In this hyper-sexualized world, there are practical things Christ-followers can do to flee sexual immorality. While there are pragmatic steps, tips, secrets, or counsel to follow, all these should ultimately point to fleeing to Jesus and being connected with His presence. Though this may sound like a cliché, this connection really is the foundational secret to purity. That being said, here are some points to ponder as practical steps to take.
First, media habits must be mastered. If the previous generation was addicted to television, and this generation is addicted to the internet, then the following generation is definitely glued to mobile devices. If images of temptation are constantly before our eyes, whether it be social media, videos, websites, books—visuals of any sort—it will impact what we do (Luke 11:34, 35). What we see is what we get and what we will become (Job 31:1; 2 Cor. 3:18). That is why David resolved to put nothing wicked in front of his eyes (Ps. 101:3). Jesus also warns us about the visual, saying that lusting starts with the eyes (Matt. 5:28, 29). Again, this does not only pertain to males, but equally with females. It also pertains to how we present ourselves on the exterior, to either encourage or discourage various thoughts.
In the physical realm, diet and exercise can do wonders to ward off sexual temptation. Engaging in a plant-based diet increases various abilities of the brain and optimal performance of the body. Not only diet, but also exercise provides equilibrium of hormones, optimal performance of neurotransmitters, and much more. Habits of regularity also provide some homeostasis. These include sleeping at the same time for the same amount, waking up at the same time (even on weekends), eating at the same time, praying at the same time, and having a consistent daily and weekly schedule. Sabbath keeping is an obvious part of this regularity. Many of the world’s most successful and creative people have regular schedules to provide this level of “life efficiency.”
What kind of social circles and friends we have often dictates the types of social situations we get ourselves into. When the key verse says flee sexual immorality, it may be that we need to get out of the circumstances and scenarios that allow for these temptations to take root. Some are local and immediate, like Joseph and Mrs. Potiphar. Some are general and long-term, meaning perhaps a new job must be taken, complete abstention from sources of temptation, a new apartment or a new city, and even new friendships. Not only are bad relationships to be eschewed, but good ones must be developed and invested in. Accountability partners and mentors are absolutely crucial for spiritual guidance and development. Rather than trusting our eyes, the best partners and mentors are those that we would willingly give access to our personal life, trusting their discretion to chastise and discipline us in a Christlike manner, both grace-filled and according to God’s standards.
Ultimately, purity must be from the inside out and the outside in—all involving the power of God and the human will to choose this power. Our inner world must experience purity on the spiritual and mental levels. Memorizing Scripture, meditating on Christ, and submerging ourselves in spiritual music can impact the way we think. Having God at the center of our lives as our personal Creator and Redeemer allows us to respect humanity, specifically individual males and females as His creations and church members as our fellow brothers and sisters. It grants us the strength to want to be pure and the grace to actually be pure.
Last, spiritual strength is developed through prayer. It is not only the amount of prayer, but also the vulnerability you present yourself to God with that matters. If you are tempted, tell God. If you have fallen, tell God. If you love the sin of impurity more than God, you must tell God. If you think you are powerless over a sin, tell God! He knows all this anyway so why not be honest and tell Him? Finally, you can tell God, with all sincerity, that although you don’t love Him as much as you would like, you want to love Jesus more than all these things. Often guilt, shame, blame, hurt, and fear prevent this level of honesty. But this vulnerability and openness in prayer becomes the inception point of where grace works and where you start to flee to Jesus willingly whenever you encounter a spiritual threat.