by Bill Rudge
“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality…” Ephesians 5:3
While speaking in Trinidad in the West Indies I visited their main tourist attraction: the largest natural tar deposit in the world. The guide there offered us a free walk out onto the tar. He assured us he would carefully lead us so we would not fall in. I was warned by my host before, however, that once someone ventures out with him and is ready to come back he says to them, “That will be twenty dollars.” He always gets his price from those who walk out with him because only he knows where it is safe to step so you do not fall into the tar pit. It is the same way with sexual immorality — easy to get into, but difficult to get out, and there is always a price to pay.
Many “hook-up” for a casual sexual encounter thinking there are no strings attached, but invisible cords begin to envelop your thoughts, emotions and behavior. Many say, “Sex is natural, so why fight it?” But so is fire! Controlled, it provides light and warmth. Uncontrolled, it ravages and destroys.
According to BJ Rudge, Ph.D., self-control is a highly esteemed virtue in the Bible but is no longer an esteemed quality in today’s culture, especially in regard to sexuality. The motto of our culture is simply to live in the present and enjoy the moment as we allow our passions to control us. “If it feels right, then just do it!”
The main tragedy that has resulted from this type of thinking has not only been a proliferation of STDs, unwanted pregnancies and extramarital affairs leading to divorce, but a culture of people who have never experienced the beauty of truly loving someone or being truly loved by another. The best protection against sexually transmitted diseases is to practice mutual faithfulness with one lifetime spouse. Isn’t this what God commanded from the beginning?
A healthy relationship is not built upon self-pleasing lust, but upon self-sacrificing love. Self-control is a mark of true love and maturity. True love is much deeper than physical attraction and should be based on a lasting commitment. The one who truly loves you will be there if you lose a leg in a tragic accident or are maimed on the field of battle. A faithful partner will stay with you even though disease or age decreases your physical beauty.
Guard Your Life
Many Christians justify sexual activity before marriage by reasoning that they plan to get married. But this attitude and behavior makes them more vulnerable to unfaithfulness. When temptation arises, those who were conditioned to receive instant gratification are more likely to have extra-marital affairs.
In contrast, self-control now makes them more inclined to show self-restraint when being enticed or seduced by someone else. Exercising self-discipline over sexual desires with each other helps affair-proof their marriage.
I used to do self-defense clinics where I demonstrated how to avoid potential confrontations and how to deal with attack situations. “But the most important principle,” I would tell the students, “is to use wisdom in avoiding places, people and situations where you know a confrontation or an attack is likely to occur.”
Likewise, to overcome sexual immorality, you must avoid places, people and situations that will lead you into temptation and entice you into lust and immorality. Take steps to guard your life and escape the tar pit.
Avoid setting yourself up for temptation. Randomly surfing the Internet or being alone in a remote area with someone to whom you are physically attracted is like playing Russian roulette. Sooner or later the gun will fire. No matter how pure your intentions, you are setting yourself up for defeat by violating the biblical mandate—“Flee youthful lusts!”
Only the LORD Satisfies
How fleeting are the things of this world. Knowing the Lord and walking in His presence and peace are more satisfying than pursuing any physical desire. My relationship with Jesus Christ is more important to me and fulfills and satisfies me more than anything this world has to offer. All else is inferior to knowing Him.
Many have made mistakes regarding sexual behavior, but no matter what you have done, there is hope. Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery, “Neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.”
It does not matter what your circumstances or life situation might be, God has a plan and a purpose for you. When we choose to surrender our lives to Jesus, He takes whatever we have, including our circumstances, and begins to work them together for good and to accomplish His purpose. He will help you triumph, like the victor in a great contest. His path is never an easy one, but always the most rewarding.