How to Overcome Past Sexual Sins
I’ve had several women write in recently asking me how they can get over their past sexual sins so their memories won’t hinder the physical intimacy between them and their husband. And since I am very open about my past, a past filled with complete and utter darkness, I thought I’d share what helped me to get over my prior promiscuous lifestyle.
For those of you that don’t know my story, here’s the short version. I was married, then divorced, then lived with a man, plus I was sexually involved with other men before I came to Christ. So I do know how the memories of prior sexual sins can certainly hinder the physical intimacy with your husband!
I refer to my past lifestyle similar to Rahab’s. Although I didn’t get paid money for what I did, what I was looking for in return was being loved. But really, there’s not much of a difference between the two lifestyles, one is just more acceptable (as well as legal) by society than the other one, yet both are wrong in the Lord’s eyes.
Also, if you’re a single gal who has a past similar to mine, this counsel would apply to you as well.
Here’s what I did to get over my memories…
I turned to the Scriptures. It was and is the Truth that set me free. (John 8:32) Free of the shame. Free of the guilt. Free of all the damage that was done to my soul and all of the pain that I experienced during those years of living in darkness.
I washed my mind in the Word of God.
I reminding myself DAILY that I was a new creation in Christ.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Cor. 5:17
I had to forget my past. (The verse below was the key verse that I clung to!)
Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead. Phil. 3:13
The word ‘forgetting’ that Paul uses in this verse indicates it’s an on-going exercise of the mind.
I embraced all things that were Christ-centered; Christian music, books, fellowship,etc. I stopped listening to secular music because I didn’t need to hear songs that reminded me of the way I once lived. And I spent my time reading Christ-centered books, the Bible, and going to church. I would even type out Scripture verses, cut them out, and tape them to the dashboard of my car so I could memorize the Word of God.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2
I thought on what was true…
When the memories of my past came, I had to run back to the Scriptures for peace and freedom. I was no longer who I once was. My past was my past.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things. Phil. 4:8
When those past memories came rushing in, I had to take every thought captive and bring it to Christ so Satan could not defeat me in my mind.
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Cor. 10:4,5 (NIV)
I was careful in how I went through life. Being that I walked the Christian path alone as a new Believer, I pulled away from those who were non-believers, those who were once my friends but now mocked me for being a Christian. I departed from them because I wasn’t spiritually strong enough nor mature enough to continue to walk through life with them. Their lifestyle would have caused me to stumble in my Christian walk.
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Eph. 5:15,16
Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33
I was learning that the Enemy wanted to destroy me and my walk with God…and he’d do whatever it took to bring me down, even if that meant using my past memories.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Eph. 6:12
I prayed for the Lord to remove some of the memories of my past (and He did.) 🙂 I’m SO thankful for that.
I learned that Christ does not condemn me but Satan does.
I had to learn who was speaking to me. Was I listening to the Lord’s voice or was I listening to the lies of the Enemy?
Here’s how you’ll know who’s speaking what into your mind.
Jesus will NEVER condemn you. He’ll never say you’re a loser, a harlot, a whore, etc.
What He’ll say is, “Go and sin no more. You are forgiven. You are mine. I bought you at a great price. I died on the Cross for your sins. You are now covered by my blood.”
Satan will condemn, Jesus will convict. It is the Holy Spirit who pierces your heart to move you towards Godly living.
It is the Enemy that condemns you and keeps you from growing in godliness.
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1
I had to lean on the promises in the Word of God and take Jesus Christ at His Word.
Christ came to set His captives free. I was a captive to my past memories and sinful choices and yet I longed to be free from that bondage.
So, I immersed myself in the Scriptures and I believed it. I believed that if I purposed in my heart to walk in such a way that was pleasing to the Lord, my life and mind would truly be transformed. And I’m here to tell you that the Word of God is true. It’s alive. It’s powerful and it indeed transforms lives because it’s transformed mine.
3 Ways to Overcome Past Sexual Sins
1. Seek to have your mind constantly renewed and transformed by God.
- All of the verses I shared above can help you do this.
2. Protect yourself so you don’t return to your prior lifestyle. Get new friends if your old ones are causing you to stumble.
3. Walk circumspectly.
- Don’t go through old photo albums where you’ll see your old flames. As well, make sure they are NOT your friends on facebook! Cut off all ties with them as much as possible. (I realize if you’ve had children with them this is not feasible.)
- Don’t share the intimate details that you’ve had with past partners with your husband. He does not need to know those things. Be discreet. You’re doing this so you can protect your marriage and so you don’t give a foothold to the Enemy.
- Another thing to be mindful of is your five senses. The sense of smell, sight, sound, touch, and taste can conjure up such powerful memories. Walk this line carefully. If there is a certain cologne or song that reminds you of a past lover, make sure you don’t bring that into your marriage. The same goes for the other 3 senses.
And one last thing…trust God and have faith in Him, kinda like how Rahab did. 🙂
And if you’re married, don’t forsake being physically intimate with your husband because of your past. This is exactly what the Enemy wants you to do, yet it is contrary to the Word of God. And if you’re single, don’t return to your prior lifestyle of sin. This too is contrary to the Word of God, but it’s a tactic that the Enemy will use to hold you in bondage to your sin. So don’t let the Enemy win this battle, girlfriend.
What God wants us to do is earnestly seek Him, obey His Word, and live a life of faith. By doing all of these things it will lead to a transformed life!
Remember, you are redeemed. Throw off those shackles that haunt you and enjoy your marriage bed.
Live a poured out life for Christ,
The hardest part is to forgive yourself. Jesus forgives us the minute we show sincere repentance. Sometimes it takes years to do that. I don’t broadcast my past but maybe one day when my daughter or my niece’s need someone to talk to about the struggle they are facing I will be able to help them because I know both sides of that coin. And I know that everything I went through then was part of what made me who I am now and it led me back to where God wanted me so that I can start again to be the woman he wants me to be.
“Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.”
Oh how I love what you shared, Amy. “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future!” 🙂
This was wonderful advice, Jolene! This is why it is so important to train our children in the ways of the Lord so we can prevent them from going down the wrong path. Yes, the Lord can redeem them in spite of their mistakes but life is a lot easier if you do things His way right from the beginning.
Yes, Lori, taking the Lord’s path the first time is much easier!
Thanks Jolene for taking the time to write and share such a powerful testimony and sound advice. The Lord is blessing you and you are not caught captive in the memories or temptations you once had. This advice is good for even other issues like just not having the joy of the Lord for whatever reason and for moving on from any previous sin in our youth.
Thank you so much for the linkup today.
Yes, the verses I shared could have applied to other sins as well! I originally had that in the title but decided to keep this post just geared towards sexual sins. One day I’ll address the other sins that hold us captive! Thanks for linking up today.
It is so hard to forgive ourselves! Great post, so glad you shared.
You’re welcome. To God be the glory.
Thanks so much Jolene! I really appreciate your openness– this post (which I shared on my Pinterest board) will help many people!
Thanks for sharing it. May many women be drawn closer to Christ as a result of it!
Perfect! Rahab is my favorite lady in the Bible. She had courage to walk out of her lifestyle. It takes a lot of courage to make that decision. Once decided, then God will take over and give you strength. I like what Amy says above about how we can use our indiscretions to counsel and encourage others, just as you do so well, Jolene. A lot of this advice overflows to helping heal from other actions we feel guilty about in our past. Blessings my sweet friend!
Hello my sweet friend!
I just love Rahab as well! God will carry us and strengthen us…if we are willing to surrender to Him!
Praise God for His forgiveness! Excellent post! Thanks for hosting & God bless!
You are welcome, Laurie. It’s all because of our precious Savior!
I really enjoyed reading this post. I thought you did a wonderful job of handling a sticky topic with tact, respect, and delicacy. And I love the Redeemed song. Such a wonderful reminder of what God has done and continues doing in our lives!
I absolutely love your blog and your perspective on things! I enjoy catching up with you whenever time permits. I am blessed by your ministry! I have often shared your posts/pics on my fb page God is the Author of Marriage. Today I shared this posting as it is a real issue many face, including myself. I praise you for your honesty and realness! Keep it up! Many blessings to you!
You totally blessed my heart! May God be glorified by the ministries that He has placed in our hands. Thanks for sharing this on FB!
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