Lust is a guy’s problem.
That’s the message most Christian girls have heard. Cultural media sources confirm that guys are visual, and society objectifies women on TV, in magazines and in music. We are deluged with information telling us that porn and sexual sins are “guy issues,” and the church has risen up to help men in their battle against lust.
But lust is a woman’s problem, too.
There is a large population of women standing in the background, burdened by guilt and silenced by the stigma, asking: If lust is a guy’s problem, why am I struggling? What’s wrong with me? How can I get help?
If this sounds like you, understand that you are not alone! Sexual sin is not confined to one gender or another because our spiritual Enemy does not discriminate. Satan’s desire is to “steal, kill and destroy” (John 10:10), separating us from God through sin. Because our sexuality affects our bodies, minds and our spirits, sexuality is one of Satan’s primary targets. He manipulates our God-given desires, drawing us to worship our needs rather than the One who promised to satisfy them.
Conquering lust is a journey. Sexual sin is not overcome easily, and there is no quick fix for it outside of Jesus Christ Himself. Today I’m sharing some important truths to help you equip yourself for the battle and strengthen you to fight the good fight.
1. Virginity is not God’s goal.
God expects purity from us not because He’s unrealistic and demanding, but because He is perfectly pure! And because He’s perfect, He cannot commune with imperfect people. He sent Jesus to purify us so that we, the imperfect, could have a relationship with Him. That’s John 3:16—for God so loved the world.
Girls who battle sexual sin aren’t encouraged by more talk about purity rings and abstinence covenants. For them, those things signify what has already been lost. If virginity alone was God’s goal, there would be no hope for many young women in this world.
But virginity, in and of itself, is not God’s goal. Holiness is.
Holiness is a heart attitude that allows us to approach God and learn His will for our lives (Psalm 24). Purity is restorative, not legalistic. It is hope, not limitation. We pursue purity out of love for God and a desire to please Him—not out of the requirement of law or the approval of men. The very fact our Lord stands with arms open on the cross, bringing back the wounded, speaks to God’s mission. Holiness, not virginity, is His goal.
This means if you’ve already “gone too far,” there is hope for redemption. And if you’ve maintained your sexual purity up to this point, you now have further motivation to honor God with your body. God’s goal is for you to be holy so He can have a relationship with you. The girl who has waited until marriage and the girl who has been restored by God’s grace stand on equal ground in the eyes of Christ.
2. Marriage will not fix a lust problem.
It’s tempting to think that because marriage is the only place where sex should be enjoyed, marriage is the solution to sexual sin. Unfortunately, that’s not true.
Marriage will not solve a problem with lust because lust is not a sex problem—it’s a sin problem. It is a spiritual battle against a spiritual enemy, and sexuality is just the weapon being used. The battle with lust is evidence of an inner idolatry. Instead of God being on the throne of our hearts, sex has taken that place. Getting married does not remove that idol; often, marriage exacerbates the issue.
A godly marriage is built when both husband and wife find their fulfillment in God. If one or both partners enter marriage with the idol of lust in their hearts, they will build their marriage on a shaky and selfish foundation. Sexual sin must be confronted before marriage and dealt with from a spiritual standpoint first.
3. God forgives sexual sin.
To “forgive,” as it pertains to sin, literally means to cancel a debt to holiness. The first step in forgiveness and restoration is acknowledging what we did was wrong. As long as we are only sorry we got caught—or because our parents will find out or because the church will think differently of us—we aren’t repentant. We don’t think our act was wrong in God’s eyes, and we don’t think God will make us answer for it.
Repentance (a change of mind and heart) literally means we make every effort to remove that sin from our lives. However, God gives grace for the growing process. Do you remember what he told Peter about forgiveness?
Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:21-22)
If God commands us to forgive over and over and over again, how much more patient is He with us and our weaknesses?
Grace is NOT getting what we deserve; it is mercy extended to us rather than judgment. So if you’ve accepted your sin, you’ve repented of the sin and you acknowledge God’s forgiveness, now you need to walk in that forgiveness daily. You must pray for the strength to believe it and receive it. You must cling to it, hope in it and trust it. And you must trust the Giver of Grace, who loves you and extends forgiveness for the very reason of keeping His relationship with you, the apple of His eye!
God gives us grace for today, grace for tomorrow, grace in the moment and grace for eternity. We don’t deserve it. We never can. The point is not us deserving it but God loving us enough to see past our unworthiness. We should be overwhelmed with His goodness, so thankful for His grace!