Choose Your Weapon and Fight

The following list is derived from a talk that John Piper delivered back in 1995 entitles “Strategies for Battling Sexual Sin”.  Piper’s list with the full text of the accompanying scriptures can be found here.  The strength of Piper’s strategies is that he is as concerned (if not moreso) that the embattled Christian fill himself/herself with the glories of the Christian life as rid themselves of the darkness.  His best illustration from the talk doesn’t make it onto the list I linked to above, and it goes something like this: The best way to get the air out of a glass isn’t with a suction pump… it is to fill it with clean water.  And as the glass fills with water it forces the air out.  So it is with our hearts.  We fight more effectively by being filled, not by merely trying to purge.  Here is the list, and from what I can tell, it is in no particular order of importance:

1. Recognize that sexuality is a good gift from God.

2. Recognize that Biblical prohibitions are intended to protect something precious not deny something pleasant.

3. Believe God is for you.

4. Ponder the eternal danger of lust.

5. Think often that God has given you even now many good things.

6. Preach to yourself that there is more joy in God’s presence than in sin. Transpose desire.

7. Realize that lust disables and weakens our capacity for higher spiritual joys with God. 

8. Don’t ask, What’s wrong with it? Ask: Does it maximize my experience of the power of Christ, my enjoyment of his fellowship, my perception of his beauty, my reflection of his glory?

9. Cultivate a passionate devotion to the honor of God’s name.

10. Develop a worldview that views absolutely everything in relation to God.

11. (For singles) Recognize that sexual relations are not essential to full personhood and happiness.

12. (For the married) Recognize that God designed marriage to be a living parable of his commitment to the church.

13. Be vigilant over your eyes. Avoid unnecessary stimulation.

14. Look on the opposite sex as eternal persons. Realize that lust inevitably depersonalizes and despiritualizes people.

15. Think often that Christ suffered agony for your purity. Fight image with image. Christ crying in agony.

16. Beware of assuming past successes guarantee future purity.

17. Beware of feeling above accountability.

18. Do not be excessively alone.

19. Get in a group where you exhort one another every day against the deceitfulness of sin.

20. Memorize many scriptures.

21. Stockpile your thoughts with good things.

22. Read the great literature of devotion, biography, etc.

23. Never assume that you are above suffering or that you deserve relief through sin.  Beware the pitfall of powerful self-pity.

24. Get busy with some task.

25. Pray at all times in the Spirit for God’s deliverance.

26. Be encouraged; God is patient

I believe some of these to be quite helpful where others are not.  However, what is helpful to one person might fall flat on its face for another.  Keep in mind that these are strategies and not every strategy is helpful all the time.  Just like some warriors find the sword to be more effective for them than the quarterstaff, so we will find the weapons listed here more useful for some than others.  The point is to pick up a weapon and push forward.  Find the strategy that you can use most deftly and then use it to do violence to the forces of darkness arrayed against you.

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