I’ve been doing a lot of studying on the topic of lust lately—as a pastor who wants to help the people in the church I pastor, as a father who wants to protect his family, and (especially) as a sinner who knows too well the power of his own flesh. Over the next several weeks, Joe Tyrpak and I hope to share some of what we’re finding to be helpful in our own battles with lust.
One of the first steps to fighting lust, I believe, is to drag it out of dark secrecy and into the light of honest transparency. I believe this with all my heart: especially in the day of internet pornography, anonymity is the enemy of your soul. It seems it has always been so, whether the battle has been against a private liaison or a private fantasy. Part of the lure of sensuality in Proverbs is its promise that “no one will know”:
“For my husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey; he took a bag of money with him; at full moon he will come home.” (Prov 7:19-20; cp. 7:9; 9:17)
Unlike life-giving plants, lust grows best in the dark. Thus, Richard Baxter counsels you to drag it into the light:
“If less means prevail not open thy case to some able faithful friend, and engage them to watch over thee; and tell them when thou art most endangered by temptation.”
“Concealment is Satan’s great advantage. It would be hard for thee to sin thus if it were but opened.” (Both quoted by Mark Dever in Sex and the Supremacy of God, 260).
First, we must be honest enough to admit that we struggle with lust. All of us. As one comically accurate statistic puts it, 95% of all men struggle with lust, and the other 5% are lying. So admit it. Men in conservative churches have denied the reality of our struggles for far too long, in part to keep up appearances and in part because we’ve feared (rightly in many cases) that our appeal for help would be met with church discipline rather than compassionate instruction. The result of our timidity and silence is that the same “unspeakable” pornography and infidelity that runs rampant “out there” runs rampant in our churches and homes, as well. It’s painfully obvious that any sin anyone has ever committed—including pornography, adultery, and even pedophilia—is one that can visit churches and homes like ours. It’s time to stop hiding in the dark and admit that you struggle with lust. (more…)
Filed under: Contemporary Issues, Devotional Thoughts, Fighting Lust, Ministry Musings, Notable Quotes, Proverbs | Tagged: Covenant Eyes, Fighting Lust, Lust, Proverbs, Purity, Sanctification, Temptation, Thought Life | 15 Comments »