How can we effectively fight lust? How can we experience lasting change in this area of our life? I believe that our fight against lust needs to be: specific, detailed, diligent.
Our fight against lust should be specific. It is God’s will that you should be sanctified, avoid sexual immorality and control his/her own body in a way that is holy and acceptable. The first step is realizing that it is your own body that you need to control. I don’t need to figure out everybody’s fight against lust, I don’t need to have answers to all the questions; I just need to handle me! You need to understand the unique way in which you’re tempted… every one of us struggles differently. What this means is that no one should feel safe from lust in anyway, you shouldn’t think that because you don’t struggle like the other guy then lust shouldn’t be a problem for you. You don’t want to be lolled into a false sense of security. It just might be coming in a completely different way. Lust might be expressed in your imaginations; it can be expressed through flirtatiousness and in so many different ways. But there are some specific ways in which you deal with it, are you aware of what and are you fighting on that front. So, you feel proud that you’ve never looked at internet pornography while you soak up sensual images through your eyes on television. God is not impressed when you watch only PG rated movies and your thought life is off his will. You can think you’re safe because you’re comparing yourself to somebody else but sin might be deceiving you… where is lust coming after you? Also, no one should consider themselves a freak. You might be struggling in a way that might not seem normal. 1 Cor 10:13 “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man and God is faithful, he will not allow you be tempted beyond what you can bear”. I think it’s nice of God to put this in the bible… run away from the sin, but don’t get tied up thinking you’re a freak. It’s just a different variation of the same ugly thing. Don’t feel isolated… you are fighting alongside other Christians who are fighting the same fight of faith. When you get specific with your own battle, you stop worrying whether other people can relate to your temptation and you focus on obedience in your own circumstance.
My own story is that at a point in my life, I got so engrossed in reading romance novels so much that I’ll imagine all sorts of trash, I moved on to watching sensual movies and not turning off the television even when it gets more sensual. I got used to it. I cried out for help and God helped me. Now, for some people that is no temptation at all, they are strong in those moments. But they can state their area of temptation and I’ll be like “really, that’s small for me” Not everyone can relate to my own temptation. When I walk into a bookstore now, I avoid that particular rack of romance novels. I can deal with it by the grace of God because I identified my problem; I dealt with it from the root. So, it’s not about relating to somebody else’s struggle, it’s about fighting lust wherever you see it in your life. Now, I don’t need to judge those who read romance novels, I don’t need to assume what’s going on in their hearts, I don’t need to start a crusade against it. I just need to be specific about where I’m weak and that’s where I need to fight lust. We need a custom plan for fighting lust because lust has a custom plan in coming against us. More so, our fight needs to be detailed, a lot of people could admit that lust is a prevalent sin in their lives and they say they want to change but they’ve never taken the time to think through the details of how temptation unfolds for them and so instead of anticipating and being on guard, they are surprised by the same attack over and over again. A saying goes “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result” sometimes we are insane in the way that we approach our sins, it’s like we walk into the same wall and there’s like “error, error”; and each time we’re like, “how did that happen, where did that come from” . I used to have this nail infection and I’d use a particular drug that used to give me rash over time, after I see the rash, I go to my drawer, bring out the same drug that caused the rash and take it again. I kept doing it until I realized and stopped. See, that’s how most people are. A lot of people haven’t identified the lust “triggers” and so they just keep walking into the same pattern over and over again, they fall into sin in serious ways and they are saying “how did this happen?” Lust doesn’t just come out of the blue, something leads to it. Sometimes, we set ourselves up, if you were honest and get into the details of the thought you were thinking, movies you were watching, what you were listening to, what you will discover is that there is a pattern you repeat that leads to it. Romans 13:14 “make no provision for the flesh to gratify it’s desires” this is a detailed statement, get into the details of where your actions, thoughts, choices actually make provision for lust to come in. How can you stay as far as possible from the temptations that feed and strengthen those sins? Change happens in the details. Get down to the nitty gritty of your life.
However, we need to be diligent, Lust is like compound interest, and it grows overtime. It might not seem like a big deal now but over a period of time, it can add up to lust ruling and owning you. Those moments when we feel we’re doing okay are moments when we should be most careful. Those moments when you just want to give up on the fight against lust and give in to the pleasure, those moments when you are driven to put on your computer and watch pornography, those moments when you want to call that guy or girl, moments when you’re tempted to look through that magazine, moments when you want to give in to the “in” thing, eg homosexuality and lesbianism, moments when you want to imagine all sorts of trash. Those moments can be moments of sweet worship to God. Pour out your weaknesses before him let him pour himself on you, bring him more than a song… give him your heart full of sweet worship. Fall on your face and just stay there, imagine he was in the room with you, holding your hand, leading you out of that temptation. Watch him as he pours his freshness on you! Those moments where there’s no music, sound or instrument, that moment where you’re all alone but you’re choosing to declare God’s worth. When you turn away from the satisfaction that lust brings , from those little moments of passion it produces and turn to God in worship, you are saying “God, you’re more to be desired, you are more satisfying, you are better than anything that lust can offer me” that is sweet worship.
When you have overcome lust through worship and faith, you will be stronger because of it. We must not forget that Jesus has won for us. He took our battle, fought for us and won. So, you have won the battle against lust, but the bible says that we should fight the good fight of faith because in this world trials and temptation will come; we must fight bearing in mind that we already won. It’s quite confusing but I’ll explain. It’s like watching a movie or reading a book where you don’t want the “good guy” to die and then he’s about to die so you fast forward or flip to the last page or scene to see if the guy died and you discover that the guy didn’t die there. Got it? That’s what we’re going to do, we’re going to fast forward to our future and see that we won already, we didn’t die, we didn’t give in, and we’re going to come back to the present and keep on fighting… because we must and because we can.