10 Biblical Steps Towards Restoration After Sexual Sin

by Crystal McDowell · Print Print · Email Email

It is no secret—Hollywood glamorizes sex. As we watch our favorite characters move from one love interest to the other, it’s easy to forget how sexual sin confuses and complicates our spiritual, emotional, and physical lives.

God’s people are warned to: “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body” (1 Corinthians 6:18).

Although the consequences of our sins (unplanned pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, emotional ties, etc.) may still linger, Jesus will forgive and give wisdom for each issue. It’s essential to take the necessary steps towards restoration to avoid being mastered by sexual immorality.

Step #1) Confess your sin to God

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, NIV).

Resist the urge to make excuses for your sin of sexual immorality. You speak truth to God and yourself as an agreement of your confession and repentance. God will forgive and cleanse you from this sin if you are willing to be made whole.

Step #2) Admit your weakness in this area

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness” (Romans 8:26, NIV).

There is a reason you’re drawn to sexual sin. It could be lust, filling an emotional void, wanting to please other people more than you want to please God, etc. You must seek out the source and deal with it so you can pray and prepare your heart when you’re tempted.

Step #3) Pray for a mentor or accountability partner

“Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace” (2 Corinthians 13:11, NIV).

Pray and ask God for direction in finding someone for godly advice. Make sure it’s someone you can trust, who will speak truth, and lives a righteous life.

Step #4) Get involved in a church

“Not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25, NIV).

Don’t just show up for a service, but make efforts to get involved. Small group accountability is good. Pray diligently that the Lord direct you to the right church where you can serve and be served in your Christian walk.

Step #5) Keep your mind and body actively engaged in other activities

“Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth” (Proverbs 10:4, NIV).

Keep busy with meaningful projects so that your thoughts won’t consume you. Be involved with not only church activities, but try to engage in your community as a witness for Christ.

Step #6) Guard your heart and thoughts

“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5, KJV).

Use this scripture as a weapon by countering every impure thought.

Use this scripture as a weapon by countering every impure thought.

Your biggest battle in overcoming sexual immorality will be in the mind. You’ll be tempted to relive sexual experiences and if you do entertain them—it could lead down the path of sin and regret. Use this scripture as a weapon by countering every impure thought.

Step #7) Keep company with people who are living righteously

“Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33,NIV).

Be mindful of who you choose to keep company with. You can’t be an effective Christian alone; you need other believers to hold you up. Remember you aren’t the only one who struggles with this sin.

Step #8) Resist TV shows, movies, video games, or music that lures you back into sinful thinking or lusting from prior experiences

“I made a covenant with my eyes” (Job 31:1, NIV).

No one is going to change the channel for you or turn off the screen—you have to make the hard choice to turn away from seducing scenes. The more time you spend with God in sincere prayer and earnest Bible study, you will find yourself appalled and disgusted at distorted sexual imagery.

Step #9) Stay connected to God everyday in prayer and Bible study

“Pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17, NIV) “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15, KJV).

Have a certain time and place every single day in which you talk to God and read your Bible. Make it a habit for life and you will be richly rewarded by God for He loves you very much.

Step #10) Cut off any ties with the person or persons that you were sexually engaged with.

“But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:14, KJV).

Being in the presence or communicating with this person will most likely lull you back into sin—you must sever ties. The choice is choosing a relationship with God over a relationship with this person. You may need to seek their forgiveness, but still keep your distance.

Now what?

You can’t fulfill your destiny in God and stay in sexual sin. Your sin will cause a divided heart and remember James 1:8 “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways”. God cares about you so much that He won’t give you peace about your sexual sins instead He will love you back into the kingdom even if it takes severe discipline. (Hebrews 12:5-6)

You can overcome sexual sin by trusting in God to keep your body. It will take effort on your part, but it will be His loving grace that covers you in love to endure.

Take a look at this other helpful article:

Why Should I Trust God? I Feel Like Giving Up

Resources – New International Version Bible (NIV) THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. The Holy Bible, King James Version. YouTube “You Are More” by Tenth Avenue North



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{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

Peggy May 5, 2013 at 9:24 am

thankyou Crystal-Your article I read for the first time. I am struggling because I lost a son to death in January and now trying to get rid of the confusion. and find out who I am now.

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Crystal McDowell May 5, 2013 at 9:01 pm

Dearest Peggy, I’m so sorry for your loss and pray that our Comforter, the Holy Spirit, will kindly and gently walk you through this time of trial. God is able to strengthen and keep you.

My prayers are with you.

Crystal

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Scott willow May 5, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Where’s the article on sex and married people who don’t come together as one much.would that that be a women sinning when she’s holding out sex in marriage

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Crystal McDowell May 5, 2013 at 9:10 pm

Dear Scott,
Thank you for your comment. I’m reminded of James 4:17 that it is sin for us to know the right thing to do and not do it. Therefore a man must love his wife as Christ loves the church and gave Himself up for her. As well the wife must submit to her husband as she does to her Lord. Marriage is a wonderfully complicated but beautiful experience with believing couples who are both graciously submitted to God in their relationship. I would most highly recommend the book “Every Woman’s Desires” by Steve Arterburn and Fred Stoeker. This book gives incredible insight into how a man can become one with his wife in all areas including sex. May the Lord grant you the wisdom, grace, and kindness to deal with this issue wrapped in the unconditional love of our Savior Jesus Christ.

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Jack Wellman May 5, 2013 at 8:55 pm

These are all sterling recommendations Crystal. Truly, these are what a Spirit-led believer should do and I do thank God that God is using you mightily my friend, here on this site and on your site.

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Crystal McDowell May 5, 2013 at 9:12 pm

Thanks Jack. Your comments make me smile because the Lord has graciously allowed me to write with godly men and women on this site. God bless you and your family! Amen.

Love in Christ,
Crystal

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Johanna May 5, 2013 at 10:19 pm

Happy to read this wise article, but I’m very happy my husband remembered the word about marrying a woman that
he didn’t resist. I’m now the Lords servant and we have a wonderful marriage and nine children.

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Johanna May 5, 2013 at 10:23 pm

Salty article but I’m very happy my husband remembered the word about marrying a woman that
he didn’t resist. I’m now the Lords servant and we have a wonderful marriage with nine children.

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Crystal McDowell May 12, 2013 at 5:37 pm

God bless you Johanna. May the Lord continue to strengthen your marriage with His grace.

Crystal

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Johanna May 5, 2013 at 10:26 pm

Sorry I duplicated. Did’nt see first one posted .

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Nkem May 11, 2013 at 5:25 am

God bless you richly for this article…been struggling. With sexual sin lately and I feel really guilty about it but I still find myself doing thesame thing..I was looking for how to re-trace my steps to God when I stumbled on this..I now know for sure that God loves me and and has given me the strength via The Holy Spirit and the word of God to say no to every kind of temptation cos he won’t give us more than we can bear.

May you continue to shine and never be a castaway.

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Crystal McDowell May 12, 2013 at 5:38 pm

Nkem…stay close to Lord. Keep the faith. God bless!

Crystal

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Josephat Nawade May 11, 2013 at 7:26 am

I support your article fully..As a youth leader,you are the right society to keep me updated..Thank you very much and God mus bless you 4 your work..MY TODAYS QUESTION…”Youths & Ponography”..Advise please! thank you in advance!
JOSEPHAT JAPHETH NAWADE

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Crystal McDowell May 12, 2013 at 5:47 pm

Dear Josephat,

Thank you for serving God’s people with the youth. I need you to elaborate on your question because the article can be related to pornography as well. Stay close to the Lord and continue to serve Him for the kingdom!
God bless,
Crystal

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Mc May 12, 2013 at 4:46 pm

Truely you are God sent. I have tried mybest to abstend from sexual but fell recently and immediately hated myself for allowing myself give in to this sin. But with these steps outlined I know I can overcome them all. God bless u

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Lisa Miller-Rich May 12, 2013 at 6:04 pm

Hi Crystal,

Thank you, sister, for this article. This week, as her pastor, I need to meet with a young lady to talk through this area of her life –and how it affects her ability to remain a leader in ministry. Your article outlines every action step in which I had prayerfully decided to lead her. I’m going to print it and have it as a reference. Thank you for the streamlined presentation of a subject that is so sensitive to navigate. When truth is spoken in love, the Holy Spirit alone will guide the outcomes. But loving support of a person without truth opens wide the gate for their continuation in sin–with devastating outcomes. I take no joy in the prospect of this conversation — but I love her enough to tell her the truth and walk with her as she takes time to restore and heal.

Bless you!

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Wycliffe Ihili May 13, 2013 at 4:22 am

I agree with you. These will help any person from falling back into sin. keep up the good work.

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Crystal McDowell June 11, 2013 at 9:56 pm

Thank you so much Wycliffe. Keep fighting the good fight of faith. God bless, Crystal

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Nkwanzi Daphine May 14, 2013 at 2:12 am

I so love this article teaches me to fully submit to God. It is better to be in a relationship with God.

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Crystal McDowell June 11, 2013 at 9:58 pm

Dear Nkwanzi, you are so right…it is better to be in an intimate relationship with God so we can be strengthened to walk righteously.
Thank you,
Crystal

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Mike June 10, 2013 at 9:57 pm

I’ve allowed this sin to control me too long, I even doubt my salvation.

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Crystal McDowell June 11, 2013 at 10:04 pm

Dear Mike, please don’t ever give up the good fight! Sometimes the battle is so difficult because our enemy knows that he is losing the war. I suggest that you repent of your sin and ask the Lord to restore you using Psalm 51 as a guide. Finally, it would be good to ask the Lord to do whatever it takes so that you can live in freedom, purity, and unconditional love. It will be difficult at times but nothing is impossible with God. I pray for you, my brother, to be released from this stronghold so that you can be useful to our Master in building the kingdom of Christ. Your sister in Christ, Crystal

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diane June 14, 2013 at 9:05 pm

thank you for this article. I really really needed this as I recently fell into sexual sin with my boyfriend. it happened a couple times but after the laat time we promised each other that it wouldn’t happen again. I prayed for forgiveness and I believe that God has cleansed me from unrighteousness. We are still dating but we are no longer putting ourselves in situations where we will be alone or our integrity will be compromised further. With much prayer God is keeping us pure and I am looking forward to the day when I will be his wife!

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Crystal McDowell June 15, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Dear Diane,

My heart goes out to you and I pray that you and your boyfriend will find a godly couple to hold you accountable to be sexually pure. Sometimes couples with the best of intentions fall short if they haven’t put themselves under a couple who will help them on the right path.

God bless,
Crystal

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diane June 16, 2013 at 4:47 am

thank you for your Godly wisdom and that is exactly what we will do.

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Kris June 16, 2013 at 3:21 am

It seems what I have shared with you here was considered too much , too long or not appropriate. I had hoped that what I had to say would be useful to someone ….I appreciate your making these articles available to help the reader….Keep up the great work!

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Crystal McDowell June 17, 2013 at 12:53 pm

Dear Kris,

I read your entire comment this weekend. I want you to know how very sorry I am that you’ve had to suffer so terribly. It underscores the need for believers to walk in purity. I pray for you that God uses your testimony of strength and faith to encourage other couples to walk righteously before God and others. Stay strong in the faith and don’t give up on your Heavenly Father’s ability to bring restoration to your heart, soul, and mind. God bless you!

Love in Christ,
Crystal

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Kris June 17, 2013 at 6:06 pm

Thank you Cystal

Many unfortunately are dealing with this ….the sexualization of our society and the lack of knowledge on the part of people understanding how they need to protect their eyes and minds by way of the whole armour of God is bringing many into such challenging experiences.

I know what the Bible says about the carnal minded and natural man but the deliberate and cold hearted choices of women ..especially when it comes to how their choices effect not only the children of the families the weak minded men they ‘enjoy’ so much at the expense of the family still seems so shocking

In this case the woman demanded children from my husband almost like a way of extortion since she had wormed her way into so many of his ‘compartment’s ‘ of his life that put everything and everyone at risk. It seems to have been a form of blackmail

She did not really want to care for the children she simply saw them as a way to keep a ‘leash’ on my husband

I was shocking even moreso since he is very capable and successful man in his field. So it is that PRIDE does come before the fall …..and he said he just felt ‘invincible’ ….no doubt.

So did King David, Solomon, and Samson to name a few men of many talents who fell due to ignoring the warnings of GOD about such snares!

OH ….children READ and retain Proverbs …..so needed today!

Thank you again for your reply …it was good to know I was not ignored …I realize you have many many facets of your responsibilities and your own husband and children must be first after GOD …That is a blessing we are all going to be glad for putting first!

His first,

Kris

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Daisy June 16, 2015 at 6:18 pm

Dear Crystal McDowell, I would kindly like to ask you to pray for a loved one of mine, Harry, to be saved from this sin (and others, of course! but most importantly this one). Please pray that our God SAVES him from sin, from evil and wicked people (“Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33,NIV) and for Harry to not be conformed to this world anymore, but to be transformed by the renewing of his mind and to have abhorrence of what is evil please in Jesus’ name. Amen

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Jesse July 2, 2015 at 1:53 pm

Dear Crystal, I am a man who was dating a younger woman for 3 years we were supposed to marry but somehow never did, we were going to break it off but she ended up pregnant and we stayed together. However things just got worse I think we both tried but we didnt try the right way by making God first, we were both selfish and disobedient. I blame myself mostly cause I am older and know that The Lord was not happy with our situation. I know He tried to warn us as I look back but now it seems to late. She got mad and left, I admit to you I was very mean and nasty and blinded by sin, that has changed now Thanks To The Lord, our daughter is 6 months old now and her mother is surrounding herself with the wrong environment. I could expound but The Lord knows. I try to talk to her rightly but I always get a prick in my spirit and I am not sure if its The Lord dealing with me or not, cause after she left I hit my face like Joshua and have been asking the Lord to tell me what He wants me to do ever since. I am afraid for my daughter and afraid for myself not being right with The Lord. Please pray for me and if you can do you and your husband have any words of wisdom? Please be blunt or whatever The Lord may lay upon your heart to tell me. Sincerly J

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Crystal July 3, 2015 at 7:15 pm

Dear Jesse,

I’m sorry that you have to go through this painful period. Many times when we choose the pleasure of sin, we almost always never comprehend the terrible consequences that will follow. However, let me give you hope–there are no consequences greater than the power and grace of God to get you through it. I would encourage you brother to do everything you can to get closer to God–establish a regular prayer and Bible study time, connect with Christian brothers who will hold you accountable, and serve at a local ministry. Doing these things won’t necessarily take away the consequences of sin, but they most certainly will deaden the sting of sin as God will heal your heart and deliver you from the bondages of sexual sin. You will be alright. Your daughter will be alright. As the Lord is faithful to hear and answer your prayers according to His will. Take strength and courage in Christ to move forward every day in faith. I will be praying for you. God bless,
Crystal

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Jessica September 4, 2015 at 1:17 am

I feel so much guilt and shame about my sexual sin lately. It’s been going on for so long and I just want to stop it. I regret it so much. I’ve been so depressed that it has been difficult to go about my day normally. I just want to be forgiven and go back to God. I’ve ignored him for so long… I feel so horrible. I’m determined to stop.

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Nicki Morero January 11, 2016 at 6:07 am

Thank You God for using Your servant to communicate to my current situation. .. To God be all the glory.

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Prinsesa March 1, 2016 at 5:00 pm

Thanks God for this one. I’m really struggling with guilt and depression for quite some time now. I’m still on the process of getting myself fix. I know God wants was best for me and its such a shame that I failed Him. But I’m looking forward to rising up from this mess and getting myself back. I pray I could really find someone to talk to about this. Anyway, thanks again for sharing. It really means a lot. God Bless you more!

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Damah August 29, 2016 at 3:13 am

God is faithful to Save, by the power of his GRACE..

Psalms 103;8-12 ” The lord is compassionate and gracious,slow to anger,abounding in love;He will not always accuse, nor harbor his anger forever,and he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our inequities;For as high as the heavens are above the earth,so great is his love for those who fear him;As far as the east is from the west,so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
this article has blessed me.thanks Crystal

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ana September 21, 2016 at 6:29 am

I loved the article about sexual sin, but i´m still confused whether I trully have to leave a person I love so much, is there no way that God can restore the both of us? And that we can still have a future together even after committing a sexual sin?

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Jack Wellman September 21, 2016 at 9:18 am

The Bible is clear Ana that anyone who is having sex outside of marriage is committing sexual immorality and all the sexually immoral people who refuse to repent are headed to the lake of fire (Rev 21:8). You must crucify your flesh and love Christ above all things in this world, or as Jesus said, you are not worthy to be His disciples. A warning comes straight from Jesus’ mouth in Matt 7:21-23 where He says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”

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Samantha December 8, 2016 at 8:53 pm

Thank you for writing this article. I have struggled with sexual sin for many years. I always seek to please others and try to fill my loneliness while being single. I’ve doubted my salvation because I keep asking for forgiveness and I stop doing bad things for awhile and then I find myself getting involved with sexual sin again. I’m very broken right now and this season of singleness is very hard for me. So I’m so blessed to have come across your article. It’s helping me a lot.

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Collin January 11, 2017 at 11:39 am

Can y’all keep me in prayer, I had hpv I didn’t know about and gave it to my wife. For a yr before I met my wife I struggled with prostitution because it’s online and so available I feel like the lowest creature right now. Thanks god bless Collin

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Jack Wellman January 11, 2017 at 11:45 am

I am praying for you sir. Collin, perhaps this can help you sir. We have an article written specifically about this stronghold, so please check this out and we pray it helps you sir, but ultimately, it is God Who fights our battles for us. Here is the article sir called, How To Overcome an Addiction to Pornography at: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/how-to-overcome-an-addiction-to-pornography-help-for-struggling-christians/

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David January 21, 2017 at 9:59 am

This is a very nice article. But I strongly disagree with number 10 in courtship relationships, just because they slip into sexual sin, this shouldn’t mean they have to breakup. Mistakes do happen, and no one is righteous in the sight of God but we have grace through Christ. I agree the person have to concentrate more on a relationship with God. Steps can also be taken to ensure such sin doesn’t take place anymore by seeking spiritual counsel from elders, avoiding compromising situations or even deciding to get married, as the apostle Paul has advised. It shouldn’t be an end to an amazing courtship the person might have built over the years, as many people have been advised wrongly this way. Thank you.

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