Christians Dealing with Sexual Temptation
Temptation to commit adultery
Temptation to Sexually Abuse Children
How to resist temptation practically? Other Temptations
Warning: the following is frank about sexual matters.
Christians Dealing with Sexual Temptation
Hormones are tough to handle. Without being knowledgeable about how hormones actually work, we can state the obvious: that they are a real and powerful part of our human make up. Our sexual hormones, which give us “sex drive”, can make being a Christian very tough at times!
Many of the world’s societies are sex mad. Sexual immorality is everywhere, both visibly and hidden. The prevalence and extent of unchecked sexual activity creates a situation where to be different really makes you stand out from the crowd. Pornography has more and more of a place in many cultures and societies. Also the practice and acceptance of homosexuality is possibly greater now than at any time in history.
Lust and fornication (sex outside marriage) are sinful. In order to resist sexual temptation, the Christian needs to have knowledge of why he or she needs to resist, as well as having the spiritual and emotional strength to make an effective resistance. With God’s help we can resist. If we trust in the truth behind God’s rules about sexual morality, then we have the foundation that we need to make our stand against temptation.
1 Corinthians 10:13 says: “When you are tempted (God) will provide a way out so that you can stand”.
Here are some other scriptures which will help those who are tempted: Psalm 1, Psalm 139:23,24, Matthew 26:41, I Corinthians 10:12-14, Philippians 4:8, James 4:7, II Peter 2:9, II Peter 3:17.
We must trust that God knows what is best for us and that we will ultimately be happiest if we obey Him in this area of sex and sexuality. Indeed, we must comply with God’s will or we will be judged and cut off from Him. The Bible is clear that lust, fornication and adultery are sinful. We can see this in scriptures such as Matthew 5:27,28:
“You have heard that it was said “Do not commit adultery.” But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
This verse is followed by a warning that, “it is better to (sacrifice our personal desires and not sin) than for your whole body to be thrown into hell” (verse 29). If we persist in sin we will pay the crushing price of experiencing separation from God.
The issue of the acceptability of masturbation is one that divides the opinion of Christians. According to some statistics, it seems to be the case that roughly one third of Christians view masturbation as wrong, one third view it as acceptable with certain rules and one third have an unclear opinion. Whilst we remain on the fence, so as to encourage our site goal of unifying Christians, we do want to animate one or two points about masturbation. Those who see no wrong in masturbation would normally describe its practi[c]e as being useful in relieving individuals of pent up sexual desire, which if unexpressed could lead to lust or actual physical sexual sin. They would probably encourage masturbation to be done only in a clinical way - in other words without lustful thoughts about an actual existing human individual in their minds.
What we can state regarding masturbation is that we have found no credible Biblical argument that proves or convincingly argues that masturbation is wrong. Many Christians would further view masturbation within marriage as certainly wrong. However, others would argue that it may be necessary within marriage in certain unusual circumstances (for example during pregnancy), to satisfy sexual desires and to avoid temptation which could lead to adultery.
Temptation to commit Adultery
Adultery is clearly described as being sinful in the Bible, for example in Matthew 5:27-32 and I Corinthians 6:9-11. It is a serious issue, and Christian couples should not be complacent about its threat. When one half of a marriage partnership commits this sin, they are breaking the sacred relationship bond that they have made before God in marriage. Without doubt it can be very tempting for some to break this bond and indulge in such sin. There may be several reasons for this. For example, a relationship may be at a low ebb. Perhaps there is a lack of quality time or communication in the relationship and perhaps a lack of sexual activity, which leaves sexual needs unmet. This can make it very tempting for one or both parties to find satisfaction for those needs through someone other than their partner.
Hopefully it is common sense that if you have a strong and healthy marriage, with satisfying sexual activity, then a barrier against sexual temptation will be built. This barrier is obviously not impenetrable; people can still be tempted. Their greedy hormones may try to push them towards sinful sexual indulgence. The consequences of sinning in this way are enormous. Even if the truth does not come out, and all the consequences of this do not have to be faced (possible divorce, financial damage, damage to other friendships and relationships), God knows the truth about what has happened. Imagine how hard it must be to wrestle with this guilt, all the time knowing that you cannot escape judgement unless you truly repent. To truly repent, you must tell your husband/wife what has happened - admittedly hard when it may mean the end of your marriage.
Go to extremes to avoid adultery - it is plain that its impact often cannot be reversed, even thought there is no doubt that God can forgive us. Whether it means changing your job or taking other extreme measures to avoid a situation of extreme temptation - make sure you put your marriage first. Of course, the sexual dimension of relationships may not be the only, or indeed the main focus or experiencing temptation to be unfaithful. It may be that friendship with a member of the opposite sex is so enjoyable that it starts to form a deeper bond. This is an obvious warning sign to absolutely withdraw from that friendship. We must make these sacrifices in order to please God.
No relationship will meet all of our deeper needs and expectations and where we are tempted to know fulfilment from outside our marriage in such a way, we need to trust that the Lord Himself will meet those remaining needs. He sees our sacrifice as we withdraw from such tempting friendships and He will reward us. He knows our needs and He can help us to meet them in other ways. There are some good web sites in the “Marriage and Relationships” section, which specialise in building up and guarding marriage relationships.
Child sex abuse in the Christian home
This may seem a difficult subject to even mention, but we felt it necessary to be frank and face this issue plainly. Because sexual abuse of children is so widespread, the fact must be that quite a significant amount of people feel urged to instigate this type of very sinful activity. Whilst we have no research data, it is generally accepted that sexual abuse can and does exist in Christian communities and churches, just as much as it exists outside them. Because of this, we must assume that some Christians are tempted to sexually abuse children. We must face this issue on order to prevent such abuse as much as possible. There is no sense in simply ignoring it.
We have no expertise on this subject, we would obviously urge any readers who do suffer form this type of problem to get help and certainly to take radical action if they feel there is any actual danger of them responding to the temptations that they may be under. They should visit a doctor, or get other professional information or help so that they can discover more about the psychological causes of this problem. Through this they can have some idea about how to deal with the problem.
Many Christians may suggest that the presence of such a type of sexual perversion can often be caused by the activity and influence of demonic forces upon an individual. Certainly, there is no doubt that the Devil would seek to encourage all type of sin, and would do his level best to pervert any relationship or situation for evil purposes. If this is considered to be a possibility in a case of such sexual perversion, then targeted prayer towards the causes and presence of such an influence is necessary. Any sin or compliance with evil should be repented of and renounced by the individual, and authoritative prayer should target the breaking of any hold or influence a demon or demons have over the mind and being of that individual.
It may be further added that some people could have a vulnerability to sexual perversion by being weak and fallen in their sexual self. Such individuals need to see with eyes of truth the reality of their sinful mind and the true horror of the damage that is caused to children who experience abuse.
How to resist temptation practically?
(Including the temptation to give up on our conviction in the truth and our faith in God)
When it comes to temptation, sometimes there are practical steps or activities that we may do to avoid or alleviate the problem. If we are tempted by being in a certain place or with certain people, we can obviously choose, if at all possible, to not go to such a place or be with such people.
As we have already mentioned, in the case of sexual temptation we need to stand in the truth that we know about God and about what is truly fulfilling as far as sexual activity is concerned. The fact that we can use scripture to help us when we are tempted has already been mentioned. In John 8:32, Jesus says,
“You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Jesus is talking about Himself. If you allow Him, the Holy Spirit can strengthen and free your mind in the truth about sexuality. We need to be prepared to make sacrifices that go against our fallen human nature. This way we can really know the true joy that exists in serving God and seeking to please Him. We are brought closer to God, and this relationship with Him is absolutely special. We need to desire truth, not merely theoretically in our minds, but also practically in allowing that truth to invade our bodies and our desires, through welcoming the activity of the Holy Spirit of God.
Proverbs 1:7 says “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge...”. When we know the truth about God deep within ourselves, we can know true spiritual freedom and joy. There is nothing that can match this experience in life and we should have such a fear of God and respect for own happiness that we will settle for no less.
At times we can feel and sense this joy and this freedom. At other times we are living amidst the spiritual darkness that is all about us in this world, and it is a question of faith for us to hold on to the divine hope that we have. We may have memories of when God has plainly acted in our lives and these can inspire us that God is real. Our faith can still be active, despite the absence of experiencing the feeling that God is with us now, and is still at work in our lives.
These rules about holding on to hope would apply to those who are tempted to give up on their faith, as much as to specific temptations such as sexual temptations. For those of us who have always felt a distance between ourselves and God, deep faith is required. If we do not have encouraging memories to turn to, we can certainly pray to the Lord that He will allow us to experience Him now. Pray that He will answer your prayers and that He will grant you the strength to persevere in faith and resist every type of temptation that would pull you away form His spiritual safety.
There are many different temptations in this life. A major source of temptation for many is the temptation to be proud, or for the Christian self-righteous or arrogant. We will always be happiest as people if we are humble, as in this position we have a right and fair understanding of who we are in relation to God. God does not want us to be proud. The way we are designed as humans - beings created by God, intrinsically states that we should not carry any boastful type of pride. When we are humble, we credit God for being the supreme being that He is, knowing and recognising that He is the source of all life, all goodness and all hope within us and in our lives. I John 2:15-17 and Luke 18:11,12 warn about the danger of pride and self-righteousness.
When we focus on our abilities and achievements and credit them to ourselves rather than to God - we sin. We state a lie and no true satisfaction can come from this state. The truth is that God created us and made us to glorify and serve Him. Every gift, ability or good idea from any human ultimately comes from God. Though we may choose to do good and do good things, if we fail to recognise the source of that goodness as being in God, then we deny God’s position as Creator. This is a dangerous attitude to hold.
People can be tempted in many ways, tempted to please themselves or others rather than choosing to please God. Some may be tempted to lie or perhaps to steal. Maybe they are tempted to take their frustrations with life out on other, innocent people (and so bullying them). Basically, if we are presented with the option of sinning, then we are being tempted. We may not always be aware of these choices as we go through our day to day lives, but they are constantly before us. We need strength from God; with His power we can resist every type of temptation. We need both a clear understanding of why we resist and also a willingness to resist even when it hurts and costs us. As the Lord Himself taught us, we need to deny our self, take up our cross and follow Him.
Sex, Drugs, Alcohol, Addiction
www.diskbooks.org/bsf.html - Bible facts about sex. Warning: very frank and explicit, and potentially controversial. Help to be sexually pure by focusing on the Bible.
www.mephibstreasury.com/Recovery1.htm - links to help with pornography, sexual addiction, substance and drug abuse and alcoholism.
www.gospelcom.net/mlm - helping those with sexual brokenness.
www.members.aol.com/_ht_a/sexualabstinence/index.htm - help for sexual abstinence for teens.
www.rsaministries.org - compulsive sexual behaviour.
www.saint-mike.org/Dymphna/Dymphna.html - Catholic site with section on pornography and gambling.
www.pureintimacy.org/online - sexual temptation.
www.estheronline.org - helping wives of sex and pornography addicts.
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