No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
When I was around the age most teenagers begin to date, I remember my dad telling me to stay away from guys because “They’re only after one thing.” I don’t know about you, but usually when I talk to people about the topic of lust, pornography or temptation, they seem to think guys have it far worse. In the world’s eyes, men are simply out of control and have to follow their biological instinct. It’s seen as okay for them to “play the field” and get fooling around out of their system before they’re ready to settle down.
On the flip side, Christian women are usually expected to be virtuous and are sometimes seen as sexless creatures until it’s time to begin having children. This is why the story of my husband and I can seem so atypical and perplexing to the average person. For both of us to have been willing and able to save our virginity until our wedding night is almost seen as a heroic and extraordinary thing. “I don’t know if I could have waited,” followed by “Why did you feel the need to do that?” are common comments among men who know of my husband’s testimony.
I remember being on the dance team at my church and listening to one of the leaders give a speech to the girls about how short their shorts could be or how low their V-necks could dip because “We don’t want to lead our brothers into temptation and sin.” It’s interesting that some people are ignorant to the idea that lust works in a female’s life as well. It makes most girls (especially Christians) with a habit of looking at porn, masturbating or having sex feel like an outcast, wondering “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I be like other girls?” This assumption that women are born virtuous and men are born to mate is very confusing and isn’t helpful at all when we start looking at boys as attractive people.
It wasn’t easy for me to stay single and save myself for my husband. I had the same desires as most people, but I chose to make a commitment and stick to it because I believed that God said sex is between a husband and wife. The Bible says we’re all affected by the same temptations, but God is faithful and will provide a way out.
Here are five ways to begin overcoming a battle with lust.
- Close the open doors. Pray and ask God to reveal to you the things that trigger you to give into lust. It might be the thoughts you meditate on or even the people you have around you. The Lord will honor your prayer and help you to understand and shut those spiritual portals.
- Remove yourself from temptation. If you’re in a relationship that promotes fornication or any sexual acts, remove yourself from that person. If this is a private issue you have, throw away magazines or literature you have that contains sexual photos, articles or storylines. Technology is a major gateway, but you can set your Internet and television to have settings that don’t allow you to access specific kinds of websites or media. You can also downgrade to a simple phone that only allows for phone calls and texts so that you’re not tempted to go online with a smartphone.
- Avert your gaze. Not all temptation happens behind closed doors. We live in a world with attractive people, but you can train your eyes not to look at certain body parts. Instead, look away and get used to diverting your attention somewhere else.
- Have accountability. You may have a family member or friend you can confide in. Call them or text them when you feel tempted or oppressed by lust so they can talk you through it and encourage your growth.
- Seek counsel. If this is an addiction for you, you should search for a trusted adult or counselor to help you find the root of your addiction so you can get a breakthrough from it. It’s almost impossible to do that by ourselves, and God will provide you with the person you need.
Do you think lust is more difficult for guys or have you had your own battles with it? Leave a comment and let’s start a conversation.