Editor’s Note: I’ve received countless emails, messages and questions regarding about lust, porn and masturbation. I’ve had my tumblr since November of 2011 and I think it’s time that I write something about this very touchy and sensitive topic. What you’re about to read are things that I’ve learned in the past as I wrestled and struggled with this sin. These are things I’ve learned either from different people, from different books, and from God through His word and His Holy Spirit. I understand that every single guy and gal are on a different journey with this sin. So I’m not saying that what I write on this entry is what you should do, rather the purpose of this blog entry is to encourage, empower, and enlighten others as to how to face this battle and come out victorious through Jesus Christ. My desire and prayer is that you would find encouragement, wisdom, knowledge and hope that there’s an answer and a solution. I can testify to that for I am a living testimony. There’s victory over this struggle and the answer lies in Jesus Christ and I pray that you would see that through this blog entry. Let’s get started shall we? :)
I was first exposed to porn when I was a little kid. I can’t remember exactly how old I was but I remember I was really young. How? It might’ve been when I was at my friends house and his parents weren’t home and we thought it was a good idea to mess around with his parents movie. I’m not sure how and where exactly I got my eyes exposed to porn but I was young.
From that point I just started watching porn and it became a routine and I didn’t think it was wrong. I wasn’t a Christian either so I thought it was natural for guys to watch and masturbate. Little did I know that my foolish choices at that time was going to affect me when I became a Christian.
At the age of 15 I gave my life to Christ. I still remember coming home from that youth conference and just feeling so fired up! God now gave me new eyes, new mind, new heart and new life. I knew that any lustful activity just needs to stop because the bible tells me so and it’s wrong. I was on a good streak and I lasted at least 3-6 months of not watching, not doing. But something went wrong. All of a sudden the whole “I’m not suppose to do this because it’s wrong and the bible says it’s wrong” no longer held any weight or power to stop me from succumbing to a lustful heart and this is where my battle with lust started.
I remember hearing a good message and thought to myself, “Man, that message was so convicting, God I will never do go back to those lustful things. I’m done.” Or meet with my accountability partner and have a long “prayer session” and after that I would feel good. Or set up all these rules of do’s and don’ts but at the end of all these things I’ve mentioned, I would end up doing the very same thing I hate doing. Can you relate to my story? I’m sure most of you can if not all.
So what is wrong exactly? What is lust? And if you’re struggling with lust and any other forms of lustful activity how do you fight it? What do you do?
First you have to know that SEXDRIVE and Sexual Desire isn’t the problem nor the issue, LUST is. SEX isn’t the answer or the solution to your LUST problem, Jesus is. God created you and me with sexual desires and drives to be with someone. But the enemy twisted the truth about our sexuality through Lust. Lust is craving sexually what God has forbidden.To Lust is to go beyond attraction, appreciation of beauty or a healthy desire for sex. It is very self-centered and selfish and it makes these desires more important than God.
I mentioned earlier that in the past I’ve failed spectacularly in the area of lust even though I heard a powerful message, or met with my partners or even got rid of ‘stuff’ I found myself going back to the same patterns. Why? mainly because I’ve held the wrong standard for holiness. The wrong source of power to chance. And the wrong motive for fighting sin. My ideas and thoughts about being holy was completely twisted. I thought If I don’t watch/look at porn or masturbate for certain amount of time I’m doing pretty good. I thought I can rely solely on my partners and I’ll be fine. And I thought setting down some strict legalistic rules will help me stay on my toes I was wrong.
But the main reason why we pursue holiness and choose to deny lust along with it’s other forms is because of this: God created us for so much more. He designed us to be satisfied with Him and to translate that satisfaction and pleasure to someone through sex in marriage. He isn’t withholding our sex drives by not watching or masturbating, rather He is saving us for a life filled with love, joy, peace and satisfaction. He is saving us for something so much better. Yes it’s not easy and it’s a fight and a sacrifice but in the end it’s worth it.
As Christians we need to remember that nothing that we can do or add to make us justified before Him, Christ did all the justification. Not watching porn, or masturbating isn’t gonna add up a ‘points’ to God, or make us more worthy, rather it’s sanctifying us and leading us towards a life of holiness and purity.
If we understand this truth about how we stand in Christ, all of a sudden our motives and hearts towards lust changes from “I’m not gonna do it coz it’s wrong” to “I’m not gonna do it because I don’t wanna break my Father’s heart.” That’s a huge difference. The other one is motivated by legalism and will power and the other one is motivated by love and grace.
God’s standard of holiness is radical. Ephesians 5:3 says this:
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality or any kind of impurity.. because these are improper for God’s holy people.
God’s standard of holiness is this: Not even a hint! - That means if you struggle with lust then get rid any kind of triggering factors that encourages you to fall into that sin. If that means you need to get rid of your TV in your room, have your parents/spouse/friends create a password for your computer, throw away any provocative magazines that come to your mail, refrain from any movie that most likely have sensual sin, ANYTHING. Get rid of it, stay away from it, Not even a hint.
So does that mean we can’t look at the opposite sex coz we fear of committing lust? No. Of course not. Truth is, it is not lust when we find someone to be so attractive, to have a strong desire for sex, to be excited about sex within marriage, to experience sexual temptation. It only becomes lust and sinful when we go past those things I’ve mentioned above. It is important to distinguish these things and to know what’s lust and what’s not. What’s natural and what’s sinful. it’s not about approaching your sin in a legalistic way, but instead it’s about being obedient to God and being good stewards of the life and the body He has given us.
Now what, how do you exactly face and fight this battle? What do you and how do you prepare yourself when Satan comes at you prowling like a lion ready to deceive you? Identify any lust trigger factors. There are numbers of factors that can trigger you. And when you identify these factors it will help you better equip and prepare yourself.
- Time of day- Is it at night, after work, when you’re tired etc.
- Locations- could be alone in your room, friends house, etc.
- TV- be responsible on what you feed your eyes.
- Books/Newspapers/Magazines- Be radical about what your read.
- Music- Be mindful about the songs you listen to.
- Internet - this is obvious.
- People/relationship- are you in a healthy & godly relationship or not?
Now that you have your list, pray and ask God to give you solid brothers/sisters to help you in this fight. People who would be genuine about your struggle and will faithfully strengthen and build you up. You can have all these lists but unless you genuinely repent from this sin and have strong hatred towards this sin and a strong and burning desire to be victorious in this area, nothing will happen. Unless you seek friend and get someone to keep you accountable and really take action, you will only find yourself stumbling over and over again. You weren’t meant to fight your battles all by yourself. Jesus sent his disciples always in pairs that means we are meant to work with people and encourage others in our walk.
I have to say one thing though, accountability is great but you have to set your mind and heart on the right place with this. In the past I’m afraid to act on my sin because I don’t wanna disappoint my partner or I want to have a ‘good thing’ to say whenever we meet. This is a wrong mindset. Accountability isn’t meant for that. It’s about partnering, walking, and encouraging the other person not relying. At the end of the day you rely on Jesus’ grace & love and His Spirit to empower you and strengthen you daily.
In my own experience and walk, here’s some really practical ways to develop and cultivate a godly lifestyle:
- Spend time with God through prayer, reading His word and worship. - Pick a book in the bible. Start your day with prayer and asking God to give you a hunger for his word daily. Read one chapter a day and journal your thoughts and what God has revealed to you that day. Make it a habit to memorize a short passage. Pursue intimacy with Jesus and make it your priority.
- Be in community. Serve in your local church & community. - by doing this you are being proactive and getting out of the house and cultivating a healthy godly lifestyle. Talk with other Christians and just get out there instead of staying home.
- Cultivate godly habits. - Read books that encourages you to love and go deeper with God. Listen to songs that encourages you to fall in love more with Jesus. Whenever you’re at a store, coffeeshop, etc, ask for the Holy Spirit to give you opportunities to minister to people either through praying for them, encouraging them with simple words or buying them lunch or coffee. The pleasures that you get from these things are priceless.
i’ll close with this one. There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ. You’ve probably failed in the past but I know deep down inside your heart you’re disappointed but you’re not close to giving up. There’s still a part of you that wants to strive for victory and there is coz God is working in your heart already as you read this. So even after you read this blog and still find yourself stumbling, get up and start all over again. Godliness and Holiness isn’t an overnight fix, it’s a lifetime and it’s a process. The last thing you want to do is give up. Don’t listen to the enemy, and grab onto Jesus right away. He loves you and will never give up on you. Ever. As long as you’re alive and breathing, you have a chance to change, and repent. His grace is sufficient for you are His child and He’s got his grip on you and will never let you go because He has called you to be a vessel and instrument to this perverse world.
If you want to cultivate a lifestyle of walking in purity and holiness, then you need to abide in Jesus Christ. In John 15 Jesus talks about us abiding in him coz apart from him, we can’t bear any fruit. Apostle Paul talks about how God can’t be deceived, what we sow either in the Spirit or flesh, then that’s what we will reap. You can’t expect to bear fruits of the Spirit or come close to victory over porn, lust and masturbation if you’re daily sowing in the things of the flesh instead of the things of the Spirit. But If you abide in Christ, set and fill your minds with godly things, and ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with His presence everyday, I promise you, and it may even surprise you but the urge, desires and cravings of lust will slowly and eventually start to fade away because it will be replaced with the Fruits of the Spirit. We will bear the fruits of Christ and the fruits of godliness and holiness but that’s only possible if we abide in Christ daily. Look to Jesus, He is greater and powerful than any of your present trials and struggles.
Grace and Love in Christ,