“The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us. We have no one to blame but the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lust. Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin! Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer” (James 1:14-15, MSG).
Controlling the Body and Mind
Often times sexual immorality is thought of as a physical act and rightfully so. It indeed deals with our physical being. However, 1 Thessalonians 4:3–7 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 your own body in a way that is holy and honorable” (NIV, emphasis added).
While this scripture makes reference to controlling your body, leading us to think sexual immorality is solely a physical act, we are also told to learn how to control our bodies. To learn would suggest a cognitive act is actually in force when conquering sexual immorality. This must mean the war on sexual immorality is a psychological battle just as much as a physical battle.
Where It All Begins
I’d say sexual immorality happens long before you buy that magazine, go to that website or lie in bed with that person. It happens first as a mental thought. I’d say the mind is the soil that turns seeds of sexual immorality into a blooming act of sinful nature.
Look at it like this, when you plant an apple seed – you end up with an apple tree. So then wouldn’t the principal remain that when you plant a sexually driven seed into your mind, you end up with sexually impure actions?
That is why it is of utmost importance that we continually guard our minds and thoughts. Of course it is impossible to keep unrighteous thoughts from popping into your mind 100% of the time, but there is a vast difference between a thought crossing your mind and dwelling on a thought in your mind.
The Authority Lies With You
The line between being a victor over sexual immorality and being a victim to sexual immorality is what you do when impure thoughts enter your mind. Do you control them or do they control you?
Scripture shows us the great authority we have over our own minds, “…we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5, NIV). Immediately when an impure thought crosses your mind, you should take control of it by praying and asking God to help you remove the thought trying to take root in your mind.
Going back to our analogy of seeds, the longer you allow a seed to develop roots – the deeper they go and the more they produce. If we meditate on the thoughts of lust too long, chances are the thought will grow and bring life to the ensuing action of sin.
I pray this little tidbit of knowledge will help you overcome daily temptations of lust as it has helped me. Feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com with any question, comments or prayers.
Jacob Duvall is the Executive Pastor at Grace Pointe in Monroe, Louisiana and author of The Silly Little Thing Called Love, a book focused on rebuilding purity and righteous relationships in the lives of youth and young adults in America and around the world.
let’s take this analogy another step… if soil is the mind, then we need to have healthy soil, not polluted toxic soil, so we need to keep our soil healthy with pure, noble thoughts, instead of putting poisons in via porn, etc… because toxic soil will not bear much good fruit as we are intended to do per John 15… remember the parable on the good soil bearing 30,60,100 times harvest yield, so it is with the mind when our “mind soil” is healthy… hope that makes sense =)
Good article. I’ve found that evil desires precede evil thoughts. Notions may pass through and say, “Hey! Bud!” But is when I am dragged away by own evil desires and enticed that I fall to sins of the psyche. I can’t keep images from “occurring,” or thoughts from “popping” into my mind, but nor can I just tell them to get lost. My flesh has been taught to long for their company, and what they deliver. Only the transformation of my desires by the Holy Spirit will I even be in the ball park as far as “resisting,” or even praying for help. If I don’t really want God’s help, I certainly won’t look Him up when my “old friend lust” comes calling. “He will give you the desires of your heart.” What means is that God will supplant your old evil desires with His pure ones. For that I must ask daily. And He never tells me “No.”
Good thoughts, Bev & Jon! One thing we tried to teach our now adult children as well as Sunday School class kids was that it is extremely important to decide ahead of time how to conquer temptation when faced with it & not wait until tempted. Too bad my husband didn’t apply that to his own life somewhere down the line & we are having to deal with the repercussions now after 35 years of betrayal in our marriage…
To go one step further, you can fool yourself into sin. You may not even realize that you are weak and that your sin nature is creeping in on you. Then, it’s just a matter of allowing certain gateway activities or triggers to happen, not confronting those issues, and bam, you’re right back into the porn again. That is why cutting off your right hand and hard-line accountability is so important, especially at first. If you can’t control yourself at all, you need to have strict safeguards in place. From that vantage, you can begin learning how to worship and honor God and your wife again.
Philippians 4.8 whatever is right, whatever is noble, whatever is trustworthy, …..MEDITATE on such things. AMEN