In this video interview with former EPM staff member Julia (Stager) Mayo, we discuss the question: How do we stay pure in today’s world? When someone simply gets out of bed in the morning, temptation is all around.
Randy: I certainly agree that there is a lot of temptation in the world. If that means from the time that you get out of bed you have thoughts in your mind, I get that.
One of the things I would say is that we do have control over the environment in which we live. And I’ve actually seen people who want help in the area of sexual purity but have posters on their walls that promote sexual impurity. We need to think in terms of what choices we are making that are exposing us to sexual impurity. I can’t just magically snap my fingers and expect that I’m not going to face sexual temptation. Scripture says, “Flee from sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18).
Julia: Temptation is a complicated thing, in that certain temptations build and build and get stronger until we flee from that situation. But there are other temptations where we build up a resistance to them, and they become less and less of a temptation over time because it’s no longer a part of our lifestyle.
Randy: I agree. I remember years ago—many years ago—there was a certain store in Gresham (where we live). There was a particular magazine rack in that store, and when I went in inevitably it would seem like my eyes were wandering over there and I was seeing things I shouldn’t. Finally I just said, “Okay, Lord. I’m not going to go in that door. I’m staying away from that area of the store.”
Some people would say, “Well, wait a minute! That’s just pathetic that you can’t even walk in the door. Come on. Just keep your eyes away.” But I was struggling with it.
So I trained myself not to go in that door. Then years later, although the magazines were still there, one day I found myself in a hurry and I quickly went in the door. The interesting thing was, because I had disciplined myself by not giving myself access to that, I had now gotten to the point where I was able to keep my eyes away. And now it was no problem.
But the point is, don’t overestimate your ability to resist temptation. If you are falling in an area, stay away from that area.
Julia (Stager) Mayo holds a Master of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies from Western Seminary. She was previously part of the Eternal Perspective Ministries staff, and still does occasional research work for Randy Alcorn.