Have victory over Lust!
27 “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ 28 but I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 So if your eye – even your good eye – causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” Matthew 5:27-29
We are living in a world that is polluted. What do I mean by polluted? Every day, television, movies, billboards, newspapers and magazines bombard us with lustful images. What we see around us is what saturates our minds and thus, we find ourselves thinking about what we saw. And when lustful thoughts become part of our lifestyle, we feel like prisoners to those controlling desires. One thing that we need to realize as human beings, our minds capture so much of what we hear and see. Your mind will process what you see and the information that you hear and act on it. It is up to us to control what we need our minds to emphasize on in our lives. Jesus said “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” Matthew 6:22-23 thus, we have to guard what we look at and see.
God does not want us to suffer in the prison of lust. He offers hope and freedom when we turn to Him for help to understand the truth behind the lies of lust. What is Lust? Lust is defined as a strong wish for something; an earnest wish to own or enjoy; “to have an intense desire or need: crave; specifically to have a sexual urge”. Lust has been with mankind throughout history. God took care of Adam and Eve’s but He withheld one thing from them - the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Due to lust, they failed God’s test. Satan tempted Eve by telling her that God was holding back something good. She and Adam, through lust (desire to know and have), they ate the forbidden fruit. Once we begin to fulfill our own lusts, a vicious cycle begins. Lust leads to sin, then Sin breaks our relationship with God (Romans 1:24-32) and thus we become numb to lust’s impact, so we think we can lust even more. Paul says in Galatians 5:16 “But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God).” The nature of lust is an unquenchable thirst to have more and more… More money, fame, power, revenge, food, clothing, love. Unless our desires are turned over to the Lord, we will never be satisfied.
It is unless we live by the spirit as Paul says, then, we will spend all the days of our lives searching in vain for fulfillment through the things of this world with no success. But once we live in the spirit and walk in the spirit, we will discover the answer to the greatest desire in our lives. We will get what we need to fill up the vacuum and the emptiness that we feel and find in our lives. The Bible says that our greatest need is to worship God. This is why we created. Colossians 1:16 says “For it was in Him that all things were created, in heaven and on earth, things seen and things unseen, whether thrones, dominions, rulers, or authorities; all things were created and exist through Him [by His service, intervention] and in and for Him.” But sin has separated us from God (Romans 3:23) and only through Jesus can we be forgiven of our sins and restored to God.
Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life… Without me, no one can go to the Father” (John 14:6). If you have never made Jesus the Lord of your deepest desires - then do so now. It is only him who can help us tame and help us control the desires of our hearts. This is the place we reach and we really need the help of the Holy Spirit in us. Due to our fallen nature, we will have to deal with lust until we die. The temptation to lust will come in many forms. There are external lusts, including ungodly sexual appetites and overindulgence in food and drink; and there are internal lusts, such as the lust of power, fame or position. Therefore, we must rely on the power of the Holy Spirit inside us to overcome lust every day. “Let the Lord Jesus Christ be as near to you as the clothes you wear. Then you won’t try to satisfy your selfish desires” (Romans 13:14) No matter the form of lust we face, we can be assured that we have an Advocate who “understands every weakness of ours” and “was tempted in every way that we are. But He did not sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus is not a distant God who is looking to judge you, He is your friend, and he has walked the road you are walking right now.
God does not want you to be a prisoner of lust. The Bible says, “Christ has set us free.” (Galatians 5:1). We have assurance from God that he will help us to battle lust. Nevertheless, we need to recognize this and start to free ourselves as well. We need to get to the root of the problem and handle it from there. It reached a point till Job had to make a covenant with his eyes. Job 31:1 says “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl.” One thing is sure – If we remove the coals/firewood/fuel, the fire will die. We need to get to know what leads us to what we lust for and deal with it, thus, we will be safe. “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it springs the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23 I know that with the help of God, you can overcome the spirit of Lust. If only you are willing to. We need to:
a) Ask God for help. - Sometimes we are too ashamed to take this first step. Don’t try to fight the battle of lust on your own. Go to God and ask Him for help. This is what humility is all about. We all know whether or not we struggle with this or not. God’s desire and Joy is to see us walk in freedom but the devil wants us to stay bound in the bondage. But we can break free from it.
b) Stop feeding your lust/start renewing your mind - Lust is gratified as you feed on things pertaining to lust. Prayerfully begin to resist those desires. Replace those desires with a desire after the word of God. Hebrews 4:12 says “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Spend more time reading, listening and meditating on the word of God. The word of God is no ordinary thing; it is full of the Almighty power of God, which is able to save your soul from bondage to habits and vices. As you spend time in the word, your heart will be strengthened by the truth and when another day of temptation comes you will be able to fight for your soul. Romans 12:1-2 says “I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God”. Renewing your mind is a process, you won’t get there overnight; you need is to be willing to walk with God to victory. Put away everything that appeals to the flesh and focus on God. (Ephesians 4:22-24; 2 Corinthians 10:5)
c) Die to lust. – Paul tells the Romans in Romans 6:1 that “since we died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” He continues to say that, once we have died to sin, we are free from sin and sin doesn’t have power over us. (Romans 6:7). So to overcome lust, we must recognize that “the persons we used to be were nailed to the cross with Jesus” (Romans 6:5) and our old way of life died with Jesus. When we understand what it means to be dead to sin, we will then find freedom from lust.
d) Walk in the Spirit. - The next step is to submit your life to the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:16 “But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God).” Remember, you can’t fight lust on your own, so ask the Holy Spirit to help you. Paul continues to tell us that we need to surrender our lives to Christ and thus we will live in freedom. Galatians 5:24-25 says “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
e) Resist and flee. There is not a time sin will give you time to think twice whether to indulge or not. It is always enticing us. The best advice is simply this: Run! Just like Joseph did. Don’t allow lust to linger in your mind. Get far away from situations and influences that threaten to trap you. Proverbs 5:8 says “Let your way in life be far from her, and come not near the door of her house [avoid the very scenes of temptation].”
f) Forgive Yourself - Guilt is a joy stealer, it will want to rob you of the wonderful future God has ahead of you. In Romans 8:1, the bible says “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Plead the blood of Jesus over every remembrance of your past that seeks to haunt you and stand upon the promises of God to defeat guilt. You have no cause to regret as long as you are learning how to yield to the leading of the Spirit of God inside of you and you are practicing a life of obedience to God daily.
g) Set new boundaries – This simply means that there are some things that you have been doing that you need to stop. You will also have to shun or cut fellowship with some of the company of friends that you had. You know what defiles you so stay away from them. It might be helpful to make a list of things you would need to stay away from and prayerfully plan to keep away from them. Invite the Spirit of the fear of the Lord into your heart, begin to practice reverencing God and allow the fear of God to guide you in every step you take. Be obedient to the word of God and the voice of God in your heart. Joy will flood your life and God will restore all you have lost as you faithfully seek Him. Proverbs 3:7-8 paraphrased says “Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones.”
“Don’t love the world or anything that belongs to the world. If you love the world, you cannot love the Father. Our foolish pride comes from this world, and so do our selfish desires and our desire to have everything see. None of this comes from the Father. The world and the desires it causes are disappearing. But if we obey God, we will live forever” (1 John 2:15-17).