The decisions you make today will determine your future. If you keep a pattern of sexual conversations, pornography, or secret masturbation, you will be controlled by sexual lust. You will have to decide if you will engage in the battle or become a prisoner of the war.
Will you commit to becoming a pure teen—honoring God, your relationships, and sexuality? If you make this your commitment and plan, you will be a blessing to those you love. Or, will you use waste your giftedness and potential to protect a double life? Then, you will bring pain and shame on yourself and those you love.
Let’s take a look at four basic strategies for engagement in the battle. And remember this: You don’t escape the battle just because you don’t believe in spiritual warfare. You are encouraged to weigh carefully the helpfulness of each of these strategies. You will find them of great value in the battle to overcome sexual temptation.
Put God first
The first and most important strategy is putting God first in your life. This may be very difficult at first, if you have been distant from God due to the guilt and shame of your behavior. A great way to put God first is to begin the day with prayer and reading God’s Word. This might take between 5-15 minutes of your morning (or evening if you choose).
The combination of the Word and prayer is a formidable weapon. R. A. Torry commented, “If I am to have faith when I pray, I must find some promise in the Word of God to rest my faith on.” The prayer doesn’t need to be long, but it needs to come from the Word and the heart. It is wise to ask for His guidance and strength for the day. Ezra Taft Benson, says,
When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities.
Throw out the trash
A second strategy is to “clean house.” This is so obvious, but it is often not done in the beginning. It is best to start early on by getting rid of anything that might be a stumbling block. For teens, this might be a magazine, DVD, USB external memory, or files on your computer. Please destroy these items and don’t place them in a trash container where someone else might be hurt by their discovery. It may mean cancelling cable television or internet access.
Practice the Five Commandments
The third strategy is a powerful indicator of likely success or failure. Dr. Douglas Weiss calls it “the 5Cs” or the Five Commandments and they have been slightly modified for our purpose. It is not enough to simply grow in our understanding of a godly life. It is more important to have an action plan so that you can replace the old defeating behaviors with new life-giving ones. Those who are successful in living a pure life keep their focus on the “the 5Cs.”
The Five Commandments are very simple but basic to your life of sexual purity. If you ignore any of these five, it will be detrimental to your Christian walk. They include:
- Pray—begin in the morning seeking God’s will and strength.
- Read—during the day study God’s Word and look for His promises to you.
- Call or talk—with peers or friends who can support, encourage, and pray for your life in Jesus Christ.
- Connect—it may be difficult to find a support group, but still spend some time looking. Get involved in a youth group or find a trusted and respected adult who can be in a mentoring relationship with you. You need this support to be successful in your pursuit of sexual purity.
- Pray—again, at the end of the day, and give God’s thanks for His help and blessings throughout the day.
A special type of prayer
Another life-changing strategy is to pray for those you are tempted to objectify (or look at as objects of sexual lust). You instead remind yourself that this is a person created and loved by God. They are not an object like a car that you can look at and identify sizes and shapes. They are more than a physical image for you to scan and put into your fantasy world of videos. This person is to be seen in a relational context as one who has a father, grandparents, and other family members. Praying for this person can be a great weapon to combat objectification—and to see this person more as God sees them—for He thinks highly of them.
This sort of prayer can be very powerful. It can also be useful in the situation where girls are immodestly dressed, and you feel dirtied by her lack of and inappropriate clothing. The prayer could go something like this:
Lord Jesus, I am truly committed to seeing all women as your beloved daughters. I pray for this girl to know you and love you. Help me always to honor and protect all women just like you.
Pure Teens: Honoring God, Relationships, and Sex is scheduled to arrive in bookstores in September 2015.