20 ways to avoid sexual temptation
How can teens stay true to Jesus in the middle of a sex-crazed world?
God commands and demands that there shouldn't even be a hint of sexual immorality among us as His saved people (Ephesians 5:3). Of course, we all find this incredibly easy to do, right? WRONG!
This feels completely impossible most (maybe all) of the time. If there is one area of life where it feels like Satan is winning the battle, it’s in the area of sex. And if there is one area where our bodies are screaming out to us to disobey God, it’s in the area of sex.
So I want to give you my top 20 tips to help you avoid sexual immorality:
- Find out what pleases the Lord. This is a command straight out of Ephesians 5:10, and is part of what it means to live a life worthy of our calling as Christians, and part of what it means to live a life of love, just as Christ loved us.
- Find out what God’s will for your life is. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 says, “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God;” It doesn’t get much clearer than that!
- The battle begins in the mind. You need to know what God says about sex and trust what God says about sex. You need to be careful what you fill your minds with. Imagination is often the hot-bed where sin is hatched. Martin Luther once said about sexual desires, “You can’t stop birds from flying over your head, but you can stop them from making nests in your hair.”
- Pray (It is a spiritual battle too). Depend on God, on the power of His Holy Spirit to strengthen you in this battle. (Matthew 6:13; 2 Timothy 2:22; James 5:16)
- Don't put yourself in situations where you will be easily tempted. There is little point praying that God would not lead you into temptation, then walking straight into a tempting situation.
- Remember God is watching. You are never completely out of sight. Someone can always see you.
- Wield the axe. Jesus says in Matthew 5, if your eye or hand causes you to sin, gouge them out and throw them away, because eternal life is at stake. So if the internet, magazines, TV, or peer groups are causing you to sin; wield the axe. Chop away those things that tempt you.
- Talk about sex (accountability). You can't fight this alone. You need God's help and you need help from God's people too.
- You are not alone. It can be helpful to know you are not the only person who has ever been tempted this way. “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man” (1 Corinthians 10:13a)
- You CAN resist. "God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear" (1 Corinthians 10:13b).
- Know that God provides a way out. "But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it" (1 Corinthians 10:13c).
- Count yourself dead to sin and alive to God. Christians are people who have died to sin (knowing that sin leads to death), and now live for God and righteousness, knowing that this leads to eternal life (Romans 6:11-14).
- Remember the cross. Jesus died for our sins, including our sexual sins.
- Remember Jesus is coming back. We will all have to give an account for our lives, even our sex life.
- Memorise Scripture. When Jesus was tempted in the desert, he fired Scripture back at the devil (Matthew 4:1-11). Having God’s Word in the forefront of your mind can help you too.
- Weariness and sadness often leads to sin. Learn to know yourself. Know when you are weak and susceptible to temptation.
- Struggling is a good sign. Keep fighting and don't give in.
- Be careful what you wear. Modesty is good for you and good for others too.
- Forgiveness is available. If you sin sexually you can still be forgiven, such is the power of the cross of Christ. So repent, turn back to God and live for Him.
- Read some good books. Fervr recently released Teen Sex By the Book. You might find it a helpful guide for answering some of your questions about sex.
I hope and pray that these tips will help you in this fight. Remember, 'not even a hint of sexual immorality', is God's loving standard for you (Ephesians 5:3)