Sex is a sacred thing. And it is, according to the apostle Paul, a profound mystery. In Ephesians 4, Paul talks about putting off the old man, with his/her deceitful desires, being made new in the attitude of your minds, and putting on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. In the next chapter, he continues this same theme "And among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people" (Ephesians 5:3). The two things that should separate Christians from the worldly culture around them—sexual purity and a refusal to worship man-made things.
The Bible teaches that sex is sacred in the context of marriage between one man and one woman. Paul beautifully describes it in chapter 5. He doesn’t just say, "Sex is bad, be pure." He says "Sex is good, in the right context." It is a profound mystery. It reflects a beautiful picture of Christ and the church. The world paints one picture of sex—it is for the casual fulfillment of our passions. In that context, women become objects, men become hunters. We hope that this page will encourage you with information and resources that help transform your heart regarding sexual purity.
Guidelines for Married Couples
Ten Guidelines for Sexual Purity
Infidelity is a big cause for divorce in the United States. The causes for infidelity are varied and not just confined to sexual lust, but certainly lust is the starting point in most cases that later lead to adulterous sex.
This is the great conundrum of life for many. Our DNA is pre-loaded with the strong instinct to feel attraction and desire, yet life and morality demand that we are able to control those instincts in proper balance. So how do we do that?
For the sake of our marriages, relationships or just spiritual well-being, we need to be able to find the answer. You are in a battle against sexual lust. Here is how you win:
- Consistent prayer.Prayer is the act of communicating your thoughts, worries, hopes and dreams to God. Lift up the desires you are feeling and ask for help. God made you and knows you and can deliver you time and time again. Find: 10 Things to Pray for in Your Marriage by clicking on the link.
- Avoid pornography.Besides the obvious reason—that avoiding porn will help guard against lust—there are psychological reasons as well. Porn creates unrealistic expectations and desensitizes our minds toward our spouses. They can’t possibly live up to what is viewed, and would we even want them to? This pushes the focus of your sexual desires outside of the home and can only lead to paths of destruction. Find 10 Ways to Fight Pornography in the column to the right.
- Use social media with caution.The benefits of the age of social networks are many. The pitfalls are equally as great. We are reunited with people from our past and introduced to those who are new. Old sparks can be renewed or new ones can be lit. For a married person, this can be extremely perilous. Always remain alert to true intentions when using social media.
- Consider the consequences.Fear is a great protector. While pondering the object of your desire, also ponder the consequences of action. Do you want to wreak havoc on your marriage? Could your lust lead to an STD or even an addiction? If you think of these things while your desires are at their peak, you will find them quickly receding to normal levels.
- Question your intent.Most times when our minds wander sexually, we aren’t really seeking pure sex. We are seeking to replace something missing in our lives and our relationships. For each of us, these things will be specific to our experiences. Figure out the root issue and work to correct it.
- Practice sexual intimacy.Do you remember falling in love and the feeling that nobody in the world existed except the person you loved? The reason for that is the high level of intimacy that was shared while you were getting to know each other. While there is no reset button to start the marital relationship over, there are certainly plenty of ways to regain that level of intimacy. Improving communication, date nights, passionate kissing and thoughtful gestures are just a few examples. When our minds and hearts are occupied in the right place, sexual lust has little room to operate.
- Avoid tempting situations.The last thing you want to do is find yourself alone with the object of your lustful desires. If contact with that person is a must, then make sure it is always in a public space and others are around. Do not paint yourself into a corner where further action is possible.
- Choose your friends wisely.When battling lust, there are plenty of people we can find who will enable that to grow even more powerful. You may have friends who are single and living that lifestyle, who are married but cheating, or who are just drawn to trouble. By all means avoid joining them in their choices.
- Keep high standards. Behavior is a choice. Despite the vast amount of temptations life throws our way, we should hold ourselves to the highest of moral standards. Self-discipline in all areas of life leads to positive results.
- Harness your passion.In most cases, overwhelming sexual lust is really just a desire to release the deep passion inside of you that has nothing to do with sex. Instead, direct that passion in positive directions. Volunteer at a homeless shelter. Serve in your church. Mentor troubled individuals. The satisfaction that comes from serving, creating and building relationships with other belivers will defeat the destruction that comes from succumbing to the path of sexual desire.
Guidelines for Dating
First of all, remember that if you plant purity today, you will reap a rich harvest, free from shame and guilt. And, by the grace of God, you’ll look back on your life not with regret, but with joyful gratitude. Sexual purity is ALWAYS in your best interest. Be smart, not stupid, and you’ll enjoy the best God has for you!
“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality” (1 Thessalonians 4:3).
- Realize you don’t have to date.
Just because lots of other people date doesn’t mean you have to. You can enjoy fun, positive friendships with people of the opposite sex and be involved in all sorts of activities without coupling up with one person.
If you do choose to date, the following guidelines can help you maintain a walk with God and guard your purity. (What follows is an abridged version of “Guidelines for Protecting Purity in Dating,” available at “Guidelines for Sexual Purity.”)
- If you’re a Christian, only date Christians.
You won’t marry every person you date. But the person you marry will be someone you dated. God says, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers . . . what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14).
There are many contexts in which to do evangelism—dating isn’t one of them.
- If you’re a committed disciple, only date committed disciples. (And if you’re not a committed disciple, why aren’t you?)
Just because a person is a Christian doesn’t make him or her morally safe or a worthy partner. Don’t expect perfection in the person you date. But do expect character and godliness. (This assumes that you yourself are a growing Christian.)
- Choose dates by character, not just appearance.
When we judge people by their appearances, often we turn out to be dead wrong—and meanwhile we may have made foolish choices.
- Realize Christ is watching and is with you all evening—wherever you go and whatever you do.
He is watching you because he is omniscient. He is with you because He’s omnipresent, but as a believer He is with you in a very special way: you are His holy temple (1 Corinthians 6:15).
- Realize where you go and who you go with will influence your sexual desires.
When we put ourselves in a godly atmosphere with godly people, we are influenced toward godliness. When we put ourselves in an ungodly atmosphere with ungodly people we are influenced toward ungodliness. “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character’” (I Corinthians 15:28).
- Realize your date is your brother or sister in Christ—not your “lover.”
“Treat older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity” (1 Timothy 5:2). A rule of thumb is, don’t do anything physically you wouldn’t do with your brother or sister.
If a Christ-centered, positive relationship develops, then you might move to cautious displays of affection such as hand-holding. But be alert to the difference between appropriate affection and intimacy. You must stay safely back from the line where either one is propelled toward sexual intimacy.
- Focus on talk, not touch; conversation, not contact.
Treat your date as a subject to listen to and understand and appreciate, not an object to experiment with, conquer or satisfy your desires.
- Avoid fast moving relationships and instant intimacy.
Pace your relationship. A car moving too fast is likely to swerve out of control when it hits a slick spot. Keep your foot near the brake. Don’t let this relationship get out of control.
- Plan the entire evening in advance, with no big gaps.
Gaps always get filled, often with temptations to sexual impurity. Know what you’re doing and either stick with the plan or go somewhere safe, where you’re in the sight of others (particularly others who respect the need for purity).
- Avoid setups like the plague.
Setups include such things as being alone on a couch or in a car late at night or in a bedroom. Determine to stay away from the setup, rather than putting yourself in the setup and having to call on your convictions when your resistance is at its lowest, and you’re most likely to give in.
- Be accountable to someone about your physical relationship.
This should be a committed brother or sister in Christ, usually the same gender as you. It should be someone who takes sexual purity seriously, someone with wise advice, who will pray for you and help hold you accountable to high standards.
- Pray together at the beginning and end of each date.
Commit the evening or day in advance to the Lord. Ask Him to be pleased in everything you do. Plan to pray at the end of the date to thank Him for it. Knowing this prayer is coming will help you to be sure to control yourself and please God.
- Imagine your parents and church leaders are watching you through the window.
Would that change how you behave? Then realize your life is not private—it’s an open book to be seen by a watching world: "What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs” (Luke 12:3).
- When you sense the temptation coming, before things start to get out of control, RUN.
“Flee from sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18). When it comes to sexual temptation, it always pays to be a coward.
- Write out your own standards and enforce them yourself—never depend on your date.
- Make your moral decisions in advance—not in the time of temptation.
If it’s left to your feelings in the moment of truth, you’ll make the wrong decision. Again: in the moment of strength make choices that will serve you well in the moment of weakness.
- Memorize Scripture on sexual purity and quote it when tempted.
“I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11). When the attacks come—and they will—be ready to take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17).
- Don’t do anything with your date you wouldn’t want someone else doing with your future mate.
Somewhere out there is the man or woman you’re going to marry. What do you want them to be doing now with someone else? “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31).
- Look out for the “moral wear down” of long dating relationships and long engagements.
It’s easy to wear down in the battle for sexual purity, to begin to rationalize that you’re really a couple. Don’t get engaged until you can put the wedding in sight. When you’re engaged, you can be deceived into slipping into some of the privileges of marriage before marriage, especially sexual intimacy.
- If you’ve violated some of these guidelines, confess, repent and implement a plan to prevent future violations.
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Even if you are no longer a virgin you can and should commit yourself to secondary virginity—to remain sexually pure from this day forward. You need more than good intentions to maintain your purity: you need a plan which includes avoidance and accountability. If you are committed to a relationship with a growing Christian, formulate a plan to prevent falling back into premarital intimacy.
- Be radical—do whatever it takes to guard your sexual purity.
- Count the cost of impurity.
Rehearse in advance the devastating consequences of sexual sin and you’ll be less likely to commit it. Even a forgiven person must deal with many consequences to his sin. God removes guilt, but He doesn’t always remove consequences.
God forgives when we sincerely repent, but if we sincerely repent we will show it by taking necessary steps to avoid temptation.
Written by | May 13, 2015
Resources at Trinity
Teaching Pastor Randy Singer's important message on the Biblical imperative for sexual purity.
Click here to watch.
Trinity Church has groups for men and women to address the issues surrounding sexual purity.
For Men Only (FMO)
New Fall Group forming now!
FMO assists men in the courageous fight for healthy sexuality. Men are finding victory through fellowship, accountability and transparency. FMO is a safe place for ALL men who are tired of trying to win the battle on their own and are ready to break free.
873 Little Neck Rd.
Virginia Beach, VA 23452
Mondays, 7:00pm Email the group leader for more information by clicking here.
For Women Only (FWO)
Betrayal and Beyond FWO is a ministry to provide support, hope and healing to women who have expereinced sexual betrayal. It is a powerful group that helps women process loss, anger and hurt. Meets Mondays at 7pm. completely confidential. Contact leaders by clicking on the link: Caroline Mastrangelo Heather Mrva
10 Ways to Fight Pornography
A recent study asked a group of kids how often their peers look at porn online. They responded that it was often. The study also asked what parental controls were in place on their devices, and almost all said none — because their parents trusted them. These parents have no idea what their children are seeing.
Why are controls so critical? First, the average age of a child’s first exposure to pornography is 11. So if that’s the average, some children are seeing it much earlier. Furthermore, research is beginning to give us the full, frightening picture of what porn does to a brain and a life. Much like substance abuse, it alters the brain, creating a need for a level of stimulation that a healthy, marital sex life doesn’t always provide. It sets our children up to have a distorted view of sex and suffer from a desire that can’t be satisfied.
Why are so many parents turning a blind eye to this problem? Is it because they don’t think it’s a problem? Is it because of their own porn use? Maybe they feel hypocritical setting up boundaries for their kids that they themselves can’t hold. If this is you, we want you to know that it’s not too late to protect your children, and there is hope for you too. Here are 10 ways to fight pornography:
- Admit you have a problem: We live in a world that wants us to make allowance for justifying and tolerating almost every off-color thing we could think of. One of the best things you can do for yourself, your marriage and your children is to admit you have a problem with pornography.
- Invite trusted friends to encourage you and hold you accountable: We would also suggest bringing your wife in on your struggle. Voicing your struggle to others and admitting you have a problem is a huge step in the right direction.
- Online accountability: Use software to monitor your online activity. Accountable2You is a great resource for men & women. It allows you to receive your accountability partner’s reports weekly for the sites they visit and the searches they make. It lets you know when you need to follow up with each other on questionable activity. Finally, it allows you to celebrate with each other in putting online struggles to death.
- Set boundaries with your mobile device: Nowadays, our smartphones and tablets are even more of a gateway to pornography than a desktop computer. The same online accountability applies to your mobile device. Set boundaries and use software to monitor all online activity.
- If you have offline pornography at your disposal, destroy it: If you are wanting to fight your addiction to pornography but are hanging on to that magazine or DVD (in its secret hiding place) then your “fight” is really just a masquerade. Man up, and destroy those items. Right now.
- Take all forms of media seriously: Don’t think to yourself that TV shows or movies that emphasize sexual situations or portray women in the wrong light are harmless. Even if they are not considered “porn,” they are damaging. If you’re struggling with pornography, these types of entertainment will only make your struggle more difficult.
- If you are married, take a step back and think on your marriage: Are you satisfied and happy in your marriage? What’s awesome about your marriage? What is lacking? Are you content with the level of sexual intimacy within your marriage? These are great questions to ask yourself. They just might lead you to the root cause for your addiction.
- Realize that you didn’t just become addicted to porn: How you conduct yourself in public and where you look every day have greatly influenced where you find yourself today. That long stare at the passing woman, the double take at the lady you just walked by, the thoughts that come to mind when you see the magazines in the checkout lane at the grocery store… This is where the battle starts in the everyday scenarios and situations. Fight the good fight here too. Guard your eyes and guard your mind.
- Take a second and think beyond the images or videos you’re looking at: This is a person, a real woman, a human being created by God, just like you. She’s somebody’s daughter, sister, or even mother. Think of what her life must be like in front of the camera day after day – exploited and made insanely vulnerable. Chances are she is wrapped up in some kind of string of human sex trafficking and your addiction is helping to fund this multibillion-dollar business. She is not there for your enjoyment. She is being held captive and more than likely is crying out for help.
- Your pornography addiction is a heart issue first and foremost: You are exchanging truth for a lie. You are voluntarily placing your affections on the cheap thrills that are ultimately fleeting and leave you feeling worthless. You were created for God, by God. Ask God to help you every time you are tempted.