Simple Steps for Hope When You’re Dealing with Sexual Issues
Last year a young lady I will call Emmy pulled me aside and said, “I didn’t think pornography was wrong until I came to the Becoming the One group.”
Her parents never expressed affection between each other as husband and wife—they didn’t talk about relationships at all. So Emmy grew up without good examples of what healthy relationships look like.
One of the outcomes of this lack of information and support was her belief that porn wasn’t a big deal.
“I’ve never thought of these things,” she said. She had started to realize how pornography could affect her relationship or even her future marriage.
When no one teaches us that sex is beautiful, sacred, and worth protecting, it can lead to some unhealthy assumptions that aren’t based in God’s Word.
As we mature into adulthood, we need to be able to share our emotions, what we’re going through, our questions about sex, the healing we need, etc. with some kind of mentor. When these conversations do not or are not allowed to happen, we can end up encountering problems in our relationships later on.
“The world perverts sex,” Kris Vallotton says, “but Christians tend to shame it, which ultimately leads to a different, but equally destructive, kind of perversion.”
If you find yourself struggling with an unwanted sexual issue, it’s time to start hoping again! Don’t take the side of shame.
Here are a few simple steps that will help you find peace and be able to rest in your heavenly Father, who loves you more than you realize.
1. Set the kind of boundaries you actually need.
A pastor I know struggled with a pornography addiction for a long time. Eventually he became desperate and started to take “drastic” measures. For instance, when traveling he would call his hotel in advance and ask them to remove the cable box from his room.
“I’m more of a radical in this,” he said, but he knew he needed to take radical steps.
Setting good boundaries is a mark of wisdom. For one, it takes us out of passivity and sets us on the front lines of our battle for freedom. It’s also a very practical way we can do what the Bible says and “flee from sexual immorality” (1 Cor. 6:18 NIV). In this pastor’s case, he knew he had to set certain boundaries to keep himself from sinning.
All of us have different weaknesses and strengths. The boundaries one person needs may be very different than the boundaries someone else needs. Setting the specific and unique boundaries we need is one way we become doers of God’s Word and not just hearers only (Jas. 1:22).
2. Go to God for help and choose to submit to His leading.
Do you ever catch yourself thinking that asking God for help won’t change anything?
Sometimes a little shard of doubt and hopelessness can become lodged in our heart. As the days go by and we keep struggling with this issue that shames us, we can start to lose sight of the Lord’s desire to move on our behalf.
But here’s the truth of the matter:
The same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives inside you. When you ask that power for help, you can expect to be empowered! It might not come the way you think it will, and it might take a little while to show up—but God will come and save you.
Stephen K. De Silva, author of Money and the Prosperous Soul, recently shared this beautiful, honest thought about God’s heart:
We look to our Father in heaven, asking Him for protection, provision, and identity. We tell Him our needs and fast, pray, wait, rest.
But while we’re doing these things, we don’t lose hope—instead, we remember it’s only a matter of time until God delivers. He has before, and He will again. With God, rescue is never if He will but when He will. God is a deliverer by definition.
Jesus wants to support you and keep you standing firm in the face of sexual temptation and issues you want to be free of.
Get in the habit of mentally “turning” to God and asking for help when you need it. Faithfully seek Him so you can make wise choices. Start declaring His truth aloud because this is powerful agreement with what He’s doing in your life:
“God, I submit myself to You.”
“The ways of the Lord are my firm foundation!”
“God is my strength.”
“Jesus sets me free from ALL shame.”
“My identity is found in Jesus Christ!”
Choosing to do life with God is a much safer place than trying to conquer an issue on your own strength.
3. Find a mentor who can love on you, help you, pray for you, guide you, and hold you accountable.
In my experience, people find freedom from sexual issues when they have at least one person in their life who is helping them.
This mentor, whoever it is, prays for them and reminds them of who they are and how MIGHTILY God loves them. The mentor also asks real questions—the tough ones—about not doing what the flesh sometimes wants to do.
Don’t ever be afraid to be vulnerable as you seek healing for this issue. In matters of freedom, vulnerability is a close friend! By being open and honest with God, yourself, and an accountability partner or mentor, you throw yourself a rope.
You don’t have to figure this out on your own—you can lean on someone else and be that much stronger. That’s how God created the precious body of Christ to function.
4. Don’t listen to the internal voice that tells you you’re failing.
In his article titled “Destroying Porn Addiction Starts with Destroying Shame,” Luke Gilkerson writes:
Shame is a normal response to sin. In fact, in the Bible, being shameless is a sign that something is seriously wrong—sinning in broad daylight is an indication of great hardheartedness. But shame becomes toxic when it is reinforced by the idea that we and our relationships are irreparable and irredeemable.
Can you “hear” a voice inside you that constantly talks about how much you’re failing? That voice might sound like this: “How can you keep doing this? You are such a failure! There is no hope that you’ll ever be free of this issue.”
In the moment, the voice of shame seems to make logical sense—it can feel like it’s true. But there is something much, much more powerful than shame at work in your life. That power is God’s love.
Child of God, you are loved more than you can comprehend! Do not listen to that internal voice that tries to tear you down and make you think there is no hope.
I pray that this very day, God starts to reveal to your heart just how deep His love for you really is. No matter how long you’ve been struggling with this issue, there is SO MUCH HOPE for you and your situation. God is nowhere close to writing you off as a lost cause. He is right here to help and support you into the real freedom only He can provide.
Interested in reading more? Here are a few other articles on related topics:
For more information on sex, marriage, and finding the person who is right for you, get a copy of Becoming the One by Salomé Roat. Click here to learn more.