Lust: Christian Men Fight Back, Part 2
With our everyday environment so saturated with sexualized images and temptations, Satan thinks he has us on the ropes. Men, we can prove him wrong.
In the previous post, we discussed how we are surrounded, outnumbered and have our minds and bodies fighting against us in the battle against lust. Still, we are told to put to death things like evil desire and fornication (Colossians 3:5).
But how do we do that?
This blog post will cover several strategies to help us overcome the daily temptation of sexual lust.
First things first
But we can’t enter this fight with a handicap. Before we deal with how to overcome future lust, we have to deal with the past. Peter spells out what we need to do in Acts 2:38. It starts with a three-step process:
- Repent to God of our past sins.
- Be baptized.
- Receive and use the gift of God’s Spirit to change. Through this process, we will develop and strengthen our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Without these steps, lust will always win. To learn more about taking these giant first steps, read our Change Your Life! booklet.
1. Educate yourself: start reading. The most important source of information is your Bible. Study what God says about marriage, love and family. Meditate on the beauty of God’s standard for these important parts of life. Then study the warnings against lust and the tragic incidents of selfish sexual gratification in the Bible. For example, read the accounts of David’s lust and adultery with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11) and his son Amnon’s rape of his half sister (2 Samuel 13). If you study those stories and their aftermath, you will better understand how ugly and destructive lust can be. Also, study the characteristics of Jesus Christ, the perfect model for humanity.
There are also other helpful books on the subject of lust, such as Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is) by Joshua Harris and Every Man’s Battle by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker. Of course, Life, Hope & Truth doesn’t endorse all the content within these books.
Our world is filled with temptations to lust. As a result, we men must constantly be at war with our own eyes and bodies.2. Quick draw help: prayer and self-talk. After being saturated with sexualized images or innuendos, our mind tends to focus on the pleasurable feelings associated with them. When our mind starts to go there—we have to stop that moment. Thankfully, God is never too busy to help! If we need help, we can go to Him in immediate prayer, and He will listen and give us strength. We are to “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
The books mentioned above also suggest attack phrases or memorized scriptures to recite. For example, if we are tempted to let our gaze linger a little longer at a scantily clad woman on a magazine cover, we could think, “God loves that woman. She is a person with feelings and not a sexual object. He would want me praying for her well-being, not ogling her.”
3. Look at the person, not her body. Lust doesn’t restrict itself to Internet pornography or raunchy movies in the privacy of one’s home; it leaks into our everyday interactions with real people. Like Job, we, too, have to make a covenant with our eyes (Job 31:1), mainly because of all the damage lust does to us if we don’t (verses 9-12).
If we say, “I will never notice a woman’s anatomy again,” we are fooling ourselves. As men, our eyes are drawn and magnetized to it, so we have to be prepared to react, since it will happen.
For example, going to the beach or the pool is a minefield of sexual imagery, so we have to make a conscious effort to get our eyes focused on something else. If we talk to a woman who is not appropriately covered, then we should look at her hair, eyes and face as consistently as we can.
4. Plan accordingly: preemptive strikes. It’s time to evaluate Satan’s traps and avoid them. Television shows, movies, magazines and advertisements with sexually suggestive images are a reality and aren’t going away anytime soon. We have to plan our steps to win, because it is a foregone conclusion that Satan has planned for us to fail, every step of the way. There are just some forms of media that men need to avoid altogether in order to avoid temptation.
5. Prepare for the long haul: build healthy habits. Lust thrives on unhealthy habits. When we are constantly tired, we are more susceptible to sexual enticement—so listen to every health expert on the planet and get enough sleep. When we are bored and full of free time, we are more susceptible to sexual enticement—so stay busy with positive activities (such as Bible study, prayer, continuing education, recreation with friends and family, and entertainment that doesn’t need half-naked women to be interesting). There is a world of good to enjoy out there.
The battle rages on
Our world is filled with temptations to lust. That is a hard, cold reality. As a result, we men must constantly be at war with our own eyes and bodies. With our many failures, it may seem impossible to win; but Matthew 19:26 tells us that “with God all things are possible.” Lust, like all sin, can be overcome.
Click here for part 1 of this series.
For more resources on this topic, read: