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Winning the War Against Sexual Sin

In the war against sexual sin in which we all find ourselves, sometimes we fail and fall short. So we need to own up to our sin and not blame others, or blame God as Adam did (Genesis 3:12). Cowards blame and point the finger. If you are in Christ, then you are not a coward but a super conqueror (Romans 8:37). As I mentioned earlier, I struggled with habitual sin mainly when I was in college. The strongholds of lust hooked deep into my heart like a fish going after the bait.

I’m sure you have heard the phrase “You reap what you sow.” That actually comes from God’s Word, which says, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life” (Galatians 6:7,8). For every action, there is a reaction. Meaning, for every choice we make a consequence will be produced, either good or bad. That’s why the verse says, “God is not mocked.” We can’t get away with sinning as it always brings death (Romans 6:23).

“One of the biggest lies Satan wants you to believe is that you are a victim of your sin.”

God doesn’t sweep our sin under the rug, so to speak, but we must give an account of our lives to Him as to why we lusted. Our sin will find us out and expose us if try to hide it or not deal with it. Romans 6:20,21 says, “For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit where you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.” When you choose to sin, you choose to suffer the consequences.

Choosing to Sin

I don’t know what your specific story is of how you got into a sexual sin habit but I do know this: when we sin it’s always because we chose to sin. One of the biggest lies Satan wants you to believe is that you are a victim of your sin, or that there is some excuse for why you sin: I’m tired. I’m single. I’m lonely. I have a disease. I’m an addict and can’t help myself. I’ve been abused. Some sexual sins may have actually been forced upon you where you may have been sexually abused. I am not trying to make light of what has happened to you and I know it’s something you didn’t choose but had forced upon you. That is so sad and terrible. If you have been abused, it’s all the more reason to meet with someone who will listen to you, pray for you, and give you biblical counsel.

James 1:13,14 says, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.” We definitely can’t blame God when we sin because God has already freed us from its grip and has given us the power of His Holy Spirit to resist sin. We can’t blame the devil when we sin because in Christ we have power over the evil one (1 John 4:4). We can’t blame our past when we sin because we are overcomers in Christ (1 John 5:4). We need to admit we have a sin problem and confess it to God and truly repent through our actions. This is called the fruit of repentance.

We see the heart of repentance in Zacchaeus the tax collector in Luke 19. Jesus wanted to go to his house and show him grace. Zacchaeus responds, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold” (Luke 19:8). He knew he was a sinner and wanted to leave his sin to follow Jesus. Repentance is not just saying “sorry” and then making no change to not commit that sin again. If we say we hate this sin but don’t put forth any effort to kill it, then we are acting like a fool. “Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly” (Proverbs 26:11).

“We can’t blame the devil when we sin because in Christ we have power over the evil one (1 John 4:4).”

Jesus also showed grace to the woman caught in the act of adultery by saying, “Neither do I condemn you…” But Christ didn’t stop there; He went on to say, “Go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:11, NIV). Real repentance is when you confess and forsake your sins. You confess your sin to God and see what you can do differently next time to not repeat it again. Our heart needs to be broken over our sin. We should cry out as David did after he committed adultery, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). Brokenness is what God desires of us, as a few verses later David says, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Psalm 51:17). A huge step in the right direction is being broken over our sin and owning up to it. And when we start owning up to our sin, we will definitely see our great need for one-to-one accountability.

Accountability Is Not Optional

It is not a suggestion to have an accountability warrior, it is an absolute must! Your accountability warrior should be someone who is trustworthy and faithful, whom you can count on to meet with on a weekly basis. Your accountability warrior needs to be a dude and not your wife or girlfriend. Women do not understand lust because typically they don’t struggle the way guys do. As you know, women are wired differently. Defeating sexual immorality is serious business and is a daily battle.

“It is not a suggestion to have an accountability warrior, it is an absolute must!”

I love the picture King Solomon gives of what it looks like to have someone in your corner fighting on your behalf:

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9–13, NIV)

Listen to the wisest human being who ever lived writing this under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit: two are better than one. He wrote that “one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.” You have much greater power when you have another person interceding in prayer for you. And then he says, “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” It’s interesting to me that Solomon mentioned three because in the verses prior he mentions only two. I believe the third one is God. When you have your accountability warrior and God fighting with you, it’s a winning combination!

“Defeating sexual immorality is serious business and is a daily battle.”

In order to have consistent victory over the temptations that bombard us, we must have an accountability warrior. It’s sort of like when you hit a brick wall while lifting weights and you’re not improving in your strength. It’s time to get a personal trainer to help you achieve your goals. You need someone to challenge you and encourage you.

Qualities of Your Accountability Warrior

The faithful qualities you should look for in an accountability warrior include:

  • He points you to Christ through the Scriptures. Your accountability warrior should always take you to the Scriptures when you meet regularly. He should know some specific verses and passages that deal with lust and how to have victory. He should love Christ and the gospel so much that it attracts you to love the Lord even more.
    “In order to have consistent victory over the temptations that bombard us, we must have an accountability warrior.”
  • He challenges you to live out your identity in Christ. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (NIV). What happens when you bang two pieces of iron together? Sparks tend to fly! You may not like the spiritual training and someone pushing you to pursue Christ, but it’s what you need. Without challenge there is not much (or any) growth.
  • He encourages you when you are weak. Like Moses, we need an Aaron and a Hur in our lives to help bear our burden when we feel overwhelmed in the battle against lust. Galatians 6:1,2 says, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
  • He calls you out when you are not owning up to your sin. An accountability warrior should be more concerned with honoring the Lord than trying to make you feel good. This is a huge problem in the church today. Too many believers are afraid to speak truth into another’s person’s life because of the possibility of offending them. So we have all these “nice” Christian men with no backbones, and it’s weakening the church through hypocrisy. We should always speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), but we need to speak the truth.
  • He is available to pray for you when you’re tempted. It’s so powerful when we have other brothers fighting in prayer on our behalf. I believe this is one of the practical actions steps so many men don’t do, and they suffer for it. Your accountability warrior should be there for you at a moment’s notice to pray for you when you are tempted. This works with our phones through texting or calling. It is up to you to humble yourself and ask for prayer. And when you do, you will see victory come speedily!
    “We should always speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), but we need to speak the truth.”
  • He keeps his word to hold you accountable. You do not want an accountability warrior who flakes out on meeting together. You need someone who will be faithful over the long haul. This battle for purity is a journey and it requires a faithful friend. Find someone who is on time, willing to meet consistently, and serious about your walk with the Lord.
    Accountability absolutely needs to be confidential as well.

Practical Accountability

Lastly, if you are wondering how to go about your accountability time when you meet, you can use the following guideline to help keep you on the right track.

Consider reading a short Bible passage out loud, then pray together before you go through these questions:

  1. How has your time in God’s Word been this week? (Strive for daily reading.)
    “This battle for purity is a journey and it requires a faithful friend.”
  2. How has your time in prayer been this week? (Strive for specific continual prayer.)
  3. Have you compromised in your walk with God (not blatant sin but maybe an unwise choice that could have led to sin)?
  4. Have you sinned against God with your eyes (porn, Victoria’s Secret catalog, coworker, etc.), your body (masturbation, fornication), or mind (sexual fantasies)? If yes, describe how this happened and what you will do differently next time so it won’t happen again. What’s your action plan?
  5. Did you just lie to me about any of the answers you gave me?

 

(Adapted from Blessed Are the Pure: How to Conquer Sexual Sin and Live Victoriously.)

Josh Sazdanoff

Josh Sazdanoff is the President of Breakn Truth Ministries, which reaches out to the youth and hip hop culture with the gospel through B-boying (breakdancing) and spoken word poetry. He is the author of Blessed Are the Pure: How to Conquer Sexual Sin and Live Victoriously, from which this article was adapted. Josh lives in Southern California with his wife, Krista, and their three wild boys: Ezekiel, Asher, and Jedidiah. Find out more about his ministry at breakingforjesus.com.

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