There’s no doubt that s-xual temptation is pervasive all around us, but if we don’t learn to fight that temptation we will be in a world of trouble. In this episode, we walk through step by step what it means to fight temptation like a man.
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Scripture, Show Notes, and Resources Mentioned
- Referenced scripture:
- 1 Corinthians 16:13
- Romans 8:13
- Proverbs 27:17
- Recommended resource:
Full Episode Transcript
Ryan: It’s news to no one when I say that the opportunities for sexual temptation are everywhere.
Selena: Everywhere. Everywhere.
Ryan: They’re everywhere, as Voddie Baucham would say. Everywhere. It’s pervasive. Okay?
Ryan: So if you’re a man in this world and you have not yet figured out how to fight against sexual temptation, you’re going to be like the wounded gazelle at the back of the pack, and the lions will going to pick you off every time. So, as men, we need to be systematic in our fight against sexual temptation. We need to be systematic. We need to be decisive. We need to be bold. And here’s the thing, we need to be violent in our fight against sexual temptation.
So we’re gonna talk about that today. It’s relevant to marriage because obviously, as a married couple, you can fight this temptation together. I’m not saying that women are immune to sexual temptation. I will say that, in general, men deal with it in a different way and I think in a much more visceral way. Is that accurate to say?
Ryan: Maybe not.
Selena: I think that the ways that we talk about it, though, can easily be applied to a woman struggling with sexual temptation as well.
Ryan: Sure. So this whole topic is going to be pointed toward men, however, I think women can apply it as well. Well said. So we’ll do that on the other side.
Ryan: Greetings and welcome. My name is Ryan, this is my lovely wife Selena. We are the Fredericks. We do all things fierce on the internet, at least in our little corner of internet: Fierce Marriage, Fierce Parenting, The Fierce Family on YouTube. If you’re listening to this, and you haven’t subscribed on YouTube, please take a second, go do that, because we’re almost at 10,000 as of this recording.
Ryan: We’re gonna get there. Leave a rating and review on the podcast, all that good stuff. Our whole mission is to help you kind of become a couple, a family that is crafted for the glory of Christ. And it’s all by His grace that any of this happens. But we want to be intentional about being families that are after God’s things. We want to be chasing after God, we want to be honoring Him, on mission with Him. That includes in our ethic of sexuality, in our ethic of how we deal with sexual temptation. Right? Do you agree?
Selena: Yes. Absolutely. I’m right on board. [chuckles]
Ryan: Okay, so this actually occurred to me when I was driving down the main road near our house. I don’t know what it’s like around the rest of the country or the rest of the world, but we have this weird sort of phenomenon in Washington State and I despise it. I genuinely despise it. I’m to the point where I might actually start picketing.
Selena: Well, don’t picket around there but position around it.
Ryan: Or somehow going to the legislature-
Selena: It is somewhat unique to our geographical area. I follow Exodus Cry on Instagram and they talk a lot about human trafficking, and they did a whole, I don’t know what you call it, like a documentary-
Selena: An expose on these coffee shops-
Ryan: They are bikini baristas.
Selena: …the drive-thru bikini baristas.
Ryan: Yeah, drive-thru bikini baristas where-
Selena: Because we’re in a colder area.
Ryan: So you have these coffee shops, and they’re set up on the side of the road… Not coffee shops. They’re the drive-thru. They’re like sheds basically.
Selena: Not shed. They’re just like a normal coffee shop but-
Ryan: Coffee shack, I don’t know.
Selena: Drive-thru place. [chuckles]
Ryan: But you don’t go in. You just drive through, you make your order and they make your drink right there. And in this case, there’s scantily clad women making the drinks. And so you get all kinds of weirdos that pull up and just want to like watch while they’re doing this.
Anyway, the thing I don’t like about it is that the one that… we have one right down the road from our house, and anytime I drive that way, I have to constantly be on the lookout in terms of like my own heart and sexual temptation. Like, I’m not going to look over there because this particular one it’s like visible.
Selena: Yeah, they have two windows and usually both windows have sort of a screen of their… What do you call it? [chuckles] These things. Whatever it’s called. The-
Ryan: It’s hatched on the window?
Selena: Yeah, they’ll have like a ladybug, their logo, whatever. So you can’t really see through it. But this particular one doesn’t have one on the main street side. And so if one of them is helping somebody on the other side, you can see everything that’s happening. So not very family-friendly. [chuckles]
Ryan: No, not at all. And our girls are starting to ask questions about it and we’re talking to them-
Selena: Well, we’ve had a conversation. They haven’t seen anything but we’ve had conversations about it, yeah.
Ryan: The point is, I was faced with this every day, and I got so tired of always having to like have a new fight every time I’m driving by this place. Because my wife is beautiful and I want to reserve all of that side of my brain for her. I don’t want to be tempted by… You know, I don’t want to give even a wedge into that world. So I got tired of fighting the fight so I thought, There’s got to be a way to fight this temptation. That’s not a new battle every time. And so I came up with this process. It’s a three-step kind of process that I’m hoping to encourage other men with, other families with here.
But first I want to talk about this thing, what it means to fight sexual temptation like a man. Okay, what do I mean by “like a man”? And here’s what I mean. I mean that you’re on the offensive and you’re not passive about fighting temptation, sexual temptation. [00:05:00] You’re on the offensive. Okay, we’re attacking. We’re not just defending but we’re attacking in terms of the temptation itself.
Number two, we take responsibility, and we don’t downplay it. Take responsibility for your own desires in your own head, in your own heart to act on the temptation. Now, the temptation itself is not a sin. Like the Bible says, like, be tempted and do not sin. But it’s my responsibility to resist it. Jesus said, Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Right? So take responsibility. Don’t downplay it.
Third one, okay, it’s easy to give up. And I think when you fight like a man, you act like a man… And we’re gonna read a verse from Paul in First Corinthians that talks about this. “Don’t give up…” It’s tempting to grow tired. The battle wouldn’t be a battle if it were easy.
Selena: Well, and I do want to say I think as a wife to encourage the husband that might be been becoming weary in this battle, right? As a wife, when I hear you say you’re on the offensive, you’re fighting for this, you’re taking responsibility, like that makes me love you even more. That makes me just like, say, “Take me now. I love you and I’m so grateful that you are fighting for us and you’re fighting for your own purity as well as just the purity within our marriage covenant as well.” I think wives know how to communicate that in a way that is strengthening and encouraging.
Ryan: Well, just to volley that back at you. When you say that to me, now I want to fight even harder. I want to double down again, and I want to protect even more. I don’t want to slay those little foxes that would ravage our garden. So this comes from a passage. This “like men idea” comes from a passage of case not just, you know-
Selena: Ryan being.
Ryan: Ryan’s bravado or just, you know, modern-day masculinity. But instead it comes from 1 Corinthians 16:13 and says this, “:Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” Okay, so there’s this word behind it. It’s andrizesthe. And it’s a Greek word. Now, if you look at other translations of this, they don’t say “act like men”. They say “Be courageous.” Okay, so this isn’t the middle voice and here’s what it means. To act like a man to be brave, or to act manly, is what the lexicon says in strong 407 is the number of the-
Selena: [inaudible 00:07:22] same being courageous. Being courageous like a-
Ryan: Being courageous is what it means to act manly.
Selena: Okay, good.
Ryan: It’s a synonym. And so that’s why you’ll see different translations… I think the King James says, you know, something to the effect of “act like men”. But then you have the NIV which is like, be courageous. NIV tends to kind of water things down a little bit. The ESV is “act like man.” I think the NASB is “act like men”. You know, that’s what we mean by act like men is to resist or fight sexual temptation like a man, courageously.
Okay, so now this begs the question, okay, how do I go about doing this? I want to be courageous. I want to take responsibility. I want to be on the offensive. But how do I do those things? So three things, okay. Again, like I said, systematic.
This is the first one. This is the hardest one, I would say. It’s mortify your sin. Now, I get it, it’s a lot easier said than done. But here’s what we mean by that. Learn to hate your sin.
Selena: I like you said that “learn to hate your sin” because we love our sin. We don’t want to give it up. We enjoy our sin. So no matter what it is- [chuckles]
Ryan: Learn to despise it. Learn to loathe it for what it is. And Romans 8:13, I love this. This is the King James Version. He said like this, “For if you live after the flesh, you shall die. But if ye, through the Spirit,” here it is, “do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” You might know the ESV version better. It’s “…for if you live according to the flesh, you will die. But if you if by the Spirit, you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” So do you mortify the deeds of the body? Do you mortify your flesh?
Now, you might be familiar with this book, but there’s The Mortification of Sin. It’s a book by John Owen. He has some quotes in there that are just epic. So I’m gonna read a few of them. And he ask this, “Do you mortify; do you make it your daily work; be always at it whilst you live; cease not a day from this work; be killing sin or it will be killing you.”
Or another one, and this is the caveat, is you can’t do it alone. You need to be driven by the Spirit. He’s to well up from within. And John Owen knows this. He talks about it at length in his book, but here’s a quote that really nails it. It says, “Set faith at work on Christ for the killing of thy sin. His blood is the great sovereign remedy for sin-sick souls. Live in this, and thou wilt die a conqueror; yea, thou wilt, through the good providence of God, live to see thy lust dead at thy feet.” Through the good providence of God, you’ll live to see your lust dead at his feet.
Selena: It’s so important, like you said, to learn to hate your sin because I think times, you know, [00:10:00] dealing, no matter what the sin is, but sexual sin especially, we can easily fall into mistaking it as love and not lust, right? So, again, seeing it for what it is. Like, these women don’t want to have a relationship with the people that drive through these coffee shops, right? They are not looking for love. They are looking to get paid.
So understand like the situation, that the temptations that you’re fighting, these the women, or if you’re a woman struggling sexual temptation, those men are not looking for relationship with you. This is a sexual encounter. This is lust, this is not love. This is not love that God has established.
Ryan: I think that’s good. I want to go one layer deeper because there can be a tendency, and I’m not disagreeing with you, but there can be a tendency to go about it pragmatically.
Ryan: Where we say, “Okay, that’s bad for me, therefore, I will not pursue it.
Ryan: And I think there’s a level of hate deeper than that of our sin.
Selena: It should be.
Ryan: And what I mean by that is that there’s a level of hate that looks at it and sees it for what it is as an affront, as a rebellion, as if to spit in God’s face. Because He has said it, like, enough. God could have said, it’s sin to pluck dandelions. Right? That should make us hate plucking dandelions.
Selena: Sure. So good.
Ryan: That’s a radical thing to say in some circles, right? For John Owen, not at all. But that’s, I think, the root of hating your sin, when you start to see how it grieves God, how it’s an affront to him, and then from there to see your wife who is made in God’s image, the affront that is to her and the affront that it is the covenant that God made for you to flourish. And now you’re letting these foxes into your garden and they’re eating all the fruit out of your garden just because you failed as a man to slay the foxes, to repair the fence-
Selena: Close the gate. [chuckles]
Ryan: To close the gate. I think that’s the beginning of it.
Ryan: But I think you’re absolutely right. I think that maybe the beginning of that process is seeing it for what it is and then learning to reject it outright. But that takes a mortification, a killing of the sin, not a, you know, a maiming of the sin, but a slaying of the sin.
Selena: So good.
Ryan: So that’s the first one. Learn to hate your sin, learn to mortify your sin. I recommend the book by John Owen, The Mortification of Sin. Obviously, he goes into much greater detail. And it’s timeless. The second one is this. The second step, remember, systematic. Mortify your sin. Now draw near to your wife. Draw near to your wife. And what I mean by that is bring her into the battle, into the mortification of it.
So it’s one thing to just say, “I want to confess to you.” It’s another to say “I want to be clean of this. And I want our lives to be clean of this. And I want my mind to be clear of this. And I want it to be for the rest of my life. And I can’t do that without my wife.”
Selena: And as a wife, the responses may vary depending on what the sexual addiction is, how deep it goes, and how long it’s been going on. There will obviously be some hurt probably if there’s repentance happening. There will be I imagine a reluctancy to want to be on your husband’s team in fighting this battle. There will just be more blame and shame. The tendency-
Ryan: And this is why we have repentance.
Selena: Right. But-
Ryan: It’s so huge because repentance is I’m turning away from this thing.
Selena: I’m just saying that-
Ryan: Just let me… So I’m turning away and I’m asking you, wife, “Will you help me never turn back?”
Ryan: Because I feel the pull turn back.
Selena: And I’m just saying the wives will have tendencies and things and sin they will have to fight and mortify themselves in this battle in order to partner with their husband, in order to maybe not necessarily always ride into battle, but knowing that when he comes home, I’m going to ask him how the battle went or we’re gonna figure out how to engage. And I can lovingly not policingly, you know, ask him and inquire, “How was your fight?”
Ryan: I will say-
Selena: “How are you hating the sin?”
Ryan: …more than a decade ago was when this script flipped for me and it was because I drew nearer to you. And we’ve stopped doing this since because we’ve grown out of this. But early on, I knew that if we were going to be intimate, that I knew you’re gonna ask me, “How are you? How did you do?”
Ryan: And I knew what you were talking about. You didn’t have to go into detail. You didn’t have to do any… All you had to do is just asked the question, however you phrase it. And I knew I would not lie to you. Now part of this is saying like, “You can ask me any time, I will never lie to you, and we’ll always love each other.”
But I didn’t want to give you the failure answer. And that was kind of the handhold I had for a while. And then, you know, men be encouraged because your endurance grows, the desire fades. Like honestly, temptation in this way, other than the silly coffee shop, I sit at my computer all day long, [00:15:00] I have my phone all day long, no filters. I’m not saying like, “Look at Ryan.” But I’m saying that temptation is pretty much gone.
Selena: Yeah. God has been so good to us.
Ryan: As the Lord continues to protect my mind because I’m saying that and I don’t want to brag about it.
Ryan: But I’m just thankful because I feel like the Lord has rung that and then cleanse that part.
Selena: He’s gracious. Yes.
Ryan: And even some of the images that as men you’re exposed to and you expose yourself to, you’re afraid those images will never go away. And I’m here to tell you like they’re gone. And I call it a miracle. I call it time. I call it sanctification. I don’t care what it is, I just know that it’s gone. And so be encouraged in that, I think.
Selena: And when things do come up, he’s so quick to either share them and just, “Okay, this came up, I lingered. I shouldn’t have I just want you to know.” “Okay, there’s forgiveness. I appreciate your honesty. Yeah, let’s just keep at this.” And if there is anything, you know, as a wife that you can do… Again, it’s not my job to police His purity. It’s my job to be his wife and to love him.
Ryan: And that’s what I mean fight like a man, right?
Ryan: Take responsibility.
Ryan: I’m gonna come to you with a good report or a bad one. But I’m gonna take responsibility for it. I’m not gonna-
Selena: And as a godly wife, you need to respond accordingly. So…
Ryan: So just a few thoughts on how to tangibly draw near to your wife. I’m just gonna rattle through these really fast. Tell her your desire for righteousness. Repent to her of your sin. Ask her for help to fight the sin in prayer and through conversations. It’s kind of what I mentioned about before we’re about to be intimate. I knew there’s gonna be conversation that happened. It’s just kind of that was the trigger, the habit.
The fourth one is asked for her partnership and the sexual purity and pursuing sexual purity in your marriage. And what I mean by pursuing it, is, I want to be really careful here, but can we work on… I’m just putting myself in the conversation of a couple. Same to your wife. Can we work on our sex life? I’m not saying it’s horrible. I’m just saying, What can we do to really put some focus on this in this season? Because I want my sexual energy, my sexual mind to be pointed in that direction?
Ryan: I’m not saying that you’re bad at it. I’m not saying that it’s bad. I’m not saying any of those things, or that you owe this to me to help me, and if you don’t do this, then you’re not… It’s not what I’m saying. But I’m saying that as my wife, can we partner in this? How can we up our game? Because I think that might be helpful.
Selena: And I’ve in pride been like, “What do you mean?” Like, you know, I get all offended that you’re like, “We need to improve?” But if there’s a struggle, even if there’s not a struggle, I would say it’s okay to want more or to figure out ways to improve your life. Gary Thomas and Deborah Falletta have a book Married Sex. It’s honestly a great place to start. If you’re not sure where to go with a conversation or what, it’s an incredible place to start for the sexual… the sex… the sexual… your sexual life. [both laughs] I’m struggling over here.
Ryan: Your sexy sex life.
Selena: All my words are just gone. But yeah, I don’t think there’s any problem with being able to have those conversations. It might take some time and it might be a little painful, but it’s not impossible. And I guarantee you will be so grateful that you did.
Ryan: Yeah, yeah. And all this is with the spirit of this idea that your wife is your helper. So husband, enlist the help of your helper. Go to your wife, cling to her. A man cleaves to his wife. He leaves his mother and father and cleave to his wife. Now make sure you’re not cleaving to the air. Cleave to your wife.
Selena: And wives, you know, ask the Lord to soften your heart and to help you see clearly and to be tender towards your husband even in the moments that you don’t want to be, again, how can we modify our own sin and love and honor and respect our husbands even in the midst of their struggle as they turn and repent and as they’re coming to us?
Ryan: Good. So systematic way to fight sexual temptation like man. Number one, mortify your sin. Number two, draw nearer to your wife. Number three, draw nearer to other men, in a different way, of course. [Selena chuckles]
Drawing nearer to other men. And here’s a quote from James Clear. He says this, “The best way to form a habit is to be among those with whom the desired behavior is the norm.” Okay, I’ll use this analogy. If you struggle with alcoholism and you’re hanging out with alcoholics, you’re not going to win your fight against alcoholism.
Ryan: You’re struggling with this sort of temptation and you’re hanging around with men who don’t care about that temptation-
Selena: They don’t care.
Ryan: They just think it’s not hurting anybody. “I’m just looking, I’m just whatever, I’m just getting coffee” or whatever the thing is. No. Be around the people where the desired behavior is the norm.
Selena: Right. They love their wives. They’re affectionate towards their wives. Their purity is where you want to be. They’re open. There’s this communication and this relationship that you want, you see in their marriage and you want that as well.
Ryan: You all know this verse but it bears mentioning here. Iron sharpens iron as one man sharpens another. That’s Proverbs 27:17. If you are iron and you’re hanging around with wood, [00:20:00] you’re not gonna get sharper, you’re gonna get duller. You’re hanging out with stone boneheads and stone heads, [both chuckles] you’re not getting sharp and you’re not with iron. You need to be with iron to be sharpened. Iron are the types of guys that have the fortitude to say, “It’s a temptation, and I hate it, and I want it gone. Let’s work on this together.” Draw near to those guys.
So who does this mean? I want to be really clear about this because sometimes there’s confusion. You’ll talk to some guys, “Hey, do you have any Christian men in your life?” “Yeah, “My dad’s Christian. My pastor’s there, and these guys that I go hunting with. I think one of them’s a Christian.” And whatever, you know, you go through the list. That is not a Christian community.
Selena: Oh, the pastor is. [laughs]
Ryan: No. I disagree because it’s one thing to have your pastors in your small group and your pastors in your airspace all the time.
Selena: Sure. Okay.
Ryan: But many pastors are not that. They’re up there speaking. And you might talk to him for five minutes on a Sunday and then they’re shepherding, but you’re not maybe one of the sheep, they’re shepherding because you’re generally fine and it’s a small, small quote-unquote, “temptation”.
So this is what I mean by Christian community. This is in our book, See Through Marriage. I think it was kind of an epiphany for us. And so we’re going to share it with you. What we mean by Christian communities is there’s five distinctive and we’ve talked about this in the past. It’s gospel centrality, meaning that the gospel is the thing that connects you, not hunting, not work, not some other thing.
Now, we are in community because of Christ. That’s number one. Number two, true transparency. And that’s we’re talking about actually. Not just saying, like, “Yeah, you know, I kind of struggled this week in. You know, it was hard, but thanks for praying for me.” Okay, that’s something but it’s not transparency. “Everyone’s a sinner, like, thanks for acknowledging what everyone acknowledges. Now, what did you struggle with?” “Well, when I was driving down the road, I looked in there, I tried to get a good look.” Or “I was on my computer at work, at home, or my office or whatever and I just let myself go and I went to the site that I always go to.” Okay, that’s true transparency. Or “My wife was asleep and I was on my phone in bed, and she didn’t know but I was looking at who knows what.” Right?
Ryan: That’s true transparency. Okay. And then you can start actually working through that. Number three, consistency. There needs to be a rhythm of meeting with these people, talking about these things, these men talking about these things.
Commitment. What I mean by commitment is that you’re going to offend one another, you’re going to do something that rubs someone the wrong way, you’re gonna say something too brashly or too harshly, or you’re not going to return a text fast enough. Listen, Christian community is committed. I’m not going to dip out the second I get irritated with this group of guys. Instead, we’re going to work through it. We’re going to talk through it.
And the final one is proximity. If you have all these things with somebody and they live a thousand miles away, that’s great, that’s a good friend, that’s a Christian friend, but it’s not the type of Christian community that we’re describing.
Selena: Right. You need to get people… yeah.
Ryan: And to have the consistency we’re talking about, you really need to be like in each other’s space physically. And yeah, you can mitigate that through things like Zoom calls and stuff like that, but I’m gonna say the ideal is to be in person with them.
So we have actually another blog post. It’s actually a podcast episode. I think it’s Episode 154. There’s not going to be a video but you can find it on the website… I think. Sorry, if you can’t find it. Christian community. Or just get the book See Through Marriage. It’s on Amazon. And that should be instructive. And read the chapter on see-through friendships, I think, or see-through community. [Selena chuckles] I think that’s what it’s called. Anyway, we wrote the book like three years ago.
Selena: It’s been a while.
Ryan: That’s it. Just to recap, how to fight sexual temptation like a man. You guys, this has been helpful for me every day when I’m driving past that silly, stupid coffee shop to remind myself, I hate my sin, I hate temptation. Now, I don’t hate the people, I just hate temptation, I hate sin. So I’m gonna mortify it, I’m gonna draw near to my wife, and I’m gonna draw on your two other godly men so this can be normalized in my life.
If you’re hearing all this for the first time, you’ve just never been able to fight temptation successfully and you’re realizing you’re doing it in your own strength, you might need the… Not might. You do need the power of the Holy Spirit in your life.
Now, Bible teaches when we believe in Christ, we are indwelled by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit then lets us walk in the Spirit, not in the flesh. So if you’re trying to fight temptation, but all the while you’re saying, “No, Jesus is not Lord. Jesus is not my savior. He’s not my lord,” I’m here to tell you, like, you’re not going to win, because you don’t have the strength to do it. But with Jesus, you can have the strength to do it when He sends His Spirit to indwell you and to help you live that out.
If none of that makes sense to you, I’m sorry, I want to give you really clear terms on it. So we have this website for you. It’s thenewsisgood.com. It just gives you really basic terms and what it means to become a Christian and then it gives you a few steps you can take down that path.
Let’s pray. Father, thank You for Your word. Thank You for Your holiness that is such a beautiful thing to pursue and to reject temptation, to reject sin. [00:25:00] Help us understand what it means to sin. Help us understand what our sin looks like to You. Help us understand how our sin grieves You, Lord, that we might turn from it. And, Lord, as we turned from it, help us understand how much You love us, the grace you’ve given us, and how you’ve cast that sin as far from us as the east is from the west.
Lord, that we need not live in the regret and shame of whatever sin we’ve committed, but we can live in the freedom that we have in New Christ, as we turn from it, it does not have a hold on us. Show us what freedom is like. Help these men to live upright, pure lives. Help them to mortify their sin, help them cling to their wives and help them pursue other godly men that they might glorify You and flourish in the process. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Ryan: Thanks for joining us. If you want to partner with us, we would love that. The easiest way to do that is subscribe on YouTube, subscribe to the podcast, leave a rating and review. That means a lot. If you want to go deeper and help us even more, you can go to fiercemarriage.com/partner. And there’s a way for you to partner with us financially and there’s some stuff you get in return. But we actually do it because the Lord leads you. That’s it for this episode of the Fierce Marriage podcast.
This episode is—
Selena: In the can.
Ryan: We’ll see you again in seven days. Until next time—
Selena: Stay fierce.
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