I Can't Stop Thinking About Sex
Q. I've been dating the same guy exclusively for close to a year. We both want to remain sexually pure until marriage, and we've talked very openly and honestly about our boundaries. We have a very strong relationship. We pray together, are studying a Christian book together, and are very careful not to go too far physically. The problem is, I find myself thinking about sex a lot. I know it's normal to think about sex sometimes, but I feel like I carry it to the extreme. I feel God telling me over and over to clean up my thought life, but I ignore him because I like the thoughts so much. How, in this sex-crazed society, can a person stay sexually pure? It will be several years before I get married and I don't know how I'll make it that long. Please help me keep my commitment to God and to my boyfriend.
A. The solution to your problem is simple, but it's not easy. I'm afraid there are no magic formulas. Certain mental tricks can help you some of the time, but no mind game will free you from all temptation. As you know, the only way you can hope to conquer temptation is to have God in your life. To say no to sin, day after day, time after time, you need God to be alive in your heart. Like I said, simple, but not easy.
You sound like you're doing a lot of great things to keep your faith strong. But it doesn't hurt to repeat the ways we get closer to God:
1. Prayer. We need prayer, not just at the moment of temptation, but as a steady conversation throughout the day, every day.
2. Bible. Bible study isn't about finding a few magic verses that will help us resist temptation. We need to seriously read and grow in understanding God's point of view.
3. Church. We go to church to be with God's people and to worship him together. Church is something you can't do alone. After all, the Bible doesn't call the church the body of Christ for nothing. God often reveals himself to us through our relationships with other Christians.
4. Accountability. The fellowship of other Christians is absolutely vital when you're going through a trying time. Anybody who's being tempted as you are needs a prayer partner, somebody who knows all about what's happening. You need a mature Christian friend who will support you and pray with you. You and your boyfriend may even want to get together with a married couple you trust who can help you with other aspects of your relationship as well.
You're right when you say it's normal to think about sex, especially when you're in a serious relationship. It's also normal to struggle to control sexual thoughts and urges until marriage. It's not easy, but neither is training for the Olympics or writing a great novel or raising children or making a good marriage. Good things are difficult. You're waiting for something very good—married sex. It's not easy to wait, but it is possible, with God's help.