Tag Archives: sexual temptation

A Prayer about Sexual Temptation

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the struggles people have with sexual temptation. Whether it’s a porn habit/addiction, reading or watching erotica, emotional affairs or adultery, or lusting after others, too many marriages face troubling situations and the appeal of temptation that has damaged, or will damage, their marriage bed.

In keeping with my Praying More goal for 2017, I’m posting a prayer for the sexual intimacy in our marriages at the end of each month. This time, I invite you to pray with me about the sexual temptation we and our husbands face.

A Prayer about Sexual Temptation with woman's hands holding heart

Dear Lord,

We know you are listening. You have invited us to cast our anxiety on you, because you care for us (1 Peter 5:7). We are weary and burdened and need the rest that only Your Son can provide (Matthew 11:28). Because we are under attack, our husbands are under attack, our marriages are under attack.

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Sexual temptation is constant in our world. We cannot turn on a television, walk through a mall, or visit the grocery store without being exposed to lies Satan wants us to believe about sex. The world promises that sex is about our own selfish pleasure, that flesh is a commodity, that consent is all that matters, and that Christian ideals about sex in marriage are antiquated, irrelevant, even prude.

But You created sex to be a beautiful gift in marriage. Please prick our hearts when we stray from Your superior design for intimacy. We invite the Holy Spirit to convict us when we have lost our way, whether through our actions, our words, or our thoughts. Help us to take every thought captive, Lord, and make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Strengthen our husbands as they struggle with visual temptations and the false messages of the world. You said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18). I don’t want my husband to be alone in this battle; rather, I want to be his helper.

Mold my heart so that I can be a safe place for him to admit his struggles. Give me courage to fight alongside him. Help me to be a constant support so that he can gain true victory. Give me your eyes to see him as you do — a sinner in a battle for his heart, soul, and effectiveness in the world. May his problems become our problems, as we live into your one flesh design for our marriage.

But wives are also prone to sexual temptation. You know my struggles and how Satan wants me to wander from my marriage and Your plan. Lord, help me to be in this world, but never of this world. Protect me from the evil one (John 17:14-16). Help me to avert my eyes, to guard my heart (Proverbs 4:23), and to flee from sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18).

Where I have been blind to my faults, show me where they are. Expose the lies I have bought into. Help me to align my desires with Yours. Prod me to take action to rid myself of temptations in my own home, to confess my sin to someone who can help me (James 5:16), and to seek professional assistance if I need it.

Put in place the resources and mentors my husband and I need to deal with the struggles we face. Lead us in Your righteousness (Psalm 5:8).

Oh Father, my heart also aches that many — far too many — spouses were mere children when the “father of lies” (John 8:44) spread his poison. They were exposed to porn and other sexual temptations at a tender age. We know how deeply You care for our little ones and the harsh fate You’ve declared for those who cause them to stumble (see Matthew 18:1-6).

Help me to see those exposed so young, who yet struggle as adults, as victims as well as sinners. But You alone can give us victory and trample our enemies (Psalm 60:11-12). Activate me and other Christians to oppose this preying on our children whenever we see it. Use us for Your purposes, to save not only this generation but the next. 

Above all, help us to seek the best in our marriages and our marriage beds. Let my own marriage bed set the standard for what sexual intimacy is and should be. Bless our sexual union so richly that we lose our taste for anything but Your perfect plan. Infuse our hearts with sexual longing only for one another.

All this I pray in Jesus’ name,

Amen.

When You’re Sexually Sinning

The last three weeks, I’ve taken the time to talk about building a wall around your marriage to keep out Satan’s attacks on your marital covenant, the biblical response to sexual temptation, and the steps that lead to an affair.

This topic has come about primarily because a good friend of mine is going through the total destruction of her marriage due to the adulterous actions of her husband. This came from a man I would have never suspected was capable of such a thing. However, I believe that given the right combination of circumstances and a lack of intentionality in preventing adultery, sexual temptation can creep up and take just about anyone hostage. We must be as innocent as doves and as shrewd as snakes regarding this issue (Matthew 10:16).

So what if you’re already there? What if you are already in a compromised situation with someone outside your marriage?

I have discussed here my sexually promiscuous past before my marriage. In effect, that was adultery too because I was having sexual contact with someone other than my husband. God desired for me to focus all of my sexual energy on the spouse that He would provide for me. I’ve done a lot of thinking since then about what would have prevented me from getting trapped in sexual temptation. I have a list of things that would have helped me never arrive at that point. However, I am less certain what someone could have said at that time to pull me out. The one direct challenge I received, I rebuffed like a volleyball and then stopped talking to that person.

So what can I say to you either? What words can get us to wake up and understand that things can be different?

I think the words are What if. When you are in the midst of sexual sin, you don’t see how you can go without and you don’t want to. You also don’t want to feel the horrendous guilt or hurt others in the process. So you feel stuck.

Here’s what someone might have said to me then, and it could have made a real difference:

What if you could have the pleasure you experience without the guilt?
What if you could have this experience within a secure, committed relationship?
What if you knew that you would be able to stop yourself before going too far?
What if you could feel pure again?

Quote bubble with "What if?"In a similar vein, if you are in a compromised sexual position with someone other than your spouse, you need to ask some important what if questions:

What if you could have all these feelings of romance and desire for the spouse you already covenanted with?
What if you knew your relationship with God and your spouse could be restored?
What if you knew the other person you’re falling in love with would be okay without you?

Time after time, couples have survived infidelity. These are not hypothetical what-ifs. They can happen. In fact, I suggest you follow Marriage Life Ministries and My Beloved Is Mine blogs to see stories from people who not only survived but thrived after adultery. AffairCare also offers resources for renewing a marriage after infidelity.

And I assure you that making that other person into an adultery partner is not doing him or her any favors: You are hurting their reputation, their family, their future, and their relationship with God. Step away and let them find an appropriate mate for life.

If you don’t believe that God can redeem your marital relationship, I pray that you will reconsider. I believe in every fiber of my being that’s exactly what God wills to do. Jeremiah 29:11-13 says, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.'” And Psalm 37:3-6 says, “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.”

Read The Gospel in the Bedroom for more on God’s desire for your marital intimacy.

Stop and ask yourself What if? What if this affair doesn’t work out? What if things could be better in my marriage if I would give it my all? What if the way that seems right to me isn’t the way I should go? (“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” Proverbs 14:12) What if my marriage could not just survive, but thrive?

What if.

I also highly recommend that you check out the powerful post and the video presented by the Mission:Husband blog: ‘Til Death Do Us Part.

The Bible’s Answer to Sexual Temptation

Last week, I got a case of righteous indignation after learning that two couples I know have been impacted by adultery. I suggested that we need to stop talking about building a hedge for our marriage and instead erect a strong wall to keep out Satan’s attacks on our covenant. This week, I want to look at what the Bible says about what someone should do when directly faced with sexual temptation.

You can’t stay behind that wall all the time, of course. While I personally established The Rule that I will not be alone with a man who is neither my husband nor a male relative, that isn’t practical for everyone. I recognize that you may need to be with someone of the opposite sex for work or in other circumstances. You may even find yourself tempted by someone when in a group. You may be contacted on social media by a person from your past that brings up residual feelings. You may receive overt come-ons from someone when you didn’t ask for them. You are human. You were designed by God as a sexual being. You may one day be tempted to engage in flirtation, romance, or physical contact with someone other than your spouse.

So you should know how keep things on the up-and-up, you should have a ready response, you should prepare for battle . . . Nope. That isn’t it. We often think that the way to handle an adulterous opportunity is to talk our way out of it — explain to the presenting party that we love our spouse and we want to remain friends and nothing more, blah, blah, blah.

Hey, we are never instructed in Scripture to do hand-to-hand combat with sexual temptation! Do you know what the biblical teaching for such temptation is? FLEE. That’s right. Create distance between you and the temptation. Go away. Run for your life. Get the heck outta Dodge.

Joseph is the prime example for how to handle sexual temptation. After being sold into slavery by his brothers, he went to work in Egypt at Potiphar’s house. He is described in the Bible as “well-built and handsome.” So yeah, he was the Israelite version of Brad Pitt, Ian Somerhalder, Robert Pattison, or whoever you think makes nice-viewing. In fact, Scripture says that Potiphar’s wife “took notice” of that nice view. And then she made her move. At first, Joseph explains that he will not do that to her, his master, or his God. But that doesn’t do it, of course.

Joseph and Potiphar's wife - illustratoin

Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Genesis 39:10-12: “And though [Potiphar’s wife] spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her. One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. She caught him by his cloak and said, ‘Come to bed with me!’ But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.” Do you think Joseph would have stood a chance with Potiphar’s wife if he had kept trying to reason with her? To push his sexual desires aside when a beautiful woman begged him to sleep with her? To stay in close proximity to easy sexuality without lusting? Fleeing was the not simply the best, but the only option.

A few years down the road, the son of an adulterous relationship, Solomon, decides to instruct his son on sexual morality. You might think that his love of his mother Bathsheba and his father King David would sway him toward giving them a pass on their adultery. Things happen, right? King David wasn’t trying to be an adulterer; he just fell in love with Bathsheba one day, and there you go (never mind that he was supposed to be at war with his army).

But Solomon passes along the wisdom he received from God to his own son. Rather than telling him to “look but don’t touch” or “just stop before you doing anything really wrong” or giving him some speech about free milk and cows, Solomon says in Proverbs 5:8: “Keep to a path far from [the adulteress], do not go near the door of her house.” The entire chapter is worth reading, but the lesson Solomon wants his son to receive is that the only way to avoid sinning sexually is to avoid the temptation altogether. Just don’t get near it. If you find yourself on the wrong path, take a detour. Don’t go there.

One other verse from the New Testament puts this concept in as straightforward a manner as possible. In 1 Corinthians 6:18, Paul says: “Flee from sexual immorality.” The Greek word for “flee” here is pheugo, which means “to be saved by flight, to escape safely out of danger.” Sexual temptation is a danger zone. You don’t manage danger, so much as you get away from it. I don’t talk my way out of an oncoming car; I get out of the road!

So if you find yourself tempted (and it is my belief that almost every married individual will at one time or another), FLEE! That means that you cut off opposite-sex friendships that begin to include flirtation or feel too familiar (“do not go near”); you avoid places where you will run into those who may tempt you (“he refused to . . . even be with her”); you deal with come-ons with physical distance (“ran out of the house”); and you know your escape route (“flee from sexual immorality”).

Have you ever been in a tempting situation? Confession time: I have. When my marriage was struggling in prior years, I had a male friend whom I realized I enjoyed seeing a bit too much. Temptation to interact, flirt, or being physically close to someone outside marriage often happens when the marriage itself isn’t meeting your needs for safety and intimacy.

What did I do? I fled. I stopped spending time with this couple (I was never alone with him during this time, since I was following my own rule). Whenever a stray thought about him appeared, I pushed it out and refocused myself on my husband. I confessed my inappropriate thoughts to a close female friend who was clearly on the side of my marriage. I created physical and mental distance. And you know what? A few months later, I had no such feelings for the guy. The feelings untended simply went away.

Boy, am I glad that I didn’t confuse sexual temptation with covenant intimacy. I have a better marriage now than ever. God honored our faithfulness and commitment to one another by giving my husband and me a heart makeover that surpasses anything I had imagined.

Feeling tempted? Flee. That’s the Bible’s answer to sexual temptation.