Most mainstream television shows teach us that lust is normal. Christian women and men idolize fictional characters that indulge in promiscuous behavior in an attempt to conform to a world that were designed to transform. Think about how many Christian’s you know idolize these characters:
Carrie - Sex and the City
Oliva Pope – Scandal
Mindy Lahiri - Mindy’s Project
Mary Jane - Being Mary Jane
Tony Soprano - The Sopranos
Joey Tribbiani – Friends
Bridget Jones – Bridget Jones Diaries
I could go on and on… but I’m sure you get the picture. I encounter plenty of people from all walks of life every day. In fact, I make it my business to surround myself with people that don’t think, look, or process situations like me. I often overhear conversations about the sexual escapades of people – even the unmarried Christians. The fact that people have made a lifestyle out of legitimizing casual sex is frightening. From what I see on mainstream media, pretty soon, the heterosexual lifestyle will lose in status in the world – and even in some churches.
Unfortunately, many Christian leaders have publicly engaged in such promiscuous behavior that it has affected the influence of their witness. On another hand, Christian leaders allow sexual immoral behavior to run rampant in the leadership of the church because they are too cowardly to preach against sin. Then, there are also sexually immoral Christian leaders that preach that God is a delivering God, but won’t seek deliverance from lust. Here’s the question, WHY is it so hard to overcome lust? My friends, I think I have the answer: lust “feels” good.
That’s right, lust feels good- to your flesh. In our culture, lust is not only the basis on conversation for people, it is the foundation many friendships, marriages, job promotions and financial provision. It’s easy to lust because it has become common. We see it on television. We hear it in music. It’s glorified on billboards. If some of us were honest, we have secretly wished that promiscuity was not a sin because we want to love and God and screw who we want. Fortunately, it doesn’t work like that. God doesn’t make exceptions to his commandments because we can’t practice self-control. Yes, that man/woman may be extremely easy on the eyes – but they aren’t worth your soul.
I could give you ten ways to avoid lust, which I may do at a later date, but I’m more concerning with getting to the root of the issue. In my opinion, a person could stop engaging in lustful behavior at any given time – if the person chooses to. I’m not a fan of excuses. A repeated mistake is not a mistake at all, it’s a decision. It’s a battle in the spirit and sometimes we let our flesh win.
We don’t fight, we surrender.
We speak in tongues, but can’t keep your physical tongue in our mouth.
We “like” inspirational statuses, but engage in promiscuous behavior which compromises a whole other “status”.
We ask for forgiveness, but don’t repent.
We answer that late-night text KNOWING it will lead us straight into a web of sin.
We let our sexual libido ruin our spiritual lives and expect God to receive our tainted worship.
We marry for the sex, and still cheat.
We abstain from sex, but consistently dabble in sexual impurity (sexting, masturbation, etc.)
What’s the root of the issue? Denial.
When you “like” sin, you will tell yourself a lie to make you feel better about sin. That is D E N I A L. Here are just a few examples of lies we tell ourselves to make us feel better about lust:
“Everyone else does it”. If everyone else jumps off a bride, you jumping too?
“This is the last time”. You said that ten times ago.
“The Lord will forgive me”. Lust has no place in the kingdom of heaven. If the righteous scarcely make it in, you think fornicators stand a chance?
“I can’t stop”. You don’t want to stop.
“It’s so hard”. That’s where the Holy Spirit comes in.
Single and celibate Christians have a heap of struggles to overcome when entering relationships and even healing from past relationships. For the Christian single, relearning the difference between intimacy and lust is a complete game changer.
However, I’ve witnessed a surge of denial concerning lustful behavior among married people in two categories: mommy porn and man-cave talk.
Mommy porn – when married women (who are married to men) lust after sex figures in the media. Mommy porn seems innocent because these figures are not usually fully naked in movies, so mom’s think it’s “ok” to lust. They make celebrities their “Man Crush Monday” and tell themselves it’s just fun and games. In actuality, it’s them silencing the Holy Spirit’s conviction that tells them that they just disrespected their husband and disrespected God. Ladies, there is a very fine line between admiration and lust and “Mommy porn” crosses that line.
How do you overcome it?
Stop denying that you do it.
Refrain from making excuses from your behavior.
If you feel convicted, repent.
Repent to God and your husband.
Don’t try to substantiate the sin, be free from it!
If your friends look at you crazy after you say that you don’t want to participate in “mommy porn” like activities – find new friends.
This also pertains to married men (who are married to women) who lust after women in group settings. This is where screen shots and snap-chat videos come alive! In many cases “man-cave talk” is just an excuse to be provocative and sexually crude with likeminded people. Men, to avoid being a listening ear to another man’s lustful desires, make sure your “man-cave time” isn’t a primetime moment to “kumbaya” about your sexually promiscuous years in high school and college and how you wish you can re-live those days. It’s SIN. How do you expect to die to sin if you secretly wish to relive your life of sin (see Romans 6:1-2).
How to overcome it?
Stop making excuses. You don’t get a pass to be lustful because you’re a man. Men have to exert self-control the same way women do. There are no exceptions in holiness.
Find an accountability partner.
If your testimony is about being free from lust, tell your story! Just make sure you’re testifying and not reminiscing.
If you feel convicted, repent to God…and your wife.
I’ve also recognize denial manifest in entertainment. Oftentimes, what the world sees as “art” is perverse in God’s eyes. Specifically, sex scenes in movies. If you are reading this, and you don’t see the problem with watching sex scenes, this section is just for you.
The Denial of the Effects of Sex Scenes on the Christian Mind
Sex is a good, God created, Christ-affirming thing…. For married people (in a heterosexual relationship). Let’s be honest, most sex scenes aren’t necessary – sex just sells. It’s seems obvious to me that Christian’s shouldn’t watch sexually explicit movies, but this assertion is still being debated in the Christian community. Here’s the bigger question: WHY would a Christian NEED to watch a sexually explicit movie?
Single and married Christians should understand the danger in watching sexually explicit movies – it promotes L U S T. Watching sex scenes on television tends to unconsciously orient the viewer to find righteousness strange and to find sexual compromise normal. Exposure to erotic stimuli can cause Christians to be desensitized to sexual sin and it also lowers their guard to be affected by sexual sin. If you aren’t careful, Netflix & chill can turn into Netflix & Chill- dren!
Some of you will argue that there are sex scenes that are depicted by a heterosexual married couple so therefore, it’s good, right? Let’s think through this:
Would it be “right” to go to the bedroom of a married couple that you know and watch them have sex?
Of course that would be wrong, right?
Ok, what if they gave you permission to watch them. Would that still be wrong?
So, what’s the difference in movies? Understand this, the married couple in the movie is most likely NOT married in real life. They are being paid to act married and you are paying to watch them. Here’s the question, is “acting” like you’re having sex is “ok” because it’s not real? For the Christian viewer, it’s almost like being entertained by watching someone else commit adultery… all in the name of entertainment. Sex within marriage is sacred, not a form of entertainment.
We have allowed the world to pervert the purpose of sex – and some of us Christians defend it. This is the exact reason WHY so many Christians are bound by lust! They have Christian friends who struggle with lust as well and they all have found a way to become comfortable in sin because no one is challenging their embedded theology. Millions of Christians are comfortable with watching sex scenes – even with kids in the room. That’s desensitization at its finest.
If you are reading this, and your mouth is open because you never thought about this before, you are proving my point.
If you are reading this, and you don’t feel slightly convicted, you should ask God to search your heart. In fact, for many of you, denial isn’t the issue, it’s desensitization.
Since you have been exposed to the truth, what will your response be?
Will you get on the phone and tell your friend what you learned from the article?
If your friend has a strong rebuttal this stance, are you spiritually strong enough to stand on your own convictions?
Will you talk yourself back to into indulging in sex scenes or will you embark on a whole new level of holiness?
To overcome lust, you must eliminate compromises. Lust will try to gain entry through every door you keep open. Be watchful, discerning, and consistently in a state of humility.