It takes some brutal honesty to admit to all the tendencies to sin I see in myself. However, God is well pleased with a servant who lives for Him. He searches for those who are willing to give up everything so He can help and strengthen them. (2 Chronicles 16:9) By God’s grace, in my early youth I had multiple influential guides who helped make it clear to me how great a life of purity is. I resolved to keep my mind completely free from impure thoughts about other people, even thought castles and imaginings. Why? Because these are desires and lusts of the flesh which go against what is written in God’s Word. (1 John 2:15-17; James 1:14-15)
This battle against my lusts primarily takes place in my thought life. The key I have found is to simply give up on my own strength and to cry out to God for power. I could tell of some incredible experiences where I sensed God’s strength take over, giving me authority over my thoughts and actions in the situation.
Faithfulness to keep myself pure in every way benefits my life in so many ways – too many to cover here. But here are a few of the ways that my life has been richer for having kept myself from sin in this area:
1) A deep knowledge that I belong to God and am safe in His hands: Keeping myself pure from all conscious sin results in absolute rest, peace and joy in God. I know that I serve Him first, and am well-pleasing to Him. When I keep His commandments (such as 1 Corinthians 6:18-20), then I know that I belong to Him, and can rest securely in His warm, loving hands. No matter what comes my way in life, He is on my side, and I can confidently trust Him to provide for my very best, in every way.
“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.”
God’s care for me covers all facets of my life, including my schooling, career, finances, relationships, answers to prayers, spiritual guidance, etc.
2) Freedom to be a true servant of God: When I get grace from God to become free from my lusts in my thought life, my body can be an instrument in His hands. There is nothing more fulfilling, exciting, or worth living for on this earth! I can rejoice that I am free to serve Him, and use my body as He intended during my brief time here. This is for sure the greatest joy I could ever experience – far beyond any passing pleasure that would be enjoyed from giving in to my lusts. (Romans 6:13)
3) A tried and tested recipe for “victory over sin:” After breaking free from impure thoughts, it set the stage for the rest of my life. In a way, it seemed like I had discovered “the template” to follow to break free from any sin! Since this is usually one of the most difficult areas for young people, when we get power from God to dominate our lusts, the rest seems to come more naturally.
I learned to give up trying in my own strength, and to surrender to God’s power to succeed. I thank God for this often. Any form of sin that arises within me (such as: anxiety, suspicious thoughts, comparing myself to others, impatience, demands, or discontent), meets the same consequence. Life is so awesome and liberating when I get God’s power to be free from all of this!
4) A rock-solid marriage relationship: When two servants of God who have fought to keep themselves pure enter marriage, there is a lasting and deep trust formed between them. My husband and I both fought this battle in our youth, and became free from our lusts, by God’s power. Our marriage relationship can be described as 100% trusting, and full of care, love, selflessness, unity and harmony. We do not worry about the other one “falling;” we trust each other deeply, because we know exactly what to do if any impure thoughts come our way. There is a tangible, enormous amount of divine grace over our marriage, because we both serve Him first.
We are incredibly blessed that we do not have to bear the burden of comparing our marriage details to past partners from prior deep relationships. I am deeply grateful to God for this. I did not have any idea what an enormous impact this would have on our marriage beforehand, although I had been warned. I have only begun to realize how deeply he respects me and trusts me due to my choices in my youth time.
Of course, couples who have followed a different course in life can also achieve a happy and trusting relationship, by God’s grace. However, this is not a given. Becoming experienced at overcoming our sexual lusts before getting married is the “first-class” way, and sets the stage for any future temptations in this area.
“Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:18-20.
“Sinning against your own body” has impacts for the rest of your life. It is also true that forgiveness for all past sins and falls is final. There are many examples of wholehearted Christians who have come to an entirely new life after a “muddy past,” and have received copious amounts of grace over their marriage and families. However, it is written that you will reap what you sow, so it pays to sow to faithfulness.
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” Galatians 6:7-8.
5) The ability to hear the Spirit’s voice: Another benefit is that when my own sin is “under my feet,” I am free to hear the Spirit’s leading plainly. My experience is that when my lusts no longer had power over me, God’s Spirit could speak clearly to me. Not least, I was able to hear clear as day whom I should marry and when. I believe that had I not kept myself pure from thoughts about other men in my life, I would not have been able to hear this as I did. Giving in to our lusts clouds our thoughts and interferes with our connection to the Head.
I sincerely wish that all young people could see and understand the enormous benefit that purity has in their relationship with God, their future marriage, and their happiness. It is impossible to regret living a life of freedom from sin! Astonishing blessing is showered upon those who live faithful to Him.
“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9.