Nearing my wedding day (whoever said guys don’t anticipate weddings) and I can’t tell you how grateful I am for these eleven principles God is using to save me from some of the sexual tragedies so common place in our day.
1. Get off the pedestal
I have learnt that the thin line between all lust and self-worship does not actually exist. All sin is fundamentally listening to the ancient serpent tone of “if you eat this your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God(Gen 3:5) ”. A life not worshipping God is often worshiping itself, its impulses, emotions-and sometimes nerve endings . Every time I have found myself lusting, these have been the words under my breath “Eddie stop
worshiping yourself, get off the pedestal.”
2. To be carnally minded is death
No one wants to fail at a romantic relationship, me too. No one wants to be in a “dead” relationship either, I am learning that for any believer’s relationship to thrive, two Christ followers must care about the things God cares about, and purity ranks high here – if not number one. I wouldn’t be hesitant to say that most emotional burdens we carry in relationships are a result of our carnality – What Paul would summarize as being “carnally minded” ,and as Romans 8:6 puts it, to be so is “death” – count all consequences of sexual sin here.
I’ve tested this too; Believers who claim to be head-over-heels in love should prove so by protecting each other from the assault of their sinful bodily desires. 1 Cor 13:7 says “love protects”, wasn’t Paul talking to me here?
4. Dead to sin, alive to Christ
My new nature in Christ is my everything, and I say this slowly – everything. No wonder Paul’s question often pricks “how can we who are dead to sin live in it an longer(Rom 6:2)”. Most of my sexual urges often expire at this understanding.
5. Sex as a gift
I believe when God talks about receiving “everything he has made with thanksgiving” in 1 Tim 4, he includes sex too because in the following, he warns of those who for ungodly reasons would forbid people from marriage (1 Tim 4:3) Sex is a gift of covenant marriage, if I can’t step down that bed and bow my head in thanksgiving to God after intimacy then what I have been involved in?
6. I am not my own
Scripture tells me I am “not my own (1 Cor 6:19)” yet in the most serious of temptations I often forget that, I listen to my nerves more than I listen to this truth. We were bought with a price. Oh how I often forget that! No wonder my sexual scandals deeply affect my family and friends (and more importantly my relationship with God) My body is not my own I said.
7. Not an animal Popular culture would rather have me following my desires like a primate. In a world where sex is used to sell, it’s easy to buy the lie that sex is my deepest need, I am not an animal, I am made in the image of God (Gen 1:27) and self control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22) .
8. Deny myself
Jesus’ words in Matthew 16:24 have always challenged me “whoever wants to be my disciple should deny himself ,take up the cross and follow me” that for me includes denying my eyes, even if it means
avoiding the second glance . You have no idea how such little habits are saving this retiring bachelor.
9. The whole world is held prisoner to sin but he who the son sets free…
It’s harder to look around and see anything that hasn’t been affected by the fall, including my understanding of sex,even tyre billboards feature half naked women these days.” The whole world is held prisoner to sin” (Gal 3:22), thank God “he who the son sets free is free indeed”(John 8 :36) , who would have survived this onslaught?
10. If we say we have no sin
Knowing what to do when I sin is equally as fundamental as knowing what not to do at all, God says if I “confess my sins he is just and faithful to forgive me and cleanse me form my sin” (1 John 1:9). it’s never just about knowing what not to do,but also knowing what to do in case, after all “if we say we have no sin,we call God a liar” (1 John 1:8) uh?
11. Who is sufficient for these things?
It’s one thing to pursue sexual purity in my own strength, it’s another thing for God to sustain you. I like Paul’s language in 2 Cor 2:16 “who is sufficient in these things?” I could use the same here, who indeed can keep themselves sexually pure? except by the mercy of our Lord-he alone is sufficient for these things.
These alongside other “means of grace” like keeping away from situations, inappropriate touches (yes touches!) and locations are enabling me honor God in an area I am so susceptible.
Lord willing, I will revisit these, even after the knot but with my single days fast running out, I am looking back with thanksgiving not because the remaining time is not dangerous anymore , but because I know the one I have believed on these is still able to keep me blameless.
Over to you – What principles are currently keeping over there?