Overcoming sexual sin

I struggled for many years with sexual sin. It was my “go to” way for comforting myself each time I struggled with emotional pain. At times it was constantly a problem, other times I could go for several months without it being an issue, but as soon as something hurt emotionally it would begin again.

When some people realise they are struggling with sexual sin they have prayer and are delivered immediately from the sin and temptation, that’s not my story though, mine has been more of a battle, a war really. And that’s the first thing we need to recognise when we are struggling with any type of sin, it can be a war. We may imagine that we’re fighting against our own flesh, trying to stop falling for temptation but it’s clear in the Bible that ‘For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms’ Ephesians 6:12. There’s a war going on for your soul between Satan, who wants to destroy you, make you feel shamed and condemned, and Jesus who wants to bring new life and a new direction. The good news is that Jesus will always win the victory if you allow him to work in your life.

You can try to win the war without Jesus’ help and you may get so far in stopping sin, but if you want to be totally free from sexual sin, even when temptation is strong, then you need Jesus to help. The place to start is in repentance for your past sin and a desire to work with Jesus to win the victory, and then allow him to start working in your life. I think one of the first things I had to realise is that temptation is not sin. I would feel bad for being tempted, and then allow myself to fall into the sin, because I was bad enough anyway, wasn’t I? No, temptation is what it is, just a thought that can be ignored or changed. That may seem impossible at times but it can become easier with help. When you’re tempted you still have the choice to sin or not and you yourself have not done anything wrong in experiencing temptation, and remember Jesus experienced temptation, Matt 4:1-11 so he knows what it’s like.

I also needed to realise that in the times when battles were lost and I sinned, yet again, God still loved me and had arms wide open to accept me back. Satan would put plenty of thoughts into my head condemning me, but that’s not God. God does convict, pointing out our sin and our need to change, but in my experience he does that gently. Though please don’t take that as a free license to keep on sinning because that’s not what God wants for us.

Resisting temptation is a battle that mainly goes on in the mind. The earlier I could identify that my thoughts were going down a path that would lead to sexual sin, the easier and more likely I was to experience victory. So I spent time analysing the thoughts I was having before I sinned and prayerfully bringing them to God, or talking about them with a trusted friend. I began to arm myself with ways of resisting temptation. A few ideas that helped me were:

  • Getting 3 or 4 trusted friends who I could text and ask for prayer any time I felt temptation.
  • Learning some Bible verses that I could say to myself if I felt temptation - Psalm 32:7 became my favourite one to use and I could imagine God surrounding me.
  • Using the app “Calm Harm” to help distract me.
  • Telling Satan to leave me in the name of Jesus.
  • Repeating Jesus name over and over.

I would really encourage you to try some of these, or think of other things that might help you be distracted from temptation. All this helped but there were 3 key things I feel I did that helped me the most.

  • I learnt the whole of Romans chapter 8 off by heart. That might seem a mammoth task but actually as I was learning it I was meditating on the words and they were really resonating with me. ‘There is now no condemnation… to the wonderful words at the end expressing how nothing can separate us from God’s love.
  • I allowed Jesus to reveal the roots of the problems I was experiencing with sexual sin. It took time for Jesus to reveal what was going on as I was struggling emotionally with so much, but in time I could see exactly what had started my struggles with sexual sin and SSA. Repenting of that was a massive step in the right direction and dealing with the emotional problems also helped.
  • I brought my sin into the light and allowed people to support and pray for me. That takes some courage saying to someone that I’ve sinned again, especially if I’d earlier texted them for prayer to try and avoid it. But, being honest and open and getting the support I needed was a key component to finding freedom from sin.

Being able to now lie in bed without a battle going on in my mind is so amazing and I give God the glory for that. I pray for any of you reading this that are struggling with sexual sin that one day you too will know that freedom that I’m now experiencing. Celebrate the victories, seek forgiveness for the losses and pick yourself up again and go again, and turn to Jesus to help you






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