Fighting for purity

By César Israel Rodriguez with Rebecka King | Ecuador in South America

Representative image.

SIM Ecuador member Cesar Israel shares about the rising need to resist sexual sins and fight for Christ-like purity.


For years God has been pressing on the hearts of SIM Ecuador team members to enter the battleground of people fighting addiction to pornography and sexual sin. The COVID-19 pandemic in Ecuador brought a complete lockdown and with it came even greater urgency for God’s redemption in this area.

When the lockdown began, we prayed as a team and asked: “God, in what ways can we continue to serve the youth of Loja, even when we cannot see them physically?”

It was then that a dear friend texted me saying, “Israel, I have lapsed again. I need help.” My friend had again fallen prey to the sin of pornography.

During the pandemic, we noticed a serious problem: Isolation was leading many young men like my friend to seek refuge in the destructive lies of sexual sin such as pornography. This led us to start a 31-day Bible challenge called ‘Fighting for Purity,’ which addressed the topic of sexual purity for men. For those 31 days, we meditated on the Word of God, prayed, cried, encouraged and challenged young men to find God’s freedom in the power of Christ to overcome this sin.

Through this initiative, God transformed lives!

After completing the challenge, one young man shared: “Social networks surround us at all times, and with each click you can open very tempting pages. I got to know a lot of things to combat the sin of pornography. I have learned practical tools and how to focus on God who is always with me. This helps me cope with that daily struggle and if I search for him, I will find peace.

Another man said: “I’m so thankful to God for what he did through this ministry. This journey helped me to understand that sin is devastating us. It affected me a lot, and I realised how it was destroying my relationships as well.

“We can’t liberate ourselves alone, and for me, it seemed that I had no way out. But during that challenge, I felt that we are fighting in company. The Lord has provided support through very blessed relationships. And above all, it impacted me to know that Jesus already paid for each of my sins and that his gospel cleanses us and restores our lives through his sacrifice, death and resurrection.”

"Jesus already paid for each of my sins and that his gospel cleanses us and restores our lives through his sacrifice, death and resurrection."

     

The battle for sexual purity was not finished when the challenge ended. We know that Satan continues to work to deceive us, and therefore, we must not stop fighting. I continue to meet with this group of men once a week to cultivate encouragement, prayer, Bible study, and maintained accountability. It is heartening to see some guys replicate this study with friends from local churches.

Additionally, three female co-workers from the SIM Ecuador team, Rebecka King, Rachel Wilson and Sandry Ludeña, started the same challenge with young ladies throughout Ecuador, meeting virtually and dealing with the struggle women also face in this area. Within just a couple of hours of publicising the women’s study, it was full. Now, there is a waiting list of 40.

The ladies have seen God working in incredible ways too. One woman said: “Every week, my mind and heart are breaking down the obstacles I have that keep me from treasuring and knowing God. Although the topic has been pornography, the study has been helpful in other areas of my life, like my relationship with God, and this has been very good for me.”

We are grateful that God is meeting these spiritual needs during this time. As it says in Matthew 25:35, the Lord welcomes us and helps us in our struggles: "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me."

Please pray

• that God continues to strengthen and encourage all the participants in their sexual purity as they are confronting this stronghold.

• God would use this initiative in the churches to transform more lives. 

• for opportunities to reach out to youth through social media.

SIM Asset Publisher Portlet

Asset Publisher

SIM Asset Publisher Portlet

Asset Publisher

Related stories

In hope of completeness

Our everyday language so readily offers up boundary lines between worlds known and unknown, moral and immoral. Yet it falls terribly short of expressing the shades and shadows of human experience. Last week we visited several homes that really felt like shades and shadows. I followed Malti di through the crowds of a wholesale bazaar, jostled with cows and carts, to the vicinity where dark narrow alleyways and stairwells led to the separate homes of six transgenders under her care.

Sports Friends moves to the megacity

Sports Friends has ministries in many of the far-flung corners of the world; from Peru, to Nigeria to Thailand. The mental scenes that correspond to those places might be something like a dusty plain with children playing football under a tree with wide, spreading branches. Or a field lined with palm trees, young girls avoiding monsoon-season puddles as they practice volleyball. And sure, these picturesque rural settings really are some of the places where Sports Friends works, but what about sports ministry in an urban context, where fields and courts are not in open spaces, but tucked amidst buildings and side streets?

Prabhouti's Wedding

Traditionally, Prabhouti should have married years ago. Girls in her village are married early – sometimes as young as twelve years old – just like their mothers were before them.

Celebrating Ezra's first graduates

The Ezra Project began in 2015 as the need for stronger church leadership and pastoral skills grew in many rural churches in an Asian country. The aim of the project is to provide church leaders with solid training in biblical teaching and strengthen their spiritual lives so that they can lead their flock with more precision according to the Word of God. Three years after its first modules launched, Ezra was able to celebrate its first batch of graduates!