We have been exploring how the gospel rescues the sexually broken and restores purity by imputing the purity of Christ Jesus. Last week we examined the difference between genuine repentance and counterfeit repentance. This week we are going to explore how we must pursue spiritual disciplines as a means to grow in godliness for the glory of God.

Using Spiritual Disciplines to Fight Sexual Sin

God through Christ has provided the believer with everything he needs to overcome the sinful addiction to pornography and other sexual sins and temptations. As the believer repents from a life filled with sexual immorality it is vitally important that he establish spiritually profitable disciplines so that his affections for Christ may continue to increase.

This is important because if repentance is the highest aim, worship for God is replaced with the worship of sobriety. The problem with worshipping repentance is that it is man-centered and the moment one stumbles, his whole religious system comes crashing down with him.

A believer’s highest aim is Christ. The spiritual disciplines are a God-given means to ensure that remains the goal. This article will briefly cover a few spiritual disciplines that need to be established so that the believer may savor Jesus.

Daily Bible Reading

It is vitally important for the believer to have a daily scheduled time to feast on the Scripture. The Apostle Paul states in Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Transformation by the renewal of the mind only occurs when the Holy Spirit illuminates the Holy Scriptures to the believer. Counselors must teach the counselee that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17 ESV).

This daily scheduled time is an application of the belief that God has spoken and his words give life. Christians must consider the benefits of this more often. It is beneficial, if the counselee’s schedule allows, to urge him to develop this discipline in the mornings before he starts his day.

This can only come in the form of a suggestion, but there is wisdom in allowing that discipline to be the first action of the day. A great book to start in would be the book of Ephesians. The Apostle Paul’s logic is beneficial for the sexually broken: reminder of the gospel and the practical implications of the gospel.  In addition to this, it will allow the counselee to practice the put on, put off list (Eph. 4:22-24).

Meditation

Meditation, that is, “a serious act of the Spirit in the inwards of the soul, whose object is spiritual, whose affection is a provoked appetite to practice holy things; a kindling in us of the love of God, a zeal toward His truth, a healing our benumbed hearts.”[1]

Meditation is multi-faceted.  It provides “spiritual discernment; improves our Bible reading and prayer lives; applies general truths of the Bible personally and specifically; strengthens our hearts by focusing on spiritual truths; and provides lasting benefit from dwelling on truth we know.”[2]

Meditation is a great bridge between reading the word of God and communing with God in prayer. It provides an opportunity to pondered deeply the truths of God’s Word and apply them. It prevents passive, mind-numbing reading. Meditation can take the form of praying the Scriptures, verse memorization, journaling the Scriptures among other actions.

Prayer

Prayer is God’s gift to man to commune with him and acknowledge his unchanging character, along with man’s utter dependence on him and specific needs; personal and needs of others. Jesus modeled prayer for believers (Matt. 6:9-13).

Prayer can be a more difficult discipline to establish. A counselor should encourage the counselee to begin by simply praying the Lord’s prayer on a daily basis while considering what it means. From there, the counselee could move to different passages of Scripture and use the Word of God to navigate his prayers to the Lord. Demonstrating prayer for a counselee will also do him much good.

Service to others

It is vitally important for men who have repented from sexual sin to begin serving others. Sexual sin is selfish. It is a consumeristic sin that uses people as objects or tools. The best way to help the counselee change his perspective on people is by challenging him to serve other people. This can take the form of doing yard work for the elderly; volunteering at a food bank; greeting at the local church. The important thing is for the counselee to begin to consider others as more important than self (Phil. 2:3).

[1] Richard Sibbes, “Divine Meditations and Holy Contemplations,” in the Works of Richard Sibbes, ed. Alexander Grosart (1862-1864; repr., Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 2001), 7:182-83.

[2] David W. Saxton, God’s Battle Plan for the Mind. (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2015), 5.