Temptations against the sin of impurity abound in this age. Many of the songs, movies, and adverts of today have a heavy dose of sexual content. We consume these almost on a daily basis. So it does not really come as a surprise to see a lot of people including Christians falling into the sin of impurity which can be masturbation, pornography, fornication, adultery, and homosexuality.
Chastity is a virtue and it is also a choice. One who has chosen to go for chastity has to take steps to make the virtue part of oneself. A very important step is to avoid the occasion of sin. What are those things that lead you to the sin of impurity? Is it the relationship you are having with your partner? Unchaste books or romance novels? Indecent films or pornography? After you have identified your occasions of sin, there is something you must do – you must eliminate them. Failure to do this means that you will continue losing in the war against impurity. If impurity is the flame, occasion of sin is the fuel. If you really want to quench the flames of impurity, you have to get rid of the fuel. You end up sleeping with your boyfriend whenever you go to his place. If you are really serious about being chaste, you have to stop going there or even end the relationship. You end up masturbating after watching pornography. Pornography has to go. “And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into Gehenna” (Mt. 5:30).
Our enemy, the devil, who is stronger, more watchful, more cunning, and more strategically advanced than us, is restless to make us fall so that we would be eternally lost. He makes use of his angelic intellect to ensnare us for our destruction. He is a master deceiver. His tactic is seen in the way an Eskimo will kill a wolf.
First, the Eskimo coats his knife blade with animal blood and allows it to freeze. He then adds another layer of blood and allows it to freeze again. He continues to add layer after layer of blood allowing them to freeze until the blade is completely concealed by a very thick coat of frozen animal blood. Next, the hunter fixes his knife in the ground with the blade sticking straight up. In the middle of the night, the wolf with its keen sense of smell would come out and begin to lick the frozen blood. The more the wolf licks the blood, the more he likes it and the faster he licks. He gets caught up in the moment and he licks so vigorously and feverishly that he does not feel the razor-sharp sting of the naked blade on his own tongue. He is so caught up in pleasure that he does not notice the point in which his own blood begins to satisfy his insatiable thirst. So he bleeds to death and in the morning, the Eskimo would go and find him dead on the snow.
This is similar to the way the devil operates in our lives. Many of the sins of impurity seem so pleasing and harmless. Before we know it, a voice is telling us, “It is not going to hurt you,” and “Everybody is doing it.” But do not be deceived, behind that pleasure is that blade that will bring about your death. So take flight.
To flee proximate occasions of sin is a big step that helps us in becoming and remaining chaste. Another step is to make use of the sacraments especially Confession and Holy Eucharist. In our fight against impurity, God does not leave us orphans. He has provided supernatural help and they are the sacraments. If you fall, go meet Jesus in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. And after you receive sanctifying grace again from that sacrament, keep from going back by frequenting our Lord in Holy Communion. This is one of the most powerful ways of overcoming the temptations of the devil. While the Sacrament of Reconciliation is medicine for your soul, Holy Eucharist is food for your soul. If you are starving spiritually, how can you do battle against a powerful enemy like the devil?
You may not have heard about the Holy Martyr, St. Philosophus who suffered for Christ in Alexandria during the persecution by the emperor Decius. He remained steadfast after being urged to deny Christ. After suffering different tortures, he was placed on a bed, bound hand and foot, and a prostitute was put in the room with him to tempt him to sin. In order to avoid giving in to the temptation, St. Philosophus bit off his own tongue and spat it in the prostitute’s face. Horrified, she fled from him. St. Philosophus was later beheaded with a sword after his executioners saw his fearlessness and bravery. He is a patron saint of the virtue of purity. Ask him to intercede for you that you may obtain the graces needed to live a pure life and to join him in eternal glory one day.
Deep down you know this is true: either you control your passions and find peace, or you let your passions control you and you lack peace.
Godwin Nwaokike is the author of the book Growing Through Life: The Pursuit of Fulfilment. Click the image below to find out more about the book.