The need for purity calls for a response on our part.
There were many times I was serious about stopping my bondage to various forms of sexual sin, then felt saddened, disillusioned, and upset when I gave in once again. I have since noticed the pursuit of purity is indeed a process and not an overnight transformation that occurs simply because of my willingness to be free.
There are various ways we allow compromise in our day to day lives which leads to our downfall once again. It could be subtle compromise or blatant choosing, but there is always a starting point. One Pastor has said, "People don't 'fall' into sin; they 'slide' into it." Sin may have began with thoughts of fantasy, consuming less-than-wholesome entertainment like music videos or movies that stir up lust in our hearts, or reading articles pertaining to sex and/or romance novels.
We all know our weaknesses and what causes us the desire to run back to porn or to engage in self-gratification. Jessica Harris has said:
The following steps will be helpful in pursuing purity and growing in the process of sanctification:
- Fully stop your intake of music videos, romance novels, articles about the "how-to's" of sex, movies or television shows that contain sexual references, perverse humor or partial nudity, and visiting web sites that "glorify" your particular fascination (BDSM, homosexuality, specific forms of porn, etc.).
- Surrender your sex life and purity to God, praying earnestly and often that He would do whatever it takes to sanctify, purge, and refine you.
- Read God's word daily and memorize large portions of it (See Romans 12: 2, Psalm 119: 11).
- Get an accountability report and filtering service such as "Covenant Eyes" on all your devices.
- If the route to work or school means you will drive passed a strip club or adult store, find a different route (even if that means taking the long way or changing freeways and driving in traffic part of the way).
- Fill your mind with God honoring music instead of secular music (It is amazing how easily we memorize song lyrics and yet claim we have difficulty memorizing Bible Scriptures! If we fill our minds with songs that contain perversity and violence, it will play a significant role with shaping our thinking).
- Don't spend time with people who are a bad influence and will lead you astray (See First Corinthians 15: 33).
- Read books about purity and overcoming sexual sin (suggestions at the end of this article).
- Follow ministries who address sexual sin and purity (suggestions at the end of this article).
- Fall asleep listening to an audio Bible and as you go about your day, listen to sermons while in the car or Christian radio programs (Remember the quote, "Garbage in, garbage out").
- Seek godly counsel at a Bible-believing church over your strongholds.
- Be open and honest about your struggles with trusted friends and mentors.
- Attend classes at your church regarding purity or sexual sin.
- ...and keep what John MacArthur wisely said at the forefront of your mind at all times, "Starve your sin and it will die."
Apply these steps, think of a plan, and keep God first. "A goal without a plan is just a wish." Anonymous
May we be diligent in applying what John Owen stated, "Rise mightily against the first sight of sin. Do not allow it to gain the smallest ground. Do not say, 'Thus far I shall go, and no farther.' If you allow it one step, it will take another. It is impossible to fix boundaries for sin! It is like water in a channel. If it ever breaks out, it will flow on through the breach. It is easier to stop it in the beginning than after it has begun to run."
"Pornography: Slaying the Dragon" by David Powlison
"5 Steps to Breaking Free from Porn" by Joe Dallas
"Porn-Again Christian: a frank discussion on pornography & masturbation" by Mark Driscoll
"The Game Plan: The Men's 30-Day Strategy for Attaining Sexual Integrity" by Joe Dallas
" 'Just One More': When Desires Don't Take No for an Answer" by Edward T. Welch
"Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is): Sexual Purity in a Lust-Saturated World" by Joshua Harris
The Mortification of Sin by John Owen
"Every Man's Battle: Winning the War on Sexual Temptation One Victory at a Time" by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker
"Every Woman's Battle: Discovering God's Plan for Sexual and Emotional Fulfillment" by Shannon Ethridge and Stephen Arterburn
"Every Young Man's Battle: Strategies for Victory in the Real World of Sexual Temptation " by Stephen Arterburn, Fred Stoeker and Mike Yorkey
"Every Young Woman's Battle: Guarding Your Mind, Heart, and Body in a Sex-Saturated World" by Shannon Ethridge and Stephen Arterburn
"Love Done Right: Devos" by Jessica Harris
"Dirty Girls Come Clean" by Crystal Renaud
40-Day E-Course on Purity: