Is Long-Term Victory Over Sexual Sin Possible?
Twice a day for forty days, the Philistine champion, Goliath, taunted God’s people that they did not possess a champion capable of fighting him. Within this atmosphere of Israel’s seeming defeat, a young shepherd boy named David boldly stepped forward trusting that his God was able no matter how large the enemy appeared.
Goliath defied David as he approached, “Am I a dog that you come to me with sticks? Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!”
“This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you,” proclaimed David in response.
The God of Israel provided a mighty victory for his people that day. David struck the giant with a single shot from his sling in the only place he was vulnerable, and used Goliath’s own sword to behead him.
Similarly, I found myself face-to-face with a giant -- enormous and more powerful than anything I had ever come against -- addiction to lust, masturbation, pornography, and sex. For years, I had been feeding this very enemy that I was warring against. I was powerless to overcome or escape him. Every half-hearted attempt I made seemed to make me weaker and him mightier. Like Goliath to the Israeli army, the giant continued to deride and taunt me, “Am I a dog that you come to me with sticks? Why fight, you can’t win; you’ll never change; surrender and be done with it.”
Like most men who enter the Pure Life Ministries Residential Program, I did not come here because I saw lasting victory as possible but rather because I, had nothing else to offer against the giant.
It was here that I cried out for the first time, “Lord, help me!” And it was here that the Lord met me. He called me to fight and promised me victory through His Word.
The battle went on for some time. Then suddenly one day, I noticed that my mind, which had become a cesspool of impure thoughts and plottings of sin, was suddenly clean. I am not sure how it happened…there was no slingshot or sword or bloodshed I could see…but the giant was gone, slain by the Lord of hosts. It was quiet. The taunting was over. The victory was given.
<pull-quote>Then suddenly one day...I am not sure how it happened…but the giant was gone, slain by the Lord of hosts...The taunting was over. The victory was given.<pull-quote><tweet-link>Tweet This<tweet-link>
Over and over again, our counselors witness the Lord granting miraculous victories over the giants of sexual addiction. As each of our graduates departs the Pure Life Ministries Residential Program, they testify to this victory. They are overflowing with gratitude and amazement at God’s mercy for them. Most importantly, they are filled with a new faith in the power of God to do the impossible.
Though Goliath was dead, the fighting continued for the Jews. The Philistines remained determined enemies of God’s people. Many battles ahead.
In like manner, many of the men who come through our Residential Program find themselves fighting again within a short time of experiencing initial victory. There are still battles to face. And it can be tempting to doubt the God who delivered the victory.
The truth is, an enduring commitment to the fight is part of the process of gaining final, lasting victory.
<pull-quote>Once I realized man could not change me, there was nothing I could do but throw myself on the mercy of God.<pull-quote><tweet-link>Tweet This<tweet-link>
When the Lord brings an initial, great victory over sexual sin, he does slay the giant. However, the once-addicted man still faces a formidable and determined enemy. The Lord expects us to fight the battles ahead in the manner Paul described to Timothy, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” (I Timothy 6:12)
How does a man fight? What does that look like? In the book of Ephesians, Paul admonishes us to fight against our spiritual enemies with weapons of warfare: “Therefore take up the whole armor of God…having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace…taking the shield of faith …the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always ….” (Ephesians 6:11-18)
Is lasting victory over sexual sin possible for the man who was once enslaved to sexual sin? The answer is a resounding yes; but lasting victory requires much of that man. Like all of God’s miracles, the initial victory is intended to build the faith of the stricken soul and bring the Lord into His proper position in the man’s heart. The process requires him to be armed and ready for battle every day. It requires a total reliance on the spiritual weapons given and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
<pull-quote>Ultimately, David and his mighty men were victorious each time against the Philistines because he understood that it was the Lord’s power that brought victory.<pull-quote><tweet-link>Tweet This<tweet-link>
David experienced the freedom wrought by the Lord’s victory over Goliath. And he continued in battles against the Philistines for years thereafter, suffering many wounds. But ultimately, David and his mighty men were victorious each time against the Philistines because he understood that it was the Lord’s power that brought victory.
Those who can claim ultimate victory over sexual addiction do so because they develop a heart like David’s, always willing to fight for righteousness in the power and promises of the Lord.
Lord, grant us the heart and will of David, “a mighty man of valor, a man of war,” that we might “fight the good fight of faith,” that we might experience a lasting and final victory through the power of the cross. “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37) Amen.