We might think that we are living in the worst days of humanity, and that the temptations to immorality that we face in our own generation are the strongest temptations ever faced by man. This is not necessarily the case. Young men of the New Testament, such as Timothy and Titus, faced everything that we face today—in a different format—but nothing new in vileness or availability.
When the Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in the city of Corinth, one of the most morally depraved cities that existed in the Roman world, he gave them words of encouragement and hope: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (I Corinthians 10:13).
The Greek text has a definite article (the) before the noun way. The Lord has provided us with the way of escape! We are not left to figure out a self-made plan for victory; God has provided for us in His Word with the only true and effective escape route from every kind of temptation. In the New Testament epistles, we find this “way of escape” clearly laid out for us in practical applications of God’s Word. In regards to the seventh commandment, “Do not commit adultery,” the following are escape routes so we can keep this commandment.
- Flee from lust.
Paul wrote these instructions for all men of all time. “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (II Timothy 2:22). In a fallen, sinful world, we will never be absolutely free from temptation. As a result, we must learn to recognize the signs of temptation and flee from them quickly whenever they appear. A moment of delay can cause lust to conceive, bring forth sin, and then bring forth death (James 1:15). Do you linger, toying with temptation, or have you learned to recognize and flee the moment the tempter appears?
- Make no provision for the flesh.
“But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:14). This admonition moves one step beyond fleeing temptation. A wise man will learn from experience the specific situations and circumstances that he should avoid. Be wise and limit your exposure to temptation by avoiding those particular situations. For the sake of testimony, all Christian men should avoid being alone with any woman other than their wives. Non-smart phones are still available for those who do not desire to have any access to the Internet at their fingertips. For others, abstaining from any television whatsoever is an effective way to make no provision for the flesh. The entertainment and amusement of movies, music, and stage performances can weaken our moral safeguards. What items are in your home and in your life that make it easier for you to stumble? Have you cleansed your surroundings of any materials that are defiling in nature?
- Walk in the light.
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (I John 1:7). Sin loves darkness and hates the light. The more we can live openly in the light, the more victory we will have over sin. Many men find it helpful to use a computer only in public or to have a computer screen that faces the middle of the room so others can easily see what is on the screen. They are sacrificing privacy for the blessing of walking in the light. We should be open and honest with our wives about the struggles that we face. Are you hiding any habits in the darkness, or are you walking daily in the light?
- Walk in the Spirit.
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). This verse contains a wonderful promise. No external discipline can be a substitute for the indwelling and purifying power of the Holy Spirit. Surrender and submission to the Holy Spirit and welcoming the Godly desires that He brings drive out our fleshly, lustful desires. Do you yield daily to the power of the Holy Spirit to transform your desires and thoughts? Have you surrendered your will to God’s Word and His promptings when tempted?
- Become accountable to your brethren.
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). Every Christian man faces temptation. It is very helpful when we find another man who is willing to hold us accountable for daily victory. Fathers can hold their sons accountable for victory, and sons can likewise pray for their fathers. What man in your family or your church can you share your struggles and failures so that you both can mutually encourage and pray for one another?
- If married, delight in your own wife.
“Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4). When warning about the seductions of the strange woman in Proverbs 5:15, Solomon encouraged husbands to “drink waters out of thine own cistern.” He further defined what he meant when he said: “Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth” (Proverbs 5:18). God has given us the gift of marriage as a proper and righteous way to enjoy the physical pleasures that He has created for our good and His glory. Do you treasure oneness and transparency with your wife? If you are unmarried, do you keep yourself pure so that one day you can enjoy marriage intimacy without regrets?
- Fill your life and heart with the Word of God.
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16). When evil thoughts are banished, they must be replaced with what is wholesome. Replace sensual music which appeals to the flesh and promotes impurity with Christ-honoring music that encourages purity of thought and living. Have you experienced the joy that comes when you fill your life and heart with meditation on God’s Word and bright, uplifting, wholesome, and grace-filled music?