March 27, 2009
Controlling Your Lust, Part Two
by Charles R. Swindoll
As we read yesterday, there is a brief and clear section of Scripture that addresses the subject of lust. It is located in three verses found in the first chapter of James.
Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. (James 1:13-15)
We're urged not to place the blame elsewhere when we're tempted---certainly not on God! God, being absolutely holy, does not participate in any solicitation to evil. When we're tempted and yield to that lustful temptation, we're on our own. That process is clearly described here.
We're "carried away and enticed" by our own lust. The word picture behind that Greek term translated "enticed" is a vivid one. It means "to lure by a bait" . . . something familiar to those who love to fish. As the inviting "bait" is dropped before us, no sin has yet occurred (that happens to all of us on a regular basis). Just as the bass in the lake is safe by not yielding to the attractive and alluring presence of the worm, so we remain free of sin if we do not leave our safe retreat. However, the choice is ours to make---there is always the possibility of yielding.
When we do, a frightening and certain progression kicks in and runs its course, described here as "lust . . . sin . . . death." In fact, by taking a close look at that Scripture, we see that the whole lustful experience is compared to giving birth. Did you notice? Conception occurs when there is a joining of our inner lust to the external "bait." Quickly, sin is birthed. And at the moment of that birth, instead of the enjoyment and excitement of a new life, we instantly experience consequences that are death-like in nature. We plunge into the dark and dissatisfying abyss that comes on the heels of yielding to lust---guilt, shame, and remorse. If repeated, our lust is intensified and so are the dark consequences.
Does that describe your major battle? If so, don't deny it and don't ignore it.
Admit the reality of your repeated sin. Confess it to God, yes, but don't stop there. Reach out to a trusted friend who can help you get reliable, professional help. If your main struggle is with Internet pornography, don't think you can conquer it on your own. You can't! There are excellent, confidential Web sites you can contact that you will find both trustworthy and professional. For PC users, I recommend bsafeonline. For Mac users, an excellent filter isContentBarrier.
Finding victory over this longstanding struggle will free you in many other areas of your life. Among them will be the opportunity for you to give more discipline, time, and attention to the challenges you are facing in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Delay no longer---get your emotional restraints back in order. With God's help, you can do it!
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.