Whose Battle Is It?
At one time I was having extramarital affairs with five different men.…Even though I wasn’t having sexual intercourse with any of these other men, I was still having an affair with each of them—a mental and/or emotional affair. My fantasies of being Clark Gable’s leading lady, memories of my romantic relationship with Ray, and fascination with
Tom’s wit, Mark’s maturity, and Scott’s verbal talents affected my marriage in a way just as damaging as a sexual affair would have.
When I hear people say that women don’t struggle with sexual issues like men do, I cannot help but wonder what planet they are from or what rock they have been hiding under. Perhaps what they really mean is, the physical act of sex isn’t an overwhelming temptation for women like it is for men.
Men and women struggle in different ways when it comes to sexual integrity.While a man’s battle begins with what he takes in through his eyes, a woman’s begins with her heart and her thoughts. A man must guard his eyes to maintain sexual integrity, but because God made women to be emotionally and mentally stimulated, we must closely guard our hearts and minds as well as our bodies if we want to experience God’s plan for sexual and emotional fulfillment. A woman’s battle is for sexual and emotional integrity.
Paul understood our very human tendency to live in denial, closing our eyes to the things in our lives that may need to change. Change is hard work, and we would rather stay as we are. But this is not how God has called us to live. He wants to help us control our minds and our desires so that we can be more like Him. He wants to help us discover His plan for relational satisfaction. But we can’t do this if we insist on keeping our eyes closed to the compromise that robs
us of ultimate sexual and emotional fulfillment.
PLANTING GOOD SEEDS(Personally Seeking God’s Truth)
1. How important is theWord of God to you? Why?
As you seek to discover God’s plan for sexual and emotional fulfillment, plant these good seeds in your heart:
The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from
that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows
to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal
life. (Galatians 6:8)
Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he
is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has
conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is
full-grown, gives birth to death. ( James 1:14-15)
2. What, if anything, in these verses feels like a threat or a warning to you?Why do you think you respond to the verses the way you do?
To increase your hope of winning the battle for sexual and emotional integrity, plant this good seed from 1 Corinthians 10:13 in your heart:
No temptation has seized you except what is common
to [woman]. And God is faithful; he will not
let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But
when you are tempted, he will also provide a way
out so that you can stand up under it.
3. What does this promise mean to you?
WEEDING OUT DECEPTION(Recognizing the Truth)
In some way or another sexual and emotional integrity is a battle that every woman fights. However, many women are fighting this battle with their eyes closed because they don’t believe they are even engaged in the battle.Many believe that just because they are not involved in a physical, sexual affair, they don’t have a problem with sexual and emotional integrity. As a result, they engage in thoughts and behaviors that compromise their integrity and rob
them of true sexual and emotional fulfillment.
4. Do you agree with the statement that every woman fights the battle for sexual and emotional integrity? On what do you base your opinion?
5. The author warns that it is not wise to think that sexual immorality can’t happen to any one of us. How prevalent do you think sexual immorality is among Christian singles?
Excerpted from Every Single Woman's Battle by Shannon Ethridge. Copyright © 2005 by Shannon Ethridge. Excerpted by permission of WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.