Sexual immorality and pornography have become some of the most pressing and prevalent obstacles to men’s spiritual growth.
“The Flesh Series” is a collection of articles, next steps and group discussion guides around these issues, specifically designed for men. It deals fearlessly with lust, sex and pornography in a clear, comprehensive manner.
“The Flesh Series” doesn’t stir up guilt but helps individuals understand the battle they’re facing and implement practical growth steps. The series will cover God’s design for sex, pornography, masturbation, causes of habitual sin, proactive accountability, boundaries in dating and how we change to become more like Jesus.
The series is divided into two sections:
There is no simple solution to the problem of lust, but people who have seen victory over sexual sin and temptation do have some common battle tactics: make a clear, memorable decision to fight, and resolve to make no compromises.
Sex isn’t a bad thing. It’s one of the few ways we can reflect the three-in-one nature of the Trinity (God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit) here on earth. Lust, sexual immorality and pornography are perversions of God’s original, good design.
Masturbation isn’t directly addressed in the Bible, and the weight biblically assigned to this sin is out of proportion with the shame and self-loathing we experience when we masturbate. That does not mean that it’s OK or good; it’s still a perversion of God’s design for sex. Masturbation skews our view of sex into being about our pleasure and a quick fix rather than the focus being on giving and intimacy in a committed marriage relationship.
To see success, we need to confront the ever-present temptation of sex, sexy women and sexy images. So much of this battle is about learning new ways to respond, rather than react, to situations in life. This struggle is so much more than sexual sin or lust. This fight is about learning to deal with our stress and past pain in healthy ways in the context of a community.
If we’re going to see victory in our struggle with lust and pornography, we’ll need the power of a team, of community and of accountability. The goal of accountability is not merely to ease our conscience, although that is a side benefit. The goal is to encourage and push one another on.
The battle of lust is ultimately about coping with the core lies we believe from the enemy about ourselves, God and others. These lies are often developed through painful life experiences that have left emotional wounds in our souls. One of the biggest keys to this battle is experiencing healing from these wounds with Jesus and others.
When we place our faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins, the person of the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of Christ), comes to live in us. Our bodies are now sacred places, and we are God’s temple. Sexual sin defiles God’s temple. The good news is that the Holy Spirit can empower us to run away from indulgences and run after a mature righteousness.
Once we commit to pursuing sexual purity, we need to employ some very basic but crucial tactics to guard our hearts against lust. We must identify what triggers our lust so we can avoid these things when possible and have a plan to deal with them head-on when they’re unavoidable.
Physical contact is a normal part of human affection, but a crucial part of the battle is avoiding sexual arousal outside the marriage relationship. It’s not a question of “How far can I go?” but “What ways can I show physical affection that is appropriate to our level of commitment and doesn’t cause sexual arousal?”
If you’ve placed your trust in Christ’s death on the cross as payment for your sins, you have been forgiven. But you will continue to sin. So what should you do when you sin? It’s only when we dare to hear the truth, allow God’s great love to cover our shame and grieve over how we have pushed God away that we can experience true repentance. Repentance is turning away from sin and turning toward God. Repentance leads to real-life change and an experience of God’s mercy.
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