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Overcoming The Power of Sexual Thoughts

We can look at statistics all day, but the true stories that impact real people often contain the deepest impact. In a moment, we’ll follow the paths of two young men who recall their experiences, which are affected by the navigation of sexual thoughts. As you read, consider how you might process these situations, your own experiences with sexual thoughts, and how to equip your kids to handle their own situations.

Sex affects our kids. If they are left unchecked and unnoticed, overwhelming sexual thoughts can trap our kids in a cycle of devastation and isolation. Loneliness starts to creep in as these thoughts begin to take root in our children’s minds. Across studies from the U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institute of Health, it’s clear that the pervasive nature of sexual thoughts can contribute to crises involving sexuality, premarital sex, and confusion surrounding these topics.

We can look at statistics all day, but the true stories that impact real people often contain the deepest impact. In a moment, we’ll follow the paths of two young men who recall their experiences, which are affected by the navigation of sexual thoughts. As you read, consider how you might process these situations, your own experiences with sexual thoughts, and how to equip your kids to handle their own situations.

Meet Nate and Jeremy

In high school Nate was everyone’s best friend. He played sports, had a girlfriend and got good grades — and he knew how to have a good time. He was the life of the party! But during those high school years, something happened that would change his life forever.

At first glance, Jeremy seems a lot like Nate. He was a jock, a musician and a straight-A student. He had tons of friends and was always busy. But in college, his life took a dramatic turn — for the better.

Two guys. Their lives heading down very similar roads. That is, until they reached a significant fork in the path. It demanded a choice — a choice about purity. One chose abstinence. One didn’t.

As we read through each young man’s story, they will narrate their experience from their point of view. Let’s begin with Nate’s story affected by sexual thoughts.

Nate’s Younger Years

When I think back on my childhood, I have some great memories. At the time, I thought I had it all. Looking back, I realize that wasn’t true. While we were handed every thing we ever dreamed of, we were never given the opportunity to experience the one thing that would leave a lasting impact — a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Sure, Mom took us to church. She was a “Christian.” But dad was not. He worked at least six days a week, so Sunday morning was his only chance to catch his breath. That left Mom to take us kids to church on her own.

My folks really worked hard to love us. In fact, they turned all their attention to that task — even at the expense of their own relationship. Once every couple of years, we would find Mom crying about some problem she was having with my dad, but most of the time she just kept it to herself.

Nate’s Experience with Sexual Thoughts

I’m sad to say that I learned the most about sex through experimentation. As my body started to change and my sexual desires increased, I let my hormones do the talking.

In my non-Christian home, I’d never heard about the negative impacts of premarital sex. My parents never even talked to me about sex. The only voices and opinions I had came from my peers. So, acting on my sexual thoughts seemed like the natural thing to do. All I had to do was find a willing participant.

How Nate Handled His Sexual Thoughts

By my junior year of high school, I felt fairly confident that I was the only “cool” guy left who hadn’t had sex. I’m sure plenty of you have been there. Until then, I’d always been the center of attention. Suddenly, my friends had done something I hadn’t. I thought I was missing out.

With this “problem” on my hands, I turned my attention to a girl I’d met. Sure, I liked her. But more than anything, I wanted to have sex. So, we dated. It didn’t take long for me to convince her that we were in love and that it was time.

I basically brainwashed her. I’m not proud of it, but that’s the truth. We had sex one time. This was a pretty defining experience for me. To be perfectly honest, I was disgusted by the whole thing.

I never felt emptier in my life. (To Be Continued…)

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Jeremy’s Younger Years

Both of my parents came from less than ideal backgrounds. Knowing this, you might expect that my childhood had a similar fate. Not the case. When they married, my mom and dad determined to take hold of God’s promises of grace and redemption. As they grew in their faith and in their marriage, they developed Christlike qualities that laid a strong foundation for the family they would someday have.

Needless to say, my growing-up years were really great. Playing basketball with Dad. Music lessons with Mom. And endless hours exploring the outdoors with my younger brother. When I was 4, I committed my life to Christ. I know this seems pretty young, but I’m confident that on that day He embraced me as His child. Naturally, as I became older I understood this decision better.

Jeremy’s Experience with Sexual Thoughts

Unlike a lot of guys, I learned the most about sex from my parents. Their basic philosophy was, If he’s old enough to ask, then he’s old enough to know. Obviously they gauged their answers according to my maturity level at the time. In other words, they never gave me more details than I could handle.

Still, early on I did have a good grasp of the birds and the bees. As you might guess, this knowledge caused some pretty funny moments in my younger years. One Sunday afternoon, at the ripe old age of 5, I ran to the door to answer a neighbor lady’s knock. When she asked me where my mom and dad were, I simply explained that they were back in their bedroom making love. Before I knew it, my mom appeared behind me in the doorway — beet red.

In spite of these moments, I’m really thankful that my parents were willing to shoot straight with me on this subject. They set a tone. I knew that I could always get the real scoop on sex from them. I think a lot of parents don’t feel comfortable broaching this subject with their kids. But the truth is, if the parents don’t, teens will go find their information from someone else. And that’s a scary thought considering the “information” I was offered by my peers.

How Jeremy Handled His Sexual Thoughts

High school was good, and it was bad. For whatever reason, a lot of the kids in my class were into drinking, drugs and messing around — stupid stuff. In an effort to keep myself busy and out of trouble, I became involved in everything.

To top it off, I was dating a girl who occupied every ounce of the “free time” I had — which wasn’t much. She was extremely possessive and very jealous. Also, she hated most of my friends. Ironically, the more dysfunctional the relationship became, the more physical we got. Even though we never actually had sex, I’m still, I’m not proud of what we did do.

If you haven’t guessed, I just told you the “bad” parts of high school. Not surprisingly, at the end of my freshman year, I snapped! Looking back, I can see why. I was trying to find my significance in everything but God. Thankfully, God picked me up and placed me on a different path. But not before I unfortunately explored a few more places my sexual thoughts led me. (To Be Continued…)

Let’s pick up where we left off with Nate …

Nate’s Turning Point

Eventually, I left for college. I’d grown more and more hungry for truth, but I still didn’t know where to turn. So, I headed to the party scene. It was there that I met Hannah. She was different from any other girl I’d ever met. She was right there in the midst of it all, but not really.

There was something unique and beautiful about this girl. The more I got to know her, the more I’d hear her talk about God in a very real and personal way. God was part of her everyday conversation. Honestly, that kind of scared me. I’d never heard about God outside of Sunday morning church.

Still, I believed her. Our personalities were similar. She had the same passion for friendship and fun. So I set out to find some answers. Finally, at the end of our freshman year, she had a chance to tell me her story and share her faith with me. That night, I invited Christ to be Lord of my life. For so long, I’d been searching. Finally I’d found what I was looking for: a personal relationship with Jesus Christ!

What Nate Learned by Overcoming His Sexual Thoughts

You know, once the experience of sex is made a reality, it becomes a stronghold for Satan. These scenes are imprinted in our minds — and they are nearly impossible to shake. Not to mention, Satan has an amazing way of paralyzing us with guilt and shame.

Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Through all of my challenges, I’ve learned that God never intended for us to give our hearts to more than one person. I know that might sound radical, but think about it!

Sure, the world tells us that our physical relationships are a casual thing. It tells us that kissing is harmless fun. And emotional ties are expendable. But that is a lie. If we choose to buy into this philosophy, we are playing a dangerous game with our hearts! And that is no laughing matter.

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What About Jeremy?

With my freshman year behind me, things really started looking up. I broke up with my possessive girlfriend. I stopped trying to gain significance through my accomplishments. Then, I sought out a great group of friends.

Still, that’s not the whole story. Toward the end of high school, I was introduced to pornography. As a Christian, I thought I knew everything there was to know about sexual abstinence and purity. I was so wrong.

And so, the struggle began. I felt dirty the entire time. Pornography is like a drug. I can’t tell you how many times I told myself I was not going to be tempted by it anymore, only to be drawn back within days. By the grace of God, I’ve beaten this addiction. It wasn’t easy. And it didn’t happen overnight. When I look back on my battle, I’m disgusted and repulsed — but also, I’m forgiven.

Gaining Perspective Despite Sexual Thoughts

I’ve learned a lot from my experiences with sexual thoughts. We live in a society that rates women on their appearance. We have a choice as to whether we’re going to perpetuate this mindset. As Christian men, we have an obligation to stop this mentality.

Still, it hurts me deeply to know that I have already experienced some things that were meant to be between one man and one woman only. I’ll tell you what, my mistakes have only further confirmed the need for me to have very strict physical boundaries.

But honestly, without accountability this commitment would be nearly impossible to carry out. It is critical for guys to have an older Christian man in their lives to whom they can take their questions and their life experiences. Someone they can talk openly with. Sexual purity is a big deal. Think about it. Whose input are you going to trust? A Christian man seeking after Jesus? Or the dude you sit next to in algebra? It seems pretty obvious when you put it like that.

Final Thoughts on the Power of Sexual Thoughts

To the world, love is intelligence, charisma, and performance-oriented. To God, the definition of love is much different. Love is … you have Christ in your life. Love is … you have a caring heart. Love is … you’re wise. Love is … you’re humble. Sure, you have to dig a little deeper to find these qualities. But that’s the beauty of the process.

There’s no doubt, sexual thoughts are powerful. However, there is hope with the power of the Holy Spirit. The Lord’s influence is even more powerful than the sexual thoughts we might encounter. As your children navigate their sexual development and romantic relationships, you can be present. In your role as a parent, you can provide consistent support, advice, and guidance concerning these topics.

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