When God expects something of Christians, he provides what they need to meet his expectation. There’s an important implication, and it’s this: If you are not exhibiting sexual self-control, it’s only because you haven’t taken hold of what God offers you through the gospel. The power is there; you’ve just refused to exercise it.
There was a time in my life when I would often be called upon to speak on the subject of sexual purity, especially to groups of men—a predictable consequence of writing a book titled Sexual Detox. But over time I grew a little weary of the topic and happily moved on. Recently, though, I was asked to address it before the men of my own church. I decided I wanted to commit the majority of the time to small group discussion, but only after laying a biblical foundation. I provided these biblical building-blocks for sexual purity, which I thought you might find helpful as well.
- Titus 2:6. In this portion of Paul’s letter, he is providing instructions to pastor Titus and telling him how to teach and train his church. Titus receives extensive instructions on what to teach the older women and what to teach the younger women, but when it comes to young men, Paul says just one thing: “Urge them to be self-controlled.” I wouldn’t want to read too much into how little he says to men, but it does seem to emphasize that this area of self-control, which is so often manifested in a lack of sexual self-control, is a crucial issue for men to address. It’s crucial for young men to address and, by extension, all men (the implication being that men should learn and exhibit self-control when they are young so they can carry it into their later years). If Titus alone doesn’t prove the point, the opening chapters of Proverbs certainly does.
- 1 Timothy 4:12. Then we come to 1 Timothy 4:12 which is Paul writing to another young pastor, pastor Timothy. He tells him, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” This verse shows us that every man, no matter his age or stage of life, is meant to serve as an example of Christian character manifested in sexual purity. Even more, this verse is meant to assure them that they actually can! There’s nothing about being young that excuses anyone for being anything less than a stellar example of sexual purity. Society and even the church can have very low standards for men, but the Bible calls even the youngest of men to make it their goal to stand as an example of the utmost purity.
1 Thessalonians 4:6. 1 Thessalonians 4:6 warns that there are consequences for sexual sin, including consequences generated by God himself. It’s probably necessary to back up and read the verse in its wider context.