All manifestations of sexual immorality first start off with a thought. Ungodly thoughts (whether it’s sent to you as a fiery dart of the enemy or if it’s conjured up by your flesh), if not cast down right away, will begin to plant itself in your mind and in your heart just like a seed gets planted in the ground. And just like the roots of a seed must first spread deep down into the ground, then outwardly in order to get a good foundation before it begins to sprout out from the earth, so does ungodly thoughts spread themselves deep into our minds and into our hearts to get a good foundation (a stronghold) before it begins to sprout out (manifest) through our actions.
Once an ungodly thought has a grip on your heart and mind, it will cause you to enter spiritual warfare, and you will begin to battle with the thought (what you want to do in your flesh VS. what you know you should do in the Spirit), and it will often seem hard to reject the thought because of all that time you’ve allowed it to deeply root itself in you. The thought will then entice you and provoke you to act upon it. And once you act upon it, that’s where the fruit (or manifestation) of masturbation, pornography, fornication, homosexual behavior, etc. comes to play. Many people only feel convicted after they manifest sexual behavior, but the compromise actually came way before you manifested the sexual behavior. The compromise came when you failed to cast down the perversion at the thought level. The compromise came when you gave up the fight and allowed the thought to take root in your heart.
Think about it. When Lucifer fell from grace, he first had a thought about being prideful (a thought derived from his own heart); A thought to exalt his throne above the stars of God. Instead of casting the thought down, he tried to manifest it by going to war against God. Eve was later tempted with a thought to eat off the forbidden fruit in the Garden. When she pondered and reasoned on the thought (which was a fiery dart influenced by Satan), she allowed it to take root in her heart, and then she manifested the thought with the action of biting into the fruit. But she had already sinned when she made up her mind that she was going to partake of it.
Capture the sexually perverted thoughts right away, as soon as you are presented with them. Bring them under subjection before they take root in your heart and mind. Don’t dwell on the thought, don’t ponder on it, fantasize about it, tolerate it, or try to reason with it. Cast it down and bring it under the obedience to the word of God. Hold a tight reign over thought patterns. Don’t just do any and everything that you think to do. Don’t believe everything that comes to mind. You may feel as if these are your thoughts. But the thought isn’t yours unless you receive and embrace it for yourself. Instead of letting any and all thoughts run rampant in your mind, let the word of God be a bouncer at the door of your mind. And if there be any unclean, unwanted, ungodly thought that tries to come into your mind, don’t let them in. May the bouncer have enough word in him to be able to say “IT IS WRITTEN…”
Use your shield of faith as a defense to thwart off the ungodly thoughts and the fiery darts of the enemy, and use the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (“It is written”) as an offense, to pierce your flesh and put it to death. Don’t just fight to stay free from manifested sexually immoral behavior–fight the root to the issue, which is the ungodly thoughts you are having and submitting to.