“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable”.
- 1 Thessalonians 4:3
The coming year brings a time to reflect on the battles won and prepare for the battles I’m going to try to win. Paul’s writing to the Thessalonians steps into a battle of mine, appropriately titled Every Man’s Battle in Stephen Arterburn’s book. Sexual desire, temptation, activities….placing them and my body under God’s control versus being under their control. I think I would call this a war more than a battle.
The reason I call this a war is because I’ve won one of the battles but I’m still not where Paul is trying to take us as Christians. I used to battle with pornography, and it tugged on my mind and actions. It was an easy battle to succumb to: temporary pleasure without commitment or intimacy. I love miracle overnight victories where it is obviously God, but that was not my walk. It took discipline, prayer, support, and many failures and resets along the way. It also took the ability to identify when I was vulnerable to my pornography addiction (HALT = hungry, angry, lonely, tired), and different habits to prevent or react in those times. Slowly but surely that battle was won and now pornography and the shame and guilt that come with it no longer have power over me.
But here comes the critical battle I’m looking to win this year – intimacy. Real intimacy with my wife. Pornography was just one battle in the war for sexual and emotional intimacy, and an excuse (or result) to not have real intimacy with my wife. This war is harder to win because there is another person involved and I can’t muscle the victory. It’s going to take Jesus. I’ll start with Paul’s words and my body, conducting myself in ways that are holy and honorable.
Daily Battle Order:
Is there any sexual immorality in your lives? Are you conducting yourself in a way that is holy and honorable? Let your shame and guilt inform your answer. Maybe its time to fight and win that battle this year. A great litmus test, especially if you are married is to ask yourself this question – would you do the things that you are currently doing when you are alone, if your wife was there with you? And if the answer is no then it’s time to get to work.