A few years back, a church not far from where I live announced that they’d dismissed their nationally known senior pastor for adultery. I have seen this happen again and again and again—in churches, ministries, businesses, entertainment, sports and everywhere else. Satan paints a target on each of our chests.
But we have a choice about whether Satan will hit that target. Sexual sin is NOT inevitable. Many Christians are seeking God’s will in any number of areas. A good place to start is with God’s directly stated will: “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality” (1 Thessalonians 4:3).
God never commands us to do anything without providing the resources to obey by the power of the Holy Spirit: “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).
Consider this story I share in The Purity Principle: Having grown up in a strong church family, Eric met and married a Christian girl. Yet sitting across from me, he was the picture of misery.
“I’m mad at God!”
“Okay…so why are you mad at God?” I asked.
“Because,” he said, “Last week I committed adultery.”
Long pause. Finally I said, “I can see why God would be mad at you. But why are you mad at Him?”
Eric explained that for several months he’d felt a strong, mutual attraction to a woman at his office. He’d prayed earnestly that God would keep him from immorality.
“Did you ask your wife to pray for you?” I said. “Did you stay away from the woman?”
“Well…no. We went out for lunch almost every day.”
Slowly, I started pushing a big book across my desk. Eric watched, uncomprehending, as the book inched closer and closer to the edge. I prayed aloud, “O Lord, please keep this book from falling!”
I kept pushing and praying. God didn’t suspend the law of gravity. The book went right over the edge, smacking the floor.
“I’m mad at God,” I said to Eric. “I asked Him to keep my book from falling…but He let me down!”
In Proverbs 4:23, in the near context of warnings against sexual immorality, God tells us, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” God gives us the responsibility to shield that bullseye, availing ourselves of His Word and His people to remain unscathed.
Here’s an article I wrote called Counting the Cost of Sexual Immorality. In it I share a list of consequences that I took with me when traveling and read as a reminder and incentive to guard my purity.
I highly recommend John Piper’s message called “You can say no to porn.” Take just five minutes to watch this excerpt, which has the surprising title “You are not addicted” (there’s also a link to the full message).
And, here’s something I wrote on pursuing sexual purity in your marriage.
“Flee from sexual immorality…You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies” (1 Corinthians 6:18-20).
“Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:12-13).
God is faithful. And He’s given us everything we need to be faithful too.
For resources on this subject, see Randy’s book The Purity Principle and booklet Sexual Temptation: Establishing Guardrails and Winning the Battle.