We are very pleased with the success you have had appealing to this young man’s sexual appetite. Telling him that every other young man is viewing pornography was a good move, and ensuring that he turned down the offer to block particular internet sites was crucial. Having his friends mock the very idea of sexual purity as prudish and “puritan“ was a stroke of genius. And how did you manage to get a Christian counselor to say that experimentation would ensure a more balanced and healthy attitude toward sex? You are showing great promise, our young trainee. However, you must not allow too much time to elapse with this young man because the enemy will be attempting to undo your efforts. Here are some tried-and-true methods you should also consider:
(1) Keep reminding him that his conversion has little or nothing to do with his body. If he gratifies himself, fine, so long as, afterward, he feels repulsed about his body. Guilt is a good thing. It keeps him away from the enemy. So, drive a wedge between his inner and outer self as much as you can. Let him read all the spiritual books he can find so long as he can indulge himself afterward. Whatever you do, don’t let him pray about sex or talk to the enemy about it. Tell him that sex is a private matter. Don’t let him believe that he can share everything with the enemy. Let him believe that this is a secret — natural — part of his life.
(2) Allow him some success from time to time. If not, he may turn to more drastic measures that will be beyond your ability to counter. Let him think that he is gaining for a few weeks, and then — perhaps when he is away traveling on business — concentrate all your efforts to bring him down. This way, he’s sure to think the enemy hates him and he must win His favor once more. Show him how difficult — impossible — the task is, and let him think that he’ll get no help from the enemy.
(3) Oh, and make sure that if he tries to read that dreadful book by John Owen on mortification, that you underline how dense and difficult it is — full of long sentences and awkward subordinate clauses. Keep whispering “legalism“ in his ear. That should do the trick.
Your Master, Legion
Dr. Derek W.H. Thomas is senior minister of the First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, S.C., and Chancellor’s Professor of Systematic and Pastoral Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary. He is a Ligonier Ministries teaching fellow and author of many books, including How the Gospel Brings Us All the Way Home.