In our frustrations with our sexual purity journey we’ve probably wondered:
- Why doesn’t God just take my sexual desire away?
- Why doesn’t He zap me and give me self-control?
- Why do I have to continue struggling?
- If God would take away my desire, wouldn’t it fix everything?
Let’s consider why the sexual purity journey takes time, and why taking our sexual desire away is the wrong solution to our struggles.
We didn’t get here overnight; it won’t go away overnight – Our sexual struggles took time to develop, sometimes decades. Any habits like looking at porn, fantasy, masturbation, pre-marital sex and adulterous relationships develop by gradually stepping over lines. It takes time to unpack these.
The struggle shows us we’re powerless – The struggle is our desire to be righteous, our desire to meet some sort of standard. We have to realize that I can’t do it on our own. We need to admit our inability and seek help from others.
The struggle helps us depend on God – I’m convinced that the only way we are to break free from sexual addictions and achieve sexual purity is with God’s help. He is the only one who can do the deep work in our heart that’s needed. He is much stronger than these desires we have and wants to help. If he took our struggles away quickly, we would be less likely to lean on Him and others.
The goal is healthy sexuality – Sexuality is a part of our makeup as humans. To ask God to take that away would make us less than he created us for. Our aim should be to take the sexuality God has given us and focus it in a healthy way. A larger goal of purity is learning how to glorify God with our sexuality.
Getting healthy costs us something – The things we have to work hardest at and lean on God the most seem to be the things that mean the most to us. If getting sexually pure doesn’t cost us something, we’ll be less likely to appreciate the magnitude of the victory. And if we’re spending money and time on books and counseling, we’re probably going to approach the journey with greater seriousness.
God cares more about building the character of the person – God seems to be less concerned about our behaviors and more concerned with our heart. What good is it to God if he takes our bad behaviors away, but our hearts toward Him are still cold? God wants to mold us into the best vessels possible. A change of heart and the building of character take time.
We have layers of deep stuff that need work – Our sexual behaviors are out of whack for a reason. It’s usually because we have hurts in our past that we’re trying to medicate. It’s also because we have God-given needs that we’ve been trying to meet in unhealthy ways. We need skilled friends, pastors, and counselors to help us explore and heal from the deep stuff.
It takes time to leave, grieve, and attach – When we are seeking to be sexually pure, we’re actually breaking up from a relationship. It might be an actual relationship with a person, but it might be a breaking up from the Internet, porn shops, masturbation, mental or fantasy. It takes a long time to get over breakups. We have to leave and cut off all ties. We have to grieve that loss. And we have to find healthy relationships to attach to.
We’re in a war – The quest for sexual purity is a battle. Our culture tells us we don’t need to worry about purity. Peers, movies, music and even family members encourage sexual behavior. There is also a spiritual dimension to this battle. Staying pure means we go against the flow. Even if God took our sexual desire away, the flow would be there pushing us right back.
We have to learn to hate evil – This is another heart change. It takes a deep work in our hearts for us to truly hate a behavior enough to avoid it. We have to hate the things God hates, and cling to the things that are good. This cannot happen quickly.
Others around us have to heal too – We’re not the only ones suffering consequences for our sexual sins. Others are involved, including past girlfriends, our spouses, our friendships, our close friends, and perhaps our children. They have their own healing journeys.
We have to feel the consequences of our sins – One of the biggest deterrents to relapse is being aware of the consequences of our sexual sins. We hurt others with our sexual sin. We hurt God. We hurt our spouses and our friends. And we hurt ourselves.
We have to retrain our brain and body – If God instantly took away our sexual desires, it would still take time for our bodies and brains to readjust. We have spent years training our bodies and brains to act out when we are triggered sexually. It is a well-worn path. It takes time to fill in the old path and forge new habits and patterns of responding to sexual stimulation.
We’ll want it to be easier in other areas too – A friend mentioned this to me. If God takes His magic wand and wipes away all of our sexual struggles, we will expect Him to do it for other areas. What we really want is the easy way out. We don’t want the pain. We don’t want to sacrifice.
Watch out for the anger
I don’t thing it’s wrong to ask God to take away sexual desire. Most people I know struggle with sexual sin ask it. But I discovered I had a lot of anger toward God, and when I was asking this question, I was blaming God.
I blamed God for making me sexual. I blamed Him of giving me a high sexual desire. I accused him of leaving me alone to wrestle with my lust and temptations. I blamed God for giving me a wife with a low sexual desire. I blamed Him for allowing me to get hooked on Internet porn. I was surprised at how much anger I had.
As you’re exploring this question, let God open your heart to what you’re really feeling. Also, allow God to show you the steps you need to take to move toward a healthy sexuality.
I felt as if God was urging me to seek out a mate about four years ago, but nothing good came out of it. I found myself feeling anger and jealousy towards Him and the couples I saw walking hand-in-hand out in public. And that’s not even mentioning the smothering depression that seemed to creep up me at random. It wasn’t helped by the posts I saw online of people who’d been praying and waiting for years for a mate and still hadn’t found one. In fact, one of the last proverbial straws for me was when I called a prayer hotline for emotional support a few months back. I told the kind-hearted lady about my predicament, and she said, “I know how you feel, Chris, because I’ve been asking tne Lord for a mate for 30 years now.” It was like, REALLY?I decided that I couldn’t and wouldn’t wait that long if that’s how long it would take and asked God to just take away my sex drive so that the urge for a mate, and the emotional havoc that I was experiencing as the result of not having one, would all go away. I’ve also done some emotional and mental conditioning of my own to help. He seems to be listening. Being single and celibate doesn’t sound nearly as bad as it used to.
It’s easy to call the sex drive a gift when you’re married and have the appropriate outlet; it’s also easy to say,”To hell with it” and push it all off a cliff when you don’t. I don’t know if He gave me the so-called gift of singleness that Paul mentioned, but I intend to live my llife as though He had.
Hi Chris, I know the frustration. Loneliness is an awful feeling.
I believe the gift of singleness isn’t an ability, but is rather a situation. Quite simply, you have the gift of singleness by virtue of being single, just as I have the gift of marriage by virtue of being married. Knowing this can really help, because if you falsely believe that the ability to be single is a “gift” from God, but you also believe that God didn’t give you that gift but leaves you single, this can make us angry at God for being capricious.
Rather, the reality is that we live in a fallen world where our desires are often frustrated. In our groaning we should long for the day this brokenness will completely end. Until that time, we will receive from God “foretastes” of that world to come by the power of His Spirit.
I would recommend the following:
1. Don’t deny your sex drive. It is part of who you are, part of how God made you.
2. Recognize there is only one place where the passion of sex is safe and profitable: in marriage. It is like a fireplace that safely contains the fire and brings warmth to the whole house. A fire of the same size in the middle of the floor only burns the house down.
3. Rather than denying your sexuality, use it as a motivation to “build your fireplace”: become the kind of man who would gladly take care of and nurture one woman for the rest of your life. Become a man of that kind of character.
4. Pursue godly relationships with women, trusting that even your failed relationships are some of the means God is using to help you become like His Son Jesus. Only by having this kind of trust can we enter relationships with confidence and hope.
Hi dear freind, that is so nice if you to share. I myself have been single for a good little while. So I understand you. I pray that the Lords perfect will be done in your life. And that he gives you the strength to endure. Love you in Jesus’s mighty name.
Again, it’s easier to call the libido a gift when you have the appropriate “outlet”. To me, it’s a cancer that needs to be removed.
What if you are the kind of man a woman should want? What kind of an outlet are you to have if you can’t get anyone you should have for marriage? Saying whatever situation you are in is a so called gift doesn’t make any sense….. I like how everyone that is married always seems to say the same things, of patience and faith and try more, how long or how good of a person were they ? I suggest not any better than the singles in question…..
I fell for the guy I’m with now when I was 17. By the time i realized it was an unhealthy relationship there was no way out. We decided to have kids…which I love to pieces by the way…which coupled with his control and manipulation meant that I would never get out and never find a good, respectful, honest, faithful, Christian man to marry(though I wonder if men like that even exist). I’ve honestly always wanted to married not just because it’s the right thing to do because it’s who I am. I couldn’t imagine ever wanting to be with more than one guy so why not marriage. But not with the guy I’m with. My situation is a bit complicated and there’s more than I would openly share on here or with anyone for that matter. I had all I could take about 2 years ago and I started praying for God to just allow me to be away from this guy…I stoppped loving him 5 years ago after all the things he has done. I felt like God completely took away my desire to be with the guy I’m with now which is fine because I knew he wasn’t right for me. And I felt like God placed a desire in my heart to marry someone else someday. Someone that would that would love and respect me the right way. Someone that is honest, faithful and has a heart of Gold. It’s really funny because I’m the type of person that doesn’t allow myself to want anything that I know I will never have. Not because of who I am or what I have to offer but because I’m used to being disappointed and my current situation proves this scenario impossible. I’m pretty sure I have the sexual purity thing down really well I just wish my loneliness and desire for a good man would just go away. It is the most frustrating thing in the world. And while I believe that marriage is one of God’s most beautiful creations, I know that not everyone gets that lucky. : (
Chris, I feel the very same way you do. Sometimes God’s blessings
come seemingly too late, And sometimes those are the best kinds of blessings.
Very well-written, helpful, and insightful. I appreciate this article much!
Gods Blessings never come too late, but always right on time to teach us the lesson he is working on. Look to Jesus in everything you do and he will pave that narrow path just for your feet. God is Love, and there is nothing to blame on God except that he loved us and sent his son to save us. Jesus says ask and it will be given, seek and you will find. Marrage is great but there is none in heaven, so dont set your eyes on things of this world no matter how good they seem and make you feel. We are to live by Faith not Feelings, because if we lived by feelings, the night before Jesus was crucified he didnt want to do it. He said my soul is sorrowfull even to death, and asked some of his deciples to pray. If he lived by feelings he wouldnt have died and took our sins away. Hear the Gospel is my advice because noone goes to the father except through Jesus Christ, so fall in love with him, make some vows and marry him because he gives us life. Seek first the kingdom of god and the rest will be added, Jesus is the kingdom. He is the Truth, the life and the way.
hope i helped and sorry if anything is not spelled correctly. I didnt have time to proof read, i just figured i would get one more motivating message out there and get one person on the right path at least.
We are born and given biological urges to pursue and find the opposite sex attractive. God made a woman beautiful to a man , the desire to procreate is natural if we didnt have it the human race would go extinct. I dont see what is sinful and evil about this.
The desires are natural and healthy, and a gift, you’re right. But like most of our normal biological urges, we have to use them in healthy ways. You can’t eat junk food all day long and expect to stay healthy. If you do junk sex, that’s going to mess you up, too. I think all of us struggle with taking responsibility for ourselves in one way or another, and in those times we would love for God to just zap us better, but that’s not the way it works. Free will is our gift, alongside all the other gifts we have, and it’s our job as individuals to make choices that are healthy for ourselves and respectful of others.
I have been where Chris is, and once in a while I still feel like having a sex drive is a curse. When you live in a culture that glorifies promiscuity and provocative dress, it can be very frustrating at times. I work in an area where there are a seemingly endless array of beautiful, sexy, physically fit women, and my flesh will want to be gratified with them by means of fantasizing. I know it’s my sin nature, so I have to fight it off and ask for God’s help. Too often though, instead of looking to God right away, I decide to enjoy the view too much, which only serves to increase the struggle. It’s like Paul said about doing the things he doesn’t want to do. He goes on to say “Who will deliver me from this body of death?!” I believe that is what Chris is talking about, and I feel the same way. Body of death indeed. I am a happily married man, and wouldn’t want anyone else, but there are many times where I wish my sex drive would be removed so I can be more successful in honoring God. Even though I know that my struggle is a result of years of immoral living before Christ, it still doesn’t make it easy to slip into resentment about it.
You are welcome to email me to debate I am Christian and open minded to healthy conversations. I also dont see why a person should feel guilty to have these desires. When I got very sick had mumps and lost the physical desire , my mental desire for the opposite sex also declined. Which proves a biological link which is controlled by our physical make up. For a man we are producing millions of sperm a day which needs a physical outlet . This physical desire becomes a mental desire to seek the opposite sex and to procreate. Sex was also created for pleasure and there is nothing wrong with it. email firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m not exactly sure what “these desires” are exactly, since there’s a lot covered in this article. If you’re talking about the desire to have sex, yes: this is as natural as the day is long. If you’re suggesting that the presence of this desire means one should be able to orgasm, regardless of the cost, I would disagree. Can you elaborate?
James June 24, 2015 at 6:30 pm
I have been where Chris is, and once in a while I still feel like having a sex drive is a curse. When you live in a culture that glorifies promiscuity and provocative dress, it can be very frustrating at times. I work in an area where there are a seemingly endless array of beautiful, sexy, physically fit women, and my flesh will want to be gratified with them by means of fantasizing. I know it’s my sin nature, so I have to fight it off and ask for God’s help. Too often though, instead of looking to God right away, I decide to enjoy the view too much, which only serves to increase the struggle. It’s like Paul said about doing the things he doesn’t want to do. He goes on to say “Who will deliver me from this body of death?!” I believe that is what Chris is talking about, and I feel the same way. Body of death indeed. I am a happily married man, and wouldn’t want anyone else, but there are many times where I wish my sex drive would be removed so I can be more successful in honoring God. Even though I know that my struggle is a result of years of immoral living before Christ, it still doesn’t make it any easier to not slip into resentment about it.
To Chris and James,
I was single until I was about 28 years old, and I remember what it was like to listen to married people tell me about the “gift” of sexuality—it was frustrating to no end.
Looking back, I know now there were a lot of lies I believed about sex and about God that really kept me trapped in lust. It was so easy for me to treat sex like the holy grail of pleasurable experiences and God was the one keeping it just out of grasp. With that kind of attitude, I became resentful and used my lust almost like my tantrum at God. Before my sexuality could be viewed as a gift and not a curse, I needed to repent of my false beliefs about it and really take God at his word.
At the same time, I also needed to treat my libido as an invitation from God to pursue romance and intentional relationships, doing as Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 4: “know how to take a wife.” That was a slow lesson for me personally, and I’m so glad God is a patient teacher.
I have Problems With Pornography Watching Sexual shows Lapdances Porn And Not being able to control My self I can make It for 2 to 3 weeks But It always Come back Joel Fahie Please Pray for Me That God Help to Overcome I’m really Afraid To Die And Go to Hell For my actions Its My fault I’m Weak Real Weak I’m that Area I want a wife But If I don’t get one As Of Now I Need God help to overcome Thank You World All that read this Pray For me Seriously I feel So Weak I had to get this Out O want This Desire To Leave For Good
Please pray for me. I’m a widow & I struggle with masturbation. I have prayed for God to just to take the desire away. I also feel angry against God & hopeless. I may need to accept the fact that I may be single the rest of my life. This scares me. I envy other couples so bad & often ask God what did I do wrong that my marriage ended. Thanks in advance for praying.
There is nothing wrong with masturbation! Why is there? I mean god gave us a sexually & the ability to feel sexual & feel aroused didn’t he? If he didn’t create us this way, then why would we want to have sex? As far as I’m concerned we wouldn’t because it wouldn’t be enjoyable. I have a book called the facts of life & it explains very well about how boys & men get aroused & girls & women get aroused too. It’s perfectly normal & not something to be ashamed of. I don’t think it’s healthy to never express any kind of sexual feeling until you are married. I also don’t think it’s fair.
Thanks for speaking up!