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How Can a Young Man Keep His Way Pure?

15. November 2017

Features, Christian Living,

  

If God saved the chief of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15) and used him in mighty ways, can He not do the same with you? If the power of God is made perfect in weakness (2 Cor. 12:9), wouldn’t He gain great glory through your sanctification?

My sexual immorality is what God used to show me my need of a savior. After I became a Christian, I half expected the sin to slowly die. Eventually I saw this wasn’t the case, so I tried to grow in a hatred of my sin, thinking this would help me obey God. I filled my mind with verses like James 4:9, “Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.” I increasingly read about how offensive sin was to God and how the unrighteous would not inherit the kingdom of heaven.

Such a focus led me to a mindset that God hated me because of the greatness of my sin. Each sin made me think, “You are a liar, you do not love God.” Perhaps like many Christians I cried out, “I do not understand my own actions….I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing….Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Rom. 7:15, 19, 24–25)

By God’s grace He has been leading me to faithfulness. Here are some biblical truths that God continues to use to conform me to the image of His Son.

Victory Through Joy

One of the first things God taught me was to focus on joy in Him, not on a hatred of sin. This biblical truth can be seen in Nehemiah 8:10, “Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” We see this truth displayed in the life of Moses, who counted the reproach of Christ as greater riches than the fleeting pleasures of sin (Heb. 11:24-26), and in Paul, who suffered the loss of all things that he might gain Christ (Phil. 3:8). In both instances they were willing to suffer loss because of a joy that was set before them. Our ultimate example can be found in Christ, “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross” (Heb. 12:2). Killing sin is accomplished by finding joy in God.

Grow a Love for God

Love is the fulfillment of the law (Rom. 13:10). If you love God, you will keep His commandments (John 14:15). In order to grow in faithfulness, one must grow in one’s love for God: “we love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Considering the depth of God’s love will cause our love for God to increase, which in turn will result in faithfulness.

Where can we see the depth of God’s love most? The cross of Jesus Christ (John 15:13). Study His life leading up to the cross and His time upon it. Try listening to sermons on SermonAudio.com while doing weekly tasks. Consider that God loves you as a groom delights in his bride (Eph. 5:25) or a father his child (1 John 3:1). He loved you even when you were dead in your sins (Rom. 5:8).

Fight a War

Since when is it a good idea to go to war by yourself?

I thought it was a sign of weakness to call a brother in Christ in a time of temptation. I figured I should learn to resist on my own. Jesus thought otherwise. In Luke 22:40 He instructs His disciples to watch and pray lest they enter into temptation; then He went to pray and asked that they watch with Him (Matt. 26:38), indicating He was being tempted. In a time of great temptation, what did Christ do? He took a few friends to watch with Him (Matt. 26:37–38), and He fell on His face and petitioned God (v. 39). We should do the same. Texting a friend, “Hey, I have the house to myself for 3 hours; check on me at 8 p.m. I intend on doing such-and-such until people get home,” has been extremely helpful. Have a close friend or two watch and pray with you. (Leave the house if need be. Flee temptation as Joseph did.)

Kill the “Innocent” Acts Preceding Sin

The young man in Proverbs 7 was deemed a fool because he was passing the street near the adulteress’s corner. We might say “I’m just going to browse the internet…” or “I want to ensure the blocking software works well on my computer, so I’ll check for loopholes.” We find indirect paths to seek sin. The young man in Proverbs 7 probably reasoned, “I’m just going on a stroll.” Keep far from her house (Prov. 5:8).

We often pray, “Lead me not into temptation,” yet are we making the effort to avoid temptation? You’ll save yourself a lot of difficulty if you simply recognize areas of danger (e.g., being on your computer late at night by yourself) and avoid them.

Avoid Idleness

An empty schedule is a great opportunity for temptation. Consider King David, who committed adultery with Bathsheba. It was “the time when kings go out to battle” when he sent all his men to war, but he “remained at Jerusalem” (2 Sam. 11:1). One sin can lead to another. As greed can lead to lying (Acts 5:3), or adultery to murder (2 Sam. 11:15), so idleness can lead to sexual immorality. Rather, fill your schedule as Christ did (Luke 2:52). Grow in wisdom (study something), grow in stature (exercise), and grow in favor with God (spend time in Scripture and prayer) and with man (fellowship with people).

Consider the Future

Lamentations 1:9 says that Israel “took no thought of her future; therefore her fall [was] terrible.” If we do not consider the future, we may end up like the man in Proverbs 5 who groaned at the end of his life, when his flesh and body were consumed, saying, “How I hated discipline, and my heart despised reproof!” Hebrews 13:7 says, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” If you desire to reap a particular fruit in the future, you must sow the appropriate seed now.

Consider Others

Considering the elect is what drove Paul to endure all things (2 Tim. 2:10). In like manner consider your witness to the church and to the lost. The closer you draw to God, the more of a blessing you will be to those around you. Conversely, sin can keep us from fruitful labor, and it may become a stumbling block to those around us (Gal. 6:1).

Therefore, consider others and aim to be holy for their sake. Consider your children. We see in Scripture that they walk in the way of their fathers (2 Kings 15:9; 22:2). Refrain from sin because it grieves the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30). Learn to endure all things by considering God, the church, the lost, your children, and your spouse (or future spouse).

Make Effort and Endure

Remember it’s a race (1 Cor. 9:24), so you actually need to make effort. “Strive to enter through the narrow door” (Luke 13:24). “Make every effort to add to your faith” (2 Peter 1:5). Various passages say to strive, endure, or persevere. Consider how much Christ endured: “And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”

There is room for us to grow in endurance: “you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood,” and “could you not watch with me one hour?” Find strength in Jesus, expect to suffer, find encouragement knowing that the trial will bear fruit (Jas. 1:2–4) and it will end (Jas. 4:7).

Grow Your Faith Incrementally

We grow in Christlikeness little by little (Ps. 84:7). Consider 2 Peter 1:5–8: “Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.” Regardless of how your battle is going, make every effort to add to your faith even the smallest things, which lead to further progress.

Pray with Someone, Pray Scripture

Try praying with someone a few times throughout the week (via cell phone is a good way to maintain this practice). Keep it short and simple. Pray the Psalms: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight” (Ps. 19:14); “Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things” (Ps. 119:37). Don’t merely pray “help me put off sin,” but pray “help me put on Christ.” Give praise for the victories and growth God has given.

Fellowship with God

The more you see Christ, the more you will be conformed to His image (2 Cor. 3:18). We are sanctified in the truth of Scripture (John 17:17).

One of my pastors once said, “You already have all that you need for repentance.” In other words, there isn’t some amazing secret that will grant you deliverance from sin instantaneously. God has provided us with prayer, Scripture, the body of Christ, and His Holy Spirit, who is at work in us. The points mentioned above are simply applications of Scripture. All in all, be in God’s Word to learn from and delight in Him. He is altogether desirable (Song of Sol. 5:16).

Hope of Sanctification

Prayer and Scripture are the two major items to keep in your life. The third (which is derived from the Scriptures) is a hope in Christ’s work of sanctification. Many items above are what God calls us to do. But knowing what God will do has given me much hope, strength, and joy. His will is our sanctification (1 Thess. 4:3). “Fear not, but let your hands be strong…[you] shall be like mighty men in battle…[you] shall fight because the Lord is with [you]” (Zech. 8:9; 10:5). Hope in God. Claim the multitude of promises He has given us.

Name withheld. Copyright 2017, RPWitness.org.