The battle over sexual morality is a battle that never ends in the lives of the majority of men. Achieving complete sexual morality (at least the sexual morality that Jesus teaches) seems about as likely as achieving complete peace in the Middle East. Now I know that there are far better men out there that are the exception to the norm and if you are one of these men then I don't intend to offend you. In fact, if you are a victor over sexual morality then please grant us the pleasure of sharing your battle strategies. That being said, let me get back to my soldiers who are still on the ground fighting right along side of me. I have recently come across CS Lewis' views on sexual morality and as usual he has opened up my eyes to a better understanding of this virtue. I could try and interpret his writings in my own words but then I would be cheating you tremendously so hear it is straight from the horse's mouth:
"Before we can be cured we must want to be cured."
- This seems so obvious but this speaks true to so many people. It's easy to say the "right" words or pray the "right" prayer but to actual want and desire what is "right" is a different story. To make this a little more real, you can't ask to be cured and then continue to hold on to that porn collection or those swimsuit editions. If you are holding on to anything that can cause you to stumble then you are not truly wanting to be cured.
"many people are deterred from seriously attempting Christian chastity because they think (before trying) that it is impossible."
- The problem with this attitude is a confused perspective. Sexual morality may seem and actually be impossible for most of us but that doesn't mean we are to simply give in and lay down our arms. Continuing the good fight with persistence is what molds our character. If the battle was easy then we would learn nothing.
"We may, indeed, be sure that perfect chastity will not be attained by any merely human efforts. You must ask for God's help. Even when you have done so, it may seem to you for a long time that no help, or less help than you need, is being given. Never mind. After each failure, ask forgiveness, pick yourself up, and try again. Very often what God first helps us towards is not the virtue itself but just this power of always trying again. For however important chastity (or courage, or truthfulness, or any other virtue) may be, this process trains us in habits of the soul which are more important still."
- Did this speak directly into your life? How many times have you gotten down on your knees and asked to be cured of your sexual immorality? Over and over again? Have you not wanted to ask God why He will not cure you? Have you ever considered that being completely cured is not what you actually need? God can and may grant you with victory over the sexual morality battle but He may first grant you with the power to try and try again. The process of admitting your failure, asking for forgiveness, picking yourself up, and trying again is what trains our soul. It teaches us to depend on God and reveals to us that we cannot trust ourselves. It also encourages us to not get down on ourselves even when we are at our worst because our failures are forgiven. What a wonderful, mighty, graceful God we serve!!
"The only fatal thing is to sit down content with anything less than perfection."
- The constant pressing on towards perfection is the very thing that molds and transforms our hearts. Being perfect would teach us nothing (which is why sin entering the world was part of the original plan but that's for a different time). So be encouraged my fellow men that if you are in the battle at all then you are in the right place. It is those that choose not to put up a fight that are in real danger.
That being said, I'm going to close with some more words from CS Lewis because I feel we put way too much emphasis (especially here in e-fellowship) on the topic of sexual morality. Perhaps we need to change our perspective and take sexual immorality off our prayer speed dial. Allow CS Lewis to take this message home:
"If anyone thinks that Christians regard unchastity as the supreme vice, he is quite wrong. The sins of the flesh are bad, but they are the least bad of all sins. All the worst pleasures are purely spiritual: the pleasure of putting other people in the wrong, of bossing and patronising and spoiling sport, and back-bitting, the pleasures of power, of hatred. For there are two things inside me, competing with the human self which I must try to become. They are the Animal self, and the Diabolical self. The Diabolical self is the worse of the two. That is why a cold, self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be far nearer to hell than a prostitute. But, of course, it is better to be neither."
- TEvans & CS