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Practical Advice in the Struggle for Purity

Here is some counsel and a few practical tips on sexual purity. What are some ways young adults can pursue purity? What’s the role of accountability software? What are some recommended resources?


What are some practical things young people can do to keep their ways pure?

I guess, first, you’re committing to the Christian disciplines, you’re committing to reading and prayer. Now I’m not looking to that as some magic wand, that if I read the Bible in the morning, I won’t be tempted in the evening. That’s not the way these things tend to work. But, to really live a life committed to the Lord. And to continue to put scripture into your mind and into your heart, right. The Bible is, it’s so good, it’s so pure, it’s so holy. If you fill your mind with the Bible, it starts to push out those evil desires, those evil thoughts. And then you pray, you pray that that scripture would go down deep within, that it would really help you to understand what God says. And help you have new desires to do what God commands.

And so commit to reading and prayer, commit to church, commit to turning those selfish desires outside, to take selfish desires and now love other people. The antidote to lust is not to commit, I will not lust, I will not lust, I will not commit sexual sin. The antidote is to love others, to look outside yourself, to do what God commands. See, we don’t put sin to death just by taking something away, but by replacing it with something better. So where there has been lust, if you now take that lust away, you’ve left a kind of void in your life. Unless you fill it with something good, it will just fill up with that lust again.

So, learn to love, commit to love, commit to doing good for other people. That will fill up that void with something good. So, whenever you’re battling sin, always remember you don’t just take the sin away. It’s not enough to just put sin to death. You need to come alive to righteousness. Jesus Christ didn’t save us so we could not sin. Jesus Christ saved us so we could do what is right, do what is holy.

What are your thoughts on accountability software?

I think accountability software can be very, very helpful and for a long time I’ve advocated the use of Covenant Eyes or some of the other, the most common one, or the one most people know of, but there’s many like it. The Circle Device can be very helpful to bring into your home. Accountability software is great, however, we’ve got to be very careful that we don’t confuse the inability to sin with not desiring to sin. So, just taking away the ability by blockading all these sites and just knowing that somebody will be seeing your accountability report, that’s not what we’re going for in the Christian life. I mean that’s helpful.

What we really want is to so change our desires that we no longer want to sin. So when I say, use accountability software, and I often recommend it, what I mean is, put that software in place so you now have taken away the temptation, or not taken away the temptation, taken away some of the ability to sin. You’ve broken some of the patterns of sin. That now gives you time to heal, to come up with new patterns, to replace those old ugly patterns of lust with a new pattern of holiness.

And the ultimate ideal is not to have to rely on that software. To have the grip of lust so broken in your life that you no longer even want to commit that sin. You no longer need that software and some people will really come to that freedom, some won’t, but that’s the ultimate desire. So, employ that software.

Another important principle is, the best accountability is not software, but another person. So, enlisting people in your struggle, usually not peers. Two or three porn addicted 18-year-olds really can’t give one another a lot of true accountability. So you probably need to appeal to somebody higher, somebody older, somebody you respect. And appeal to that person and say, can you help me? Help me overcome the sin. Help me battle the sin. Tell me what’s been effective in your life. And maybe that person can be your accountability partner. Not just to read your reports, but maybe to approach you and to really get in your face sometimes.

When we’re battling sin, sometimes we need somebody to come alongside and just really preach the Gospel to us and really treat us with gentleness. Sometimes we need someone to look us dead in the eye and say, you stop this sin right now. And a good older man, a friend, a pastor, someone like that, a dad, can be a tremendous help in both of those ways. So, enlist software, enlist a person, that’s great accountability.

What are some good resources to help with the struggle for purity?

I wrote a book called Sexual Detox: A guide for guys who are sick of porn. I think it’s a helpful book. I’ve gotten quite a lot of response that it’s been helpful to people.

Another good one is by Heath Lambert. It’s called Finally Free. A very good book on exactly this thing. Mine’s written specifically for young men. His is written for young women as well, for anyone who’s struggling with that, or for people who are helping someone through the struggle with porn.

So both of those resources are very good. There’s many, many more. Purity is Possible by Helen Thorne, written specifically for women. Lots of great resources that can help us today.

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