Sexual immorality is a very big deal in the world today and especially in the church. God talks about it a lot in His Word: there are 23 verses on “sexual immorality”, 45 on “adultery”, and 36 on the word “immoral.” And, of course, there are other ways you can phrase the same concept to find even more verses on these subjects.
I could talk a lot about this subject, but most of it would be based on non-Christians and how they live, which is not the point of this blog or this series on sin. As I have said in every post in this series, these posts are all for Christians, not non-Christians. Because of this, I see no reason to explain why adultery is wrong or why we should be sexually pure until marriage as we all already know the answers to that if you’ve been saved for any length of time and read God’s Word.
By the way, if you are single and wondering why you should save sex until marriage, I highly recommend Joshua Harris’ books: “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” (which I read as a teen and why I didn’t have sex until my husband), and his sequel to it “Boy Meets Girl: Say Hello to Courtship” as well as “Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is): Sexual Purity in a Lust-Saturated World.”
Instead, my focus in this post is on how these sins work in our lives and how we can run from temptation.
Now, most of my blog is focused on Christian married women, but this message can apply to men and people who are single of either gender.
It is so important as followers of Christ that we remain pure. You may be asking, “How can we be pure if we are married? Do we need to stop having sex?” Sex itself isn’t pure or impure. God created sex for married couples to enjoy and to procreate. It is only impure when you have sex outside of marriage, whether that means you are single and having sex, or you’re married but having sex with someone who isn’t your spouse.
But you guys know this. You’re all mature, intelligent adults. My real point is how do we stay pure? My friends, it all starts with your thoughts!
Many of you have read “My Confession” so you know my past and the biggest mistake I ever made, so I know exactly how sexual immorality works – I know how it starts and how it ends. And I promise you that all sexual immorality, whether you are married or single, starts in your mind.
- You find someone attractive, someone who is not your spouse. Perhaps he or she pays attention to you in a way your spouse doesn’t, or maybe he or she listens to you complain about your spouse and is a sympathetic ear.
- You start thinking about him or her a lot. Maybe not even sexually, at first, but maybe you think of jokes you can tell them or you saw something that reminded you of them. You start developing a very close friendship with this person and maybe even think of them more than your spouse.
- The more time you spend with this person, and it could take weeks, months, or years, the more you care about him or her. Eventually, you do start thinking of him or her in a sexual way. And, even though you feel guilty, you also figure that there isn’t any real harm in it; it’s just in your head, right? Maybe you even picture him or her when making love to your spouse.
- One day you realize that this person might actually have feelings for you too. In fact, I can almost guarantee that they will because the enemy wants to trip us up. When you learn that this person is attracted to you and feels the same way about you, you start feeling butterflies around them, get nervous when you come near them or talk to them – basically, the way you felt about your spouse when you first started dating.
- Finally, fantasizing isn’t enough anymore. You, or the other person, make the first move and the relationship goes from friendship to something sexual. You may think you’re in love with that person, but the truth is that you are lusting after him or her, it isn’t love. Love is a choice, not a feeling, and you promised to love your spouse no matter what – not to stay “in love” but to choose to love your husband or wife no matter how you feel.
Parts of this may sound exciting and, of course, they are at the time because sin is always fun at first. If it wasn’t fun and exciting, we’d never give in to it. But the consequences are never fun and here are the consequences of what will happen if you commit sexual immorality (some of these are for singles and married couples, others are just for those who are married):
- Distance from God. The moment you enter into a sexually immoral relationship, you distance yourself from God. Why? Because you are choosing to do something that God has told you not to do. I felt that way when I first started the affair with the married man (I was not married). I knew what I was doing was wrong and I couldn’t spend time with God anymore. I stopped listening to Christian music, stopped reading God’s Word, stopped going to church, and stopped praying. Why? You can’t be close to God and purposefully sin against Him. It just isn’t going to happen.
- Distance from those you love. Another consequence of sexual immorality is that you will distance yourself from your family and friends because you feel guilty. So, not only do you push God away, you push those who are closest to you away as well. For married couples, you’ll find yourself avoiding your spouse, yelling at him or her for no reason (due to your own guilt), picking fights to make yourself feel better for betraying your husband or wife, and refusing to have sex with him or her.
- Emotional and mental pain. Trust me on this, if you give in to sexual immorality, you are going to hate yourself. Maybe not at first, but over time you begin to feel dirty and sick and you will hate yourself if you are truly born again. Now, the Holy Spirit does not condemn us, but He will convict us of wrong-doing. That sick feeling is conviction because you know what you’re doing is wrong. When I was having the affair, I hated myself. I truly, truly hated myself. I couldn’t stand being around myself, my own thoughts, to the point where I wanted to commit suicide because it seemed like the easiest way to end it all. And, when the affair had ended, I still needed Christian counseling to move past the guilt and self-hatred I had developed.
- Finally, destruction of your marriage. If you are married and you have an affair, I can promise you that it will destroy your marriage, at least for a time if not permanently. If you are truly born again, you will eventually end the affair (whether your spouse finds out beforehand or not) and you’ll have to confess to your spouse what you’ve done. This is going to either end your marriage entirely, or, if he or she is willing to work through it with you, it could take years for your spouse to trust you again and it may honestly always be a sore point in your marriage for the rest of your lives. We can always forgive, but we can never forget.
My point in all of this is, is it worth it? Every consequence I listed above, is it worth giving into the temptation of sexual immorality? No, it really isn’t. I’ve been there and if I could change it I would in a heartbeat. If I had a time machine that would be the first thing I’d do, is to go back in time and prevent it from happening. Trust me in this, it isn’t worth it!
How to Stay Pure?
So, how do we avoid temptation and not give in to sexual immorality?
The easy answer: learn to control your thoughts.
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (1 Cor. 10:5)
I told you that all sin, but especially sexual immorality, begins in your thoughts. If we learn to control our thoughts, we can stop sin dead in its tracks.
If you feel yourself attracted to someone who is not your spouse, confess it to God and confess it to your spouse. That way your spouse can help you guard against it. And maybe it’s just that the two of you need to satisfy one another sexually more often than you currently are. If that’s the case, set aside time once a week or twice a month to be together intimately. If you have kids, send them to a friend’s house for a sleepover or ask their grandparents to take them for the weekend. There are always options.
If you are single and feel sexually attracted to someone, find out if that person is someone you should be dating or not. If he or she is married, avoid them as much as possible and confess your feelings to a trusted friend or advisor who can hold you accountable so that you don’t give in to sexual immorality. If you can date him or her, and that person is born-again and there’s no reason why you can’t date them, just be very careful when alone with the person. Try to stay in public places and don’t get together alone at night. Nothing good ever happens after 10 pm.
Another important thing, especially if you are married, is to never make someone of the opposite sex your confessional partner. Don’t complain to the opposite sex about your spouse, your kids, or your love life. Find a same-sex friend to make your accountability partner, that way you are not tempted with him or her. Also, don’t be alone with a person of the opposite sex if you can at all help it. Don’t go on car rides, carpool alone with him or her, etc. Don’t counsel someone of the opposite sex either. There are always ways to guard against these things if you will just make it important to you.
So, friends, that is sexual immorality – how it begins and how you can prevent it. I hope this post helps you and that you can learn from my mistakes instead of making them yourself.
I love you guys and I pray you have a blessed week!