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Controlling Lust

 

Sex is all around us: on MTV and the radio, magazine covers and in the halls of many high schools. It is becoming an almost ubiquitous snare for teenagers who would like to avoid sexual temptation. All sex outside of marriage is sinful, and history teaches us that corrupt societies down through history have always been corrupt sexually, too. It's clearly not in anybody's best interest to be having sex outside of marriage.

 

That's what God says in the Seventh Commandment, "Thou shalt not commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14). Adultery is sex outside of marriage - sexual immorality, which God takes very seriously, as shown in the many instances in the Bible where those who engage in immoral sex suffer grave consequences.

 

The Bible warns us to avoid sexual sin for three reasons: (1) avoid alienation from God, (2) our own protection from physical and psychological harm, and (3) because sexual sin does not reflect the character of God. See:

 

1 Corinthians 6:18

Ephesians 5:3

Ephesians 5:5

 

Jesus knew how difficult it is to resist sexual temptation, since He lived in a human body and no doubt experienced it. But He sternly warned people against giving in:

 

"You have heard that it was said, 'Thou shalt not commit adultery,' but I say to you, that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart."

-- Matthew 5:27-28, the Sermon on the Mount

 

"Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."

-- Matthew 26:41

 

On the other hand, He knew that we would sometimes fail, but as long as we remember that sexual immorality is wrong, and move toward repentance, He will forgive and encourage. Note how in John 8:1-11, the crowd wanted to stone the adulteress to death, but Jesus exposed their hypocrisy and gently rebuked her not to do it again.

 

He wants us to resist, though, and among the reasons is so that we can encourage our friends to resist, too: "For in that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted." (Hebrews 2:3)

 

So here are a few ways a teen and his or her parents can control the "urge to merge" and remain sexually pure:

 

n       Prayer for strength and obedience to hang on to virginity until marriage.

n       Talk about sex, make sure the young person knows the facts of life, and brainstorm ways that he or she could get out of a tempting situation firmly and gracefully.

n       "Feet on the floor" while necking is a good rule of thumb.

n       "No touching in the swimsuit areas."

n       If you wouldn't wear an outfit out to lunch with Great-Grandma, don't wear it at all.

n       Nothing much good happens late at night, when it comes to teenagers dealing with raging hormones. They might just thank strict parents - later, much later - who reduce their opportunity for sexual sin by insisting that they come home at a decent hour instead of staying out late doing who knows what. Smart parents will develop a stairstep curfew with their teenager that loosens up year by year. On school nights, a 10 p.m. curfew is not too strict. For weekends, you might try 10:30 p.m. for ninth graders, 11 p.m. for sophomores, 11:30 for juniors and midnight for seniors, with special dispensation for special occasions such as Homecoming. Yes, the teen will complain that "nobody" else has such a puritanical curfew, but tough. Secretly, kids are glad they have parents who care so much.

 

 

By Susan Darst Williams www.GoBigEd.com Heart Lessons 006 2006

 

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