Proverbs 4:23 says we should guard our heart with all diligence because from out of it flows the issues of life. This scripture implies that whatever we allow to enter our hearts, if not examined and evaluated properly, will undoubtedly be expressed in our lives and our actions – in positive or negative ways.
But guarding and protecting our hearts from sexual sin is becoming increasingly challenging. We’re relentlessly bombarded with sexual images seemingly wherever we turn. So, is it even possible to protect ourselves as men? I say, “Yes,” but it must be done on two levels: on a spiritual as well as a practical level.
Let’s start with the spiritual. If we want to guard and protect our hearts from sexual sin, we have to focus on three spiritual things:
Know Your Identity
First, we have to accept our identity in Christ. Why identity? Because our identity determines our destiny. That’s why Satan, our enemy, tries to attack, question, and get us to doubt our identity first. Because if he can get you to doubt who you are (in Christ), then he can predict what you will do (in the flesh).
Contrary to what we believe about sexual addictions and lustful temptations, we are not what we do, but rather who we believe we are. Because a man will always act in a way that’s consistent with who he thinks he is, whether that identity is true or not. It’s the difference between identifying yourself as a sex addict or identifying yourself as a child of God saved by grace. The choice is yours.
Know The Power Your Have Been Given
Second, we have to accept the authority God has given us. The authority you and I possess is the power of the Holy Spirit that God gave us through his Son, Jesus Christ. Acts 1:8 says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.” As born-again believers, we have that power right now; however, most of us don’t exercise that authority when it comes to sexual temptation. We believe Jesus indeed gave us victory over all sins, except the sexual ones.
Pursue True Identity
Third, we have to pursue true intimacy – that’s the act of being truly known and loved unconditionally. God created us for intimacy; he made us, so he could delight in us as we delight in him. However, because of past trauma and unresolved hurt, we’ve often chosen to seek intimacy in all the wrong places. Sexual sin becomes attractive to us because it offers us “intimacy” that is free from commitment, rejection, disappointment, or vulnerability – but it’s a false intimacy. True intimacy can only be found in Jesus Christ, then others.
On the practical side, here are two ways we can guard and protect our hearts from sexual sin:
First, we have to get honest: honest with God, ourselves, and others. I once heard a preacher say, “A man is as sick as his secrets.” I believe that is true, but I would add, “A man is as emotionally, spiritually, relationally, and mentally healthy as he is honest.” If you show me a man who’s hiding from the truth (about himself), I’ll show you a man who’s not only hurting emotionally, but he’s also hurting those who are in relationship with him.
We all need accountability because without it, we might actually believe we can do this thing called “life” by ourselves.
Secondly, we have to seek and keep accountability in our lives. We are relational human beings; God made us for relationships. In order to live by our born-again identity in Christ, consistently walk in kingdom authority, pursue true intimacy, and be transparently honest with ourselves and others, we all need people in our lives that will hold us accountable for all of this. That is one reason I created our program the Real Men 300: To make sure no man has to ever do life, or battle sexual temptation, alone.
If a man doesn’t have accountability built into his everyday life, he’s probably a man who can’t be counted on when life gets hard. We all need accountability because without it, we might actually believe we can do this thing called “life” by ourselves.