In our culture, sexual purity is an odd thing to discuss. It is considered archaic. But, it is what God commands His children to embrace. (1 Thessalonians 4:3-7)
1 Thessalonians 4:3 – “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality.”
All of our electronic devices and social media constructs make the availability of sexually impure enticements unlimited. With the moral pollution that assaults us daily on cable TV and social media, the anonymity and availability of internet porn, and the sexual images being forced upon us through advertising, it is all the more important that we fight for sexual purity in our lives.
In the Bible, Solomon knew firsthand the unique power of any kind of sexual immorality to seize our imagination and strangle the emotional and spiritual energy out of our lives. Sexual immorality does not begin in the bedroom; it begins in the heart. We must guard our hearts if we are to succeed in keeping this enemy at bay.
It is amazing how quickly things can get out of control when you are not paying attention to your spiritual life. He are some Scriptural principles to help all of us.
Principle 1 – If you assume that you are spiritually strong enough to resist temptation you are fueling the very deception that will lead to your fall.
I know you share my grief over spiritual leaders that fall into moral failure. It seems we hear about a new one every week. Unfaithfulness and moral failure don’t usually happen accidentally. What starts out as compassionate concern can easily slide into emotional intimacy and then moral failure. Lonely and vulnerable people, hungry for a sympathetic ear and a shoulder to cry on, can unintentionally become an inappropriate relationship.
Jim Denison, founder of the Denison Forum, said this, “There are only two kinds of Christians. Those who fall into moral failure and those who take proactive steps of humility to keep from joining them.” The Holy Spirit will warn us about this drift. Be sure to listen to His promptings.
Proverbs 7:24-27 – “Do not let your heart turn aside or stray into paths”
Principle 2 – The power of temptation lies in the momentary pleasure it offers.
When temptation is the strongest, it never allows the mind to interfere with rational objections or the detailed consequences of a moral failure. Those warnings are silenced by the moral rationalizations of the sinful nature. Therefore, we must be on guard.
James 1:14-16 – “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived.”
Principle 3 – Seemingly harmless compromises can quickly become monstrous addictions.
When we rationalize a “harmless” sin that we know is not God’s will for our lives, we can find that “harmless” sin has developed into a compulsive addition almost overnight. Sin cannot be given an inch of ground. It must be treated as dangerous because it is the source of spiritual death. (Romans 6:23) Don’t allow yourselves to become desensitized to the deadly poison of sexual sin.
Romans 13:14 – “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”
Principle 4 – God’s commands are intended to protect us from harm not restrict us from enjoyment.
God’s Word is meant to give us protection and guidance. It will always lead us to life. Life is meant to be lived with the Lord as partner in my decisions. My relationship with Him can save me from many injuries when I listen to Him. Saturate your mind with Scripture and pray that God will shield you from these destructive forces.
Proverbs 6:32-33 – “He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself. Wounds and dishonor will he get, and his disgrace will not be wiped away.”
Principle 5 – Accountability is an important tool to guard our sexual purity.
Proverbs 18:1 – “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.”
The pastor’s best accountability partner is his spouse. Honest, open communication with my spouse will save me much heartache. Sin thrives in secrecy and shame. It is weakened when we are vulnerable enough to share our struggles.
May I also suggest enlisting three trusted friends who will pray for you and hold you accountable. We all benefit from these accountability relationships.
Pastor, you are not alone. There is hope, help, and healing available. Reach out to us at www.careforpastors.org.