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Battling Online Temptation

By Eric Sellin

Perhaps you've been walking with the Lord for years, and have become quite strong in your walk. Perhaps you're a new believer and can see nothing ever coming between you and Him.

If you're like me, the very medium you are using right now, the Internet, presents potentially the strongest temptation around. There are simple possible causes for this. It is anonymous, it is private, it is a time vacuum. Many, whether Christian and not, who would never walk into a store and pick up a pornographic magazine, have unimaginable images, sounds, and chats readily available for virtually free in the privacy of their own room. Changes in your thinking can occur gradually, and before you know it you can find yourself ensnared. And keyword searches on how a "Christian" deals with "cybersex" prove to be less than fruitful.

Satan wants to take your testimony. He wants to destroy your perception of God's wonderful gift of sex. And believe me, I doubt there are better ways he can use to subtly accomplish this.

As a brother who has been there I can say that the best advice I would offer is not to start in the first place, at all.

  • Take every thought captive -- make a point, a conscious effort, to block lustful thoughts before they fester.

  • Do not create a screen name or moniker for yourself, just to "play around".

  • If you need to justify actions, or you ever think, "just this once", you should probably think twice.

  • Don't follow that link in your junk e-mail just to satisfy your curiosity.

Ephesians 5:3: "But among you there must not even be a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity...because these are improper for God's holy people." Easier said than done I know, but "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." (1 Cor 10:13)

You may have already stumbled and fallen. Remember that a righteous man falls seven times -- but he rises again. Take note of when you are vulnerable. You may notice that you can seemingly withstand anything when you first log on, but after 15 minutes or so of chatting or surfing you find this is not the case. Play Christian music while online. Check out the wealth of Christian resources available.

The best book I have found on the subject is When Good Men Are Tempted, by Bill Perkins. Much of it is aimed at married men, but still valuable to all who struggle with the subject.

© Eric Sellin

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    Giving Up Sex by Fern Horst
    Lust, Excuse Me by James Johnson
    A Widow's Struggle—and Victory by Anonymous
    Sexuality and Singleness by Sheila Pritchard

When Good Men Are Tempted
What readers say:
"I strongly recommend this book for any man that has thought "I can't help it." This book met me where I needed it. Bill Perkins is able to tie in our spiritual needs to something that we all need."
      "This book does a great job of first explaining how a man thinks and can get into trouble and then how to stay out of trouble. It does not get into psycho-babble excuses for sin. Also a very good book for women to read to understand how men's minds work as well as men's relationships."
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