shame, temptation, transparency

10 Ways to Conquer Sexual Strongholds

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 same-sex attractions 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 that I have never been tempted or attracted to another woman again, but it does mean those thoughts, feelings, and 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!

24 thoughts on “10 Ways to Conquer Sexual Strongholds

  1. Thank you so much for this post. I glad to know that I am not alone. Please pray for me and my fiance as i deal with this stronghold. But I know in Christ that I will be healed. Thank you.

  2. Thank you so much for the encouragement!…Most people would never understand this weight and sin…you made the statement about secrets….but this is one sin you can only tell God, you could hurt too many people if you disclose it,,,especially if you’re married…but I’m so sick of it…sick of it consuming my time…coming between me and God….me and my wife…just sick of letting it rule me. It has only caused me hurt, pain and shame. You can’t go to the church…they’ll only further hurt you and utterly destroy you…I know that’s not how it’s suppose to be…but let’s face it…that’s how it is. I know I must go to God…He alone can help me. I’ve dealt with these feelings almost as long as I can remember myself ever since I’ve been 5 or 6, but for some innate reason I also knew it was not acceptable and was wrong…for those people that say we choose to be that way…that tells me they don’t have a clue. Who in their right mind would wish such a difficult ungodly life upon themselves. Pray for me and others who struggle with this .

    1. I’m so glad you were encouraged. You’re right…God is definitely the most important person to talk to about this. If you would ever want to contact someone who you could talk to (or even just look at the website), I would recommend Jayson Graves’ ministry, Healing For the Soul. He is a married man who has also struggled with same-sex attractions. Jeff Fisher’s Porn to Purity also has some similar resources on his website. I will definitely pray for you and your marriage.

  3. Thank you, I feel so much more encouraged, it may be hard & feel impossible at times especially with a stronghold that is birth in us and lives in us for a long time, at times it feels easier just to hang on to the sin than to the right thing and let it go. thank God for conviction, and the pain,disappointment & hurt I had caused Him with my bad decision was so overwhelming it lead me to give up the sin, the pain made me understand that I wanted to put God first and serving Him was the most important thing in my life, more important than what my flesh wanted, we are human & make mistakes, alot of them,but never enough excuse to hurt the Heart of God, Be Blessed 2day2morrow & always.

  4. Thank you very much for this post! I have stuggled with this for so long. I feel so much better now i know GOD has freed me. Amen! Haluluah!

  5. Thank you so much for this post. I have been battling this pretty much my whole life. My late older cousin did inappropriate things when I was only 4 or 5 opening the door for homosexuality, lust, and an unforgiving spirit. Not so much unforgiving of him because although he was 8 years older than I, we were still children dealing with our circumstances as they were handed to us. I know this because 4-6 years later after that same cousin was murdered, his father, which was also my uncle in law, he attempted the same measures his son was successful in. So I understood why my late cousin could this to me. My unforgiving battle was with our so called older generation Christian family. 10 aunts and uncles plus my mom that helped create this with demons they never truly allowed God to heal them from in their past and childhood by even allowing such things. Yet they made me the black sheep and would quickly condemn and do nothing beyond tell you they’re praying for you. Since then I have been battling homosexuality, lust, unforgiveness, and acceptance to say the least. I have lived an openly gay lifestyle because I didn’t think I could live any other way. Yet in the back of my mind, sometimes all through it I knew I couldn’t live that way at all. However even with all that I know God is with me by His grace and His grace alone. I have some good days and I have some bad ones. I have some good weeks and I have some bad ones. I just feel stuck sometimes. But this, your post has truly encouraged me. I probably will keep reading it. Lol

    Thank you for sharing. Truly encouraging

    1. Hi Tony. I am so glad this post encouraged you. Keep drawing close to God! He loves you so very much. The intimacy that can be found with Him is truly amazing and irreplaceable.

  6. So helpful especially After being saved and fallen back into the lifestyle and not understanding exactly why but becoming defeating because you know that your better but in reality God is better and able to keep us from falling.

  7. Thank You. A very excellent article coming from a place of Love and Seeking God for help. Very Helpful. -Mike

  8. Hello, I am thankful and have been encouraged by your post. It’s good to know that one is not alone in this. I have pretty much being battling this my whole life but never paid to attention to it which has led issues of sex controlling me and dominating my thoughts. With your post, I now feel can overcome this in the name of Jesus. Hope that you will be praying with me. Thanks

  9. Thank you so much for this post am encouraged Sometimes when we commit a sin we unable to face God cos we feel so guilty of out action.Thank you for reminding me that God is open to listen to me.

  10. Thank you some much for your website. It came at a pivotal time in my walk with the Lord. I ran to Him, rather than from Him. Be encouraged in your ministry with the Lord and may you experience new dimensions of Him you never thought possible. Shalom!

  11. Thanks alot for this post i have been moving well with christ two years back after being born again but in this month almost finishing my third year moving with christ i have backslid batteling with lust for sex but because of this article i have seen a way to fight against it by telling my problem to GOD. Be blessed for your inspiring article

  12. Thanks so much for this post, am encouraged. Am addicted to pornography, masturbation and it has led me to have sex outside my marriag. Have asked God for forgiveness but I don’t know how to tell my wife about it. Please how do I go about it.

    1. Hi Michael. I am so glad this was encouraging for you. I know of a couple ministries for men that I want to recommend for you regarding how to find healing and also regarding help in disclosing this to your wife. The first one is called Awaken, and the other one is called Jesus is Better.

  13. Hi…i have given my life to Christ for 8 weeks now…but my past of sexual sin is still with me…i stoped watching porn and stoped masterbating but…i cary a sexual lust with me…been watching porn and masterbating for years now im 8 weeks clean…now im just dealing with lust…am a merried man but my sins have broken my marriage and i just want to fix it…i need to get rid of this lust please help

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