Sexual temptation is an ever-present challenge for all Christians, both past and present. It’s a relentless adversary that can sneak up on us unexpectedly, studying our vulnerabilities and strengths before striking. The good news is that once we recognize this struggle, we can begin the journey to break free from its grasp. The difficulty, however, arises when we fall in love with it too quickly, making it more complicated to disentangle oneself – much like being ensnared in a complex Gordian knot.
In my own life, I’ve encountered the powerful grip of sexual temptation. It all began when I was introduced to pornography at a young age, like many others. This opened the door to a world of sexual deviancies that I carried with me throughout the years. Despite my seemingly well-behaved exterior, I became an expert at concealing this secret affair with my hidden lover. Outwardly, I appeared to be a good girl – obedient to my parents, dutifully completing my chores, and attentive to my teachers at school. Little did the adults in my life know that, behind the façade, I was already entangled in experimenting with sexual activities.
As I progressed into young adulthood and entered university, I found myself at a crossroads, eager to explore the experiences that had enticed me throughout my youth. There was a brief period when I got closer to God and immersed myself in studying the Bible for about a year. However, as soon as I moved away from the watchful eyes of my parents to attend university in a different part of the world, everything seemed to unravel. I started entangling myself in relationships that were clearly not meant for me, and my choices took a downward turn.
It was a turning point in my life when a bad relationship spiralled into something worse, subjecting me to emotional, verbal, and sexual abuse. It was at this rock bottom moment that I realized I needed to seek solace in Christ. Deep inside, I knew there had to be a better path.
Just like the prodigal son, Christ welcomed me with open arms, indicating that He had been there for me all along, even during my intimacy with that destructive monster.
From that moment on, I began to comprehend the significance of my body as God’s temple, and I resolved to treat it with the utmost respect. With time, God’s grace empowered me to break free from my 17-year-long addiction to pornography. Having embraced my newfound freedom, I discovered that men who did not wholeheartedly serve God no longer held any appeal for me. Outside of a relationship, sexual temptation seemed to fade away entirely. As a single woman, thoughts of sex or the lack of it didn’t even occupy my mind. Numerous other important matters demanded my attention and sex and its temptations became the least of my problems.
It was during my time in relationships that I noticed sexual temptations resurfacing. Despite my newfound enlightenment, I must admit that I hadn’t been entirely successful with maintaining purity in romantic relationships. And it wasn’t because I was so enamoured by sex, but because my mind had been programmed (all those years ago) to believe that for someone to express their love to you in a dating relationship, sex had to be involved.
A pivotal moment came when my last relationship ended. It was then that God began teaching me important lessons, guiding me through a painful process of discipline, to help me understand the significance of preserving His temple and treating my body with the utmost respect. This experience was a wake-up call, leading me to realize the importance of aligning my actions with my faith and convictions. Psalms 119:67-68 says, “I used to wander off until you disciplined me, but now I closely follow your word. You are good and do only good; teach me your decrees. My suffering was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees.”
We are asked in 1 Corinthians 3:16, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”
The sight of my friend and her family in a stunningly designed mosque in Casa Blanca left a lasting impression on me. The grandeur of the architectural structure and the intricate paintings adorned throughout the mosque seemed almost surreal, akin to scenes from a movie. Her husband’s reaction, referring to it as “This is Africa,” highlighted the awe-inspiring nature of the place. As they explored the mosque, they displayed great respect by removing their shoes and my friend covering her arms with a scarf as a sign of reverence. This experience made me ponder the significance of such devotion to a man-made temple. It reminded me of Acts 7:48, which tells us that the Most High does not dwell in houses built by human hands.
Considering this, how much more reverence and respect should we show to the temple of God, as the Bible describes us to be? Our bodies are where God’s Spirit dwells, making them sacred and deserving of utmost care and honour. This is not an encouragement to engage in self-worship or to develop an arrogant demeanour. Instead, it serves as a profound reminder to refrain from allowing others to have unrestricted access to our bodies, as God frowns upon such behaviour. We are incredibly valued by God, and understanding this value helps us to recognize our worth and treat ourselves and others with the utmost respect.
So, how does one deal with sexual temptation?
- Embrace accountability: The church, as designed by God, serves as a place of communion, mutual service, and accountability. Within this community, we find support and encouragement to stay true to what we believe. By opening ourselves to accountability, we can grow spiritually, maintain our integrity, and deepen our relationship with God and one another. James 5:16 says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another…” At City Church we have Gospel Communities – utilize them. Talk to your leader if you are struggling, and he/she will be happy to guide you on the right path.
- Establish healthy boundaries: In a dating relationship, it is essential to be intentional about creating boundaries to guard against falling into the trap of sexual sin or similar temptations. Setting clear guidelines, such as avoiding secluded places and refraining from spending time alone in private spaces, can be instrumental in maintaining purity. Accountability plays a crucial role in this process. It’s not advisable to date in isolation; rather, involve trusted individuals who can support you and inquire about your well-being. Sharing your dating journey with such people allows for regular check-ins and discussions, fostering a supportive and encouraging environment. At City Church, dating couples are encouraged to intentionally engage in counselling sessions provided by the church. This guidance can be invaluable in navigating the complexities of a relationship while adhering to God’s word. Embrace such support and don’t hesitate to seek counsel—it can contribute significantly to your relationship’s health and spiritual growth.
- Be upfront about what you believe: In the context of relationships, it’s crucial to have open discussions early on regarding how you both intend to honour God in your journey together. While some may be sceptical, having candid conversations about setting boundaries can be transformative. By consciously deciding to eliminate certain physical expressions like kissing and unnecessary cuddling, you create a space that promotes purity and a deeper focus on honouring Christ in all aspects of your relationship. Making your stance known from the beginning helps to establish mutual understanding and respect for each other’s commitment to living according to God’s word.
- Eliminate garbage entertainment: This helped me to avoid sexual sin because I stopped feeding myself with things that had the ability to elicit those desires. Today, most movies and songs are rife with sexually explicit content. You cannot enjoy a good story before a sex scene pops up, or a good song, before the artist refers to sleeping with women. Eliminating garbage entertainment will aid in keeping your mind pure. When you keep ingesting such, it is only a matter of time before you begin acting them out.
- Eliminate pornography: If there is anything that can facilitate our desire to fulfil sexual temptation, it is pornography. I am so passionate about this issue because I was once a slave to it and have become privy to the other dark side of the industry. Pornography has ruined a lot of lives – innocent ones too. When you stop watching pornography, not only are you freeing yourself from slavery, but you have also stopped contributing to an industry that enslaves innocent people to create sexual immorality for the pleasure of others, and for the showrunners’ pockets.
- Clean out your social media: These days, you don’t have to travel to a store and go to the back of the aisle to view porn, it is right at our fingertips. In fact, people are selling sex on social media. You must be ferocious in cleaning out your social media accounts. Once I see that you are posting sexually explicit content, I immediately click the unfollow button. It took 17 years for me to be free from pornography, I am not going to allow the enemy to rope me back into it. Young men, unfollow all those women who post suggestive photos. These are the types of things that whet your appetite to indulge in sexual temptation. If we are to follow Christ, we must do so wholeheartedly.
I will stop here before this article gets too long. And I will end with a scripture found in the book of James. “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” – James 1:13-15 (ESV)
Evi Idoghor is an accomplished freelance writer with an impressive portfolio that includes over ten books and more than 400 articles. Driven by a profound passion for storytelling, she has embarked on diverse collaborations with various authors, breathing life into their stories and conveying their messages with remarkable skill and creativity during her four-year professional writing journey.
Throughout her career, Evi has garnered a notable reputation for her exceptional expertise in a wide array of writing genres. Her talents shine particularly in the realms of creative non-fiction storytelling, captivating fiction, engaging lifestyle pieces, thought-provoking opinion articles, and heartfelt Christian content. To read more of her content, you can subscribe to her Substack newsletter via eviidoghor.substack.com.