My Daily Battle
My Commitment: Josh Schwartz, bassist for Seventh Day Slumber, always wanted to save his virginity for marriage because the Bible calls for purity. But as a young teen, he realized that remaining pure physically was only part of the battle. God calls followers to be mentally and spiritually pure as well.
"You have to watch not only what you do, but also what you look at and what you think about," Josh says. "There's so much out there that can put thoughts in your mind."
He learned this difficult lesson while checking e-mail one day. An internet window for a porn site popped on screen. "From that young age, I had a problem with pornography," Josh says. "I wanted to be pure before God, but everybody has weakness. This is something I have to be very careful about."
To fight the temptation of easy-accessed pornography, Josh asked Christ-following friends to keep him accountable. In addition, Josh recognized that if lust was such a weakness for him, he needed to re-evaluate his physical boundaries.
"At 15 or 16, I decided to say, 'God, I will even save my first kiss for marriage,'" he says. "That was what I felt my commitment to God should be. Kissing can lead to other things so I knew this needed to be the line for me."
4 Keys to Purity: In what Josh calls his "daily battle" to remain physically and mentally pure, he's found four important weapons.
"One thing I've tried to do is spend time daily with God," he says. "The more you're in the Word and in prayer, the closer you get to God. There will always be temptations and trials. But if God is first in your life, he gives strength."
Secondly, Josh found help within his own band. He's honest with the other guys about his weaknesses and temptations. "It's important to have people around you who can keep you accountable, build you up and encourage you," Josh says. "In times when I am not so strong, these guys are here."
Thirdly, he tries to closely monitor his thoughts. "When things come into my mind that shouldn't be there, the only way I can stop them is to imagine God's hand grabbing the thought, pulling it out of my head, and throwing it away," Josh says. "You're gonna see things that tempt you. The trick is not letting yourself dwell on them."
The fourth key for Josh has been to intentionally keep God first in dating relationships. "When you want to please God and do his will together, it's a lot easier to keep boundaries," he says. "It's important to talk about it. Sit down with the person you're dating and say, 'I want to live a lifestyle that's pure before God.'"
Not Perfect: Josh has learned that purity is not easy, but he got married last year—and had his first kiss. "You're never going to be perfect or completely pure," he says. "You'll make mistakes but God loves you no matter what.
You can start over. It's only been through God's grace that I kept my commitment."
Copyright © 2008 by the author or Christianity Today/Ignite Your Faith magazine.
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