Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires. Song of Solomon 8:4 , NLT
I know this applies to many Christians out there, both young and old. Some of us are creeping into a life of dreaded celibacy and living off of a sexual memory from last week, while others of us have been in this thing for years. Either way, unless your genitalia and desires for intimacy have been removed from you, we all have moments we struggle to fight away memories and abandon fantasies we’ve created out of longing. I’ve been there and still visit from time to time, so I’d like to offer some tips to help during these times.
First, hell isn’t a place for your sexual desires. God created all of you, the same way He created your mind and soul, He created what’s in between your legs. It was in His plan to create us as sexual beings as well as spiritual. Where it gets out of hand is how we approach, define, and misuse what He’s given us. He has a will for our sexuality and it’s not to be shameful of it, it’s to have it under control. As Christians, we agree that Jesus is Lord over our life, that means we run everything through His standard.
Yes, even our sexuality, because there’s a place for it and as you’ve heard a million times over, it’s in marriage. There’s a safety in marriage that gives proper place to sex and the vulnerability that it requires. Due to mishandled theology we’ve been shamed into learning little about God’s intent for sex to scare us from committing a sin we weren’t properly taught about. Shame and guilt plague us when we begin to think about sex among other temptations. Mainly, because we think of it out of it’s proper context. We were taught sex was the sin and not our misappropriation of it.
The feeling and curiosity of sexual intimacy can become addicting, so, naturally we all crave it. I just want you to understand and have assurance that you are normal. Salvation doesn’t remove the battles of our physical nature. We still crave sex, alcohol and other things that we can easily abuse, they only become distractions from things we can’t change anyway. How we handle our approach to these things matter. So, how do we handle these feelings when they hit? Here’s my exit plan during moments of temptation, feel free to adopt it and modify to your specifications.
Validate what you feel
Accept your feelings. Acknowledge what you feel and what you want to do. When we try to ignore our feelings, we’re trying to handle reality with unrealistic measures. It’s the same as ignoring a growing fire and believing it’ll go away. When temptation arrives, it’s something you must confront, otherwise it’ll stay camped outside peeking into the cracks of your brain. The thought of “what if” starts to come in and we entertain it. Now hear me, confronting temptation with why you shouldn’t fall to it, won’t stop you from doing what you want. The struggle is between desire and need, and that’s where the focus should be.
Also, acknowledge why you shouldn’t do it. Don’t use this to shame yourself into a why. No, seriously and intentionally think about the pros and cons of committing the actions. Is the satisfaction of masturbation/porn/guy/girl worth the effect of shame/guilt/pity? If you feel that you’ll have to go to turn back to God for forgiveness after doing it, then more than likely, you should think twice before doing it.
In these moments, remembering what the Bible says about me tend to refocus my mind on my value according to Christ. I repeat and focus on what the bible says about me that confirm my identity and worth to Christ. Here’s a few scriptures I use:
Romans 12:1 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. “
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.”
1 Peter 1:15 “But as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.”
After meditating on the scriptures, typically, my mind isn’t on my desires anymore or it’s lessened enough to move on.
Know your triggers! These are things that inspire sexual desires to hit you like a ton of bricks! It’s already a task to handle what happens naturally, let alone having additional stimuli. Take the time to write down what triggers you sexually, touch, sight, sound, and yes even taste. Be honest with yourself. Write down the names of people and songs that induce vulnerability in this area. Look over the list and consider how you can remove, confront, overcome these triggers. By the way, there are some triggers you’ll simply need to avoid until you become strong enough to unaffected by their presence.
Next, avoid things that may not be your triggers, but can be sexually inspirational. I avoid sexual images, scenes and music, especially while having a lustful moment and any time soon after the moment has passed, as it could spark my imagination. If I happen to watch a movie with sex scenes, I just fast forward past it if I can. The same with songs, I turn it off, change the station, whatever I need to cut off in order to help me remain holy in this area, I have no problem getting rid of it, including people. If there is someone in your life that’s a trigger or temptation for you, you may need to establish stronger boundaries or cut them off if they don’t respect your wishes.
Have a game plan! I know around what time to expect my own feelings to show up, whether it’s a certain time of the month, after hearing a certain song, or memory and I go straight into meditating on my scriptures and turning my mind away from those thoughts, no matter how much I want to build on them
If you fall, get up and go back to God
Friend, we already know there’s nothing that takes God by surprise. While that may not provide much comfort for recent actions, take solace in knowing that He wants you to get up, come back and keep trying. Get up. It means to rise above what you fell to, turning your back to it or simply repentance. Go back to God. Sin creates distance between us and God that repentance usually closes, but there’s guilt of our sin, shaming us away from God. Listen, I’m telling you from my own experience, just go to God ASAP. Avoiding God doesn’t make things any less awkward during that first prayer or random mental convo right after sin.
We can’t escape our sexual side and we shouldn’t because it’s beautiful, in proper context of how God intended it to be used. I pray you found these tips useful in some way and throughout your singleness walk, I pray you find the beauty in your entire body and in the desire to want a genuine, Godly marriage to express your love in.