Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: Jesus said, “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.” When it comes to protecting our marriages, we may need to make some equivalent, modern-day sacrifices. Here's Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Ladies, if you need to get rid of your cell phone, do it. If you need to get rid of email and the Internet, do it. Now, God can guard your heart, and those things can be used for pure and holy and wholesome purposes, but don't fall into the trap. I have a hedge. Some of you have heard me say this. I don't have any personal email exchanges with a married man unless his wife is being copied on the email.

Leslie: It's Wednesday, November 14, and this is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Today's program isn't a program for younger children, and you might want to get them occupied while you come back and get some counsel on staying pure. Temptation is everywhere, and today Nancy will give us some practical ways to guard our hearts. We're looking at purity all this week as part of the series called Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival.

Nancy: We've been talking this week about the whole matter of sexual purity, and if I've sounded a little bit impassioned at times on this subject, it's because I really am. I am constantly picking up the pieces, the broken pieces, of people's lives—listeners, readers, friends, fellow church members—that have been destroyed by sexual sin.

I'm seeing something among women today in our churches that I never dreamed we would see, and that is this widespread practice of immorality. It's in every place you go, and I'm not just talking about out in the world, but in the church where we're supposed to be light and imitators of God and to shine the purity and the faithfulness and the covenant-keeping nature of God into our world.

The Scripture is so clear on this whole matter of moral purity. Ephesians chapter five—we looked at this verse earlier this week—says, “Among you,” that is, among the people of God, “there must not be even a hint,” not a hint, “of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed.” By the way, sexual impurity is greed. It's saying, “I want something for me.” It's selfish, and he says, “There must not be . . . any kind of impurity . . . because these are improper for God's holy people” (verses 3-4 NIV).

We looked yesterday at 1 Thessalonians chapter four that says that each one of us needs to know how to control our own body in holiness and honor (verse 4, paraphrase)—know how to control your own body in holiness and honor. 

I want to take some time today to just, in an informal way, give you some counsel. I think I'm now old enough to consider myself an older woman, at least to some women, and I've walked with the Lord now for over forty years. I'm ministering to other women, and I have discovered some things that have been very helpful to me and I think are helpful to others in knowing how to control our bodies in holiness and honor.

Now, by saying that, I don't want to suggest that I have come to the place or ever could come to the place where I would not need to guard my own heart. I discovered years ago, I came to the conclusion that biblically—and as I watched people—I came to the conclusion that any woman can be the cause of the downfall of any man, morally, sexually. Any woman—that's me. That's you. That's any woman that I'm talking to today.

I don't care how spiritual you are. I don't care how mature you are. I don't care how long you've walked with God. I don't care how godly the other man is. I don't care how loving your marriage is. Any woman can be the cause of the sexual, moral downfall of any man, and that means that we have got to continually guard our hearts and learn how to control our own bodies. You can't control anybody else's body, but we can control our own in holiness and in honor. This is the honorable way to live.

Not too long ago, I was sharing with a woman that I was counseling some of the practical suggestions I'm going to give you in just a moment and how I practically do what I call putting up hedges in my life.

Hedges are to keep privacy, to keep things out, to set a barrier, and there are barriers and boundaries—you might call them hedges—that I have established in my life to help me be protected morally and to help me not be the source of destroying somebody else morally.

Well, as I was going through a few of these things, this woman, who is currently struggling morally in her own life, said, “You really take this seriously, don't you?”

I said, “Yes, I do!” I said, “Somebody could look at my list of hedges,” which I'm purposely not going to show you, but I do have this written out in more specific detail than I'm going to give you today—somebody could look at that and say, “This is obsessive with you.” I'll tell you the wonderful thing about knowing what your hedges are is that you don't have to be obsessive. You don't have to live in fear. You can walk in freedom.

I have had the blessing over the years of having such healthy, wholesome, pure, godly relationships with married couples. God has protected those relationships—their marriages and my relationships with those men—morally because of my willingness and commitment and accountability to put up some of these kinds of hedges in my life.

What are we talking about when we say not even a hint of immorality? What does that mean? What does that look like? Let me just give you, in no particular order, a list that I wrote the other day.

First of all, it means being discreet in every way—with our eyes, our dress, our speech, and our behavior. Now, don't try and write all these down. We'll list them on the website for you. I want you to hear with your heart and maybe just to jot down the few that God says to you, “This is something you need to be more careful about.”

Discreet—that means avoiding intimate contact with a man who is not your husband—intimate conversation. I'm just astounded by some of the things that people talk about today in mixed company, some of the kind of language that's used, the personal things that are shared, eye contact.

When I'm walking down the street for exercise, if I pass a man, I don't meet his eyes. Now you say, “Are you just suspicious?” No, I just want to control my body in holiness and honor, so I don't let my gaze meet that man. You say, “Is an affair going to start off as you see a man walking down the street?” Probably not, but I just want to live a life that is controlled, that is restrained, that is discreet.

It means, women, you oughtn't to be praying with a man alone who is not your husband. I talked with a woman recently who was praying with somebody that she was struggling with morally, that God would show them how to get out of this. That's not wise. That's not discreet.

Avoiding every hint of immorality means, women, being modest in how we dress, not enticing or causing men to lust. We become guilty of sexual sin as well when we do that. If we entice men to lust sexually by the way that we dress or the way that we conduct ourselves, we become partakers with them of their sin.

Women, to have not even a hint of sexual immorality means this as well. It means keeping your heart free from emotional entanglements. Don't go there. You say, “I can't help it.” You can help it.

I said to a woman recently, “You should have quit that job five years ago when you first started struggling in your heart, before anything ever happened with that man. You should have gotten out of that environment.”

Don't get in a place where you're day after day in the context, and that could be in a church. That could be in a ministry. You need to do whatever you have to do, whatever you possibly can, to avoid getting yourself emotionally entangled, emotionally giving your heart to another man.

That means not indulging in mental fantasizing. Don't go there. Replace those thoughts with something else, with something pure. Put that attention into your marriage, and if you're single women, then put that attention into your relationship with Christ first, into the Word of God, filling your mind, your thoughts, your heart with things that are pure.

Not even a hint of sexual immorality—it means, women, that we cannot be flirtatious. I've heard a Christian counselor suggest that Christian women should flirt—not! When we are flirtatious, we are provoking, stimulating the potential for sexual sin.

Being pure means that

  • we don't use sexually explicit or coarse language.
  • It means that we're not entertained by entertainment that legitimizes sexual sin.
  • Being morally pure means abstaining from physical contact, any physical contact that could possibly stimulate illegitimate, sexual desires or emotional intimacy and physical contact that could possibly stimulate in you or in that man illegitimate, sexual desires.

I'm talking about whether you're dating or whether you're married, and this is with another married man. Prolonged, intense, physical contact of any sort—I'm talking just hugs—can easily lead to sexual unfaithfulness.

A woman told me recently she had a background of immorality. She'd failed a lot in the past. Then God had set her free, and she had lived a pure life for a number of years, but then she said, “A man in my workplace gave me a two-second hug,” and she said, “It lit things up inside of me that I hadn't experienced in years.”

I said to her, “You cannot ever, ever get in that situation. You can't let it happen. You cannot afford it.”

You say, “A two-second hug?” I'm just telling you, look where it led her. It was foolish of that woman, knowing that the door had been opened to some of these areas in her past, that she was vulnerable, to even allow something that simple—not even a hint!

Girls, women, it means keeping your hands to yourself, keeping the marriage bed undefiled—yours and others. I've only ever made one vow in my life of a lifetime nature and that is the vow to be morally pure by God's grace, and I've asked God to kill me before I would destroy another marriage. That's how serious I am about this, and that's how serious you need to be about this.

Ladies, being sexually pure means not withholding sex from your mate and thereby potentially making him more vulnerable to sexual sin. You're supposed to fill his needs. You're supposed to be the one. You're God's gift to him to meet his sexual needs.

It means resolving to be pure, resolving, making that vow to be pure. If you're single, it means resolving to wait until marriage, and let me say this. I know we've got some young women here with us today. I'm so glad you girls are here. I want you to hear my heart.

If you ever give in on this point, as a young woman, you will open the door to unbelievable pain and temptation and problems down the road in your life. You will look back and say, “I wish I had never stepped over that line.” There are older women in this room who did step over that line when they were your age, and now they're living with the consequences of being more vulnerable to sexual sin.

Let me say something. I want to get real practical here about another issue. Two things that have made affairs and sexual sin so much easier today are cell phones and the Internet. Cell phones and email—affairs being carried on and fueled by illicit, secret, clandestine communication. Ladies, if you need to get rid of your cell phone, do it. If you need to get rid of email and the Internet, do it.

Now, God can guard your heart, and those things can be used for pure and holy and wholesome purposes, but don't fall into the trap. I have a hedge. Some of you have heard me say this. I don't have any personal email exchanges with a married man unless his wife is being copied on the email, and the men I work with know that.

We don't talk about my life or theirs, and I'm not just talking about sexual things. I'm just talking about how we're doing, our personal lives. The men I work with—their wives get copied on emails. When those men write me about what their kids are doing or how their family's doing, they copy their wives. I just want to be building marriages, strengthening marriages, rather than in any way, potentially fueling an attraction or something that would not be pure.

I remember hearing a man give a testimony of how he had fallen into immorality as a man on a church staff with a young woman in that church. He said, “If you had asked me the day before if I would have ever done something like this, I would have told you, 'Absolutely not.'”

What happened the next day—he was with a group of young people. He has shared this publicly. In the course of things, everyone left the room except for one college girl. They ended up in an extended period of time in her home, but they were the only ones in the room at the time, just talking. It got to be intimate conversation and very quickly into a full-blown affair.

Now, God has intervened and rescued that man and rescued his marriage, but it might not have happened, and the affair need not have happened if he had said, “I am a married man. My wife is not here. I do not belong in this room, talking with this woman, alone, about anything.”

You say, “That is so extreme.” Paul said, “We urge you” (1 Thessalonians 4:1). We urge you. We plead with you. You're setting off fireworks and then trying to take it back. It can't happen. You've got to be careful about entertainment, about exposing ourselves to books and movies and music, women, that can fuel romantic desires that there is no proper or appropriate way to fulfill.

Guard your heart! Guard your heart! Think on things that are pure, that are holy, that are true, that are godly. Let your mind dwell on these things.

Philippians chapter four, verse eight, says that we need to discipline our minds to think about things that are pure and wholesome and true and lovely of a good report (paraphrase). Think on these things. Don't fill your mind with things that will encourage you to think illicit thoughts, to be sexually driven outside of marriage, to have the romantic instincts fueled.

Think on things that will cause you to love God more, that will cause you to love your husband more. Pour all that energy, that devotion, that effort, that love, that focus into your husband. You say, “There are no sparks with my husband. There's no romance there.” Listen, you can develop that. You can feed it. You can fuel it. You can cultivate it.

If women would just invest in their husband the kind of attention—the emails, the cell phone calls—that they do to some other man, it would be amazing, I think, in many cases, to see how God might really make their marriage something they had hoped that it would be.

But I'll tell you this, even if it never is, even if your marriage is not ever all that you really want it to be and maybe all that it should be—maybe your husband doesn't know the Lord. He's not walking with God—you can still be pure. Guard your heart. Guard your heart.

I just wonder if there could be one or more here today—maybe you're not in the throes of sexual sin or immorality or adultery, but you've not actually staked out your ground there and chosen in advance of the fact that by God's grace, you will be morally pure. Now would be a good time to do that.

God will show you how to live that out, and He'll develop your understanding of it. Just say, “Lord, by Your grace, the power of Your Holy Spirit, I covenant with You to be morally pure, not to give my heart away, not to indulge my mind, my thoughts, my emotions, my body—physically, sexually—outside of the proper, beautiful context of marriage.” Girls, I pray for you that God will guard your hearts and that you'll guard your own hearts.

Lord, I pray for each woman in this place. I pray for some who are struggling in their marriage, and they're not enjoying in the context of marriage all that the physical and emotional and spiritual connection should be. There's not the kind of intimacy that would be ideal. I pray that you'd give them the courage and the faith and the faithfulness to pour their love onto You and onto that mate, regardless of where he is, the condition of his heart.

Lord, just guard our hearts. Guard our tongues, our attitudes, our responses, our behavior. Fill us with Your Spirit. Give us pure hearts because out of a pure heart comes pure living. Lord, I pray for a revival of purity, not only in our hearts, but in our homes and in our churches, that once again, the church might have the moral high ground. It might be able to reflect to the world what true purity looks like, not just being rigid, uptight, keeping a list of rules, but loving You and loving holiness. I pray for Jesus' sake. Amen.

Song: "Guard Your Heart"

What appears to be a harmless glance
Can turn to romance,
And homes are divided.
Feelings that should never have been
awakened within
tearing the heart in two.
Listen, I beg of you.

Guard your heart.
Guard your heart.
Don't trade it for treasure.
Don't give it away.
Guard your heart.
Guard your heart.
As a payment for pleasure
It's a high price to pay.
For a soul that remains sincere
With a conscience clear,
Guard your heart.

The human heart is easily swayed
And often betrayed
At the hand of emotion.
You dare not leave the outcome to chance.
We must choose in advance
Or live with the agony,
Such needless tragedy.
Guard your heart.
Guard your heart.
Don't trade it for treasure.
Don't give it away.

Guard your heart.
Guard your heart.
As a payment for pleasure
It's a high price to pay.
Guard your heart.
Guard your heart.
Don't trade it for treasure.
Don't give it away.
Guard your heart.
Guard your heart.

As a payment for pleasure
It's a high price to pay.
For a soul that remains sincere
With a conscience clear,
Guard your heart.
For a soul that remains sincere
With a conscience clear,
Guard your heart.1

Leslie: That's Steve Green and the song "Guard Your Heart." Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been giving us some practical tips on guarding our hearts from sexual sin. We need this kind of advice while living in a permissive culture.

Nancy's put together a very practical booklet to help you remember some of the things you've learned today. It's called Personal "Hedges." It will give you practical, wise advice on saying no to temptation and yes to purity. We'll send you Personal "Hedges" along with a helpful book by Dannah Gresh called And the Bride Wore White: Seven Secrets to Sexual Purity. Just make a donation to Revive Our Hearts by calling 1-800-569-5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

If you're passionate about becoming the kind of pure woman we heard about today, would you consider making plans to join Nancy at a special event? It's the True Woman '08 National Women's Conference. Nancy and other dynamic speakers will challenge you to embrace God's plan for you as a woman. Get more information at ReviveOurHearts.com, and when you're there, click on “Revive Our Hearts conferences.”

Tomorrow, hear about a woman who had an important decision to make. Would she choose purity when faced with intense temptation? Please join us for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

1"Guard Your Heart." Steve Green. Birdwing Music, ASCAP.

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