different for each individual. Singles, for example, may choose not to be alone with a romantic interest in their home. They may choose not to kiss or touch in a certain way prior to marriage. Married people may choose not to be alone with the opposite sex. There may be boundaries regarding social media and print consumption, between couples. Boundaries should be established based on God’s Word, prayer, and personal convictions. Regardless of what boundaries you choose, they only prevail if they are followed. Start with boundaries early and re-evaluate often.
3. Monitor social media.
The invention of social media has made connecting with business associates easier. It has strengthened families, particularly when geography has them spread about. It has increased awareness in health issues, global concerns, and feel-good news stories. It has reconnected high school sweethearts and long, lost, relatives. There has been much that is positive that social media could be attributed to. However, we all know, it can be attributed to some negative, as well. Social media can give visualization to sexual fantasies, ignite old flames, and spearhead ungodly relationships.
If you are married, there should be no secret accounts or hidden passwords. If you’re single and struggling with social media, think about sharing your passwords or account information with a trusted friend who can hold you accountable.
4. Monitor all other media.
There is an old song we used to sing when I was in Sunday school. “Oh be careful little eyes what you see... Be careful little eyes what you see. For the Father up above is looking down in love. Be careful little eyes what you see.” I never realized how meaningful that song was, until I was forced to view pornography at a young age by an abusive relative. It’s hard to un-see the seen.
Being mindful of all forms of media is wise. What goes in will come out! There are many monitoring systems out there to safeguard your viewing on computers and television. (Covenant Eyes is a great one for computers!) There are parental controls that the whole family can use. But access is everywhere. Consider the checkout line at the grocery store. Have you seen the covers of magazines recently? We need to be aware and wise of all the trappings out there that the enemy will use to fix our thoughts and feelings on impure, unrighteous things.
5. Welcome accountability.
Be honest about your struggles. We all have them. To live a life of transparency is to live a life of freedom. Have a pornography addiction? Tell someone! Struggle with impure thoughts about a colleague? Share with a trusted ministry friend. Get help.
Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. - 1 Corinthian 6:18-20 NLT
Having been in single-parent ministry for more than a decade, I’ve taught on these Scriptures many times. It’s just too rich with truth not to. Over the last decade, it’s likely I’ve taught on these verses multiple dozen times. In fact, there was a running joke within our ministry office that I had taught on these Scriptures too many times and needed to diversify just a bit! The truth is, you don’t have to be single to struggle in sexual sin. Young, old, married, single. It can be a stronghold for anyone. These Scriptures resonated so deeply with me, because for years, I didn’t see these Scriptures as protection. I saw them as a restriction. Shifting focus into thinking about sex in a pure way – a God-honoring way, and welcoming transparent conversations will change your life!
6. Consider your attire.
This is obviously one that will be more for ladies than men, as studies show men are much more visual in their sexual desire. I’m not excusing inappropriate male behavior! But if you are a woman and your goal is sexual purity, wearing a blouse with a plunging neckline cut down to our navels is probably not the easiest way to maintain sexual purity in anyone’s thought life. Being mindful of clothing that’s too tight, too short, or too form-fitting can be a way to honor ourselves and the godly men who are in our lives.
7. Consider your environment.
Be mindful of the situations you place yourself in. Sure, you cannot control locker room conversation at the gym. However, you can certainly remove yourself from it. You may not be able to predict an inappropriate work conversation at the water cooler, but you can opt to get a snack some other time. The question I’ve always asked myself is this, “Would I be embarrassed if my pastor heard this conversation? Saw me here?” If the answer is “yes,” it’s likely I need to remove myself from that environment.
8. Watch your friends.
Choose your friends wisely. Those you surround yourself with will impact your views on almost everything, especially sex. “Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.” Proverbs 13:20 NLT. Culture has desensitized us to over-sexualized media, literature, social gatherings, and many other parts of society. It’s important to surround yourself with like-minded people who want to honor God with their sexuality.
Jennifer Maggio is a wife, mom to three kids, and author of 4 books. She is a national speaker and founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries, a national nonprofit dedicated to teaching churches how to minister to single mothers. She is passionate about serving single mothers and hurting women, giving them the tools to live a life of complete freedom in Christ. For more info, visit www.jennifermaggio.com.