See A Setback For What It Is
Recognize that a setback is just that—it’s a setback.
“For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief” (Proverbs 24:16).
What makes the just man just? It’s not that he doesn’t fall. It’s that he always gets back up. What makes the wicked man wicked? It’s not that he falls. It’s that he doesn’t get back up.
“Stand like Daniel, that faithful statesman, a man whom no temptation could corrupt. Do not disappoint Him who so loved you that He gave His own life to cancel your sins. He says, ‘Without Me ye can do nothing.’ John 15:5. Remember this. If you have made mistakes, you certainly gain a victory if you see these mistakes and regard them as beacons of warning. Thus you turn defeat into victory, disappointing the enemy and honoring your Redeemer” (Christ’s Object Lessons, 332.2).
Study victorious living in the Bible and EGW. Refuse to be content with a second-hand knowledge of how sanctification works. Study science related to your challenge. Study your own behavior, strengths, weaknesses through journaling.
“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).
Recognize that not every partner is created equal. Be willing to seek counsel from several until you find one that works well for you.
Qualities to look for:
- Godly & God-fearing.
- Can keep a confidence.
- Clicks with you.
- Beneficial to you in your struggle.
If at all possible, use technology to automate checking in with your partner on a regular basis. This is a big reason for the existence of HabitFree.org.
Be proactive in scheduling appointments with your mentor. It can be intimidating for some to ask you how you are doing.
Be completely honest with your mentor. Your honesty allows them to help you.
List Your Reasons
Create a list of reasons for ridding yourself of this habit. Make it personal, yours, connected with your life goals, desires, & aspirations.
Here’s a simple example:
I hate watching pornography.
- It destroys my freedom.
- It endangers my future career.
- It destroys my relationships.
- It destroys my happiness.
- It destroys my self-respect.
By memorizing scripture, you empower the Holy Spirit to work in your life.
“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17).
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
This scripture is also a powerful weapon in the heat of battle.
Find Quality Friends
Develop a spiritually positive and supportive social life. Often sexual habits take root as a result of cravings for intimacy. Having pure, wholesome, spiritual relationships will often reduce the intensity and frequency of cravings.
Is there some activity that frequently presents you with sexual imagery? Even if you aren’t immediately stimulated, that imagery is likely to increase the severity and frequency of your cravings. Modify your daily habits and behavior to avoid as far as possible having to see sexual imagery.
“Those who would not fall a prey to Satan’s devices, must guard well the avenues of the soul; they must avoid reading, seeing, or hearing that which will suggest impure thoughts. … The heart must be faithfully sentineled, or evils without will awaken evils within, and the soul will wander in darkness” (Acts of the Apostles, 518.2).
The most effective way to learn is to teach. By sharing what God is teaching you, you both bless others and cement these lessons into your own heart.
Address Common Lust
Learn “the bounce.” Make it a game to catch yourself slipping up, and then simply redirect your gaze. Do this instead of berating yourself for being a failure. After a while, “bouncing” will become a habit.
Redirect your focus. You can’t stop thinking about something by trying to stop thinking about it. Instead, focus both visually and mentally on something else.
If you need to interact with someone you find sexually stimulating, calmly focus your eyes on his or her face and your mind on the interaction.
Have an “opposite” to focus on when you’re put in a difficult situation. Make a plan ahead of time. Two good ideas are reasons you want to control your eyes or verses you’ve been memorizing. Two you might start with are Job 31:1 and Isaiah 42:16.
Address Your Triggers
As you journal, look for patterns. When are you most at risk of having a setback? Common problematic scenarios are boredom, excessive alone time, staying up late, and unrestricted Internet access. Find your own problematic scenarios and take measures to reduce their frequency and danger.
Study God’s Word
Spend time every morning in God’s Word. Study themes specifically relating to your struggles—victory over sin, sanctification, faith, etc.
Spend time every morning in prayer. Ask God specifically to remind you when you begin to slip. Often He’ll remind you long before you get to the edge.
Pray, on your knees if possible, that God would send His angels to guard you and that He would help you find peace. It is only through your cooperation with the Holy Spirit’s aid that you can resist temptation.
“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12, 13).
Refuse to take ownership of the temptation. Satan suggests temptations to our minds, much as a salesmen places the merchandise in the person’s hand. Just because it came into your head doesn’t make it yours. You may find it helpful to literally think, “No thank you, Satan. Here’s your temptation back.”
Calmly divert your attention to something neutral or contradictory to the temptation. A craving is a form of stress. By calming yourself, you break the power of the craving.
- Recite the list of reasons you hate the thing you’re being tempted to.
- Recite scripture. It doesn’t have to be related. Simply occupying your mind with scripture is enough. If it is related to the temptation, all the better. In a pinch, scripture songs will work, but are not as effective since they require less effort to recite.
- Recognize the craving as a call to greater intimacy with Christ. In this way, you divert the energy of the craving into impelling you to contemplate Christ’s love for you.
- Pray for others in your life.
Move to a different physical location, preferably one as inconducive to your particular temptation and as distracting as possible.
If you’ve had a setback, get back up ASAP. Ask God for forgiveness. Believe He forgives you. Begin walking in victory right away.
As soon as possible, write down all your thoughts surrounding the temptation and/or setback.
Debrief with your accountability partner as soon as you can when you’ve had a severe temptation and/or a setback. Sharing your journaled thoughts with your mentor can help them know how to help you.