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Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. - Hebrews 13:4 (ESV)
The iPhone is a pretty amazing invention. Such an improvement over the rotary dial phone (google it kids), the first bag phone, even the flip phone. It allows me to surf the web, text my friends, send and receive email, play games, oh and it even allows me to make old fashioned phone calls. Incredible!
The doorstop is a simple, but also amazing invention. Osburn Dorsey is credited for inventing the doorstop in December of 1878. Without “O” Dorsey, doors would be slamming all over the globe to this day. It’d be Thunderdome around here!
Now, if I wanted to, I could creatively use my iPhone to prop my door and ignore Mr. Dorsey’s invention. The iPhone does all of that other helpful stuff; why not add “stopping a door” to the list of benefits? It would certainly work. But here’s the thing: my phone was not intended to be a doorstop. It would get damaged and worn out, eventually destroying the functions that make it so awesome. If I used my iPhone as a doorstop, you’d call me crazy because it was created for a much greater purpose.
We often treat sex like an iPhone doorstop.
Sex was created for marriage and is meant to be shared by a husband and a wife. Inside of marriage, sex is an amazing thing. Sex outside of marriage is like using my iPhone as a doorstop - it gets damaged and loses what makes it so awesome.
Few things threaten our emotional, relational, and spiritual health like giving in to sexual temptation. This week we’re going to explore some practical ways to keep this gauge on our dashboard at a healthy level and protect our relationships by honoring God’s intention for sexuality.
Read 2 Samuel 11:1-27. What are all of the ways that you relate to David’s failure, from verse 1 all the way through verse 27?Share Tweet
But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. - James 1:14-15 (ESV)
Sweets are my downfall. Last year I spent over a month breaking the habit of grabbing something sweet to eat after every meal and at the top of just about every hour. It took all of my discipline to cut out all unhealthy sweets from my routine. I tossed a full box of Twinkies. I ran a plate of cookies underneath the water faucet. When tempted, I forced myself to grab an apple or grapes. I had a plan so that I could make a good choice when temptation messed with my desire for sweets.
Without a plan, my desire led to rationalization, then to compromise, to indulging, to failure, to guilt, and to repeat the cycle. I had to break the cycle by changing how I reacted to the tempting of my desire.
Temptation is not sin; but if we don’t react appropriately, we’re knee deep in a sin-cycle before we know it. Sexual temptation plays on a desire that we have within us. Sex is a great gift when serving its purpose. But when our desire for this great gift is outside of its purpose, we’re in trouble.
David saw a beautiful woman. No sin there. He reacted by lingering on his desire. That led to sexual sin, lies, murder, and cover-up. It all happened quickly. If David had reacted differently to that desire, he could have saved himself and others from a lot of heartache. He needed to get off that roof quickly and grab an apple. He needed a plan BEFORE he was tempted.
What do you do when you are tempted sexually? Do you have a plan? We need a plan BEFORE we are tempted. Reflect on your reaction when you’ve been tempted sexually. Develop a plan of how you’ll discipline yourself to avoid feeding that desire in the future so that you can be healthy.Share Tweet
Flee from sexual immorality. - 1 Corinthians 6:18 (ESV)
I have a simple plan for any occasion when I might encounter a snake. GET. THE. HECK. OUT. OF. DODGE! I run.
I was dismantling an old dog house that was in the yard of the house we’d just purchased. I took off the roof. Then, standing on the floor of the house, I whacked away at the walls. Finally the eyesore was in pieces stacked against the fence. The last piece was the floor. When I flipped up the floor to carry it away, there he was, Mr. Snake. UGH! So I enacted my plan and ran. Fast. It’s a very effective plan.
Check out Genesis 39:1-12. Joseph had a plan for dealing with sexual temptation that resembled my plan for snakes. GET. THE. HECK. OUT. OF. DODGE! Smart man, smart plan. When temptation messed with desire, he didn’t rationalize. He didn’t linger. He didn’t talk his way out of it or into it. His only thought was to run. So with the woman’s hand clutching his jersey, he broke the tackle, enacted his plan and split, leaving his jersey behind.
Yesterday you developed a plan for how you’ll react when temptation plays on your desire. The next step is to enact your plan. Don’t linger. Don’t rationalize. Don’t spend a second running your hand over the flame. Bolt. Split. GET. THE. HECK. OUT. OF. DODGE! None of us are strong enough to flirt with sexual temptation, so we have to get away from it.
I wasn’t about to give that snake a chance to bite me. Don’t give temptation a chance to bite either.
David lingered. Joseph ran. Now that you have a plan, spend time today praying over your plan. Set 3 alarms for different times throughout today. When it goes off, pray over your plan. Pray for attentiveness, courage, strength, and humility. Pray that you’ll be like Joseph when temptation grabs your jersey.Share Tweet
Nathan said to David, "You are the man!” - 2 Samuel 12:7 (ESV)
I’ve worked out for years. I’ve had seasons when I’ve worked out with a buddy and many seasons when I’ve gone solo. Recently I started working out with some amazing trainers and it’s changed everything about my workouts. They do some very important things for me:
They make sure I show up.
They teach me how to do the exercises properly.
They correct me when I’m not doing it right.
They help me when I’m struggling.
They encourage me when I am doing it right.
They keep me moving at a good pace.
They get in my ear when I’m slacking.
They cheer when I make progress.
They’re honest with me all of the time.
When I work out solo, I can move slow and slack off. I don’t get in my ear when I’m giving minimal effort and I don’t correct myself when I’m doing something wrong. My trainers have become my friends because they care about me and I need them.
We all need people in our lives like this - people who care enough about us to hold us accountable, speak truth to us, cheer us on, and get in our ear when we’re slacking. David had Nathan and Nathan wasn’t afraid to get in the king’s ear about his sin and it made a difference.
When it comes to sexual temptation we can’t afford to go solo. Navigating these temptations in isolation is a losing battle. It’s a team sport. You have to pick a team.
Who’s on your team? Who’s telling you the brutal truth about you? Who do you trust with complete transparency when you’re struggling? Make a list of 2 or 3 people who you trust to be on your team. Call each of them today and ask them to be a Nathan to you before and after temptation wreaks havoc on your desires. Now, you do your part. Tell them when you’re struggling and allow them to get in your ear. Add this accountability to your plan.Share Tweet
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. - 1 John 1:9 (ESV)
I made it through high school without having to do a lot of studying. Wait, don’t be impressed by my intellect because that wasn’t how I did it. It had more to do with the Alabama school system and my ability to creatively “get by” than with any natural smarts. I thought when I hit college I could do the same thing. Boy was I wrong. I’ll never forget getting my first psychology test back with a big “F” on the top of it. I was in trouble. I’d never failed anything in my life and, right out of the gate, I failed my first test in college. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to cut it from that point on.
The good news is that my failure wasn’t final. I redeemed my grade with a grace-filled prof, some hard work, and by learning how to study. I graduated college in four years with a GPA. No I’m not telling you what it was, but I promise I had one.
If you’ve failed in handling sexual temptation, the good news is your failure isn’t final. It’s redeemable. The grace my psych prof showed me is nothing compared to the grace of God through the blood of Jesus. Your past failure does not have to determine your future. Sure, there are some temporary consequences for that sin, but they don’t have to be eternal. You just have to own it, hand it to Jesus, change your strategy, enact your new plan, and be prepared going forward.
If you need to talk with someone about how to navigate past failures, hang around after the worship service this Sunday to chat with one of our Prayer Team members. You can also click HERE to find help. Your sin does not define you and you can walk in freedom as God intended.Share Tweet