Last updated on October 24, 2020
I have read some of the questions and answers from your website and would like to ask how then does one deal with sexual desires and not sin because they just will not go away despite the desire to live a Spirit-filled life. I have tried to find answers in this regard but have not found one that helps me delay sexual gratification until marriage. When I read about Paul and his sufferings he says in II Corinthians 11:29 that he too burns inwardly with passion but does not say how he deals with it. I am 20 years and desire to grow in my faith in Christ, but I fear that if I don’t know how to cure these desires I might sin, and I don’t want that. Please help me.
Your citation of II Corinthians 11:29 is misapplied. “Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches. Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern?” (II Corinthians 11:28-29). Paul is not talking about concern for himself but for others. He is passionate about the souls of those he knows that they might not be lost to sin. That passion is not a sexual passion but an intense concern.
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; 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” (I Corinthians 10:13). Every adult faces temptations which are based on the physical desires of the body. As a child, you learned to control your hunger so that you did not eat constantly, and you learned not to indulge your hunger with junk food that was not good for your body. Now you are older and have a new desire, a desire for sex. Like every other desire, you learn to manage it. “And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (I Corinthians 9:25-27).
You make it sound as if it is a given that you are going to give in to sin. With an attitude like that, you likely would. Sin has to be fought. “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:7-8). You can’t fight by wringing your hands in woe.
Usually, people think they are going to overcome temptation and sin by some ritual, but it doesn’t work. “Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations — “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” which all concern things which perish with the using — according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh” (Colossians 2:20-23). Sin is fought by understanding its origins and being determined not to sin.
What I suspect is happening is that you want the desire to go away. That can’t happen. It would be like an overweight person expecting that to lose weight she has to have no desire to eat. Your body is designed to have sex and it has built into a desire for sex. It won’t go away, but it can be controlled.
One of the big factors in gaining self-control is learning not to go part way and expect to stop. You don’t control your appetite by getting chocolate and unwrapping it. You don’t control your sexual desire by stirring it up. Rather, you determine not to even go down the path that might lead to a desire for sex.