The Simple Truth of Lust
Invite God’s Spirit to fill you in times of temptation and emptiness
Our sexuality is often one of those areas that we like to keep private. And many Christians are guilty of shaming others and ourselves around the subject of sexuality. Christians have not been well-equipped to have an honest, vulnerable, and redemptive conversation about lust, sexuality, and purity.
So, we’re going there and pressing in on this topic.
What’s So Bad About Lust?
Maybe you’re turned on by looking at a guy or a girl. Or, maybe you fantasize about being with another person or you even begin flirting. Is that really a big deal?
It’s a simple truth and it’s important to understand the gravity of it and what it means for how you view yourself and how you view other people. When it comes to lust, you view other people through a lens of what they can do for you and view yourself as a master that is deserving of having others do things for you. That’s not what Jesus modeled for us. He said ‘I came not to be served but to serve,’ and I’m calling you to live the same way in your relationships.
At the root of lust, is a desire for ourselves to be rulers over another rather than people who are called and created to do and live differently -- to serve.
In short, there are some basic components of the Christian perspective on sex:
Sex is Good | God made it.
Sex is Sticky | It bonds you to a person in a one flesh kind of way. It’s part of a relationship that’s meant to stick and hold. There’s power to it, and it’d be a mistake to pretend like there’s no strings attached.
Sex is Boundaried | God designed it to happen best in a certain way. It fits within God’s creation that is boundaried from the beginning. Sun, moon, stars, seasons, day, night, seas, land… the boundaries give and sustain life for all of creation. When God introduces boundaries for his people, they give life and prevent death.
The Difference Between Lust and Love
The dictionary defines lust as “strong sexual desire.” But having strong desires isn’t necessarily the problem. This is about sexual desires that are not governed by the Spirit of God. It’s feelings that you ride, that you allow to carry you beyond the boundary of God’s design.
Love is giving, self-giving
Lust is taking, self-serving
Love honors the humanity of the other person. It wants to build into and amplify their humanity.
Lust diminishes the humanity of the other person. Or erases it entirely. It turns the other person into an object that you are going to use for your own satisfaction. You’re going to take something from someone else in order to try to fill something in yourself.
Lust is like empty calories. It’s about titillation and ecstasy and pleasure and that’s it. It’s a fleeting feeling. Love can include all of those things. Sex that can feel great and be ecstatic and pleasurable. But all of that is experienced within a much more robust and substantive context of trust and commitment and covenant and intimacy and vulnerability and knowing and sharing between two people, which God pictures as marriage.
Things to Consider If You’re Battling Lust
1. Seek healthy, intimate relationships of high trust and open dialogue. We all need to be in relationships with people who know and love God and know and love us. This is where support and accountability come from. Participating in a group or joining a serving team are great ways to meet people. Or if you have a friend you can trust, open up some dialogue about this. Confess, and ask them to be a partner in praying for you. Mountain offers many group options. MountainCC.org/Care
2. Create hedges of protection. Maybe a boundary is placing locks on computers or televisions. Cancel an HBO Max subscription, get rid of erotic novels, delete your social media accounts. Identify your triggers and find ways to remove those. And then, ask your partner or a trusted friend to hold you accountable here.
3. Identify habits to strengthen our relationship with the Lord. This is ultimately a heart issue. You need God to change your heart. Another person can’t fix you. Go to God in prayer (see example prayer below) and reading of God’s Word (see scripture and Bible Reading Plans below) where you can be reminded of how deeply God love you. Renew your connection to Jesus, and be nourished with the Spirit.
God, thank you for the ways you are at work in me. I invite you into the places where lust wants to lodge itself and tells me I can’t live without it. God, I am trusting you for what’s right and good and in all the ways that I need to repent, teach me and give me the courage to be honest and repent. Strengthen my relationships that may be threatened by the presence of sexual temptation. Redeem me, restore me, and speak to me even in my shame and call me to something better. Fill me with your Spirit that gives life. Amen
Genesis 3 | NIV
David and Bathsheba
2 Samuel 11 | NIV
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Matthew 4:27-28 | NIV
Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
1 Corinthians 6:18-20 | NIV
YouVersion App Bible Reading Plans
Consider going deeper by committing to one of the Bible Reading Plans below.
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- Covenant Eyes | Software designed to help you and your loved one live free from pornography.