The past few weeks have been a roller coaster of emotions for me, and I am trying to sort out all of the emotions in my brain and in my heart enough to understand how God is working through my life in order to try to help others who need encouragement. In the past three weeks, I have seen God more intensely than I have in a very long time. I have been humbled and weakened by the amount of grace God has to offer His children when we ask for it. God has been showing me that I am allowed to be weak. He wants to help us carry our burdens. Also in the past three weeks, I have seen Satan’s darkness and temptations more than ever before. Satan’s presence has been made known to me very obviously, and it has been extremely difficult to focus on pure things rather than worldly passions. I have a really hard time admitting that I am not perfect. I struggle with admitting my weaknesses and challenges. I also have a hard time humbling myself enough to admit that I struggle with sexual sin. I convince myself that since I am so passionate about purity, I should never struggle with temptations and moments of weakness in that area. However, I have been learning that admitting your struggles and being at a vulnerable place with God allows you to grow in so many ways. First, it knocks your pride out of the picture and allows God to come in and fill those weak places in your heart. Second, it allows you to have the opportunity to be vulnerable with the people around you who want to encourage you and lift you up spiritually. It is so helpful if you can find someone close to you who can help you be accountable for your thoughts and actions. It may be a hard conversation to start, but I promise you it will be worth it to have someone close by you will help you fight this battle of pure thoughts. Lustful thoughts are such a hard thing to deal with because you can’t control them most of the time. It is so hard to weed out the negative messages in the media that cloud our minds everyday. That is something that I am constantly struggling with at the moment. However, I am comforted by the fact that Satan must flee when you say the name of Jesus. The second a thought comes into your mind that comes from worldly passions and sexual temptation, I have found it so helpful to speak the name of Jesus out loud, to feel a peace in my heart.
To be completely honest, this week my heart has been burdened with all of these negative thoughts centered around sexual temptation. I have struggled maintaining a grip on self-control. So, I thought it would be helpful if I looked up specific verses dealing with self-control in the Word of God. Surprisingly, Jesus has way more to say about self-control than I expected. If you are struggling with temptations or lustful thoughts, please know that it is normal. Every human being was designed to have hormones and desire human interaction with the opposite sex. God created sex. He designed you to enjoy sex in the context of marriage. So, you are normal. Often times, I beat myself up for thinking about things that are not holy in the eyes of the Lord. I take it to the extreme and blame myself for not centering my heart on God during all hours of the day. While God does call us to love Him and make Him center of our lives, He also tells us over and over and over again how much He loves His children. He offers GRACE to those that ask Him for it. So, don’t beat yourself up. Repent from your sins and turn to God, but accept the grace that He is offering to you.
To those of you who can identify with where I am right now, here are a few verses that I found extremely comforting about self-control.
“A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” Proverbs 25:28
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
“For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, self-control with steadfastness, steadfastness with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.” 2 Peter 1:5-7
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope.” Titus 2:11-14
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is anything with excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8
“Do not deprive one another, except for a limited time, that you may devote yourself to prayer, but come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” 1 Corinthians 7:5