Updated: Jul 22, 2021
Recent headlines and prayer have inspired this post on dealing with sexual immorality of all kind. In society, sexual sin is perhaps our most celebrated. Impurity is so shoved down our throats whether it is on TV or on social media, leaving people to fight temptation. Only Fans and some of TikTok normalize sexual sin. We are almost desensitized to the amount of sexualization that occurs because the amount and content has grown over the year, little by little to get people used to it. What is a Christian to do in such a society? We are accountable for our actions and choices in response to such content. Sexual immorality is one of the topics that Christians to not like to discuss, but if we do not, then men and women of God can fall into this sin, and if they do, they do not know how to get out of it or if they will still be forgiven once they repent (ask for forgiveness and turn away). Sexual sin not only affects the individual, but it also affects relationships, marriages, and families.
What is sexual immorality?
I think this article (linked here) gives a pretty good explanation. For the purposes of this post, I am grouping together all of the types of sin that we think falls under this tree: sexual relations outside of marriage, porn, masturbation, etc. Basically, in a nut shell, anything linked with lust.
How does this sin impact you (and every relationship)? (I am just going to put links to different articles)
- the porn industry is connected to human trafficking
- masturbation side effects (really difficult to find articles that discuss the effects and not just benefits)
- It is difficult to find articles on the harms of sexual sin. I encourage you to do your own research.
What Scripture has to say
1 Corinthians 6:18-20 (ESV)
"Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body."
1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 (ESV)
"For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. ..."
Matthew 5:28 (ESV)
"But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart."
1 Corinthians 10:13 (ESV)
"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."
Galatians 5:19-21 (ESV)
"Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."
Colossians 3:5 (ESV)
"Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry."
Ephesians 5:3-5 (ESV)
"But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God."
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (ESV)
"Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."
1 Peter 2:11 (ESV)
"Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul."
1 John 2:3-4 (ESV)
"And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him,"
There are numerous more examples of sexual immorality mentioned in Scripture. The point is that it is a sin, and is thus, something that we need to make active choices to avoid falling into. Any sin is going against God and would justifying make God wrathful. As people who love the Lord, we want to avoid sin for the sake of it affecting and interfering with our relationship and walk with the Lord. Anything that comes between you and God is not something worth having in your life.
How to avoid temptation
1. Know your triggers: everyone has different levels of tolerance when it comes to seeing impure scenes while watching TV/movies and impure photos and clips on social media. As mentioned, it is difficult to avoid because it is so in your face. Check yourself for what triggers and can lead you into temptation/impure feelings/thoughts.
2. Take active steps: once you know what triggers you, then take active steps to avoid such things. If it's social media, then unfollow any account necessary. If it is a TV/movie, then avoid that specific one, and look up on IMDB the rating of anything you would like to watch instead (will typically say if there is sexual activity in the show/movie). Depending on your toleration level, then you can also turn away from the screen or just fast forward. Set up blockers for websites and set filters on your social media that will not show you anything inappropriate. If something or someone is causing you to sin, it's not worth having in your life.
3. Don't flirt with temptation: don't put yourself in a situation where you will be tempted because you will fall into it.
4. Feed your spirit and not your flesh: as Christians, we are called to be in the world and not of it (Romans 12:2). Spend time with God daily: pray, read the Bible to know what God says and who He is, and worship. The more your feed your spirit, the less your flesh will have influence on you, and the stronger your spirit will be to avoid temptation because you're relying on God and not yourself. Choose TV/movies and follow social media accounts that are honoring to God. We have to be good stewards with our time and our minds/bodies. Remember what Jesus has done for you on that cross: He was crucified for your sin, so that you can be saved from God's wrath against your sin. Don't turn back to the sin you have been freed of.
5. Take your thoughts captive: impurity/lust starts in your mind. Be mindful about what you're thinking about. Obviously, you cannot stop a thought from coming in your mind. The problem is when you dwell on it, which can lead to acting on it. Martin Luther once said: "You can’t stop birds from flying over your head, but you can stop them from making nests in your hair.”
6. Have self-control: tell yourself "no" (more on that in the next section)
7. Be careful of the company you keep: Be mindful of who you are spending your time with. As Christians in a world that distorts God's Word, we need people who are going to uplift us and lead us closer to Christ. Those who do not strive for purity will tend to normalize and minimize sexual sin. 1 Corinthians 15:33 (ESV): "Do not be deceived: 'bad company ruins good morals.'"
8. Keep yourself busy: being a good steward of your time and not lounging around will keep you from dwelling and acting on any thoughts. Take the time to serve others and to focus less on yourself, or take the time to work on a goal. Proverbs 10:4 (ESV) "A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich."
What to do if you fall into sexual sin
1. Turn to God and repent: when we sin, our first reaction is to turn away from God out of shame. However, this is the worst thing to do. You need to run to God and ask for forgiveness and deliverance. Take accountability for what you have done, and after you ask for forgiveness, take active steps to not (see the list above). It doesn't mean you won't struggle or fall again, but what matters is the state of your heart to keep going and fighting against/ to get out of this sin. 1 John 1:9 (ESV): "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Author Marshall Segall said:
Repentance is more than saying, “Sorry.” It’s first a change of mind and heart, and then a Spirit-filled commitment to turn away from sin, and to keep turning away from sin (Acts 26:20)."
2. Remember that you are still forgiven: this goes with the point above. While it is important to feel convicted of your sin and realize the depth of sin, you must not forget that you are still covered by the blood of Jesus and are forgiven. We never want to take advantage of grace and use it as a "get out of jail free" card. However, remembering that your sins are still covered and that you get another chance is important when healing from any kind of sin.
3. Check your heart: sin is typically a heart problem at the root. There's a reason you're drawn to this sin or else you wouldn't do it. Examples are lust or filling an emotional void. There is likely something deeper that needs to be dealt with and needs healing from. Talk with someone you trust, journal, and/or pray to really seek the root of the problem. This is a huge aspect of moving forward.
4. Have accountability: besides the fact that God is always watching, find someone you trust who can keep you accountable. You can set up a program that can send reports, or you can do daily/weekly check-ins with someone.
5. Work on self-control: besides a heart issue, this is a self-control issue too. Feeding your spirit instead of your flesh can help a lot with this. Jesus calls us to deny ourselves (Matthew 16:24). Further, we are to die to our flesh and not live by it. Romans 8:12 (ESV): "So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh." Practice self-control in even the most minute areas of your life, and it will help you to bear this fruit.
6. Pray and fast: Marshall Segal puts it best:
What does fasting do for a follower of Jesus? Fasting intentionally forgoes some good for the sake of fixing our hearts on a greater Good. By laying aside food, or sex in marriage, or some daily technology, or any other pleasure, we say to our souls: there is something more satisfying than this, more urgent and vital than this, more central to my life than this. We fast to see that God is supreme, to savor that God is supreme, and to say that God is supreme.
If this is an article that you needed, with the help of God, you can overcome temptation and be delivered from this sin. I am praying for all who are struggling. There is also a really great testimony (linked here). You are not less than anyone else because we all fall short of the glory (Romans 3:23). You are still saved and loved by God if you are struggling to move forward from this sin. Philippians 1:6 (ESV) "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." God does not give up on you once you are justified by the blood of Jesus. He is waiting for you to come and repent of your sin and to ask for help. Do not give up on yourself in the fight to stay pure.
By: Bible and Hot Cocoa (IG: @bibleandhotcocoa)
Jules is the founder of Bible and Hot Cocoa. She is a law student with a passion for standing up for those who cannot speak for themselves, such as unborn babies, and for connecting families through adoption. In any free time, she loves to read, study theology, write, and draw or paint. Jules's favorite book of the Bible would have to be a tie among John, Psalms, and Romans (as of now), and her favorite figure besides Jesus is King David or Paul.