My dress matched my eyes and my hair was just right. My lipstick was fresh, and I slipped on my heels as I walked out the door. I was hoping that he liked what he saw.
This may sound like I was getting ready for a date, but in reality, I was getting ready for a college class. I wanted to impress my writing professor. I wanted him to notice me, think I was pretty, and be drawn to me. I had wondered what it would be like if we went dinner and talked all-things writing.
This day-dreaming could be written off as a school girl crush, but the problem was that my professor was married. Thankfully, nothing ever came from this story-world I visited in my mind—but it very easily could have.
What Is Sexual Immorality?
Sexual sin is something that many people do not talk about because of the personal stigma attached to it. Sexual sin can include a list of various sins: adultery, fornication before marriage, lust, etc. Because it seems to be a more secret sin, the enemy makes the lies of temptation very easy to rationalize away.
In the New Testament, the word most often translated “sexual immorality” is porneia. This word is also translated as “whoredom,” “fornication,” and “idolatry.” It means “a surrendering of sexual purity,” and it is primarily used of premarital sexual relations. From this Greek word we get the English word pornography, stemming from the concept of “selling off.” Sexual immorality is the “selling off” of sexual purity and involves any type of sexual expression outside the boundaries of a biblically defined marriage relationship (Matthew 19:4–5). (GotQuestions.org)
People seem to rationalize sexual sin in two ways:
Sexual sin is because of someone else.
Instead of taking any blame or responsibility, people will make excuses that if they were living in a different situation, the sexual sin would not happen. If they were married, they would not struggle with pornography or wanting sex before marriage.
If people are married, they often find themselves blaming the action on a spouse – rationalizing that if he or she felt more loved or appreciated, whether by words or physical affections, they would not look to someone else to fulfill a need.
Sexual sin is an addiction.
People explain sexual sin away with the lie that is an “addiction that can be fixed.” Once the person who is struggling can just recover, the struggle will go away.
Harry Schaumburg describes it like this:
I believe addictionology plays down the seriousness of sin and the necessity of the work of God when it encourages the sexual addict to accept the theory that recovery will only be successful when they begin to believe that they are a good person at the core and just have a disease…
The opposite is true. When dealing with sexual sin we must hold fast to the teaching of Jesus Christ, “For from within, out of the heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, and…adultery” (Mark 7:21). (desiringGod.org)
Looking back on my strong desire to spend time with someone that belonged to another person, I could have rationalized my desires away or blamed my professor: “He should not have been so nice to me. If only I was married, I would not have looked at him.” Or I could have thrown up my hands and said, “Since I am a sinful creature, I will struggle with this desire my whole life.”
That last part is partly true because we will struggle with sin our whole lives. But the truth is that we are also set free from sin’s grip by the blood of Jesus Christ.
How Do I Address Sexual Sin?
So what do we do with sexual sin? If someone is caught on fire, he or she must stop, drop, and roll. In order to be set free from sexual sin, we must quench its fire in a similar way.
1. STOP the sin.
We must starve the sin from getting a foothold on our lives by taking away anything that may be leading to that temptation. Then, we need to fill our minds with whatever is pure and good. We need to take time to meditate on God’s Word and memorize Scripture. Singing the Psalms, praying to God, and reading the Bible are ways that we can stop the sin and fill our hearts with God’s promises and truth.
2. DROP the charade.
As Christians, we must drop the charade of hiding behind false titles, and we must call sexual immorality what it is—sin. You can wrap it in many different names, but it is still sin. We need to remember we have the power of Christ to turn away from our old self, that we are made new in Christ alone.
Confessing our sin and asking for forgiveness and help is a step in this process, as well as seeking out accountability. When we are open with our temptations and struggles, we become vulnerable, and in our humility we find freedom that leads us to a closeness with others and ultimately with God.
3. ROLL away from sin.
In any sin, you need to stop the sin, and then turn away from it in true repentance. In Christ, we are restored by God’s redeeming love. Because of this, we can turn away from sin and cultivate the new life we have in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
How Can I Change?
God has the power to change the darkest sinner. Although a restoration in a marriage or a relationship is important, the restoration between God and one of his children is what is important to him. You are his child before you are a husband, wife, pastor, teacher, or college girl dreaming about your married professor.
Because of the death of Jesus on the cross, we have the gift of eternal life and the promise of a new life in him on earth. This does not mean we will never be tempted, but we have the power of the Holy Spirit to correct, guide, and spur us along to live a life for his glory.
My prayer for us is the one found in Philippians 1:9-11:
…that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and discernment, so that you may approve what I excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory an praise of God.
Thank God for his amazing gift of grace and the hope we have in life with him.