I was asked recently by a man who was struggling to stay faithful to his wife: “How can I keep myself sexually pure?”
Here’s how I responded:
Men love the prospect of a new car. You can ride through the lot of a dealership and drool over the newest models, and, all of a sudden, your own car doesn’t seem to cut it anymore. Amidst many options, it’s easy to become discontent with the model that you own.
Men also fantasize about the prospect of another woman. Whether the temptation come virtually or realistically, a man can look at newer models and begin to think his wife just doesn’t cut it anymore. The solution to your sexual desires is not to get a newer model —the solution is to nurture the gift you already have.
The best way to avoid sexual temptation is to nurture the relationship with your wife. It means learning how to engage with your spouse and romantically pursuing her all day long so that intimacy is a continuation of your healthy, well-rounded relationship.
In fact, the Bible commands intimacy to be a priority in marriage (talk about a Bible verse many men will want to memorize and hang on a plaque in their office!). Take a moment and read 1 Corinthians 7:1-5.
1Now in response to the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have relations with a woman.” 2 But because sexual immorality is so common, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband. 3 A husband should fulfill his marital responsibility to his wife, and likewise a wife to her husband. 4 A wife does not have the right over her own body, but her husband does. In the same way, a husband does not have the right over his own body, but his wife does. 5 Do not deprive one another sexually-except when you agree for a time, to devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again; otherwise, Satan may tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
Paul is responding to a question present in the Corinthian church. Since sexual sins were so rampant, some thought it would be better to avoid sex altogether. Instead of Paul telling the people to get rid of sex altogether, Paul just instructs the people to have sex with their spouse.
In these verses, what are instructions that Paul gives for spouses to apply? Do not deprive one another! Give yourself to one another. Save all of your desires for your spouse.
You have sexual desires, don’t be tempted to cheapen God’s gift to you by finding a quick fix in a lustful thought, a pornographic image, or another woman. Begin by completely loving your wife and serving her. Make her the only object of your romantic pursuit. Don’t waste your thoughts or energy on any other sexual pursuit. You will be amazed to see all that God has in store when you decide to nurture intimacy within your marriage.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.
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