Glue can be a great thing when you need something to stick. It holds precious pictures in a scrapbook. It reattaches the corner our kids knocked off our dining room chair.
Glue can also be destructive…like when my kiddo smeared glue in her math book. Or when my favorite picture was glued into a child’s art project. No amount of careful manipulation could prevent the inevitable tears.
Try gluing two pieces of paper together. The glue makes them stronger and sturdier together. Then try tearing them apart. The glue will shred the two papers as they rip apart.
Like glue, sex can strengthen a marriage bond, carry a married couple through hard times, and of course, produce beautiful, sweet babies. Misused sex, however, becomes terribly destructive.
God designed sex as a gift to marriage. It is wonderful and beautiful. Satan wants to manipulate God’s gifts until they become perverted, twisted, and destructive. The same glue that made the two papers stronger can also cause the papers’ destruction. Satan doesn’t want us to be whole. He wants us to be torn and wounded by casual sex, sexual abuse, pornography, and sex outside of marriage. The more we misuse sex, the more defeated we become…which is exactly what the enemy wants.
So, how do we protect ourselves? How do we keep sex in its correct place so that it is the blessing God intended?
Ask God for help.
The second you think you can do it on your own, you will fall flat on your face. The pressures of society, media, and even our own desires are too much to handle alone. (Proverbs 28:26, Proverbs 26:12)
Don’t feed lust…your own or someone else’s.
Avoid pornography. Avoid music, novels, and movies that portray an unrealistic view of love. Don’t put anything evil into your mind. Your mind creates enough of that on its own! Keep inappropriate material out of your home and your mind. (Psalm 1:1)
Be careful not to feed another person’s lust through sexual innuendos, flirting, or suggestive messages.
Fill your mind with truth.
Read your Bible. Study and devour it. Let God’s Word be your soul-food daily and weekly. Listen to Christian podcasts that promote Godly values. Surround yourselves with friends that also have moral purity as their goal.
Collect Bible verses that deal with your areas of temptation. Write them on index cards that you post through out your home. Use key verses as your phone backgrounds. Pray these verses each time you are tempted. (Proverbs 3:7-8, Proverbs 3:21-23, Psalm 1:2-3)
Establish firm boundaries.
Don’t be afraid to say no the request for an inappropriate picture. You show respect for yourself and your “friend” when you refuse to make yourself an object for sexual gratification. Sometimes saying “no” is the kindest thing you can do.
When dating, decide BEFOREHAND what you will/will not do and where you will/will not go. Any potential boyfriend who will not respect or set boundaries is not worth your time. Do not ever enter a situation where you could sin if you wanted to. When passion rises, you need something concrete in place to protect you from yourself. (Proverbs 28:26)
Determine character before dating.
Groups are a great protection against choosing a “lemon”. They give you the chance to observe a person’s character from a distance. Look at how he treats his friends, his family, the down-and-out, older people, and younger people. In a one-on-one dating environment, a person can easily put on a mask to deceive the other into believing they are a different person than they really are. In the context of a healthy group, it is a bit harder to hide true character.
Enlist the help of parents and trust-worthy friends to determine a person’s character. They have different perspectives than you do. If your vision is already clouded by thoughts of love, you might not spot a “lemon” if it squirted you in the eye!!
Involve family and friends.
Anyone who pulls you away from your family and friends should cause warning bells to clang in your head! Healthy relationships are best lived out in the context of community. A relationship created in a vacuum opens the door for manipulation and abuse. Your friends and family give you perspective that will help you make wise decisions, spot and avoid trouble, and help you avoid temptation.
Maintain your spiritual armor.
You are in a spiritual battle for your soul and for your future children and grandchildren. Never underestimate the enemy, but more importantly, never underestimate the power of our risen Savior. (Ephesians 6)
What if it’s too late?
If you have already compromised your moral purity, confess your sin to God. He will forgive and heal the repentant heart. He can help you stay true to His Word from here on out.
If your purity has been violated against your will, as in rape or sexual abuse, realize that you are a victim. Your heart has been wounded, but not by your own doing. Take your hurt, your anger, and your confusion to God. Allow Him to heal the wounds. It will take time and patience, but Jesus will restore what the enemy has stolen.
God is our Healer and our Redeemer. He loves without condition and forgives the humble heart. Like the blue paper behind the yellow, He fills in our holes and lends us His strength.