Sex, Love and Marriage-Unclean Thoughts
Every person is sooner or later tempted by unclean thoughts. The sexual urge being stronger and more aggressive in men than in women, the former face this problem much more than the latter do.
In Mark 7:21, Jesus listed evil thoughts as the first things that proceed from the heart of men. The hearts of all unconverted men are equally wicked and so the description Jesus gave is true of all. Unclean thoughts plague the mind of the morally upright man as much as they do the mind of the adulterer - even though lack of opportunity and fear of society may have prevented the upright man from committing adultery in the flesh.
We need to distinguish however between temptation and sin. Even Jesus was tempted "in every respect as we are" (Hebrews 4:15). But He never once yielded to temptation (even in His mind) and so never sinned. We too shall be tempted till the last day of our life on earth. But we need not sin. We sin only when the evil desire is permitted to conceive in our minds, in other words when we accept the lustful thought flashed into our minds. “When concupiscence (lust) hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin. But sin, when it is completed, begetteth death.” (James 1:15). If we reject the suggestion at once, we do not sin. As one old christian said, "While I cannot prevent the birds from flying over my head, I can prevent them from making a nest in my hair". When an evil thought presents itself to us, if we cherish it even for a moment in our minds, we allow it to "make a nest" there and so sin.
Lustful thinking, once indulged in, will make a person more and more its slave.
Deliverance becomes increasingly difficult with the passage of time. The sooner we seek for deliverance the easier it will be. Victory over evil thoughts (like victory over all other sin) comes through making an honest confession of failure, a real longing for deliverance, an acceptance of the fact of our death with Christ, and an utter yieldedness of our bodies and minds to the Lord (Romans 6:1-14).
We must also "walk in the Spirit" and cooperate with Him in disciplining our lives, if we are to enjoy continuous victory (Galatians 5:16-19). If we fail to discipline our eyes and ears (cutting off all reading and seeing and hearing that is lustful), we shall not be able to discipline our thoughts either (this is the real implication of Matthew 5:28-30). Discipline of the body is essential for deliverance from lustful thoughts. The greatest of saints have confessed that they had to battle constantly with sexual temptations in their minds. They had to discipline their bodies severely in order to get victory.
Job, though a married man with ten children, recognized that if he was to be delivered from lustful thinking, he had to control his eyes. He said,
“I made a covenant with my eyes, that I would not so much as think upon a virgin.” (Job 31:1).
For men, the greatest temptations come through the eyes.
If care is not exercised here and an unclean thought or picture is once allowed to enter our minds through the eye-gate, it becomes almost impossible to remove it from there.
Some recommendations for disciplining our lives includes each morning saying our prayers and having a daily devotional time with God. As soon as we awake pray the “Our Father”, “The Hail Mary”, The Creed, as well as theses prayers below:
O MY GOD, I firmly believe that Thou art one God in Three Divine Persons, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. I believe that Thy Divine Son became Man, and died for our sins, and that He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches, because Thou hast revealed them, Who canst neither deceive nor be deceived.
O MY GOD, relying on Thy almighty power and infinite mercy and promises, I hope to obtain pardon of my sins, the help of Thy grace, and Life Everlasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer.
O MY GOD, I love Thee above all things, with my whole heart and soul, because Thou art all-good and worthy of all love. I love my neighbor as myself for the love of Thee. I forgive all who have injured me, and ask pardon of all whom I have injured.
O great God, the sovereign Lord of heaven and earth, I prostrate myself before Thee. With all Angels and Saints I adore Thee, I acknowledge Thee to be my Creator and sovereign Lord, my first beginning and last end. I render to Thee the homage of my being and life. I submit myself to Thy holy Will, and I devote myself to Thy divine service this day and forever.
O Jesus through the most pure Heart of Mary, I offer You all my prayers, works, joys and suffering of this day, for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, in reparation for my sins, and in particular for the intentions of the Holy Father the Pope. Amen.
O Jesus God, King of heaven and earth, may it please Thee this day to order and to hallow, to rule and to govern our hearts and our bodies, our thoughts, our words and our works, according to Thy law and in the doing of Thy commandments, that we, being help by Thee, may here and hereafter worthily be saved and delivered by Thee, O Saviour of the world, who livest and reignest for ever and ever.
Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.
O Lord Jesus Christ, King of glory, deliver the souls of all the faithful departed from the pains of hell and from the bottomless pit; deliver them from the lion’s mouth, that hell not swallow them up, that they fall not into darkness, but let the holy standard bearer Michael bring them into that holy light which You promised to Abraham and his seed.
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
If on awaking in the morning, we continue to lay in bed instead getting right up, we shall be leaving the door wide open for evil thoughts to flood our minds. During the day take the time to pray the rosary. In the evening, before heading to bed, take the time to examine your conscience and pray:
“O SACRED HEART of my Jesus! by that ardent love which consumed thee on the Cross, a Victim of love and of suffering, and induced Thee to continue this sacrifice on our altars to the end of time, I, Thy miserable, sinful child, beseech Thee to grant me pardon for all the sins and outrages which I committed against Thee, for all ingratitude and infidelity of which I was guilty, and for my forgetfulness of Thee. Pardon all the sins of my life. I hate them, because Thou dost hate them; I detest them, because Thou dost detest them. For love of Thee I am sorry for having committed them, and should feel the greatest compunction for them even if there were neither Heaven nor Hell, solely because they offended Thee, Who art infinite goodness and worthy to be loved above all things. I would rather die a thousand times than offend Thee again, Whom I love above my life. I select Thee as my resting-place, that Thou mayst be my strength in combat, my support in weakness, my light and guide in darkness, the expiation of my faults, and the sanctification of my intentions and actions, which I unite with Thine. Amen.”
We also must fill our minds daily with the Written Word of God - for saturating our minds with God's Word is one of the surest safeguards against evil thinking. David said,
Thy words have I hidden in my heart, that I may not sin against thee. (Psalm 119:11).
The Bible also says,
“Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever modest, whatsoever just, whatsoever holy, whatsoever lovely, whatsoever of good fame, if there be any virtue, if any praise of discipline, think on these things." (Philippians 4:8 ).
Some may say that the prevailing standard of morals in the world around us is so low that it is difficult to be totally free from unclean thoughts. But this has been going on since the beginning of the world. Corinth in the first century was a center of promiscuous and unprincipled immorality, yet the Spirit of God urged the Christians there to “Cast down imaginations, and every height that exhalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every understanding unto the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). He tells us to do the same today. The way to life may be narrow and difficult, but the Holy Spirit can strengthen us to walk that way.
To discipline our lives thus, does not mean that we should develop a discust for the opposite sex. Far from it! The fact that we find the opposite sex attractive is, in itself, not sinful. It is quite natural. It is not wrong for us to admire a pretty face as a part of God's beautiful creation. But being fallen creatures, if we are not careful, we shall soon begin to notice the beautiful form and then to lust. Thus the attractiveness of the opposite sex, though clean in itself, can become for us, an occasion for unclean thinking.
Our safety lies in instantly obeying the voice of the Holy Spirit within us, when He checks us and tells us to turn our eyes and our thoughts in another direction.