Throughout the Old Testament, the student of history sees a tactic commonly employed by ancient military — attacking the young men at their most vulnerable. Of course, we see Satan using similar tactics to attack the strongest segment of the population throughout history and even today.
As we mentor teen guys, it’s important for us to acknowledge and evaluate the struggles that they have and equip them with biblical methods of escaping from temptation while encouraging them to aim toward growth in purity, despite setbacks and even moral failures.
Evaluation of the Battle
In the real-life story of Sampson and Delilah, we see a picture of how even a great and mighty culture can be brought down as a result of succumbing to sexual temptation. While many Christians today decry the immodest dress and aggressive tactics of women, God’s Word makes clear that temptresses like Delilah, Potiphar’s wife, or the woman described in Proverbs 7 are certainly nothing new. Clearly, neither is a young man’s temptation to succumb to such temptation (2 Timothy 2:22).
Equipment for Victory
As our loving, all-wise Heavenly Father, God knows what we’re made of and what we can and cannot handle (Psalm 103:14); and as a fully human man, Jesus Christ knew the tug of temptation personally (Hebrews 4:15). In 1 Corinthians 10:13, Paul offers further comfort in the knowledge that no one is alone in his particular temptation, and God provides an escape route for every sin struggle which He allows to enter our lives.
According to Ephesians 6, every struggle with temptation is part of spiritual warfare, and God equips us with armor and weapons with which we can combat Satanic attacks; sexual temptation is no exception. First, we arm ourselves with the truths of God’s Word, followed by righteousness, the gospel, faith, and salvation. When we focus on God’s grace and our faith that His Word is true, we can endure an amazing amount of temptation on this earth.
As much as God does provide us with the armor which we need to engage in combat to resist temptation, sometimes the escape route He offers is just that — a way to get away from the temptation. At times that may mean removing oneself from a compromising situation, like Joseph did, but a more permanent way to alleviate the strong pull of sexual temptation is to marry.
With puberty hitting most young men in their early teens and the average age of marriage presently topping 30, the wide age span during which young men are faced with the biblical expectation of celibacy is quite drastic. While education and financial instability are factors often cited by older adults who encourage such a long wait time before marriage, such considerations are far less significant, according to God’s Word.
While a certain level of maturity and the ability to financially support a family should be factors in encouraging marriage, our cultural norms are certainly not the greatest guides. Continue reading with Part 2, in which we’ll continue to look at this pivotal topic.