Subduing Sexual Immorality
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. "All things are lawful for me," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful for me," but I will not be dominated by anything. "Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food"—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, "The two will become one flesh." But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:9-20 ESV
Back in the spring of 2014, I struggled with same-sex attraction. The desires seemed nearly uncontrollable and even tormenting. However, I would not bring myself to identify as a bi-sexual or homosexual nor thereby proceed to give vent to those desires.
Why not? By the grace of God, I know that desires or feelings in me do not define my identity. Such feelings or desires are not mine to submit to.
Why not? Because according to this passage, I was bought with a price. Jesus owns my body, for he purchased it with His own blood. Thus I am no longer a slave to sin (to do as I please apart from God) but a bond-slave of Jesus Christ (to do His will and bidding). See Romans 6. By acknowledging the truth, by God's grace I was transformed by the renewing of my mind and thereby delivered from such temptations and perverse thoughts .
Since Jesus was tempted in every way (which would include the temptation of homosexuality) but without sin, because Jesus lives in me, I don't have to surrender to the temptation to sin. Rather, I must surrender to Jesus and the miracle-working power of his love, which fills me with all authority to cast out fear, temptation, and evil.
c.f. 1 Corinthians 10:13; Hebrews 4:15; Galatians 2:20; Romans 12:1f; Colossians 2:9f; 1 John 4:18; etc.
In my case, breakthrough came when I learned that the temptation behind lustful desires, same-sex attraction, and masturbation came not from me nor my own desires, but from evil spirits (demons). c.f. Hosea 4:12; 5:4.
Also I had learned that Jesus defeated all evil spirits, including spirits of sexual immortality, through his death on the cross, proven and completed by His resurrection from the dead. Jesus won, defeating every sin by his blood/death on the cross, and healing every wound to our soul (mind, will, and emotions--thinking, decision making, and desires) by his resurrection from the dead. c.f. Colossians 2:15; John 16:11; 1 John 3:8; Hebrews 12:14; etc. (1).
Demons like to be sneaky, covert, and undetected, preferring their hosts to think that the wicked source of their temptation and unwholesome desires comes from the hosts themselves rather than from demons. They thereby perpetuate guilt, shame, and condemnation, which becomes a vicious cycle. That is, if one succumbs to sexual temptation, she or he may think “I'm so lustful. I lusted. What a weak and wretched person I am. When will I ever change?...” But what if it is solely a spirit of sexual immorality that is lusting from within the person, but this demon has so integrated itself into the mind and body of its host that the host him/herself is deceived into thinking that he/she is the guilty culprit and source of the lust (2)?
Now in one sense, we are responsible for our behavior. When we fall to temptation, we need to confess and repent of what we did wrong. An example may be helpful. If a thief comes into my house repeatedly to steal and break my stuff, who is responsible for my stolen and broken stuff? Well the thief is the one who came to steal and destroy. c.f. John 10:10. But I have the responsibility to stop that thief. I need to take action, such as calling the police and securing my home. Thus, by saying that a demon is responsible for sexual sin, that does not absolve us of responsibility to repent and deal with that sin. We still need to apprehend the thief (spirit of sexual immorality) by calling the police (Jesus) to deliver us and by doing whatever He tells us to secure our home (our mind and body). c.f. Romans 10:9-13; Revelation 12:9-11; Romans 12:1-2.
Furthermore, I struggled with masturbation on a continual basis while I served for six years in a campus ministry. I did my utmost to repent of this behavior with many spiritual and physical disciplines, yet I couldn't seem to control it. Confessing whenever I messed up to other men in whom I confided helped to gradually remove some guilt and shame. Nevertheless, I couldn't make it without falling back into this sin for more than two weeks at a time over a six-year period.
By God's grace, breakthrough came when my problem was well-defined. A football team needs a good defense and a good offense. Confessing my sin in accountability to other men who follow Christ, studying God's word, prayer, fasting, etc. were good measures in fighting temptation. However, it wasn't enough just to make speedier recoveries after I messed up. Nor was it enough to merely resist and defensively fight temptation. I also needed to have a good offense by subduing the tempter. When I learned from experience that believers can be indwelt by demons, and that masturbation itself is demonic (unwittingly having sex with a demon in the spiritual realm while telling Jesus that he isn't good enough for me), then my problem was finally well-defined. Thus, when I was tempted again, I could command the spirit of sexual immorality/masturbation to leave in Jesus' name as I submitted myself to God as His servant/friend and praised Him for His power, love, authority, etc. It can also be helpful to imagine fiery explosions and flames consuming any lustful thoughts or images that try to sneak into one's mind. c.f. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Hebrews 12:29; Ephesians 3:16-20; 6:12ff; etc.
Rather than being relentlessly attacked, I learned that it was my responsibility to become the relentless attacker. Rather than see myself as the victim of this demon, I realized I must live out my identity in Christ as a victor. Rather than being prey to the demon, I had to became the demon’s predator (3). That is how I gained lasting freedom from masturbation and lustful thoughts. Consequently, fantasy, same-sex attraction, lust towards the opposite-sex, etc., followed out with it and ceased from my thought life. Then if ever I succumbed to it again in my sleep in a moment of weakness, I immediately repented, received God's forgiveness, and re-submitted myself to God as I resisted the devil (James 4:6). Since I continued the process of sanctification by believing the truth of what the Word of God says, that kind of demon didn't attack as frequently as it once did because it doesn't enjoy getting its butt kicked through Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit to the glory of God the Father.
Thus, whenever sexual sin had the audacity to tempt me again, I immediately would attack it, routing it away through Jesus Christ (the Deliverer) by the power of the Holy Spirit to the glory of God the Father. At times I commanded it to bow down to my Master, Jesus Christ, at the cross--where my Master’s blood bought me back from the domain of darkness, demonic oppression, and from all sin (including sexual immorality). As I praise and worship God, I say whatever the Word of God says, since all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus Christ, and Christ lives in me (Matthew 28:18; Galatians 2:20). Therefore I have God's authority over all evil spirits (Matthew 10:1).
Here is just a sample prayer one can pray aloud if coming under similar temptation, confident and grateful that God faithfully comes through to answer the prayer of faith (1 Corinthians 10:12-14):
I thank You for that You desire an intimate personal relationship with me. I thank You that You have a wonderful plan for my life and are here to help me experience Your love as I turn away from everything that hurts our relationship. I confess that I sinned against You by not loving You with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. Thank You for sending Jesus Christ--who was tempted in every way, but never sinned--to rescue me from the penalty and power of sin. Thank You that in the same way that Jesus never yielded to any temptation from a false god, but only surrendered his body to You, You give me that same power and authority through Christ who strengthens me.
By the authority of Jesus Christ, before whom the knee of every evil spirit and authority in the universe must bow, I command every spirit of lust [masturbation, incubus, succubus, mermaid spirit, perverse spirit, every evil spirit within the sound of my voice] to leave me in Jesus’ name. [You may physically exhale or do whatever you imagine the Holy Spirit doing as His fire and sword wreaks carnage on every evil spirit in you and/or in the room.] Thank You, Father, for covering me with the blood of Jesus, which is flowing through my veins right now. Thank You for filling me right now with Your love by the Holy Spirit whom you have given me. I relax and surrender to your miracle-working power as you fill me with the fullness of God, according to the commands and promises of Your Word in Ephesians 3:14-21; 5:3,18ff; Colossians 2:9f; etc.
In Jesus’ name,
See my blog post “Would You Like to Kick Satan’s Butt Personally?”
See my blog post "Spirits of Sexual Immorality."
Such language I once heard from a Facebook Live video by evangelist Reinhard Bonnke.