My girlfriend and I are baptized members of the Church, but sometimes we end up doing the wrong thing. We’ve experimented with sex, and we find it very hard to stop. We both want to stop really bad; we’ve prayed and fasted many times. We feel guilty asking forgiveness, then a few weeks later doing it again. Please help us.
You’ve been bold to admit your struggle, and we commend you for honest confession. God uses guilt feelings to get our attention and to help us deal with sin issues in our lives. The Bible puts it this way: “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).
Confession is not the same as repentance. Confession is admitting our sins to God and may even include asking forgiveness for them. Repentance goes beyond confession by turning away from the sin. You’ve confessed your sin to the Lord, it seems; now you need to forsake it by turning to head the right direction. How can you do that when you’ve already tried and tried — to no avail?
Some things require more determination and effort than others. Here are some practical steps that will show you are serious about getting victory:
- “Flee . . . youthful lusts” (2 Timothy 2:22). To flee from the sin of fornication, take the drastic step of not dating for several months — maybe a full year. During this time, you must not be together in a private situation where you’ll naturally be tempted to resume the intimacy. If you truly love each other, taking a break will not damage that. Instead it can teach you to love as God does, not just with physical feelings. After six months, you may be ready for group dates or for visits to each other’s house with family present.
- “Confess your trespasses . . . pray for one another, that you may be healed” (James 5:16). Each of you should find an older person of your gender who will help you with the struggle; meet with this mentor weekly. Being accountable to someone can provide extra strength you need to overcome this problem. It is easy to say you’re relying on God and too easy to forget He’s watching when you’re alone. Knowing you must answer to another human being strengthens your desire to succeed and gives you extra incentive to keep true. You cannot lie to him/her.
- “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness . . .” (Matt. 6:33). Concentrate on your relationship with the Lord. Spend spare time memorizing verses like 1 Corinthians 6:18; 2 Timothy 2:22; James 4:7; Romans 12:1, 2; 13:13, 14. Life change begins with a new way of thinking. When the temptation increases, reciting the verses will help change your thought patterns. Call your mentor for prayer, and praise God for His strength to overcome. If you’re not doing daily devotions with God, get started now. Ask your pastor for help.
These three together are strong medicine, but the disease you’re fighting is strong also! Only the stoutest measures will bring the victory you say you want. God reserves His best in marriage for those who reserve sexual activity until after they say, “I do.” If you are serious, you’ll do what’s necessary to avoid the sin of fornication!
Be strong in the Lord (Eph. 6:10-20). Get enthusiastic about reading and studying His Word. You’re not alone in this struggle. God provides a way for you to have victory over it (1 Cor. 10:31). Don’t just pray for strength to quit; begin to take the steps necessary to be faithful. Do your part, and our faithful God will do His!
— Kurt Lang, youth director, and Elder Mike Vlad
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