Read our other “Tactic” articles below!
Tactics: Waging Wise Warfare for Your Sexual Purity – A New Series
Tactic #1: Fight From Your Justification, Not For It
Tactic #2: Recognize that Your Soul is at Stake
Tactic #3: Don’t Despise God’s Good Gift
Tactic #4: Anticipate the Battle
Tactic #5: Anticipate Progress
When Jesus prayed for his disciples just prior to his death on the cross, he asked his Father to sanctify them. The means of their sanctification? The Word of God. “Sanctify them in the truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17). The “word of truth” to which Jesus refers in this verse is Scripture. God sanctifies us through his Word.
When Scripture speaks of spiritual health, it makes a direct connection between the soul’s well-being and its saturation with God’s Word. The one who meditates continually on Scripture will be like a sturdy, green, sap-filled tree, set beside a fresh river, ever-drawing sustenance from that life-giving stream (see Ps 1:1-4). God’s written words are the only words that can renew our hearts, supply us with divine wisdom, give us joy, and direct us in the path of greatest benefit (Ps 19:6-11; Prov 2:1-10).
Only God’s words are pure, without error, and wholly trustworthy (Ps 12:6; Prov 30:5-6). The words of Scripture not only lead us to Jesus (2 Tim 3:15), and cause us to be born again (1 Pet 1:23; James 1:18), they enable us to avoid sin and walk in purity (Ps 119:9-11). When we abide in the words of Christ recorded in the New Testament, we will experience answered prayer and bear much fruit (John 15:7-8). When straying from God’s will, the words of Scripture rebuke and correct us, placing us back on the narrow path that leads to life (2 Tim 3:16-17).
It should be clear from these few examples (there are many more we could highlight), that God’s Word is an essential piece of weaponry in our fight for purity. Put simply: a neglect of Scripture will lead to our sexual undoing (Prov 5:13-14). Actually, any attempt to fight temptation apart from God’s Word is a subtle if not profound expression of arrogance. Even the Son of God, when accosted by the enemy, relied solely on the written Word. In the face of each temptation Jesus responded, “It is written,” quoting a text of Scripture that corresponded perfectly to that particular temptation (Matt 4:1-10; Luke 4:1-12). As the Messiah stood firm on the Word of God, Satan eventually fled (see Matt 4:11; see also James 4:7). Reading and meditating on the Bible is a non-negotiable tactic that must be implemented by believers in their fight for purity.
Prayer is also essential. Jesus taught his disciples to pray specifically for protection from temptation (Matt 6:13). This instruction on prayer fits with Paul’s warning against spiritual self-confidence (1 Cor 10:12). Indeed, it is precisely confidence in our own native will power, wisdom, and spiritual dexterity that keeps us from regularly pleading with our Father to guard us from temptation. When we are aware of our weaknesses and our vulnerability as sheep in the midst of wolves, we will more readily cry out to the Good Shepherd. Of course, making sure we pray doesn’t exempt us from taking deliberate actions to avoid temptation (see Rom 13:14). Praying for protection while perusing salacious websites is an act of testing God, not trusting him.
Nevertheless, constant prayer for protective guidance along the path of life is crucial in our battle against lust. Paul included prayer in the Spirit as a critical piece of armor for the Christian soldier, listing it alongside the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Eph 6:17-18). Prayer also helps us center our hearts and minds on the Lord as we commune with him throughout the day. A heart that delights in a holy God is a heart that will be guarded from delighting in unholy things (Ps 101:1-3).
Practically speaking, our battle for purity will require some measure of Spirit-empowered discipline. Starting our days with Bible reading, meditation, and prayer is a wise practice that will help to marinate the mind in God’s grace and goodness before we set out on our tasks. Making sure to prioritize the hearing of biblical preaching on Sundays is vital for keeping our hearts attuned with the truth (see 2 Tim 4:1-4). Spending time with other believers and enjoying fellowship over God’s Word will bless your soul and strengthen your will against lust. Finding ways during the day to steep our souls in the nutrients of God’s Word will be helpful as well. Audio versions of the Bible, Christ-centered audio books, and spiritually rich podcasts will prove beneficial. Locating times throughout the day—on our commute, during the evening, before bed—to pray instead of entertaining ourselves with triviality will be a powerful weapon in this battle.
However we choose to fill our minds with the Word of God and take time to pray to our Father, it is vital to recognize that our fight for sexual purity will be mostly powerless without the steady nutrition and strength that flows from regular time in Scripture and in prayer. Make these disciplines your top daily priority.