JP has authored a number of best-selling books, including The Power of Right Believing: 7 Keys to Freedom from Fear, Guilt, and Addiction and Grace Revolution: Experience the Power to Live Above Defeat. I’ve transcribed a clip in which he discusses the Biblical key to overcoming temptation–fleeing. Prince talks about how confidence in the flesh always precedes falling into sin. He reiterates the message of Romans 8:1–“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Grace is the empowerment not only to move forward after falling into temptation but to live a life of purity that God requires.
English is evidently not Pastor Prince’s first language, so I did my best to transcribe the sermon as clearly as possible. Be sure to check out other awesome material of his on the subject of purity.
You need to hear the Spirit. The Word of God doesn’t tell you how, the Spirit does. Are you with me? So when it comes to sexual temptation–let me bring this to a close. The only way to get out of it–you know what is a general guideline for sexual temptation–God says “Flee fornication. . . Flee sexual immorality. Flee.” You know what’s flee? Run!
Like Joseph. Joseph fled from Potiphar’s wife. This guy “Potty,” he is a higher-ranking officer of Pharaoh. Now Potty can have any woman he wants. He is the butler for high nobility, some people believe he’s the chief butler, who was also the one that controlled the other butlers. The thing is he was a high-ranking official. He has all the women he wants for his harem, but for his wife he would choose the very best. And she was probably beautiful, and that’s why she tried to seduce Joseph. Joseph ran. There was no commandment because Joseph lived before the commandments, but Joseph knew how to face sexual temptations.
With this one temptation, you don’t stand there and say “Come along. Come on, man, in Jesus name [fighting posture].” God say don’t even use the name. Run. Flee. You know what flee means or not? Flee means you are driving alone, and you meet an old friend that you’ve been attracted to and she says “Can you give me a lift?” And you say “No, I can’t.” Here’s money for your taxi. You understand now? Flee. Flee.
In my case, I don’t counsel the opposite sex. And because I don’t, I can tell all my pastors don’t counsel the opposite sex. Our church has invested heavily in the training of female counselors one of which has become a pastor. And these ladies are trained by me–the guidelines are set by me. And they counsel the ladies about church because problems start with good intentions. But the problem is that you’re not fleeing–are you with me? Flee sexual immorality.
“Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he that commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.” There is something unique about sexual sin. It affects your body. Don’t ask me to explain this because I can’t fully tell what is the consequence because the Bible doesn’t tell you. It just tells you this sin will affect your body, every other sin won’t. Is it your health? Is it you will age so much faster? I do not know, but one thing I do know it will affect your body.
So when it comes to sexual temptation–flee. I remember some years ago, I noticed one of the counselors in our church, one of the leaders in our church, he was very popular. Ladies were coming to him and asking him for counseling and all of that, and so I went to the wife. I thought the wife was a better person to talk to. I told the wife, “Watch him.” We don’t make a law, but as a general rule, we don’t allow guys to be the one but sometimes the situation is such that we are flexible. But I said “Keep an eye on her husband.” She looked at me and says, “You know, pastor. I trust my husband.” Like I’m so stupid. .
I said, “You know something. I don’t want my wife to trust me in this area.” Why? Because I am red-blooded. I’m a man. I’m a red-blooded man. I don’t want my wife to trust me in this area. No, no, no. Woman, don’t trust me in this area. Maintain me. She needs to take care of me in this area. You know why? Because everything starts innocently. A little flirtation, a little attraction. The guy may really want to counsel the girl, but the force of attraction is very strong. The best thing is that you don’t trust yourself in this area. “Put no confidence in the flesh.”
There’s this cycle you need to understand–why people fall into sin. It works like this: first of all, temptation comes. It can come as a thought, something you saw, something you remember. It’s first a temptation. Then, before it becomes sin, this always happens before it becomes sin. People think “temptation, then sin.” No, there is an in-between, and the in-between is this: confidence in the flesh. The Apostle Paul says in Philippians 3, “We put no confidence in the flesh.” We must not trust in this area.
For example, you tell your boy “Your computer is outside the room.” Nowadays, they can access through their phone as well. This is one step. The boy says “You don’t trust me, dad?” You say, “I trust you, I just don’t trust your flesh?” That’s a smart dad. “Because I don’t trust my own flesh,” the dad can say.
When you don’t trust your flesh, you are safe. But the moment you say, “I can handle this. I can watch this show, no problem.” And you may mean it, but you’re putting confidence in the flesh. Are you listening? And your flesh will always bring you to the dark side. So it always starts with “I can handle this.” “It’s getting late, and an attractive girl like her should not be going back alone in a cab, I think I’ll send her back.” Innocent. “I can handle this.”
The reason I’m talking about this area–sending someone home–is become I handled a case like this. Thank God in our church we hardly handle this kind of case. So much so that if something happens all the leaders know about it, among the leaders, for example. Very rarely you find a leader having a problem. When it happens, we all know about it. That shows the power of grace working in the church. But one of the areas is sending someone back innocently. And the guy meant well. The lady may mean well, alright? But that’s what happened later on.
So he put confidence in the flesh, he came to this stage before sin–“I can handle this.” “I’ll just open this email. Last time I opened this up, there were some suggestive photos, but the website is OK.” Or this movie. “There are some good elements, I can handle the bad elements.” It starts with confidence in the flesh.
You’re smart if you learn to run like Joseph, because you know something? God could trust Joseph to rule. Amen. Does that mean poor Joseph, he was repressed for the rest of his life? No, he found a lovely wife. Had children. Had a boy called double-fruitfulness. Enjoyed married life. And best of all, he was able to have a clear conscience. Never slept with Potiphar’s wife.
Now if you have fallen, you have missed it, listen carefully. The Bible says “There is therefore now no condemnation.” But you have to understand that after confidence in the flesh, you fall into sin. Indulgence. And the problem of the sin is what? Guilt. And guilt–you have new resolutions. “From now on, I will never open the computer. From now on, I will never look at the opposite sex. From now on, I won’t even talk to the opposite sex.” You know some extreme stupidity. “From now on, never again, never.”
When the devil hears that, he says “hallelujah.” The devil says “goodie, goodie.” The devil doesn’t praise God, OK. So the devil says “good!” Resolutions don’t work because it presumes on man’s strength, like the law. The more you distrust yourself in this area, the better it is for you.
Through the years, I’ve had my fair opportunities of people years ago asking me “Pastor Prince, can I have a ride home?” “You cannot. Because my wife is not here because if I take you back. . .” Then I compliment her–“Actually if you’re an old lady, I don’t mind. You’re very attractive, I cannot. If you’re not attractive, I don’t mind.” I supply her, you understand. That’s a ministry of grace. And all the people said? “Amen.”
Let me close with this. Once you put a guilt resolution, then you have a propensity now for fresh temptations. The way Jesus broke this–and I’ll close with this–he counseled a woman. He ministered to a woman caught in adultery. And what did Jesus tell her? “I don’t condemn you. Go and sin no more.” The church has it backwards. The church says “go and sin no more first, then we won’t condemn you.” Jesus says “I don’t condemn you. Go and sin no more.” In other words, he gave her the gift of no condemnation, and that became an empowerment to go and sin no more.
Anyone listening to me, if you think grace is a careless lifestyle–it’s because you only have one side of grace: we’re delivered from the law. But I’m talking about being married to Jesus Christ. Enjoying his love, enjoying his supply. And when you fail, listen carefully. When you fail–I didn’t say “if” because here and there you will fail. When you fail, know this–he says “I don’t condemn you, now go and sin no more.” It’s an empowerment.
You know how Romans 7 ends? Later on he says “The good I want to do, I do it not. The evil I don’t want to do I end up doing. I don’t understand myself–what I want to do I don’t end up doing. What I don’t want to do I end up doing.” Paul says that. You know how he came out of that? Romans 8:1, the very next chapter–and I’ll close with this. Let’s all read this together. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Are you in Christ Jesus? There is no condemnation from God. The word condemnation is judging to be guilty. There is no sentencing you to be guilty. One translation says to be punished. The word here katakrima–condemnation–means sentence you to be worthy of punishment. And the word no is a very strong word. It’s the word oudeis. And oudeis means not a single judging of you worthy of punishment remains if you’re a believer.
You need to learn that even when you fail there is therefore now no condemnation. But why is this gift given? So that it empowers you to live a victorious life.