What does the Bible say about resisting sexual urges? Here are 3 biblical ways to control your body when it craves sex so bad.
1. When Your Body Craves Sex, the Bible Says to Feed the Holy Cravings and Starve the Sinful
It’s important to eat what you can rather than just focusing on not eating the poison. Poison will kill you, but so will starvation.
As Christians, we know that sexual sin is evil and will bring bad things into our lives. We want to glorify God, but the struggle with our own bodies craving for sexual pleasure can be one of the hardest battles we face in our lives. But every victory is won not just through defense and not just through offense but through effective offense and defense.
When trying to resist sexual cravings, the obvious first action is to try to starve those cravings (defense). In 1 Corinthians 7:9, the Bible describes sexual cravings like a burning fire, “But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” A fire goes out when you stop giving it the fuel it needs to survive. So you have to do what you can to minimize the fuel that could be enflaming your bodies sexual desires (2 Timothy 2:22). Avoid visual triggers, avoid lustful thoughts, and avoid anything that stimulates your body towards sex.
But notice that Paul highlights an offensive strategy too in 1 Corinthians 7:9. He says people with a strong sexual desire should marry so they can satisfy their bodies sexual cravings in a holy way. If you are married, therefore, you need to be having sex with your spouse and not just resisting sexual temptations. If you are single, you must avoid sexual sin before marriage but also seek sexual pleasure through being married one day.
But before you married, it can feel unfair and like there is no hope to have any cravings met because you can’t do anything sexual until you have a spouse. While this is true, when it comes to your body having sexual cravings, there are other desires that you can satisfy that are connected to the sexual desires. For example:
- If you are lonely, oftentimes you will have a strong craving to look at porn or to think of past sexual experiences you had. While you must starve your body’s craving for sex, you should seek healthy ways to satisfy your heart’s desire for community. You can fight lust by offensively looking for healthy ways to fight loneliness.
- If you are tired, you will often have a strong desire to find rest through a sexual experience. Resist the sexual urge but then proactively get the rest you need. When you are tired at night and you resist the urge to give into sexual temptation, after a good night’s rest, you often wake up without the urge to sin sexually. Sleep can be used as an offensive weapon against lust.
- Without proper exercise, your body will often have stronger sexual urges than if you were properly exerting your body in appropriate ways. You can offensively attack your bodies sexual cravings by using your body in healthy physical ways. 1 Corinthians 9:27, “But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”
Christians often only focus on the defensive strategies outlined in the Bible. Yes, the Bible does say to flee from sexual temptation (1 Corinthians 6:18-20), but the Bible also says to pursue that which is good (Romans 12:21, 2 Timothy 2:22). Therefore, to control your body when it craves sex, you must both cast off darkness and put on the godliness. As Romans 13:12-14 states:
So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”
2. When Your Body Craves Sex, the Bible Says to Let Your Justification Fuel Your Sanctification
To really understand what the Bible says in regards to the effects the gospel has produced on our behalf as Christians, we need to understand the differences and the correlations between “justification” and “sanctification.”
Justification refers to what you are positionally in Christ while sanctification refers to where you are personally at in your journey of maturity. But the Bible also explains that the more deeply you understand what you are positionally in Christ the more you will be able to experience this in practical ways in your actual daily experiences (i.e., sanctification).
Justification means we are completely pure in Christ and made right with God in full (Romans 5:1). But even though we are perfect in Christ, we still sin. We still sin because sanctification is the process by which we are learning to live from the newness we have in Christ. We are new creations, but we have to learn to reject the old and live from the new (Galatians 5:1). As Hebrews 10:14 (ESV) says, “For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” In the NIV, Hebrews 10:14 says, “For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.”
You are perfect in Christ right now if you are a true Christian by grace and through faith. But you are also “being made holy.” And this process of being made holy is connected to your faith in you already being perfected in Christ. The more deeply you believe in who you are in Christ, the more you will be able to live a holy life. As Romans 6:10-14 explains:
For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.”
Christ has accomplished the death of our flesh. But now we must “consider” this truth and forcefully apply this truth to our lives by not letting our bodies be used for sin.
Therefore, if you want to control your body when it craves sex, you have to believe more deeply in your newness. The more you believe that you don’t want sexual sin because you are pure in Christ, the more you will actually be able to resist sexual sin.
3. When Your Body Craves Sex, the Bible Says to Resist AND Remember that All Temptations Come in Waves and Never Last Forever
When you are in a storm, you will give up hope and stop trying to stay afloat if you believe this storm will never end. But when you know that all storms come to an end, this truth will help you fight harder while you are trying to stay alive during the storm.
Likewise, when you believe a sexual craving will never go away, you will be less able to fight that craving when it is present. But when you remember the truth that this craving will not always be this strong, you will have more strength to fight that craving in the moment. 1 Corinthians 10:13 promises:
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
You must resist the sexual cravings in the moment. There’s no way around it. The cravings will come. But they will also leave. They don’t last forever. James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” The devil does attack, but when we resist, he does not attack forever. He must leave when we submit to God. James 4:10 then says, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” 1 Peter 5:8-10 explains the same truth:
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
Resist the devil, resist this sinful craving, but also remember that this trial and temptation will pass and “after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
Resisting while forgetting that this temptation will end one day leads to despair. But when you resist while remembering that this temptation will pass, this allows you to resist longer because you know there is hope for a better future. Without the hope of a better future, you lose the power to resist temptation in the present. Hebrews 12:1-2 says:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
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