Statistically, we as ladies don’t struggle with sexual sin quite like men do. While our struggle may be different, it is no less sinful. We need the same gospel of grace to root deeply in our minds and hearts, enabling us to keep growing in our holiness.
My Personal Journey
I’m not proud of my teen years. Times of spiritual growth were strewn among dark cycles of sin: fleeting pleasures seamlessly melting into suffocating shame. I kept silent. Sexual fantasy and masturbation were guy issues. I thought I must be an anomaly. More subtle indulgences fed the cycle: Youtube, Romance Novels, and Chick Flicks. By God’s grace, He brought a friend to me who was brave enough to be vulnerable, and I believed for the first time that I wasn’t alone and I didn’t have to stay stuck. My fight didn’t end that day. But, though I fought and fell often, I could look back with grateful certainty and see God’s work in me.
During those years, I failed to realize the repercussions of sin. It always takes you farther than you want to go, with devastating consequences. It separates us from God and makes relational transparency impossible.
In order to fight well, we have to understand who God is and who we are. Scripture gives us an accurate depiction of both. The gospel of grace transforms us, motivating us to live lives that glorify God, not gratifying ourselves. For a deeper look at how the gospel is foundational to fighting sin, make sure you read this article [Article 1 of 3 – Foundations].
Fighting with Lofty Thoughts
The pursuit of sexual victory must begin in our minds. Paul reminds us that our bodies are to be a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable to God. He immediately follows with a reminder that true transformation starts in our thoughts (Rom 12:1-2).
We can never think lofty enough thoughts about God. He is supremely higher, holier, and more benevolent than we have the capacity to understand. Though we cannot know Him fully, we can know Him truly, and we must diligently pursue an accurate knowledge of Him. The resulting awe is a powerful tool for fighting sin.
Thoughts of eternity often seem distant in the daily fight against the barrage of temptation and our own fickle hearts. Heaven is exhilarating when we realize that there we will find permanent freedom from our own sinful selves. We ought to dwell long on the brevity of life compared to the bliss of God’s everlasting presence.
It’s easy to buy into society’s mindset about sex. Our culture has twisted and perverted its purpose beyond recognition. It seems perfectly acceptable to use any person or means for personal pleasure, but sex was never meant solely for personal pleasure. God designed it for marriage, not to keep a good thing from us, but to protect both the gift itself and what it portrays. Sex within marriage exemplifies the way we as a church must relate to Christ, without reservation, covenanted to Him alone.
Fighting with Prayer
Prayer keeps us humble, reminding us that we are entirely dependent on something outside of ourselves to make us a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable to God. Yet we remain hopeful, knowing that God wants our holiness more than we do. We have no safer place to bring our petitions. He orchestrates the change that we cannot accomplish.
Fighting with Putting Off and Putting On
Ephesians 4:17-24 contains vital instructions for believers. Put off your former conduct; put on the new man. The rest of chapter four contains some specifics to put off, while 5:1-21 give instruction for what to put on. This process of sanctification – aligning our lives with the will of God – is not instant or overnight. True spiritual growth happens over extended lengths of time. The following list of principles was helpful for me in the process of putting off and putting on.
Replace harmful input with edifying content.
Filter your music, books, and movies so that the content will encourage your spiritual growth, not stunt it.
We easily forget. Find ways to remind yourself why it’s worth fighting for holiness.
Remodel your lifestyle.
Growth is rarely painless. Do whatever it takes to accommodate transformation.
Maybe none of this connects with you; you’ve never been tempted to sin sexually, by thought or action. May you continue to be sustained by grace in this way. Maybe you find yourself still fighting in the dark, alone. Please, do not stay there. Find someone who will walk with you, helping to equip you, never leaving you comfortable in sin. If you want to hear more about my story, or connect for a personal need for growth, contact me through firstname.lastname@example.org. Maybe you’ve come through a time of struggle with sin, and can testify to the power of the gospel. Share your testimony as God gives you opportunity! You may be the voice a struggling girl needs to hear to start on her own journey of sanctification.
|Ruthie Stoltzfus has been recently transplanted to Elnora, Indiana where she happily resides with her husband, Julian. She enjoys working on projects with Julian- making their house “home,” cooking , sewing, chatting over a good cup of coffee, and hanging out with her nieces and nephews. She is passionate about displaying the gospel, being discipled, and maintaining relationships that impact the next spiritual generation.|