Thursday, February 25, 2010

Strategies against Sexual Sin

The seventh commandment says, "You shall not commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14). When Jesus applied this command He told us that "anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28). For all of us, adultery is a matter not merely of our bodies but about our hearts.

Here are some practical suggestions I made in my message last week that I hope will help you combat sexual temptation and avoid sexual sin:

  • Consider your future self.
What will you wish you had done in a year? In ten years? What will your family wish you had done? Almost no one looks ahead and consciously says, "Hey, I think I'll blow up my life." Consider what you wish you would have done. . . then do it.
  • Capture every thought.
One key to spiritual warfare is to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). Be Ruthless with your thoughts. It is very easy to be lazy with your thoughts, to linger on questionable ideas, to doubt what you know to be true. If you stick to Philippians 4:8, you'll be on safe ground.
  • Cultivate the presence of God.
Act as though you believe in God's omniscience and God's omnipresence. He is everywhere and He does see everything (Psalm 33:13-15). Don't kid yourself that he doesn't. David understood that his horrific sin with Bathsheba, and all the collateral damage, was against God (Psalm 51:4). Joseph fled from Potiphar's wife because he understood the same thing (Genesis 39:9).
  • Contemplate the Practical and Eternal Consequences of Adultery.
If your thoughts were to play out, or you were to get caught in your sin, what would happened in both the short term and the long term. Spend time imagining the shame you and your family would experience. Consider the devastation it would cause for those who think of you as an example of a Christian person. Consider how it will destroy trust with your spouse and family, if they even chose to stay with you. And, of course, there is more. Consider explaining your actions to God on judgment day. Jesus tells us to consider hell (Matthew 5:27-29).
  • Conquer your body.
Thomas Watson, a puritan pastor wrote, "The flesh pampered is apt to rebel." He reminds us of Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 9:27 warning us that our body can disqualify us if we don't make it our slave. We can't fall of the other side, though. It is possible to workout and get in shape for the admiration of the opposite sex, gaining mastery over your body for the wrong reasons.
  • Cut off opportunities.
Jesus took very seriously the need to be ruthless with the things that cause us to fall. He said, "Cut off out your eye... cut off your hand" (Matthew 5:29). This is hyperbole to remind us not to go places where we will be tempted. Get rid of the TV. Don’t be around people who tempt you. Get accountability for your computer.
  • Cultivate Faith.
Fight fire with fire. The power of lust is its promise of pleasure. We fight it with the promise of God. Linger long on the joy-producing, sin-dulling promises of the scripture!
2 Peter 1:3-4 tells us we escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires by the "great and precious promises" of God!

John Piper says it this way:
"It is this superior satisfaction in future grace that breaks the power of lust. With all eternity hanging in the balance, we fight the fight of faith. Our chief enemy is the lie that says sin will make our future happier. Our chief weapon is the Truth that says God will make our future happier. . . We must fight with a massive promise of superior happiness."
I hope this helps. I would love a world where lust and sexual sin didn't ruin marriages.

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