Are you or someone you know battling sexual sin? This is a trap many people often have trouble finding their way out of, even after they give their lives to Christ. I know, because I’ve been there; otherwise, I would probably underestimate the hold this type of bondage can really have on people.
It took me a long time to realize that God is not only concerned about our behavior, but He is also concerned about the state of our hearts. Whether it’s pornography, lust, sexual fantasies, or any other kind of sexual stronghold, it is often kept a secret, because the weight of sexual sin carries so much guilt and shame. It is so important to know who you are in Christ, because we cannot fight this battle alone.
Jesus has equipped us to fight this battle, and I have learned that there are several things that we all need to know and do to fight this. I have come up with a few points that have helped me over and over again that I thought I’d share with you:
1) Confess this to God. He already knows about this, but you need to talk to Him about it. For a very long time, I didn’t do this. I knew that God already knew about everything, but I felt so much shame. I was too ashamed to talk about it. I had tried so hard to stop, but I kept failing. I was caught in a web of bondage.
When I started confessing these sins to God, the burden I had began to lift. We can’t hide from God. We can try, but as long as we’re trying to hide, we will always be under the weight of shame. He is waiting with open arms for you to talk to Him about it. Isaiah 41:13 says, “For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you“.
2) Repent and renounce your involvement with sexual sin. It is very important to repent (turn away from the specific sin), renounce it (give up & verbally reject) and ask God for forgiveness for any participation in it. An example of this would be, “Lord, please forgive me for ________________. I renounce this sin and turn away from it now. Thank You for cleansing me and for Your forgiveness. I commit myself to the renewing of my mind and to thinking pure thoughts. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen. ”
3) Pour your heart out to God. He needs to be your best friend. He should be the one you lean on. If you are not born again, you need to be! None of this is going to do any good if you are not born again. God loves you and wants you to turn your life over to Him. Otherwise, you will spend eternity in Hell when you die. I don’t want that for you, and God especially doesn’t want that for you. Make the decision to turn from your way of living and hand over your life to Jesus. Pour your heart out to Him. He is trustworthy.
Even if you’ve never done this before, you can know that you are safe in doing this. Jesus will never betray you. If you humble yourself by asking for His forgivenss and start living your life for Him, He will forgive you for all of your sins. No sin is too big for Him to forgive.
4) Put God first. God needs to be first concerning everything in your life. When you put Him first, everything else will start to line up. When He is not first in your life, it will start to get out of balance and chaotic. Trust me, I know. God desires your whole heart. When you put Him first, you will stop looking to other things or people to fill you up. No one but Jesus can fill you up. I’ve tried to find intimacy, make myself happy, and feel “whole” with many other people and things. Nothing is going to work, unless you are looking to Him to complete you. That’s the way that He designed us! We were created for intimacy with Him.
5) Tell someone. James 5:16 says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much“. Tell your husband, wife, pastor, Christian counselor, or a mature Christian friend. (Make sure that this person has been following Jesus for a while, and that they have a solid relationship with Him while being grounded in their biblical views.) Find someone you trust with whom you can talk about your fears, challenges and successes.
Pray that God would lead you to someone you can talk to about this. When sin is brought out into the light, the hold it has on you begins to lessen. Satan loves secrets, and he knows that the longer it remains a secret, the longer you will remain in bondage.
6) Know who you are in Christ. I always used to consider homosexual thoughts to be part of the core of who I was (even if I wished it wasn’t). I started watching lesbian pornography, because I felt like it was my only outlet for my attraction to women. This caused a stronghold of lust to come into my life. It affected how I saw many women, and I never would have been looking at porn in the first place if I would have known who I was in Christ. My identity is in who He says I am, not necessarily in how I feel.
Knowing who God made me to be now directs my heart, mind, and actions. This does not mean I have never been tempted or attracted to another woman again, but it does mean those thoughts/feelings/temptations don’t direct me or need to have power over me anymore.
I would encourage everyone who doesn’t know who they are in Christ to find scriptures of who they are in Christ and confess them daily, no matter what kind of stronghold you are dealing with. (Here is a reference I have used. ) Sometimes you may need to do it several times a day! You may not believe them at first, and it may seem like you’re just trying to convince yourself of something that’s not true; but God’s Word is truth. It often takes time for God’s Word to sink into our hearts when there is a stronghold in our lives that is working against it. Don’t give up!
7) Be cautious about what you read, look at, and listen to. Don’t think that you can just thoughtlessly go through life without “filtering” what you are exposed to. All of the decisions we make have spiritual consequences.
There was a point in my life when I would see something that I didn’t want to, and I would become so fearful of where my thoughts were going to lead me again. That’s not walking in the freedom that Christ died for us to have. I realize that you can’t always control everything that you see. You don’t need to become fearful about it, just wise about your decisions and turn everything over to God!
My husband and I are both careful about the movies that we watch. We also have an internet accountability program that we both use. It’s called Covenant Eyes, and it’s been a good decision for us to use. (Plus, it will come in handy when our children get older.)
*On a side note, this is why it is so important to guard the hearts and eyes of our children. The movies and TV shows that our children watch are teaching them values. Are they God’s values, though? Their young minds don’t have the filter that we have to realize that everything they see is not ok. Their sense of what is “normal” is being formed with everything they see. As our children get older, it will be so much more difficult to monitor these things. We have to be the ones to guard their hearts, because no one else will. The world will never guard their hearts.
8) Fight with God’s Word. Don’t just try to ignore the thoughts that Satan puts in your head. Use the armor that God gives you, and fight back with the Word of God! Otherwise, this will never end.
For example, I may start having thoughts such as, “I’m always going to have to deal with this. What would people think if they knew? I’m so overwhelmed and tired of fighting this.” This is what I need to say in response. “I am a new creature in Christ. I am a believer, and the light of the Gospel shines in my mind. I have the mind of Christ. God has not given me a spirit of fear; but of power, love, and a sound mind.” Again, this goes back to knowing who you are in Christ.
9) Don’t ever give up. If you have a bad day and feel like you have failed, don’t give up! Tomorrow is a new day. Ask God to forgive you, repent, and move on. God does not expect perfection, but He does expect us to stay in communion with Him no matter what. Don’t let the enemy condemn you. Satan will try to push you into sin and then condemn you when you get there. Don’t let him have the satisfaction of running you over. If you fall, just get back up. Just get back up. The worst thing you can do is feel defeated, overwhelmed and give up. Just get back up and start again.
10) Remember that you’re not alone in this. Please don’t ever think that you are alone. This has been a very important one for me. I always thought I was the only one who dealt with this, and that helped keep me in bondage for so long. It was only when I was with a group of women one day and one of them (a friend of mine) disclosed that she had dealt with something similar in her life. I was blown away (that’s an understatement), because I thought I was the only one. She had no idea of my situation. Her confession helped to strip away so much of the shame that buried me, and it was the beginning of my healing. Her brave confession was the beginning of my freedom. I knew I was not alone.
You are not alone in this. Satan loves secrets, and he’s hoping that you will keep this a secret forever, because that will keep you in bondage. You are not alone.
Thank You, Jesus, that all things work together for good for those who love you and are called according to Your purpose. You are my Lord and Savior, and I can’t imagine where I would be if it wasn’t for You protecting and leading me along the way. I love you!