31 Days of Purity

Through the month of March, I am inviting you to 31 Days of Purity—thirty-one days of thinking about and praying for sexual purity. Each day features a short passage of Scripture, a reflection on that passage, and a brief prayer. Here is day twenty-two:

And now, O sons, listen to me,
and do not depart from the words of my mouth.
Keep your way far from her,
and do not go near the door of her house,
lest you give your honor to others
and your years to the merciless,
lest strangers take their fill of your strength,
and your labors go to the house of a foreigner,
and at the end of your life you groan,
when your flesh and body are consumed,
and you say, “How I hated discipline,
and my heart despised reproof!
I did not listen to the voice of my teachers
or incline my ear to my instructors.
I am at the brink of utter ruin
in the assembled congregation.” (Proverbs 5:7-14)

These words were written thousands of years before anyone had even dreamed of a computer. They were written millennia before cameras and screens and iPads and so many of the media that transport today’s sexual temptations. And yet they are as applicable to us as they were to Solomon, all those years ago. Here the wise father writes to his son and warns him to stay far away from the house of the harlot, from that place of sexual temptation and sexual sin. He knows that if his son walks along the edge of the cliff, he will inevitably fall into the chasm.

A few days ago we prayed that God would give us a willingness to gouge out and cut off whatever it is that causes us to sin. Have you done that? Now Solomon warns us that we need to stay far, far from any area of temptation. We cannot tiptoe along the cliff’s edge and expect to remain steady on our feet. What path do you walk that leads you to sexual sin? What pattern do you follow before you fall into sexual sin? Is it mindlessly browsing Facebook? Is it staying up too late? It is driving past the house of the prostitute? Read Solomon’s warning, pray for God’s wisdom, and beware your steps.

Father, I ask that you would show me the patterns I follow that lead me to sexual sin. I don’t want to go near the door of the prostitute. I don’t want to go near the porn site. I don’t want to go to any place where my eyes and mind are prone to wander into impurity. I don’t want to walk along the cliff and expect that this time I won’t fall in. Thank you for your kind warning, given through Solomon. Now give me your wisdom, give me your strength, give me your protection. Let me do, and let me long to do, only what is right.


What Now? Consider joining our 31 Days of Purity Facebook group. It is optional, but you will find it a good place to go for discussion and encouragement. (Note: that Facebook group is for men only; here is one for Women Supporting Men).

31 Days of Purity

Through the month of March, I am inviting you to 31 Days of Purity—thirty-one days of thinking about and praying for sexual purity. Each day features a short passage of Scripture, a reflection on that passage, and a brief prayer. Here is day twenty:

It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. (1 Samuel 11:2)

A king walking on the roof and gazing over his kingdom is not an unusual scenario. It is not even unusual that he might catch a glimpse of something that he should not be seeing. But what is unusual in this story is given to us in verse 1. David is leisurely strolling across his roof and gazing across his kingdom during “the time when kings go out to battle”. It is the season for battle but David is having his own season of leisure. As the text says, “David remained at Jerusalem”.

You can likely relate to David’s story. Some of our greatest sins take place in times of boredom and inactivity. What Spurgeon once said is demonstrably true, “Idle people tempt the devil to tempt them.” One of the antidotes to a life given to impurity is the grace of meaningful work. It is difficult to be consumed with sexual impurity when you are consumed with gospel work. Let us pray that the Lord would help us “approve what is vital” and give our energies to that which is eternal.

Father, thank you for your gift of work. Thank you for involving us in your purpose to fill the world with passionate worshippers. I confess that far too often my mind and heart are focused on much smaller things. At times my heart is driven towards comfort and ease. When my brothers and sisters are “doing battle” I’m “remaining at Jerusalem”. Stir up in my heart a passion to pursue the vital things in life. Keep me from flitting away my time on fleeting pleasure and to pursue your eternal kingdom. Amen. 


What Now? Consider joining our 31 Days of Purity Facebook group. It is optional, but you will find it a good place to go for discussion and encouragement. (Note: that Facebook group is for men only; here is one for Women Supporting Men).

Todays devotional was prepared by Mike Leake. Mike is associate pastor of First Baptist Church of Jasper, IN. He and his wife, Nikki have 2 children (Isaiah and Hannah). Mike is the author of Torn to Heal and regularly blogs at mikeleake.net.

31 Days of Purity

Through the month of March, I am inviting you to 31 Days of Purity—thirty-one days of thinking about and praying for sexual purity. Each day features a short passage of Scripture, a reflection on that passage, and a brief prayer. Here is day nineteen:

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell. (Matthew 5:27-30)

In the context of sexual purity, Jesus lays down the challenge of radical action. “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away.” We understand that Jesus may not be speaking literally, but this does not indicate that he is suggesting something ridiculous. When we accuse him of exaggeration, we minimize the force of his words, and perhaps give ourselves an out. But Jesus is asking a serious question in this text: Do you love your sexual sin enough to go to hell for it?

If you are committed to battling sin, you need to be committed to getting rid of those things that lead you to sin. Don’t toy with sin when you should be running fast and far from it. If your iPhone causes you to sin, cut it off; if your computer causes you to sin, gouge it out. As an integral part of your commitment to sexual purity, as a means of gaining victory, take radical action against your sin. What is God telling you to cut off or gouge out?

Father, I pray that I would have the courage and integrity to take radical action. Don’t let me toy with sin. Don’t let me continue to taste of sin and act surprised when I soon feast on it. Keep me from ever thinking lightly of the very sins that required the suffering and death of Jesus Christ. Show me where my patterns of sin are so deeply ingrained that I will need to cut something off or gouge something out for my good and your glory.


What Now? Consider joining our 31 Days of Purity Facebook group. It is optional, but you will find it a good place to go for discussion and encouragement. (Note: that Facebook group is for men only; here is one for Women Supporting Men).

31 Days of Purity

Through the month of March, I am inviting you to 31 Days of Purity—thirty-one days of thinking about and praying for sexual purity. Each day features a short passage of Scripture, a reflection on that passage, and a brief prayer. Here is day eighteen, which comes courtesy of a guest and friend: Dave Harvey.

But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. (1 Corinthians 7:2)

We hear it all the time, practice “protected sex”! But for the Christian man, protected sex means something much more significant and wonderful than birth control. Enjoying your wife sexually (and inviting her to enjoy you!) is a God-installed sentry for guarding your heart in the fight for purity. Think of it as one of your first lines of defense. God says, “because of the temptation to sexual immorality,” I’m giving you protection—it’s called your spouse. Rather than squandering your sexual desire in pornography and lust, fulfill it by having wonderful, God-honoring sex with your wife. Love her sacrificially and enjoy her often!

And to the unmarried man – “God’s divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3), including the power to overcome “the temptation to sexual immorality.” You have not been left without ammunition in the fight! God’s divine power includes the grace to wait patiently for her arrival. Isn’t it just like God to create something we savor and then use it as a shield!

Lord, your ways are magnificent! You gave us marriage to display your character and your care. [For the married man: You gave me a bride so she could be well-loved. You gave me a wife because you care about my weakness. Help me, O God, to cherish this gift and enjoy it often, even today! Not simply because sex protects me, but because the purity of your people glorifies you.] [For the unmarried man: I may not understand why you have given me a sexual appetite without giving me a wife, but I do trust that your power has granted to me all I need for life and godliness. I trust that this includes the powerful to overcome the temptation to sexual immorality. So until the day I can enjoy sex with the wife you provide, I ask that I would be pure.] Amen!


What Now? Consider joining our 31 Days of Purity Facebook group. It is optional, but you will find it a good place to go for discussion and encouragement. (Note: that Facebook group is for men only; here is one for Women Supporting Men).

Todays devotional was prepared by Dave Harvey. Dave serves as Pastor of Preaching at Four Oaks Church in Tallahassee, Florida. He is the author of Am I Called? The Summons to Pastoral Ministry, Rescuing Ambition, and When Sinners Say “I Do”: Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage.

31 Days of Purity

Through the month of March, I am inviting you to 31 Days of Purity—thirty-one days of thinking about and praying for sexual purity. Each day features a short passage of Scripture, a reflection on that passage, and a brief prayer. Here is day seven:

So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. (2 Timothy 2:22)

We are at war. Our enemies—the world, the flesh, and the devil—are forever opposed to us. A constant battle rages inside us, outside us, and all around us. As men we’ve been created to be brave and bold, to stand firm and fearless in battle. All throughout the New Testament we are told to stand, to stand strong in this fight. And yet there is one area where we are commanded to flee: “Flee youthful passions.” We are to flee lust, to run fast and far from the desire and the opportunity to commit sexual sin. “Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned? Or can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched” (Proverbs 6:27-28)? Of course not. Only a fool would even try.

Flee, my brother. Learn how and when to run and do not be ashamed to do so. Do not toy with sexual sin. Do not make light of sexual sin. Do not laugh or joke about the very sins Christ died for. Do not allow yourself even the smallest taste or the briefest glimpse of what God forbids. There is no shame in running, but you may well know the shame of falling.

Father, you tell me to flee sexual sin. You tell me that “sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints” (Ephesians 5:3). Yet too often I have toyed with sexual sin, I have determined to allow myself just a glance or just a taste. And then, somehow, I have acted surprised when that small taste led to a complete fall and outright gluttony. I have no one to blame but myself, because I chose to disregard your Word. Teach me my own weakness and display to me your great strength. When I am tempted, let me flee to you and take refuge in you, in your promises, in your strength.


What Now? Consider joining our 31 Days of Purity Facebook group. It is optional, but you will find it a good place to go for discussion and encouragement. (Note: that Facebook group is for men only; here is one for Women Supporting Men).

31 Days of Purity

Through the month of March, I am inviting you to 31 Days of Purity—thirty-one days of thinking about and praying for sexual purity. Each day features a short passage of Scripture, a reflection on that passage, and a brief prayer. Here is day two:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

As men we face the temptation to gain our deepest identity from our sexuality. For some, identity is found in sexual prowess while for others it is defined by sexual failures. The Corinthians, like us, suffered from identity confusion. They had forgotten who they had become in Christ and they began to define themselves by things other than their Savior. In 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Paul reminds the Corinthians (and us!) that who Christians are is found in a different and better place—our identity is found in a person. We are no longer identified as “sexually immoral” or “homosexual”. Paul places that old identity in the past by saying “such were some of you”. Our new identity is that of people who have been washed, sanctified, and justified. Because we have been saved by Christ, we have been given His identity. Let us embrace that new and better identity, and let us define ourselves by who we are in Christ.

Lord, thank you for establishing my identity in Christ so that I am no longer defined by sin and failure. Because you have purchased me and placed me in union with Jesus Christ, I know that all He has is given to me. Help me to believe that I am hidden in Christ so that it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. Help me to live as if that is true. In the times when I feel like I’m defined by sexual failure, help me to remember who I am in Christ. When I’m driven to find my identity in my sexuality, stir my heart so I will live out my identity in Christ instead. In the times of victory, help me to remember that it is only through the name of Christ that I live in freedom from sin’s captivity. I am yours. Amen.

What Now? Consider joining our 31 Days of Purity Facebook group. It is optional, but you will find it a good place to go for discussion and encouragement. (Note: that Facebook group is for men only; here is one for Women Supporting Men)

31 Days of Purity

Today, along with several thousand men, I am beginning “31 Days of Purity.” This is for all of us—for those who are young and those who are old, for those who are married and those who are single, for those who struggle mightily in the area of sexual sin and for those who may barely struggle at all. It is a time—a month—to focus on what the Bible says about sexual purity. Each day I will share a short passage from Scripture, a brief reflection on that passage, and a prayer. You can ponder the Scripture, read the devotional, and pray the prayer, and why not do it together with a friend, a brother in Christ? (Read more here)

As we begin these days together, I think we ought to begin with the gospel.

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures… (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

It is good that you have this desire to pursue sexual purity. It is good that you are joining with us for these thirty-one days. And yet even a good desire can be sinfully motivated or sinfully directed. The sad fact is that we are never far from self-centeredness, from attempting to do these things for our own glory. We are never far from self-reliance, from attempting to do these things in our own strength. We are never far from legalism, from attempting to do these things to merit God’s favor.

This is why we must begin with the gospel and this is why each of these thirty-one days must be founded upon and directed toward the gospel of Jesus Christ: that Christ died for our sin and that he was raised from the dead. The gospel makes all the difference. The gospel destroys self-centeredness by gripping our hearts with a great and growing desire to see Christ glorified. The gospel destroys our self-reliance by showing that Christ had to do what we could not do for ourselves. The gospel destroys our legalism by assuring us that we do not have to earn God’s favor because through Christ Jesus we already have it. And so, as we embark together on these 31 Days of Purity, we must begin with, dwell upon, and finish with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Father in heaven, please help me to glory in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Please remove from within me any desire for self-glorification, any hint of self-reliance, even the smallest thought that I would ever have to earn your favor. I pray that through these thirty-one days, my desire would be to see you glorified in my life, to grow in my reliance upon you, and to rest in what Christ has done in restoring peace and fellowship between me and you. Make the gospel resound in my heart today and every day.

31 Days of Purity

Men, I want to offer you a challenge. You too, women, but allow me speak to the men first. Beginning on March 1, I am going to begin a program I’m calling 31 Days of Purity. This is for all of us—for those who are young and those who are old, for those who are married and those who are single, for those who struggle mightily in the area of sexual sin and for those who may barely struggle at all. I would love it if you would commit with me to 31 Days of Purity—thirty-one days of considering what God’s Word says about sexual purity and thirty-one days of praying that God would help us fight sin and pursue holiness in this area.

Will you join me?

What If I Don’t Struggle?

A little while ago I wrote an article titled When You’re at Your Best, Plan for Your Worst. My point there was that even if you have gained significant victory in this area, thank the Lord, but don’t stop battling. What I said there still applies:

There is a kind of weakness, a kind of vulnerability, that may come when we are convinced of our strength. It is when we are not being tempted, it is when we are standing strong in the Lord’s grace, that we ought to consider the times we will be weak and tempted and eager to sin. We need to assume such times will come and we need to use the moments of strength to put measures in place that will protect us when we are weak.

Also, even as you pray for yourself, you can partner with a friend who may not be experiencing the same victory. Encourage him along. There is every reason for you to join us, even if you are not struggling in this area.

What About Women?

Women, you can be involved too. I would love it if you would follow along, read what God’s Word says, and then pray for the men in your life: your husbands, your sons, your grandsons. What a blessing it would be to them if you will pray for them in an area in which Satan seems to be winning so many battles. Also, if you are struggling in the area of sexual purity, you’ll easily be able to adapt the devotionals and prayers to your own use.

How Does It Work?

Men, here’s how to get started.

First, pray about people who might join you in this challenge, and then ask them. I am convinced this time will be especially encouraging if you ask a friend or two to join you and if you make it a point to pray with and for one another.

Second, consider joining our 31 Days of Purity Facebook group. It is optional, but you will find it a good place to go for discussion and encouragement. (Note: that Facebook group is for men only; here is one for Women Supporting Men)

Finally, beginning on March 1, I will post a devotional every morning. I will be writing some of them, Mike Leake (with whom I am teaming on this challenge) will be writing some of them, and we have also asked a few friends (whom you may recognize) to help out from time-to-time. Each post will include a short section of the Bible, a couple of paragraphs of explanation or application, and a prayer. You can ponder the Scripture, read the devotional, and pray the prayer. Obviously this is no magic talisman that will ward off sin. However, since we believe in the power and authority of God’s Word and since we believe that God loves to hear and answer our prayers, why shouldn’t we expect that he will move powerfully in our lives?

It all begins right here on March 1. If you would like to begin thinking now about sexual purity, we’ve reduced the price on my book Sexual Detox, so it’s just $1.99 for the Kindle edition (I haven’t seen the price adjusted yet on Amazon, but it will change soon!). You can buy the ebook version direct from Cruciform right here, or the print version (just $5.49) right here.

I suppose it has always been difficult to teach boys about sex. The trouble is that you need to begin those talks while they are still quite young—probably too young to handle the information with the maturity it deserves. This may be especially true today when pornography and other blatant sexuality is so prevalent that we have to address these things at younger and younger ages. Still, every parent does it and blunders through it one way or another.

I sometimes read a magazine called The Walrus. It is a Canadian magazine that exists on the left—just about as far left as you can go, I think. Still, it features some skilled writers and presents a perspective that I wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to, so I rather enjoy reading it. In the current issue there is a column called “The Talk” that discusses teaching boys about sex. I realized as I read it that the way I have been teaching my children about sex and gender and sexuality is very, very different from the way society around us would teach them if given the opportunity. We use similar terms, but mean very different things by them. As a Christian, and as a Christian parent, I found it very helpful to have this alternative view so clearly laid out.

The article begins in a ninth-grade classroom on the far side of the country where an organization called WiseGuyz is leading an opt-in sexual education class. The article explains that these teachers face the “radical act of teaching them to question all they have been told about what it means to be a man.” Men from the organization are teaching boys about sex and sexuality and, not surprisingly, the boys are responding with confusion and wisecracks. One of the instructors has just spoken about intersexuality, being born with a combination of male and female physical characteristics.

A few boys nod, but the rest look baffled. Stafford Perry, another facilitator, speaks up. “It helps if you understand that for many people, gender is not just two possibilities but many,” he says. “Being a man or a woman exists on a scale, so it’s not either/or. You don’t have to be one or the other.”

This is key. Much of what used to be considered binary now exists on a scale. When I was a child I was taught that sex and gender are binary—you are male or female, and your gender identity and gender expression will accord with it. There may have been some small scales—with tomboy to princess representing different scales of femininity and rough-and-tumble to sensitive representing different scales of masculinity—but the categories were clear: You were a boy or a girl and if you were a boy you were expected to behave like a boy and if you were a girl you were expected to behave like a girl. Today, though, children are taught that every aspect of sexuality exists on a scale with no either/or. They are taught that this is the normal and natural state of humanity.

The instructor then takes a whiteboard and draws a figure shaped like a gingerbread man. This gingerbread man has a smiley face, a heart, and a starburst at the crotch. And he uses this figure to teach some important lessons—some important terminology.

The head refers to gender identity. This is the way you define yourself, either as a man or a woman, or as something between the two. I presume the fact that this accords with the head shows that it is something you can think about and determine for yourself.

The heart stands for sexual orientation—your attractions which can be for men, for women, for both, or for something in between. Because it is the heart, I assume this is something you feel and know more than it is something you think about and decide.

The starburst covering the crotch accords with sex, your physical characteristics. We are all born a certain sex, but this, too, is adaptable with modern techniques, and may shift and change throughout life.

Finally, the external shape of the figure points to gender expression, the outward choices you make—the clothes you wear, the tone of your voice, the way you walk, and so on. This, too, is meant to be personalized and may often shift.

Each of these things, too, is on a scale, and each of them can be mixed and matched. Your gender identity may tend toward male, your sexual orientation toward gay, your sex female and your gender expression hyper-masculine. The possibilities are absolutely limitless. We can custom-craft ourselves to our heart’s content. What I find particularly interesting is that so little is said about the actual sexual act. The sexual act must then be an individualized expression of all of these, but with no greater meaning or no greater significance.

They apply no morality to any of this, beyond the gross immorality of judgement and the intrinsic good of tolerance and autonomy. I look to the Bible as my standard, my foundation, and look there for the meaning, the significance, and the purpose that holds it all together. And this, I think, is where what I teach my children is so very different from what WiseGuyz and others are teaching: Their standard is intrinsic, what they desire and feel and believe. My standard is extrinsic, what God desires and what God commands. Our authority is as different as different can be, and, therefore, so too is what we believe and what we teach. We are worlds apart.