How Can People Overcome Lust?
Every day, television, movies, billboards, newspapers and magazines bombard us with lustful images. And when lustful thoughts become part of our lifestyle, we feel like prisoners to those controlling desires. But 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.
The Roots Of Lust
Lust has been with mankind throughout history. In fact, at the creation of the world, God met Adam and Eve's basic needs for food, companionship and protection. Yet He put one thing out of their reach to test their love for Him - the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:16-17).
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, ate the forbidden fruit. As a result, they subjected all mankind to God's curse (Gen. 3:6, 16-19).
A Thirst For More
The roots of lust run so deep that it is almost instinctive. And once we begin to fulfill our own lusts, a vicious cycle begins. Lust leads to sin. Sin breaks our relationship with God (Romans 1:24-32). We become numb to lust's impact, so we think we can lust even more.
That is the very nature of lust: an unquenchable thirst for 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.
Quenching The Thirst
If you have been searching in vain for fulfillment through the things of this world, then now is the time to discover the answer to the greatest desire in your life.
The Bible says that our greatest need is to worship God. This is why we created (Col. 1:16). 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 given your life to Jesus - and made Him Lord of your deepest desires - then do so now. Simply pray and ask Jesus to come into your life by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 10:9,10).
The Daily Battle
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" (Heb. 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!
Victory Over Lust
God does not want you to be a prisoner of lust. The Bible says, "Christ has set us free! (Gal. 5:1). We have assurance from our Lord that he will help us to battle lust (Romans 8:31-32). Try these practical steps and ask God to lead you to victory.
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.
Die to lust. The Bible says "sin does not have power over dead people" (Romans 6:7). So to overcome lust, we must recognize that "the persons we use to be were nailed to the cross with Jesus" (Romans 6:5). Of course, we are not actually nailed to the cross. We just recognize that 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.
Walk in the Spirit. The next step is to submit your life to the Holy Spirit. "If you are guided by the Spirit, you won't obey your selfish desires" (Gal. 5:16). Remember, you can't fight lust on your own, so ask the Holy Spirit to help you.
Renew your mind. Focus on God's Word and allow Him to remove your lustful thoughts and actions (Rom. 12:2). put away everything that appeals to the flesh and focus on God (Eph. 4:17-24; 2 Cor. 10:5).
Resist and flee. Perhaps the best advice all is simply this: Run! Don't allow lust to linger in your mind. Get far away from situations and influences that threaten to trap you (Prov. 5:8; James 4:7-8).
As You Pray
"Dear Heavenly Father, I can't deal with lust apart from you. Please forgive me and cleanse me from my sin. And please replace my lustful desires with Your desires for my life, so that I can glorify You in everything I do. Thank You. In Jesus' name, Amen"
God's Word On Lust
"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" (1John 2:15-17).
Scriptures For Study
James 4:1-4 -- The origins of lust
Romans 7:14-25 -- Our struggle with lust
1 Corinthians 6::9-10 -- Consequences of lust
Romans 6:12-23; James 4:5-8 -- Freedom in Christ
Unless otherwise noted, Scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible.