Updated: Mar 27, 2020
Okay. We’ve tiptoed around it long enough.
It’s time to talk about lust.
And, not just talk about it in the way you already might’ve heard it before—all of the stigmas and ideas behind it—but it’s time to talk about the truth.
And, the truth is that lust is a murderer. It destroys families, perverts minds, confuses the youth, taints relationships, and ruins marriages. It’s a fire-breathing perversion that’s taken many of us captive.
In fact, according to the Recovery Village, "40 million Americans say they regularly visit porn sites. 70% of men aged 18 to 24 visit a porn site at least once per month. The largest consumer group of online porn is men between the ages of 35 and 49. One-third of all internet porn users are women. The average age of first exposure to pornography is now only 11 years old. And, as many as 93.2% of boys and 62.1% of girls first see porn before they turn 18."
Not to mention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal that “an estimated 55% of male and female teens have had sexual intercourse by age 18 and approximately 80% of teens used some form of contraception at first sex, according to a new report by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).”
And, these—readers—are just a few statistics covering only two outcomes of living in lust. We haven’t even mentioned masturbation, infidelity, rape, or abuse. So, if you’re reading this and find yourself somewhere in these statistics, take a deep breath and realize that you’re not alone.
However, this month, I want to warn you with this: Though it always feels good to know that we’re not the only ones struggling, it doesn’t exactly give us the right to stay where we are.
Because on top of the guilt and shame that lust leaves you (if you’re sensitive to conviction) after you engage in its activity, it also normalizes itself in your life so much so that you can’t even imagine ever escaping its grip.
The good news is that you can, and there is a way out, but in order to reverse your familiarity with lust, you’re going to have to remind yourself of this:
God never intended for this to happen.
God never intended for boys and girls as young as eleven to stay up late watching pornography.
He never intended for kids to be born out of wedlock. He hates rape. He hates sexual harassment. He hates that you were sexually abused as a kid. He hates that you were taken advantage of that night. He hates masturbation. He hates sexual immorality and perversion. He hates any sex outside of the container of marriage. He hates it all. But, because this has been a struggle for so long, we've gotten too used to it to ever see it as a problem.
I mean, after all, generations before us have struggled with the same issue.
And, when I say generations, I mean all the way back in Jesus’ day.
Don’t believe me? See it for yourself. The writers of the Bible don’t avoid recording the gross and graphic events that happened in history, including the involvement of lust.
In other words, perverted sexual desires aren’t anything new.
Have you ever read about what happened to John the Baptist? The guy whom Jesus credited as the greatest man He’s ever knew?
Take a look at Matthew 14:5-10.
"Herod [the king] wanted to kill John [the Baptist], but he was afraid of a riot, because all the people believed John was a prophet. But at a birthday party for Herod, Herodias's daughter performed a dance that greatly pleased him, so he promised with a vow to give her anything she wanted. At her mother's urging, the girl said, 'I want the head of John the Baptist on a tray!' Then the king regretted what he had said; but because of the vow he made in front of his guests, he issued the necessary orders. So John was beheaded in the prison, and his head was brought on a tray and given to the girl, who took it to her mother."
In summary: The decision to kill John the Baptist was made while the king was horny.
Yikes! Not your traditional Sunday school lesson.
But, we don’t even have to wait until Jesus came down to earth in the New Testament to see this raging lust consuming the hearts of God’s creation. We can see it from the very beginning!
Have you ever read Genesis 19? Specifically verse 4 and 5?
“But before they retired for the night, all the men of Sodom, both young and old, came from all over the city and surrounded the house. They shouted to Lot, ‘Where are the men who came to spend the night with you? Bring them out to us so we can have sex with them!”
WOAH. Some request! And, if you read the story further, you would know that “the men” the city requested to have were actually angels sent from God. Because this is exactly what lust does. It blinds you so much that you can’t even see what God sends anymore.
Perhaps I should also make you aware of a rape that happened in Genesis too. Take a look at Genesis chapter 34, where you’ll read about the rape of a girl named Dinah.
It’s pretty disturbing to read, as you can imagine—especially verse 2 and 3.
“But when the local prince, Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, saw Dinah, he seized her and raped her. But then he fell in love with her, and he tried to win her affection with tender words.”
Did you notice the order that?
It was lust before it was love. He took advantage of her before ever showing her affection.
What a sad and sickening story, and a horrible reminder of how we’ve got it wrong today too.
I’ll say it again:
This is not and never was God’s intention. This is not what He had in mind when He called male and female to be fruitful in the very beginning.
By the way, you do know that it was God who created sex, right?
You'll read in Genesis 1:27-28 that God made both male and female, blessed them, and the first command He gave to the married couple?
And, it’s amazing to see how we went from such a marvelous and sweet design for marriage to this nasty, defiled, and perverted version of sex.
And while it’s so easy to talk about the atheist who stays up late feeding their addiction to porn, it's also worth mentioning that lust is trying to creep into the church, to weigh down believers as much as it's weighing down the world.
This is what’s happening. Satan is tempting everyone—regardless of their beliefs.
But, whether you’re in the faith or want nothing at all to do with it, I have good news for you both:
Jesus knows exactly what it’s like to be tempted.
The Bible says in Hebrews that He was tested with all of the same temptations we face. Can’t we assume He was tempted sexually too?
And, if He was tempted sexually and knows what it feels like, doesn’t He know that we need His grace? Doesn’t He know that if Satan dared to tempt Him, the perfect and holy Son of God, the enemy would want to tempt us too? Doesn’t He know how weak the flesh can be? That we, humans, would need a Savior if temptation were to ever come our way? For isn’t it His strength that works best in our weakness? And His grace that is sufficient when we don’t qualify? For He never fell into sin like we do, and He stayed faithful to the end. He loved us to the point of death and won all of the victories that we cannot win without Him. And, with a heart postured in humility towards Him, we can receive His grace. We can declare victory over the lust that dares to be victorious over us. We can believe for something as radical as a widespread deliverance from sexual sin. We can believe for freedom in every generation, for both male and female. Because the grace of God is real and inexplicable—amazing. He even used the life of a prostitute named Rahab to get His Son, Jesus, here on the earth (Matthew 1:5). He’s made it so clear in His Word that He wants to deliver us from the lust of our lives. He’s made it so clear on the cross that He wants us to have victory in our sex drives. It’s what He wanted from the very beginning, and with a blood as redemptive and life-giving as Jesus’, we have every right to believe for breakthrough.