Have you messed up when it comes to sexual purity? Have you felt the guilt of knowing you’ve gone too far? Do you feel like since you’ve already messed up in this area that there is no turning back? Does it make you sad or scared when you think about telling your future spouse how far you’ve gone?
It’s not uncommon for strong feelings of guilt and shame to accompany sexual impurity. As impurity grows, so does the shame of knowing you gave in and ignored God’s standard for your life. Most of us know in the back of our minds when we’ve gone too far and disobeyed God. We know we have disappointed the Lord and given away something that belonged only to our spouse, whether present or future. Only our husband or wife has the right to our bodies, sexually. 1 Corinthians 7:4 says, “The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.” No one else has that right, not even us.
So when we mess up sexually, the feelings of guilt can be overwhelming. It may feel like there is nothing you can do about it, so you might as well keep going. But the truth is that this is one of Satan’s best lines for keeping Christians in bondage! God’s word is clear: He is the Redeemer. He is in the redemption business, and although you can’t go back in time for a redo and you can’t even ignore the fact that it happened, you can have a clean start.
The Example of King David
Let’s take King David, for example. Here is the prefect case of someone who messed up big time. What started as a lustful look at a woman ended up in an affair, lies, an unwanted pregnancy, and murder! It took being confronted by a prophet for him to realize the depth of his sin and how he had wronged the Lord. In Psalm 51 1-17, David finally cries out to the God in utter desperation and humility:
1 Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. 2 Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. 3 For I recognize my shameful deeds they haunt me day and night. 4 Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just. 5 For I was born a sinner yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. 6 But you desire honesty from the heart, so you can teach me to be wise in my inmost being.
7 Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8 Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me now let me rejoice. 9 Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me. 11 Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me again the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. 13 Then I will teach your ways to sinners, and they will return to you.
14 Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves; then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness. 15 Unseal my lips, O Lord, that I may praise you. 16 You would not be pleased with sacrifices, or I would bring them. If I brought you a burnt offering, you would not accept it. 17 The sacrifice you want is a broken spirit. A broken and repentant heart, O God, you will not despise.
God forgave David and restored him! Just like King David, we can turn from our sins and find forgiveness in the Lord!
Steps Toward True Repentance
- Recognize Your Sin: Like King David, a change can’t happen until you realize exactly what you are doing or did that is wrong. Ask the Lord to show you how your thoughts and actions about sex differ from His. Seek out what the Lord says about sex and right relationships in his Word. Here are a few verses that will get you started:
- Ephesians 5:3-4
- 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
- Hebrews 13:4
- Mathew 5:27-30
- 1 Corinthians 6:12-20
- Confess Your Sin: After you’ve recognized the difference between your views and God’s, ask God for forgiveness for the specific ways you went against His plans for you in relationships and sex.”If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
- Accept God’s Forgiveness: Know that when God promises to forgive you and cleanse you “from all unrighteousness,” He means it! It is important that you don’t stop merely at confession, but continue by trusting that God has forgiven you and that He will help you change.
- Forgive Yourself: “If you are not willing to forgive yourself, you are saying two things about God: 1. Christ’s death is not enough for your sins; and 2. You are a higher judge of what can be forgiven than God is. God’s grace is extended to you out of his Heart of love. When you do not forgive yourself, you throw God’s grace right back into his face. If God’s grace can’t cover your sin, it can’t cover any sins” (“Your New Life in Relationships,” Campus Crusade for Christ).”Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1)
- Receive A New Mindset: At the end of David’s confession to the Lord, he says, “A broken and repentant heart, O God, you will not despise.” Repentance means turning from what is wrong and pursuing what is right. It’s a change in direction. It’s a change of heart. In order to start clean, you need the right perspective about sex. That only comes by pursuing the Lord and being filled with His Spirit.
Keeping Your New Mindset
Even after confession and repentance, you won’t just naturally keep your new mindset. Having a change of mind and heart is a process. Here are some keys to keeping your new mindset:
- Spend Time With God: It’s hard to think more like God if you don’t know how He thinks. Spend time talking with Him and learning about Him.
- Know God’s Word: God’s Word is life! Study it, meditate on it, and memorize itit will prepare you for future temptations and spiritual battles.
- Be Careful Of Your Influences: Whether you like it or not, you are affected by the people and things around us. Be careful who you hang out with, where you go, what you watch and what you listen tothey all have a huge impact on the way you think and act. If you listen to the world when it comes to sex, you will never be sexually pure.”Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.” (Romans 12:2 NLT)
A new, fresh start is possible. Don’t believe the lies that change isn’t possible and that you can never be pure once you fail. There are always consequences for our sin, but God can and will redeem and restore you if you let Him!