Religion: Here’s how Christians can deal with lustful thoughts

The struggle is real but you can overcome it once and for all with the tips below.

The Bible has so many verses that make it clear that lust is a sin. For instance, Jesus Christ, in Matthew 5:27–28 explained, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘you shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

But, this does not change the fact that we live in a very sexually charged world. Go to a site to download a movie and you are most likely to see something pornographic. The same goes for books, TV shows like Game of Thrones, commercials, and even social media platforms. How then is a Christian supposed to remain sane, avoiding lustful thoughts in these times? Here’s how:

First, know why lust exists and exactly what God says about it

The Bible tells us that ALL have sinned and fallen short of His glory (Romans 3:23). By living in this human skin, we are all susceptible to sin including lust. This explains Apostle Paul‘s dilemma in Romans 7:14–20. In his words, “We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do - this I keep on doing.”

He continues in verse 22-24: “For in my inner being, I delight in God’s law but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?”

Thankfully, the story does not end there. Yes, being human means we are vulnerable to temptations and sin, but the Bible also says that we don’t have to give in to them.

Ephesians 4:17–24 says, “You must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking…. That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

“Though we walk in the flesh we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,” 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 adds.

In the scriptures, we see that we can achieve this seemingly impossible battle with God’s help. This is why the Apostle ends the seventh chapter in the Book of Romans on a positive note. In verse 25, he says: “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

Daily Renewal

At this point in my faith journey, I am more than convinced of how wise God is and how much He truly cares for us. He knew how messed up things were going to be and how much we would need His help which is why He asks us to renew our minds with His Words.

Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Understanding how terrible things are and how weak I can be makes me want God and His Words so much more which is why I recommend studying the scripture not just Sunday when the Pastor or Priest is preaching but on a daily basis (Proverbs 5–8).

By studying and renewing your mind on a daily basis, you will have the right ammunition for when lust comes calling. With God’s Words, you will be able to ‘demolish arguments…and take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ’ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

I know it might not seem like nothing is happening at first but trust me, one day, not only will your desires change but you will also be able to look at the things you used to be vulnerable to and say, ‘Not Today Satan!’

2 Corinthians 4:16 is all the proof you need. It says, “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.”

Ask God for help

Hebrews 4:15 tells us that “we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are yet he did not sin.”

So that be shy or afraid to ask God for help. God desires for us to come to Him like little children, telling Him exactly what hurts and where, so let Him in.

Do NOT rely on your own strength (it won’t work long-term), instead draw near to your Heavenly Father and submit your life daily to the Holy Spirit. “If you are guided by the Spirit, you won’t obey your selfish desires” (Galatians 5:16).

James 4:7–8 also says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you…”

Avoid pride

The easiest way to give into lustful thoughts and eventually sexual sin is to let pride in. Pride will give you all the reasons why you can overcome struggle this battle on your own and why you don’t need to read the Bible or turn to God for help. It will make you feel like you can survive today’s sexual temptation on your own because of all the other times you survived.

It will tell you to relax because you are invincible, ignore the Holy Spirit telling you to RUN and give in to the temptation to look at that picture, video, movie or have the conversation you shouldn’t be having. You might survive that day but trust me, one day, allowing your pride to cloud your judgment will eventually cause you to fall.

This is why we can not rely on our own strength. We need to first admit how weak we can be, then daily die to pride and lust by fully submitting to the Holy Spirit. By doing this we can be like Joseph who didn’t stick around to see how much he could take but obeyed the urgings of the Holy Spirit and ran instead from Potiphar‘s wife.

With His help, you will learn not to allow lust to linger in your mind and to run away from influences and situations and influences that might tempt you.

Understand that ‘It is Finished’

On the cross, Jesus Christ made a very powerful statement. He said, ‘It is finished.’ Since this was just before He drew His last breath, some might think that this only applies to all the things that led to His death but it does not.

This statement applies to everything including our daily struggle with sin. With this declaration, Jesus was saying that He has won every battle, the ones you are currently dealing with and the ones you will face.

Understanding this changes everything. It means you are no longer scared when lust and other sin come calling. Nope! Now, you operate from a place of authority, as a new creature who can look these things in the eye, laugh and say, ‘No longer I live but Christ in me’ (Galatians 2:20 and Romans 8:37).

You might not always feel like a conqueror but thankfully, we don’t walk by feelings, but faith (2 Corinthians 5:7). So, renew your mind with God’s words, ask for His Help, fully submit to the Holy Spirit and keep your eyes focused on “Jesus, the founder, and perfecter of our faith…” (Hebrews 12,2).

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