Sadly, the majority of Christians who attend college (whether secular or professing Christian) do the latter. They willingly submit themselves to the enslaving power of sexual sin. It may start off in front of your computer or smartphone, but it usually never ends there. Given the right context, given “enough rope,” your sinful desires will take you down paths you never imagined traveling. That’s the sad reality of sexual sin. If you give it an inch, it takes you ten miles. It is an unrelenting force whose power increases with every battle you choose to lose, and it frequently results in sexually immoral activity.
Let’s face it: sexual promiscuity is ubiquitous, and sexual purity has become a lost art. It saddens me to think of how many Christians who leave their hometowns for the first time to attend college fall prey to egregious forms of sexual sin. It’s so depressingly prevalent. Even so, the Scriptures are clear: sexual immorality is a sin against God (Ps. 51:4), is a sin against others (1 Thess. 4:3–7), and has eternal consequences (Matt. 5:27–30). Assuming you believe that to be true and that you long to pursue purity, the most crucial question becomes: How should I pursue sexual purity in a world gone sexually awry?
The Pursuit of Sexual Purity
Lampwick isn’t the only one who gives in to temptation. Pinocchio does as well. He, too, grows donkey ears and a tail, with his dream of becoming a real boy vanishing before his eyes. But just before he turns into a total donkey, his loyal friend and conscience, Jiminy Cricket, comes to the rescue. He quickly shows Pinocchio the “only” way out, up a steep set of craggy rocks and to a tall cliff with water far below. At the top, Pinocchio turns to look at Jiminy as if to say, “I can’t do this!” Jiminy reads his mind and forthrightly says, “You gotta jump!” Pinocchio wastes no time. Not once does he look back at the Eight Ball bar where sin prevailed; not once does he reminisce on the fleeting joys of Pleasure Island. He immediately jumps to escape the enslaving consequences of “fun.”
You may think Pinocchio’s escape from sin’s grasp serves as a good example of fighting sin, but I actually think it’s a good example of what not to do (at least, first and foremost). You see, too many Christians focus on external actions. They know sexual sin is wrong. They’ve given in, but they know they shouldn’t have. So, they do the hard work of climbing up really steep craggy rocks to avoid the trappings of sin yet again, seeking to be the best Christian they can possibly be. Contrary to what you may have been taught, that’s actually the worst starting point for believers. It produces moralistic Christians, and moralistic Christianity is not biblical Christianity. Moralistic Christians are those who trust in self rather than God, who draw from their own strength rather than the help of the Spirit, who think they can overcome the oppressive power of sin through mere human actions. They think sexual purity is attainable if you just get an accountability program on your smartphone and computer, or if you live with a Christian roommate, or if you verbally confess to a friend every sinful thought that enters your mind, or if you vow never to be alone with your girlfriend or boyfriend, or if you literally run from sexual temptation as Joseph did. Then, and only then, will you be freed from the sharp talons of sexual sin.