Are sins of the flesh still a problem, even for those in the Church? Sexual fantasy, masturbation, viewing pornography, and engaging in sexual activities outside of the marriage covenant. Sad to say, but none of these are strangers to today’s Church.
SEXUAL ADDICTION IN TODAY’S CHURCH
There is a battle going on between the flesh and the Spirit (Galatians 5:17a). For far too many in the Church the flesh is winning. Before the Spirit can even cry, “Incoming!” the flesh is already at work, causing the Christian to behave in ways that are contrary to the Spirit (Galatians 5:17b). Having been overcome so often, the war-weary Christian cries out to God, “What am I to do? I’ve prayed. I’ve fasted. Even memorized Scripture. And still I fail. You promised a way of escape (I Corinthians 10:13). Where is it? What is it?”
For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish (Galatians 5:17).
Let us begin by acknowledging that there is a problem. A study involving over 3000 persons revealed that:
60-70% of men, 50-58% of pastors, and 20-30% of women in evangelical churches suffer from some form of sexual addiction .
Addictions covered a broad spectrum of sexual sins including sexual fantasy, masturbation, viewing pornography, and engaging in sexual activities outside of the marriage covenant . Numbers will certainly vary with pollster, definition of addiction, and respondent classification (e.g., self-identified vs. practicing Christian, and definition of the latter). Still, it seems safe to conclude that, in this age of Internet pornography, sexual addiction is a very real problem in today’s Church.
CHRISTIAN LITERATURE: ESCAPE ONLY POSSIBLE WITH ACCOUNTABILITY
The Christian literature describes a variety of approaches, all with an eye toward short-circuiting the flesh. Anything that can distract the flesh, for even the briefest of moments, is a possible candidate. Perhaps motivated by David’s use of the harp to calm Saul’s troubled spirit (I Samuel 16:14-23), some have suggested listening to music. Other suggestions include exercise, diving into a hobby, meditation, reading, and journaling. All that I reviewed insist that escape is only possible with the aid of an accountability partner or group.
BUT WHO WILL SEEK ACCOUNTABILITY-BASED HELP?
But who will seek accountability-based help? In a survey of persons wanting to quit porn, participants were asked whether they had anyone in their life to help them quit. A whopping 83% of respondents confessed to having no one . That’s right, 83% of the still-struggling are still looking for a way of escape that does not require enlisting the aid of an accountability partner or group.
A GAME-CHANGING BOOK HAS ARRIVED
Now imagine the impact of a Battle Plan for Purity that would allow the individual Christian—apart from an accountability group—to escape temptation. A Way of Escape offers just such a Battle Plan, with “walking in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16) its key component, and Spirit-anointed, limbic weaponry (think emotional, visual) the fast-acting catalyst of spiritual reaction.
I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).
The still-struggling 83% now have another option. The still-struggling 83% now have fresh hope for discovering that long-sought-after way of escape from sin and temptation (I Corinthians 10:13). A way that—because it is wholly Spirit-powered—does not require enlisting the aid of an accountability partner or group. Truly a game-changer!
1. Wiles, J., and T. Wiles, Conquer Series: The Battle Plan for Purity (Study Guide, Volume 1), Second Printing, KingdomWorks Studios, Stuart, FL, page 21, 2017
2. Ibid., page 9
3. The Porn Phenomenon: The Impact of Pornography in the Digital Age, Barna Group, Ventura, CA, page 112 (83% determined as the average of 79% for Teens & Young Adults and 87% for Adults Age 25 and Older), 2016