Garret grew up as a Christian and was often told to keep himself pure and not give in to youthful lusts but the way to do this was never clear. Here he talks about how to get complete victory over all impure thoughts and become free from sexual immorality and all impurity.
“Growing up, I was told to keep myself from fooling around or having sex before marriage. I knew that entertaining impure thoughts was sin and I really had a longing to be free from my youthful lusts, but the way to do this was never clear for me. I was looking for a way out but ended up falling a lot and getting trapped in a horrible cycle where I would try to fight but always came back to my sin in the end. I had no help to become free.
“But finally the way was revealed to me. I got faith that God wanted to give me victory over my sins so I took up a battle against these impure thoughts and by God’s help I began to overcome here. I’m not saying I’m not tempted any more but I’m not controlled by my lusts. I’m not controlled anymore by what a girl wears and how a girl acts or every little thought that comes into my head.
“Victory over these sins is not just an easy 5-minute solution. If you want to win the battle against your lusts you have to be dedicated. The battle actually starts in your everyday life, before you are even tempted by impure thoughts.
A pure thought life
“I think the most important thing for keeping yourself pure is to consciously work in your thought life in the daily situations, before you even come into the trials. As it says in Colossians, ‘Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.’ (Colossians 3:2) My thought life needs to be based on praying for the others, seeking God, praying for my own life and filling myself with God’s Word. Not only will this keep me from a lot of unnecessary trials but also, when I come into trials and temptations, I’m already ready to battle those temptations.
“As natural people we are so incredibly weak that it was even a battle just to get faith that God could help me. I very quickly figured out how powerless and weak I was against these thoughts and realized that I had to be completely decided that I was going to be done with these sins.
“If I’m even a bit undecided when I come into the trials then I’m for sure going to fall. Because I’m way too weak. I need God’s help to get the victory and then I need to be determined and setting my mind on things above.
“And when I ‘set my mind on things above’ I am actually growing in love for God. And the only thing that can preserve me in my trials is how much I love God. When I’m obedient then that proves that I love God more than myself, more than my own lusts and desires. I’m not just fighting because I want to be free but also because I love God and He hates sin, and so therefore I will obey Him and fight against my sin. And then He gives me the power to overcome.
“When I am faithful to obey God and trust His leading and do whatever He tells me, then He sends me the Holy Spirit, who gives me strength to get victory in temptation. But without that I’m powerless to suffer in the flesh, as it’s written there.
Suffering in the flesh
“‘Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.’ 1 Peter 4:1.
“To suffer in the flesh, for me, means that when I am tempted to look at a girl and lust after her, if I say ‘no’ to my flesh I’m starving my flesh from that desire and my flesh is suffering. It’s not being allowed to eat what it wants in a sense and it’s actually dying.
“When I’m armed with this mind then I’m willing to suffer in the flesh. It’s because I have a real hatred for sin. Then I’m going to be finished with that sin. If I’ve decided: ‘I will suffer in the flesh. I will not seek my own,’ then I won’t give in to that sin! God will give me strength then!
“And that’s where the fight is. Yeah, the thoughts come but I don’t have to agree with the thoughts. And in that way I take up a battle there and I actually get victory over sin – it’s dying.
A life of peace, joy and victory
“At first there is a suffering there but it’s nothing compared to the suffering that I’ve experienced because of what I had sown to the flesh. And at first you may not have very much peace and you don’t feel very much joy but you get a little bit of victory, and that taste of victory makes you want more and more! And this life is so much better than being a slave to your lusts. I can’t even compare it.
“I mean, in one sense it’s exciting when you think about all these warriors in the Old Testament that fought all these battles outward. But if I think about in the inner man – I’m becoming a warrior in the inner man. Yeah, maybe it’s not outward and something great and heroic but inside it’s pretty heroic to be a warrior. Anybody can give in to their youthful lusts. That takes nothing. How many people can get victory over it?
“Yes it costs something to become a warrior but this life is full of hope and full of joy. With God’s help it is completely possible for anybody who really wants to, for anyone who really desires to be free from his or her lusts. And I think that’s pretty exciting!”