Temptations of a Young Man – How Can I Respond?
It ain’t easy being a real man…especially when it comes to fleeing sexual immorality. Judah points us toward God’s ways to do exactly that. Read on and be encouraged!
Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 1 Corinthians 6:18
I can specifically remember my teenage years when I thought I could handle anything the world threw at me. Call it cockiness, pride, arrogance, but one thing is certain…I had it all wrong. One of the areas I absolutely needed help was with the temptation for sexual impurity. Thankfully the Lord provided me with relationships and resources to assist me in the battle raging against men.
Every Young Man’s Battle is a book by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoker I highly recommend to teenagers who need to better understand sexual sin and how to biblically respond to temptation. Here are three practices to combat sexual temptation I learned from this book.
- BOUNCE your eyes. As a man, attraction to females is natural and God-given. Noticing a woman’s beauty is not sin, but it can lead to sin. Men are visually stimulated. The longer our eyes linger, the quicker our attraction turns to lust. Training our eyes to quickly bounce away helps divert our thought process and cut short the temptation to move from attraction to lust. Bouncing our eyes won’t solve the entirety of sexual impurity, but is a good habit to help avoid the chain reaction caused by our natural attraction to women. Make no mistake, lust is a big deal in the eyes of the Lord (Matthew 5:28), so let’s take action to avoid falling into sin in this area.
- FLEE situations… run away! It’s not often in life that a man is told to run away from his problems. Shouldn’t a man stand and fight? When it comes to sexual temptation, it’s quite the opposite. Scripture explicitly tells us to “FLEE from sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18). Don’t think of FLEEING temptation as avoiding the issue, but instead as following God’s command to keep far from impurity. We’re even given an example of this when Joseph literally “ran out of the house” after being enticed by Potiphar’s wife in Genesis 39. Running away may seem rash, and even cowardice to some, but sexual temptation is a slippery slope of escalation and the downhill fall begins with the simple mistake of staying put.
- TAKE UP our sword and shield. The Bible is packed with scripture challenging and encouraging us in the area of sexual purity. Memorizing these words arms us for the eminent battles we will face on the purity front. Every Young Man’s Battle calls this taking up our sword and shield. The authors suggest memorizing two scriptures for the daily fight for purity. The first is an “attack verse” (sword), readily available to quickly combat arising temptation (see Job 31:1). The second, a “protective verse” (shield), can be used outside the heat of battle, allowing us to draw strength in preparation for what may come (see 1 Corinthians 6:13). Let’s follow the example of David in Psalm 119 by storing up God’s word in our heart and preparing for a battle we cannot win alone.
The path of purity is no cake walk, and the enemy has his sights set on causing us to stumble. Praise the Lord for His faithfulness to provide a way of escape.
Have you ever felt like doing something you knew was wrong? This is called temptation. What can we do when we feel tempted to do things we shouldn’t? (hint: Bounce, Flee, and Take up!)