Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. Romans 6:12-14
I have often been asked, “How did you ever manage to stand for eight years? What about sex? There is no way I could go that long without sex!” The answer is quite simple; it was a grace given to me by God. God does not call you to stand for the healing of your marriage without giving you the grace required to do so. To rely totally on self-determination and self-will is certain failure. Only by God’s grace was I able to live a chaste and celibate life apart from my wife.
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:8-10
In addition to God’s grace, it is paramount to avoid near occasions of sin. Sexually stimulating, pictures, music, videos, TV programs and movies are not to be entertained. The best way to avoid temptation is to stay away from situations that will trigger sexual thoughts and desires.
It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8
One-on-one conversations, business lunches or dinners with a woman are out of the question. I heard from standers many times, “She is just a friend” or “Our relationship is plutonic.” Satan loves these seemingly innocent situations because they are a fertile ground for temptation. The best defense against temptation is to not put yourself in these situations. If you are serious about standing for the healing of your one-flesh relationship, you should have no trouble with this. Too many standers have lost the battle for sexual purity by engaging in this so called harmless behavior.
The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit. Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:13-20
You may be saying, “Ok, I avoid these situations but sexual temptation is everywhere! I am constantly being bombarded by women with immodest clothing.” Again, with God’s grace you can maintain custody of your eyes. Simply look the other way and pray to Jesus, “Lord I gaze on you. Help me to avoid all occasions of sin” or any other prayer than will work for you. By focusing on Jesus, you are not allowing these images to trigger your thoughts. In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus stresses the importance of maintaining custody of the eyes by raising the bar on sexual purity:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27-28
Another suggestion is to have an accountability partner. Find a holy and righteous man that is willing to team with you in holding each other accountable for sexual purity. Tell each other your struggles and pray for each other to maintain sexual purity. Satan likes to work in the dark and secret places. By shining the light of Christ on those areas of your life that trouble you the most, Satan will not be allowed to gain a foothold in your life. You have to be open and honest. The minute you try to hide any temptation or sin, Satan will jump in to drag you into the muck. Don’t give him the opportunity by keeping your temptations a secret. Share them with an accountability partner and gain freedom from this common tactic of Satan to tempt you to sin.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Romans 12:1
The best book I have found on this subject is Every Man’s Battle: Winning the War on Sexual Temptation One Victory at a Time by authors Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker, with contributions by Mike Yorkey. It is prudent and wise to equip yourself with every resource at your disposal in the battle for sexual purity. Satan is constantly at work tempting you to fall into sexual sin. Be on guard, stand firm and give your mind to thoughts of Christ living in you. He will strengthen you for the battle if you just give Him permission to control your thoughts, words and actions. He is Lord of your life. Give glory to God for His loving presence.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20
Prayers are being lifted to heaven on your behalf. God bless you, my Brother.
Unless otherwise noted, scripture quoted are from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.