How do you handle temptations that you face as a single Christian living in a secular world?
Co-written by Dani Igbani and Lynesha Oby with Kyondra Johnson
The enemy has a way of disguising sin to make it seem like something good, something that we need, and something that is impossible to resist. If we are not careful we can fall victim to his schemes and end up far away from the path God has intended for us. The issue of temptation is one that is very real, especially for single Christians living in today’s world. We have taken to the members of Free Indeed Church International to see how real, Kingdom-minded Christians handle this very intimate issue that looms in our midst.
We have asked four singles to chime in on this very practical question: How do you handle temptations that you face as a single Christian living in a secular world?
“Teach me your ways, O LORD, that I may live according to your truth! Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor you” (Psalms 86:11 NLT).
To truly become pure, I had to fall in love with the Lord. The more I fell in love with Christ, the more I wanted to stay pure. The journey to keep my purity is not easy, but I understand now that it’s all about falling in love with Christ so you can keep His commandments. Jesus desires us to stay pure in mind, body, and spirit. The only way I can accomplish that is if I renew my mind in the Word of God, and continue to let the spirit of Christ lead me into all truths.
With all of our getting we are to get and understanding. One of my favorite principles is that God is not mocked (Galatians 6:7-8)
I handle temptation by getting into the presence of The Lord, not just at church, but practicing His presence at home. Also, I know that The Lord is always with me, and that His eyes are everywhere beholding good and evil. Another reason I can escape temptation is that I have an understanding of the principles of The Lord. With all of our getting we are to get and understanding. One of my favorite principles is that God is not mocked (Galatians 6:7-8), meaning He is never fooled, outwitted, or outsmarted. Having given into temptation in the past, I have personally learned that He chastises His true sons and daughters. I’m not willing to go around the mountain again. There is always a penalty for deliberate and willful sin and I am not willing to pay the price again. Truly getting rebuked by The Father is like Hell on earth and decay to my flesh and bones. Other peoples’ lives are dependent on our obedience as Believers, so overcoming temptation is really a blessing others. It’s not about me fulfilling the lust of the flesh, but crucifying the flesh so others can know who Christ truly is in my life.
Staying pure is not as easy as some people think.
Staying pure is not as easy as some people think. When I think about my relationship that will come later, I know that I am preparing for it now. I know this because I am not bringing other spirits into my relationship by sleeping around. I pray my husband-to-be is doing the same. Sometimes I am around people and they each have stories about their “Boo”. I may seem like the boring one to them, but then I remember my life is complicated enough without adding anything extra. It also helps to get around some people in your age range that have the same faith. When things get hard you will have someone to talk to and help you because they understand your situation. I guess that fits the saying “Birds of a feather flock together”.
Kylan “Kool Kat”:
Knowing this little nugget of info keeps me in a defensive pose; guarding my soul like a lineman guards the quarterback.
Carefully. It’s not hard to get caught up entertaining worldly conversations, or to find yourself in tempting situations with friends. Knowing this little nugget of info keeps me in a defensive pose; guarding my soul like a lineman guards the quarterback. Now, just like a football team, I find the competition can get too close for comfort and I might even get spiritually “sacked,” but also like the football team I practice to win. My mistakes don’t make me. My triumphs do, no matter how insignificant they might seem. With that being said, I just try to avoid situations that the old “Kool” would run to. I consider that a triumph because I know there’s a change in my lifestyle. Avoiding situations isn’t a full-proof plan, but accompanying that with prayer is a pretty good foundation for an ultimate triumph… the Spiritual Super Bowl!
What Does the Bible Say?
“How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.”
– Psalm 119:9
While it often proves challenging to put our fleshly desires aside in deference to the will of God and His plan for chastity, we can take comfort in knowing that He never intended for us to brave the pursuit of purity alone. He does not desire for it to be difficult for us, however we cannot rely on our own strength. He has given us His Word that assures us that though temptation is inevitable, He will always provide a way out: “But God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). Seeking God first in all things and making His business our business will allow us to recognize those escape routes, and will equip us with strength, courage, and will power to take them as opposed to falling into the traps of the enemy.
But God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
We are human beings and thus are not perfect. We have fallen before and will likely fall again. God’s Word encourages us in Hebrews 4 that we have a High Priest who can “sympathize with our weaknesses,” (v. 15) and that we should “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (v. 16). This by no means gives us allowance to intentionally fall into sin, crawl back to the seat of mercy to ask forgiveness, and repeat. Such abuse of God’s grace will only yield disastrous results. We are to strive to live as Christ lived and to submit ourselves to the comforting, strengthening, and encouraging Word of God.
1. Give yourself a curfew
The later it gets the longer you have to let things go too far. Set a definitive time to say goodnight and go your separate ways. Grandma is right: “Nothing good ever happens after 2 AM.” Or is it midnight? I guess it depends on who your grandma is. Either way, figure out what is reasonable for you and stick to it. If you’re not sure, ask your pastor or another spiritual mentor what sort of curfew you should set for yourself. In fact, even if you think you are sure, you should still seek wise counsel. You never know. You just might be being more lenient on yourself than you should.
2. Keep your feet on the floor!
Yep, just try getting intimate with four feet on the floor. (Don’t overthink this one.) Sounds extreme, but if you’re serious about this chastity thing, the “keep your feet on the floor” rule works.
3. Turn the lights on!
Getting caught up in the moment is way easier to do in the dark. Darkness hides things, but if you keep everything in the light, you’ll be able to see more clearly both in your head and in your heart.
4. Get out!
It’s easy to let your hangout default become something that involves snuggling while glaring at a screen. Too much of that and you’ll get super comfortable and then super bored. Bored and comfortable can lead to trouble. Get out and get active. Volunteer for a worthy cause, be adventurous in the great outdoors, pick up a new hobby, play a sport, learn a new skill. Whatever it is, your time discovering new things together will help you discover new things about each other. And while you’re at it, invite another couple, or your entire posse, to join you.
5. Put yourself in interruptible situations
While this isn’t always possible, do your best to allow yourself to be interrupted. Something as simple as visiting in common areas ensures that you won’t let things go too far.
6. Be accountable
If you’ve struggled with sexual purity in the past, find yourself an accountability partner who will ask you how things are going. It will motivate you to know that you can give a good report when prompted.
7. Don’t feed your fantasies
It’s normal to think about sex sometimes. In fact, with the way advertising and Hollywood exploit sex, it would be impossible not to think about it. So choose your entertainment carefully. Soap operas, certain songs, books, television shows, movies and websites only turn up the pressure. Feeding your thought life with junk only makes it harder to remain pure in your actions.
8. Make a promise to God, and daily renew your commitment
Decide where you’re going to draw the line, and tell God that with His help, you are not going to cross that line until marriage. Don’t commit to it unless you mean it, though. The Bible says it’s a serious thing to make a vow to God. At the same time, realize that you can’t stick to your promise without His help. That’s why it’s important to renew your commitment daily.