Abstinence - How to make it work
This is a continuation of the previous article:
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Breaking Through Lust
Sexual abstinence can be really tough. Women tend to undergo a physiological change once a month that lends to this deep-rooted desire for physical, emotional and sexual intimacy. Normally at the time of ovulation. When a man is aroused, semen is moved from the testicles to the vas deferens and this physical pressure creates a very strong desire for sexual intimacy as well. Both reactions in both males and females can be very urgent and extremely strong. Because our sexual desires are also linked to our spiritual desires, once these desires start they can often gain momentum that is extremely difficult to stop or even slow down. I often equate this deep desire/ need to how healthy people lead to cannibalism when physical hunger desire is strong enough. I know this example is a far cry from an accurate description of the urgency but the deep roots are quite the same.
In short, our sexual desires no matter how urgent is very healthy. Now, how does one deal with these deep physical desires?
As it was once spoken to me: You can't stop a seagull from flying over your head but you can stop one from making a nest in your hair. You can expect these desires as they are healthy and normal. It is how you deal with it when it arrives that is most important. This particular challenge is one that is best dealt with by fleeing rather than fighting face to face. Praying against it often yields little results because you are often praying against a part of you that is healthy and good. Much like praying against feeling hunger. No matter how much you pray, if you don't eat your stomach will growl. There are physical things in place when it comes to our sexual desire, it is all in how we deal with it that's all :)
When you get these desires you can simply remove yourself from situations where it is easy to masturbate and place yourself in areas that are also fulfilling in other ways. In fellowship with friends, in a good book, in a coffee shop sipping a mocha. By leaving an environment that makes it easy to fall into sin makes it easier to move away from. Feel free to share this struggle with close friends that can understand and make a pact with them that you can call on them when you need to flea away from an environment that may lead to sin. Our sexual desire is one of the most powerful things we have. It is directly connected to our spirit, therefore, the pull is HUGE, and the blessing is equally HUGE and so can also be the hurt if we are not careful.
In earnest, if you fight against these desires head-on when they hit you, you will surely lose. Fleeing and replacing the desire with another healthy desire is often far more victorious. Even worship can do wonders. We all crave intimacy and by worshiping God deeply in these times fulfills the need of our spirit for intimacy in our lives and that spiritual fulfillment will regularly overpower your physical needs.
This reminds me of a little prayer I learned many moons ago:
"Spirit, Soul and Body, in line now in the name of Jesus Christ"
What does this mean?
Our spirit is in touch with God at all times, our Soul represents our emotional needs and our body represents the physical needs we have. the moment things fall out of line and for example, the needs of our soul out-weighs the needs of our spirit (eg: lashing out of emotional need in rebellion or binge eating to solve an emotional dilemma) we fall into trouble. By praying the simple prayer puts all into alignment immediately and so long as you move your mind immediately into directions that you desire that are of spiritual health I am sure you will have victory.
Over time you will get really good at catching yourself as you often may start wondering down roads you do not desire to travel and will be encouraged by your continual victory. We all fall short and we all make mistakes. Don't kick yourself too much for falling down. Just encourage yourself, get back up. Ask for forgiveness when needed and move on. With each fall so long as we learn, we will journey ever closer to our victory.