The temptation to lust is everywhere. Lust (in the Greek) is a desire, craving, or longing for what is forbidden. With "show more skin" as the culturally accepted norm, plus the fact technology has made it so easy to access lustful content 24/7, it can be very hard as a Christian to maintain a standard of purity.
Attempting to rid your life of lust through sheer will power, Internet filtering software, or personal accountability can all help, but none of these are the true fix. God's Word is “living and powerful” (Hebrews 4:12) and is a “lamp to our feet and light to our path” (Psalm 119:105), and is the long term cure to the lust epidemic.
It's absolutely vital to know what God's Word has to say about lust and how to overcome it. Here are 7 ways you can beat lust with scripture:
1. Matthew 5:27-28 (NIV)
"You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
The first step in beating lust with scripture is to see that it is wrong and harmful. So many Christians get tempted to justify lust because they are deceived into thinking it is less sinful than actually participating in sexual relations. But it is so important to understand what the Bible actually says. In Matthew 5:27-28, Jesus teaches us that anyone who looks at another person lustfully has committed adultery with them in their heart. In other words, Jesus puts looking with lust and having sex with someone other than your spouse on the same level. If lust is that big of deal to God, then beating lust needs to be a big deal to us.
2. Job 31:1 (NLT)
“I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust at a young woman”.
In this scripture, Job gives us one of his secrets in beating lust: making a covenant with his eyes. A covenant is the strongest possible bond one can make. There is a level of commitment that Job declares over his eyes that helps him from lusting. If Job made a choice of what his eyes would not gaze on, then we can make the same one.
3. 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NKJV)
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it”.
We know lust is a sin from what Jesus reveals in Matthew 5:27-28. In order to sin, we must first be tempted. After reading the encouragement from the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:13, the "I just couldn't help myself" excuse doesn't hold up well against lust. No temptation, even lust, is greater than God's faithfulness. If lust is lurking around the corner, God promises to make a way of escape. Choose the way out and you won't fall into the trap of lust.
4. Galatians 5:16 (NKJV)
“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh”.
Lust is of the flesh. Self-control is one of the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). To overcome lust we need to have self-control over our eyes and thoughts. I love how simple yet profound Galatians 5:16 is. If we walk and live our life more in God's Holy Spirit, then we are less likely to fulfill the lust of the flesh.
5. Romans 12:2 (NLT)
“Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
Lust is everywhere and often celebrated in our world today. Even as Christians, it's easy to start to drift towards the lustful behavior in culture because we see it so often. The truth and challenge in this scripture is so freeing. Don't copy the lustful behavior of those in the world, but instead, let God change the way you think to rid you of lustful thoughts.
6. Psalm 119:9-11 (NIV)
“How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
Many times we are on the defense against lust in our lives. "Don't look at that," "I hope she's not wearing that outfit," etc. Going on the offensive, however, is a great way to rid lust from your life. This verse says that if we want to stay pure and not sin against God, then we need to hide God's word in our hearts. If you take time to meditate on all these verses we have been looking at, don't be surprised how much lust loses its power in your life.
7. Romans 7:24-25 (NLT)
“Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord…”
If you currently struggle with lust, you can probably relate with the Apostle Paul when he says, "Oh, what a miserable person I am!" Or maybe you connect with the feelings of bondage as Paul asks, "Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?"
Is there even hope to beat lust? You bet there is: "Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord…" The forgiveness, grace, and strength that comes from a personal relationship with Jesus is the ultimate solution to the lust problem.
So whether you battle lust yourself or are looking to help a friend overcome its grip, remember: God's Word is the answer. Begin to work the Word in this area and watch the Word work in your life.
Eric Giesow empowers millennials to live well for Christ at ericanderica.org. He is also an executive pastor and co-director of EPIC Commission College-age Discipleship Program at Valley Family Church in Kalamazoo, Mich. He is husband to Erica and dad to Ella and Eli. You can follow him on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.
Publication date: February 11, 2016