This post was originally posted on the old Revolution of Love website a few years back. I reposted it on the blog since it is still relevant and this week’s book discussion of Style, Sex and Substance is on Chapter 4: Sex, Passion and Purity.
Chastity is for those whose spirit is willing but flesh is weak! Chastity is not always easy, but it is also not impossible if you are willing to work at it. If you want to start living a chaste life, please allow me to give the following advice that helped me turn my life around:
Bail out of the bad relationships.
Some relationships are just screaming “disaster” but we’re so involved physically we are blinded to it. Stop the physical activity. As time goes by, if it was all lust the relationship will fall apart. (You deserve better than that! Get out of there!) If the relationship flourishes without physical activity then it’s a safe bet that it’s not one of lust and worth keeping.
Stop the Sin.
If you are involved in immoral activity, put a stop to it. Casual sex, masturbation, pornography and other such things are poison to your body and soul! They are physically addictive and spiritually bonding to evil spirits. It will take spiritual and physical help to stop. Read on…
Avoid occasions of sin!
Chastity requires lots of spiritual help but also good old fashioned COMMON SENSE. We live in a world that can’t sell anything without using sex. Perversion and immorality are everywhere but we can still avoid it as much as possible. Don’t fool yourself. Don’t think you can see movies, hear music, read material, hang out with friends, or go to places that degrade sex, without it affecting you. Satan won’t have to work hard to tempt you since you freely walk into danger yourself!
And I’m not only talking about “hard core” stuff. Your passions can be aroused slowly and subtly; then when your guard is down, it’ll hit you full force. If you feel a temptation coming on, get it out of your mind immediately or if need be, get up and remove yourself physically. Do whatever it takes. You’ve got to be vigilant, particularly with those things that you personally are most vulnerable with (you know what they are).
Get to confession…and do it often.
If you haven’t been to confession in awhile now is the time. I know how hard it can be when you’ve got a list of things (or even one) that you’re too embarrassed to admit to anyone, let alone a priest. I tried a couple of times and chickened out in the confessional. Finally, I wrote all the sins down on paper, took a deep breath, and went in there and said everything without stopping. It felt so good to not only finally get it off my chest, but to hear the words “your sins are forgiven” and to receive the grace of the sacrament. It was overwhelming. God desires to heal you and help you avoid sin. Go as soon as possible and make it a habit to keep going to confession every two weeks or at least once a month. (For those struggling a great deal, go more often.)
Embrace the Eucharist.
Along with the sacrament of Reconciliation, receive the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist as often as possible. In the Eucharist – which is Jesus truly present Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity – we receive tremendous healing power. Christ restores our life and strengths us. This is paramount to living a life of grace!
Develop a relationship with Our Lady and St. Joseph.
Our Blessed Mother was very instrumental in helping me break from sexual sin. Her tender love challenged me when I needed a boost and comforted me when I felt my weakest. She has constantly helped me to keep my focus on Christ and continues to teach me how to love and serve Him more each day. She is as real to me as anyone I know. She is your mother and she longs to embrace you and help you with your struggle. Turn to her. Pray the rosary every day or at least a decade. (If you don’t know how to pray the rosary or don’t have one, email me or leave a comment and ask for one. We’ll send you a plastic rosary and the prayers.) It is a powerful weapon in combating sin and retaining purity. You will also find St. Joseph a wonderful example and prayer warrior for you. Being a chaste man and protector of the virgins, he is eager to offer his prayers and assistance to all of us striving to live a pure life.
Surround yourself with holy people and things.
Make friends with people who are living life chastely. Spend time together (or email each other if they’re far away) and encourage one another. (Note: It is great to have friends of the opposite sex but you must be extremely careful not to discuss sexual sins and weaknesses with them. All too often, these “discussions” have led friends into sin together, instead of helping each other out. If you need prayer, ask for it without going into detail. If you need a confidant it should be someone older and of the same sex. See tip #8.) Fill your mind with wholesome stories and movies. Read books about the saints and see how God helped them to avoid sin and live a life of virtue. Make use of sacramentals such as holy water, the scapular, icons, and such. They will help keep your mind’s eye on God.
Find a spiritual director.
A spiritual director will help you develop a life of prayer and grace. If that is not possible find someone who you can talk to whom will hold you accountable and help you grow in holiness. These persons should be someone older and wiser than you, of deep prayer and living a chaste life of grace themselves.
Keep yourself busy.
Get involved with your church, community service, or get some exercise outdoors. Keeping your mind and body busy with healthy and moral activities will lessen your chances of falling into sin.
I’m sure there are a lot more things I could mention but this will get you started. It may seem overwhelming if you are not used to living a chaste life but I assure you, with God’s grace, it is possible. Work at it and don’t give up when you fall, even if you fall many times. I assure you that the peace and joy of living chastely is worth the struggle of breaking free from the shackles of sexual immorality. Engrave Christ’s words deep within your heart, “Your sins are forgiven. Go and sin no more.”
A note to those who are struggling terribly with sexual addiction, I recommend you checking out the Family Life Center’s website. There is a page geared to those struggling with pornography, but I believe the steps can be applied to other sexual sins as well. Go to Help for Those Struggling with Pornography.
Lastly, if you need someone to pray for you while you’re struggling with this, feel free to contact us. God bless you and strengthen you!
(This article was written on February 11, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. It was on this day many years ago that Our Blessed Mother helped me break free from the shackles of sin. It was an ongoing struggle, but it was she who brought me back to Christ and continues to guide me today. To My Lady I say, thank you with all my love.)
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