Lust is a killer—and a serial killer at that. Men and women have fallen into the sinful grip of lust since the beginning of time. We first see lust come on the scene in Genesis 3:6. When Eve sets her gaze upon the tree that God had forbade her and Adam to touch, she lusted after it. The Hebrew verb originally used to describe what Eve thought about the tree is ḥâmaḏ, which means to desire lustfully. Eve desired and lusted after wisdom. At least thats what she thought. In reality, she desired what we all desire when giving in to the temptation of lust. She desired to be like God.
When we fuel the fires of fleshly passions by giving into lust, we are telling God that we know better than He does. We are telling our creator that His plan for us to remain pure won’t quite cut it. Isn’t that the angle the serpent took when tempting Eve? “But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’” (Genesis 3:4)
It’s time for believers to lay aside the weightiness of lust, and fix our gaze upon Christ. (Hebrews 12:1) Here are 10 methods and reasons to help you overcome your battle with lust:
Jesus probably isn’t commanding that you literally perform a self-enucleation. In Matthew 5:29, I think He is going to such an extreme to emphasize the danger of this particular sin. In other words, lust is so incredibly deadly, that we need to do whatever is necessary to flee from the temptation. Even if it means removing your eye.
So what are some ways that we can tear out our eye, so to speak? I think you should ask yourself which door the temptation enters from. Once you have that door in your cross hairs, blow it away. For instance, you’re scrolling instagram one evening, an attractive woman scrolls across your screen, and satan begins to whisper lustful temptations in your ear. What does Jesus say about this situation? It’s better for you to delete the friend, or delete your instagram account, or even smash your phone than to risk spending an eternity in hell.
2) Your eternity is worth it
Fighting lust is essential to your salvation. Hebrews 10:26 says that a truly regenerated person will not go on living in sin. That means if you’re just training your sin to hide better instead of killing it, there no longer remains a sacrifice for your sin, and fiery judgment awaits you.
It’s definitely an eye-opening verse. But if you’re not fighting your sin, I would much rather advise you to work out your salvation than to make you feel better about your sin by downplaying the dangers of it. If you’re alive in Christ, you have the victory through Him. You will stumble, but get up, dig in the word, and keep fighting. God is for you.
3) Suit up
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. Ephesians 6:10-11
I think Paul systematically lays out the armor of God as though he’s getting ready for the day’s battle. You can’t expect to fight sin in the flesh if you don’t have your armor on. Lay a foundation for each day by reading the Word, meditating on that Word, and praying to the father. I encourage you to read through Paul’s description of the whole armor of God in his letter to the Ephesians, and apply it.
4) Watch what you watch
We live in a pornified culture. My wife and I struggle to find a show or movie to watch that isn’t filled with nudity or sexual references. We have a strict no-nudity policy when it comes to our entertainment. This policy isn’t just for our kids’ purity and protection, its for ours as well. It doesn’t honor God (or my wife) to be entertained be the things that dishonor Him.
Satan will try to plant seeds of destruction wherever he can. He’ll try and justify your freedom to watch these shows and blame it on legalism. Don’t buy it. Be proactive against this scheme by researching what you’re about to watch. Don’t let the enemy get a stronghold in your mind by allowing nudity on your tv.
5) God’s design for you is better
Whether you’re a spouse, parent, or single, God has designed you for a purpose. Lust isn’t part of that design. He has designed you to be a minister to your wife or husband, to be a spiritual leader to your family, or to be a minister to your peers. Lust enters the mind and tears that design apart.
When we give into lust, we shift the focus of our lives from this design onto ourselves. This is the enemy’s plan. He doesn’t give a rip about your self-gratification. Satan only wants you to focus on anything but God. The enemy doesn’t place the idol in front of you to make you happy. It’s only purpose is an attempt to pull you away from glorifying King Jesus, push you face-first into sin, and keep you there. Try and see the bigger picture here. Know the tactics of the enemy. Start doing what God designed you to do.
6) Realize who you are in Christ
“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:1) Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. His atoning death on the cross paid the debt for your sin. His resurrection means He has the victory over your sin. If your faith is in Christ, you too have that victory.
A great lie from the enemy that I believed most of my Christian life was that there was no escape from the grip of porn. If you get anything from this article, let it be this: You are not a slave to lust. Jesus’ victory over sin made it possible for you to say no to sin. Your lust was nailed to the cross and you are alive in Christ. Walk in that victory today, not defeat.
7) Fear God
“By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil.” (Proverbs 16:6) The fear of the Lord mentioned in this proverb isn’t the same fear a child has of an abusive father. Rather, its the type of fear that stands in awe of your Heavenly Father. This type of fear is motivated by the reverence of God.
To fear God means to honor Him with obedience. It’s cultivating a deep relationship with the Lord by marveling at His power. He commands us to fight our sin. He commands us to take up our cross and follow him. Who are we to disobey? He is our redeemer and sustainer. His breath fills our lungs. Meditate on who He is. Pray for a deeper fear of God and to know him better. I assure you, lust will never survive it.
8) Be accountable
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. (James 5:16) Lust is a nearly impossible battle to fight on your own. Confession of sin is absolutely key to fighting it. The enemy will tempt you to keep it hidden. He’ll try to convince you that you’re the only one that struggles with lust. The reason that he wants this is because he knows sin thrives in darkness.
Find your pastor, a brother/sister in Christ, or your spouse, and come clean. Pray for healing and restoration in your life. When we drag sin into the light, we can see it for what it is. Lust cannot survive in the light.
9) Value women more
Lust and pornography change the way your brain is wired when interacting with people. Over time, you’ll start to view women differently. You’ll start to view them as a product instead of a person. You’ll only consider what they have to offer you rather than who they are—a person created in the image of God.
This is actually the anti-gospel.
Instead of viewing women through the lens of self-gratification, view them as Christ would view them—either a sister to be loved and protected, or a soul in need of a savior. Repent, and pray for God to turn your affections towards Him. When we truly treasure Christ alone, we automatically value life.
10) Jesus is better
Lust operates like any other sin. It promises instant pleasure, but delivers destruction. The promise of the enemy is death veiled in beauty. Just like satan tempting Eve, promising vast wisdom, that promise came with a deadly price. Concealed within the promise was the end of perfect communion with the Father, and the fall of humanity.
Jesus’ promises, on the other hand, are not the veiling of death. His words are the promise and deliverance of eternal life. They are a solid rock ground to stand on. He is the way, the truth, and the life. Lay the weight of lust upon Him and find rest that only Christ can give.
(Find this piece along with many other articles written by Topher Haddox featured on Crosswalk.com)