by Michael Baria
Throughout my recovery process, I have received opinions from every side of the aisle on whether or not my life will be victorious over sexual sin. My favorite advisors tell me, “Yes, you can absolutely be freed once and for all.” The ones who induce depression say, “This is something you will always struggle with.” All of these counselors are godly, well intentioned men. However, they each come with their own opinion on how this battle progresses.
Instead of ignoring the advice I don’t like and just magnifying what I hope to be true, what can I find in the Bible about this battle? This is not a comprehensive analysis, but here is what I see. First, God’s will is clearly for each of His kids to be sanctified and purified from sexual immorality. I Thessalonians 4 tells us that God’s will is “…our sanctification, that [we] abstain from sexual immorality.” It doesn’t say that He hopes we eventually become pure, or that maybe we pursue purity 50 percent of the time, or just more often than not. His will, which is active now, is that we be pure. Ok, so the next time we face temptation, what is God’s will? That we be sanctified. Check.
Move to I Corinthians 10:13 where Paul writes the verse that is all too familiar to men who fight this fight. To paraphrase it, God won’t let us be tempted beyond what we can take and He always provides a way out of that temptation. By this verse we know that every single temptation we face, ever, has a limit placed on it. God has restricted it and nothing will ever hit us that hasn’t already passed through God’s sovereign hand for the purpose of placing barriers on it. In that beer commercial I see or the pop-up ad or the flirtatious married girl at work, our loving Heavenly Father has already said, “Temptation, you can go no further than this, which is where my child can still resist you.” Due to God lovingly protecting us and not pushing us beyond what we can bear, we know that every temptation is, in fact, resistible.
Let’s review. What’s His will in every situation? Our sanctification and avoidance of sexual sin. What is the provision He has made so that His will can become a reality? No temptation can push us beyond what we are capable of, so long as we are walking in His Spirit. What a relief! We can know that in every trial, God wants us to succeed and He has made the provision. No situation is an automatic failure. The only thing stopping success is me.
Am I saying you can be perfect all the time from here until you die? I don’t know. I can’t give a hard and fast rule about whether we always will struggle or whether I’m always victorious. I wish God removed this like a surgeon cuts out a cancer, but until that day we still have quite a promise from Him that seems to be the next best thing. My Father’s will is purity and He has enabled and made the provision for me. Let’s live in that reality. Your loving Father desires your success and has already gone ahead and made that success a possibility. Every time. Final victory is possible with continued vigilance.
Question: Which verses provide you with the encouragement needed to endure temptation? Click here to comment
Michael is a former college athlete and a med school graduate. He is currently in his medical residency.