“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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.