Well, you’ve done it again. For what you want to do (sexual purity) you do not do, but what you hate you do. And if you do what you do not want to do, you agree that it is good to keep sexually pure. But you’ve done it again. You found yourself covered with lustful desires and as a lion to its prey, you chase, never resting until you have devoured your prey. Then the weight of guilt fall heavy upon your shoulder and like Augustine you take refuge in a garden, where no one could interrupt that fierce struggle in which you was your own contestant and you are beside yourself with madness, you are frantic overcome by violent anger with yourself for not accepting God’s will and entering fully into His covenant. You tore your hair and hammered your forehead with your fist. You are held back by mere trifles, held captive as a slave to sexual impurity. You have the desire to do what is good, but the sexual impurity you do not want to do-this you keep on doing. Now if you do what you do not want to do, it is no longer you who do it but it is sin (sexual impurity), living in you that does it. Therefore, you find yourself a wretched man and ask who will rescue you from this body of death. Like David, your soul is in deep anguish and your bones are in agony. All night long you flood your bed with weeping and drench your couch with tears. Your eyes grow weak with sorrow, they fail because of all your sexual sins.
Many Christian students in coming to university may find themselves in the centre of a ‘hissing cauldron of lust’. They see with fleshly eyes the wantonness of sexual gratification and availed by their own already sexual desires, it becomes almost impossible to steer away from the ‘hissing cauldron of lust’. Thus, many give way to the reign of lust and if these Christians are born again, they find no peace or lasting enjoyment in these sexual activities but a relentless guilt and sorrow and powerlessness which dominates their Christian existence. Jesus said that one cannot serve two masters, you will love one and hate the other. Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 4:3, ‘for this is the will of God, that you abstain from sexual immorality’. Also, Peter solemnly warned the church that ‘as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires which war against your soul’, 1 Peter 2:11. Sexual immorality is a sinful desire and it should not surprise believers that it wars against their soul, against their enjoyment of God because sexual purity as to do with enjoying God. Sexual immorality is not just limited to sleeping together or committing adultery but also ‘sexual desires that dominates your life in ways they should not. For our day I think we could include here desires that lead to the use of pornography, and desires that lead to a fantasy life and the masturbation that is so often embedded in it - for men and women’, John Piper. If the need for sexual purity as to do with enjoying God, for sexual immorality has to do with gratification and pleasure, then how can you a Christian student cultivate a life of enjoying God amidst the ‘hissing cauldron of lust’ which will naturally diminish your wants and needs for sexual immorality?
Abstaining from sexual immorality is ultimately a fight to please and enjoy God. It shows that above all you Love God and your desires and affections are for him. The path to cultivating a life of enjoying God is by knowing God. If you are sold to pornography, fornication, sexual fantasies and all other sexual sins, knowing God is the path to your freedom because for the Christian it is crucial to note that Jesus Christ delivers you by his blood from the bondage of sin to the freedom of the Spirit. Sexual immorality is not the mark of a son or daughter of God but of gentiles, those yet not knowing God because ‘as obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance’ and ‘put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires’, 1 peter 1:14 and Ephesians 4:22. God has given us our bodies, our Spirit filled bodies that he might be glorified in them, so keeping sexually pure glorifies God and our enjoyment of him increases.
If you struggle violently with lust, pornography and deep sexual immorality, knowing God and enjoying God will lead to your sexual purity. Your free-will as Augustine puts it, avails for nothing except to sin and also that every man wants to be happy whatsoever his condition. For the Christian student you want to be happy in God but your sexual failures wages war against your soul. Your real need is for God who is the food for your soul but you may not be aware of this hunger, therefore you should pray to God for more of his saving grace, for God to put His sovereign Joy into your heart that triumphs over all other joys and thus quenches your desires for sexual immorality.
Do not remain silent on this issue, but seek healing from this paralyses from the church community. Be affirmed that it is not only you with this struggle but many more may be in the same red shoes as you. Confess your sins, seek breakthrough and know yourself, know the things which causes you to sin and above all treasure Jesus in your heart. You do not have to stay in guilt but know that God justifies the ungodly, yea, He has justified you by the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
The need for sexual purity is the battle to enjoy God. And God has poured his love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. So, take fresh courage in your battle with sin and seek to enjoy and delight in God.
Romans 7, Romans 5
The legacy of Soverign Joy by John Piper