Sexual temptation holds a specific place in the realm of sins. Jesus equates lust—a numbingly "simple" sin in the eyes of man—to adultery (Matt. 5:28), a crime punishable by death under the Jewish law. Paul commands us to flee from it (1 Cor. 6:18), and he says that it must not even be named among believers (Eph. 5:3). Paul lists sexual immorality among the "works of the flesh" in Galatians 5:19-20, and Romans 1:24-25 is certainly not an easy read for the hyper-sexual.
Pornography has deceived the Church. She has masked herself with blockbuster films and "Incognito mode" on our internet browsers. Lust has become an attitude, a demeanor, more than it has an act of sin. Ask any man what his three most-frequented sins are and I am positive that some form of sexual sin will be on the list, if not number one every time. She is a dangerous dance partner to have.
This problem is not exclusively plaguing men. Women, too, often find themselves forsaking their godly character, sacrificing piety for pleasure, giving their bodies over to be used instead of respected creations in the image of our Creator. Women are guilted into slowly inching their way to the "edge" of sexual boundaries. The biblical image of male headship and female submission are sin-sickfully abused, taken out of their right context, and completely redefined by sexual desires and hormone levels.
What I do not have is a solution. This is a problem that the Church needs to work out, locally and collectively.
I have found some ammunition to help get you through this week, though. In John Piper and Wayne Grudem's Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Piper writes, "We will always have mountains of truly human Christ-likeness yet to climb, but sexual intercourse is not one of them. For He never knew it. And He is infinitely whole." This quote comes in the middle of an introduction explaining why the monumental work is important for the single and married alike.
And Piper is right. Singles far too often see their libido as a biological craving that deserves to be fulfilled. Singles tell themselves that, since they don't have a marriage partner to fill the (non-existant) gap in their nature, they are granted a free pass to look at porn just one more time or hook up with that girl for a final night of fleshly passions. But that simply cannot be the case.
Let me straighten this out: sexual desire is good. Sexual desire and physical attraction are good things that were put here for their proper, God-glorify, earth-multiplying purpose. But it is not a missing hole in the biology of a person without sexual satisfaction. Jesus Christ—the Only Whole One, the sinless Savior, the Visible Image of the invisible God—did not need sex to remain whole. The fullness of God incarnate did not need sex to be fulfilled, to be the perfect sacrifice.
This sounds silly, but think about it! Becoming more like Christ does not require you to hurdle or overcome your sexual desires but instead allows you to completely bypass them!
So, as you exhaust yourself, one battle of temptation to the next, remember this: if the Son of Man— the pinnacle of human perfection and the standard for godliness—came to die, and He didn't need sex to be completely whole, then you probably don't either.
Cody Glen Barnhart
Cody Glen Barnhart (@codygbarnhart) lives in Kansas City, Missouri, and is a student at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has written for the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Canon & Culture, Gospel Centered Discipleship, and is a contributor at servantsofgrace.org.