“Flee from youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” (2 Tim 2.22 NAS).
“Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucifed the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Gal 5.24 NAS).
This is a follow up to the Purity Pledge post. It offers practical steps to keeping that pledge. We know that sexual temptations can be strong – even addictive. Therefore if we are serious, strong walls of protection are needed. This 12 step plan also applies largely to other sinful/addictive behaviors as well: gambling, drugs, alcohol, lying, violence, crime, etc.
1. First of all, trust that Jesus Christ died to pay for all your sins. On his day of salvation, Jesus forgives ALL one’s sins. Also the Holy Spirit comes inside the new believer. He gives the Christian new power and wisdom in defeating daily temptations. You take this first step towards Jesus and He will help you. He has power that we do not have.
2. Admit just how weak our flesh is. We cannot defeat lusts of the flesh in our own strength. We must hold on the Jesus’ hand, day by day and hour by hour. Let Him fight this battle for us. We do this by daily claiming God’s promises over sin. Read and memorize power promises including: Philippians 4.13; 1 Corinthians 10.13; James 4.7; 1 John 3.8; 4.4.
“For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.” Gal 5.17 NAS).
Each time we are tempted to sin, speak one or more of these spiritual warfare verse OUT LOUD! Remind God, Devil and self how serious you are about keeping your pledge.
3. Pray daily about your particular weakness. Do not wait until temptation is upon you.
4. Fill your mind with God’s Word, the Bible. Get so caught up with Jesus that sinful thoughts and plans recede. Read at least 1-3 chapters daily.
5. This is an acid test; cross the Rubicon. Swiftly shut down immoral relationships. Because it is not easy we can see how sin enslaves. Realize just how strong sin is – like drugs, fornication can be addictive. Flee. Ask God for the grace to do it! Let Jesus do it through you, child of God. He has the power to do it. We do not! ( Rom 5.6; chpt 6). Daily claim this power promise: “I can do all things through Him [Jesus Christ] who strengthens me.”(Phil 4.13 NAS.).
The one who is not ready to do this is not willing to repent of sin. Feeling sin’s pain is not the same as leaving it. Pray: “Jesus, give me the grace to walk away from this wicked, enslaving relationship.” Read 1 Corinthians 6.9-20!
“Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.'” (1 Cor 15.33 NAS)(Prov chpt 7; 13.20; Psa 1.1-2; 2 Cor 6.14-17).
6. Plan further for spiritual success. Do your part. Avoid people, places and hangouts where temptation happens. Avoid empty apartments, lonely roads, parking, party lifestyle. Avoid lustful videos, MTV, books, suggestive movies, music, parties, etc.
7. Advertising gets results. High minded people dress modestly. Showing off or wiggling body parts attracts those interested in body parts, sin. It announces, “Hey, if you are interested in the flesh more than spiritual growth and purity, step right this way. I am worldly minded also. Let’s go for it.” This is self defeating. Are you a slave to your flesh? Which type of relationship are you advertising for, worldly or spiritually oriented? Sorry, there is no neutral corner in this spiritual warfare for your soul.
“Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body . . . Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in yor body.” (1 Cor 6.18-20 NAS).
It is sin to tempt others with our bodies. Spiritual growth calls for deeper commitment than this. Get real. Do not attract lust minded people by suggestive clothing, music or attitude.
8. Especially if addicted to fornicating or any sin, be accountable to some person. Meet weekly with an older, godly person of the same gender. Perhap a pastor or your Sunday school teacher. Telll him/her how your week has been. Avoid online relationships! Ask them to stand and pray with you weekly.
9. Ask God to give you one or two clean peers – friends. And I mean really godly ones of the same gender. This often happens as one gets involved in a strong, Bible believing church. This is God’s support group for his people. It is the opposite of ungodly support groups like worldly buddies, taverns, drinking parties, druggies, et al. Wise sheep do not hang out with wolves. Petting lions and touching rattlesnakes is foolish. Stay far from them! “Lie down with dogs, rise up with fleas.” – Ben Franklin.
10. Be conservative in expressing affection in a relationship. Save it for marriage. You will be glad you did. I promise you. Do not arouse desires that cannot be fuilfilled in a godly way. Once getting stimulated it becomes harder and harder to stop. It takes much less will power not to start than to stop. Don’t go down that path. Wait. Remaining pure means some strong, unpopular decisions. Be tough! All will not agree with you. Please God not man. This can protect you from a world of unnecessary pain. “Be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might.” (Eph 6.10 NAS).
11. Be upfront about your core values when meeting new acquaintances. If they cannot accept clean living people then thank God for protecting you from a train wreck. Quickly move on. Better to find out sooner than later. Trust God to meet your needs. Wait on Him (Psa 27.14).
12. If you stumble, do not quit. Renew your efforts. Learn from a mistake. “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.” (Eph 1.4 NAS).
But one might say: ‘This would mean a whole new way of living for me.” Right. Jesus said: “I am come that they might have life, and that they might it more abundantly.” (Jn 10.10).