Failure is inevitable because nobody is perfect. However, failure is not something that should be practiced. Knowing we aren’t perfect is not a loophole we can try to use as an excuse to keep sinning. As we grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, we should find ourselves failing less and less often. So in what areas have I failed? Well, unfortunately there are quite a few. What’s worse is that at one point I thought I had regained control and wouldn’t fail again in all of these areas. I was wrong; when the tests came I didn’t always pass. I’m still on the quest to be successful in all of these areas. These areas include:
Using Impure Language
Verbal Purity is multifaceted. The areas that I’ve struggled with include: gossiping, using words to intentionally hurt people out of anger, using profanity, complaining, and making negative confessions instead of agreeing with God’s Word. The problem is that if you’re not focused, it’s easy to sin in each of these areas. Gossip for example is not just something females engage in. All that’s necessary is for someone to say “Oh you won’t believe this!” and most people are pretty much hooked from that point on, and gossip is the result. The interesting thing is that you should never do what you wouldn’t want done to you. If you sit around and talk about people behind their backs then others will do the same to you. You reap what you sow.
I used to have a very quick tongue and could cut people fast without giving much thought to it. If someone angered me and we got in an argument I would say what was necessary to win that argument. I’ve now learned that I can make more of an impact by just keeping my mouth shut sometimes. Also, words can’t be unsaid – the hurt they cause can be felt for years and years afterwards. So, another gem from my parents still rings true: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
Entertaining Impure Thoughts
This has been a difficult challenge to overcome and sometimes I still have to fight to keep my mind pure. It is VERY easy to let your mind go free and think all kinds of impure thoughts. The problem is that thoughts eventually determine your words and actions. If you think about something long enough it becomes real. So if it is our goal to avoid sinful actions at all costs, we must stop sin at its root, and that is by feeding our sinful nature the wrong things, which leads to sinful thoughts and finally sinful actions. To avoid this sinful cycle from continuing we have to stay vigilant about not feeding our sinful nature and refusing to entertain sinful thoughts.
Looking at Pornography
Fortunately, this is one area that I no longer have a problem with. On several occasions I had access to pornographic magazines when I was a kid. Again, one time I was walking to school and there was one lying right in the street. Later my closest friend at the time actually had access to pornography in his house. He showed me a closet that his father filled with pornography. I struggled with that for a while but then I made the decision to stop.
Of course, that’s when another challenge came. I was in my early college years. I was in between classes one day, bored out of my mind sitting in the computer lab. I thought for a while and said to myself who is the most beautiful girl I can think of… Tyra Banks popped in my mind and I did a search on her. Little did I know the site descriptions that came up said things like “Tyra Banks Nude… click here…” I was completely unprepared for that. That’s when curiosity took over. I thought Tyra can’t really be nude on this page, but let’s click and see just in case I’m wrong… That was a mistake. All of the windows that popped up afterwards were filled with pornography. And when I tried to close them out 10 more would open! The internet trap is a terrible one to fall into. It got to the point where I felt so guilty about looking at pornography that I promised God I never would again, and after failing a handful of times in the years afterward, I got so fed up with breaking my promise to God, I actually put my vow to never indulge in pornography again in writing. I signed and dated it and have stayed faithful to that vow ever since. This was my reasoning: If I want God to keep His promises to me, how is it fair that I keep breaking my promises to Him? It’s not; so I refuse to do it any longer.
It wasn’t healthy for me to have seen the things that I saw, and although it was a challenge to overcome I was able to. The problem is that some things you see get burned into your mind and years later you’ll still have to fight hard to not think about them anymore.
Drinking Too Much Alcohol
Once I was 21 and could go out and legally drink alcohol I didn’t go crazy, but I did wind up drinking a little too much on a few occasions. I’ve only been sick one time from alcohol and that was due to the fact that I was lied to and tricked by someone who was trying to get me drunk. I can’t pass the blame though because no one forced me to keep drinking – I should have been more aware of what was put in my glass. Anyway, the good thing is that I learned what going too far is and it didn’t feel too good. So having been there I don’t need to ever go back.
Now, clubbing on the other hand was more of a problem for me. I could go out to a club and not drink at all, but would still wind up getting into trouble. I was finally getting attention from girls, but it wasn’t healthy attention. Dancing with girls was not helping me. After all, we weren’t doing a waltz on the dance floor. On the contrary, people dance so close and sensual now it causes you to think, feel, and do the wrong things all at the same time. What’s worse is that people relate dancing to sex, and since I’m trying to refrain from having sex it doesn’t make sense for me to be in a club dancing like that. Also clubs are sometimes referred to as “meat-markets” because the goal is to basically get drunk, dance with the best looking and freakiest member of the opposite sex, and then leave and go have sex somewhere. This was not my goal at all so surrounding myself with hundreds of people of that mindset wasn’t smart. I came to the conclusion that wasting time and money at a club, coming home with my ears ringing, and feeling all ready to do something impure is just not for me. It goes against everything I’m trying to accomplish.
Excessive Flirting and Physical Contact with Females
Flirting has been a difficult challenge especially because it comes naturally to me. Compound that with the fact that I have never been one to have a lot of guy friends, but get along very well with the fairer sex. You can imagine my difficulties. I’ve been in group settings where I walked away thinking I did good: I stayed outta trouble and didn’t do anything wrong. Then later others would tell me how I was flirting the whole time! This was a shock to me and forced me to really consider what I was saying and how I was acting around females that I was very attracted to. Now I try my best to keep a VERY tight reign on my tongue and watch very carefully what I do. Flirting only leads to situations that conflict with my morals and goals. I have to make every effort to continue to do well in this area.