General Principles Fighting Lust
The question is not whether we need to fight. Each of us stands in the midst of a horrific battle each striving to take the life of the other. We need to focus on three general principles if we are going to be able to rightly conduct ourselves in this spiritual warfare.
1) Don't Give up! God Cares for you.
When we are trying to overcome some certain sin, we easily stumble. Satan, the world and our lousy old flesh all work together to cause us to fall. The flesh will never do us any good (Romans 8:1-8). Our hope is to live by the Spirit and not carry out the works of the flesh.
Satan's purpose: Cause us to reach the conclusion that we are beyond help so that we give up on ourselves. Satan wants to destroy us. Once he gets us to stop trusting God, then he can destroy us. The less we trust God the more Satan can move in and occupy us with falsehood.
The evil one has words that he brings to our minds to encourage us to feel defeated so that we further give up. We must note that these words are given to cause us further harm. He might introduce words like, "You are no good." "You may as well give up." "You tried that before but it didn't work." These are not God's Words. God always calls us back to Himself through the cross.
God's purpose: God, however, always wants to restore His people to Himself. He knows that we need to trust Trust in Christ for forgiveness. We know by fact, that if He has gone to such lengths to forgive us, then He also wants to restore us.
Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7).
Satan is agressive. Wherever we fail to take control, he comes and takes control. Just like the sun, when the sun recedes, the dark approaches. But when the sun appears, darkness fades away. Instead of giving up, we need to see that the consequence of giving up will not keep things the same but will get far worse.
Finally, we might feel as if we are not lovable. We are too bad. Be careful. We need to clarify what is being said. It is right that we are not easy to love or that we deserve God's love. God's love toward us, however, is not based on our level of cuteness. On the contrary, we are loved because of grace. We have nothing that God would naturally love. This doesn't mean He doesn't love us. This is the mystery of God's covenant love: His love for His children doesn't stop.
2) Watch Your Step! Discerning your Weaknesses.
We are not speaking of overall misunderstandings. They are important but are not responsible for the way one stumbles. There are certain practices, attitudes and thoughts that have made one more susceptible to the evil one's advances.
Check what we have been seeing, hearing, thinking and doing. A general rule is that input equals output. In other words, what goes in must come out. Feel the flesh by entertaining certain wrong thoughts and one will begin to live according to them. Whether it be lustful thoughts or covetous thoughts, we must repent from them, assert our intention to live by God's way and follow Christ.
The point of entry is where our chief problem lies. If we fix that hole in the wall and still have problems, there no doubt remains other problems to deal with.
Where, for example, are we lusting? What are we doing when we lust? Where are we? What time is it? We must get real specific. Is it during a certain song, or on the weekend, or when one feels depressed? One might notice that after 15 minutes of work on the computer that he ends up looking at pornography. That is easy. Make a rule to only be on for ten minutes. Give yourself no opportunity for evil.
Then we need to detect what actually we are thinking. We need to get the thoughts out and express them aloud. Only then can we begin to detect the problem. For example, perhaps we are saying to ourselves, "I like her," "I want her," and start doing virtual reality tricks with her. See how absolutely awful your thoughts and activities are.
Many counselors will minimize the problem of pornography just so that one doesn't 'bother' another. This is wretched counsel. The Lord Himself said that what one thinks is just as bad before His throne as doing it. Jesus was basically telling us that we would do what we think if the environment was right. Right now you might not have a woman near you, not have the money, too many legal or other restraints, but if you could get away with it without anyone knowing it, you would do it. That is your heart and your values.
You might say that you are a Christian, but still in this area of your life, your heart is evil. Our last point shows us how to go from this point to a pure heart.
3) Readying Yourself for a Long Fight - Restore Foundations of Truth.
What we believe shapes our life. We are more prone to fall to temptations in certain areas because we have certain wrong concepts that are built on lies rather than truth. The Lord wants us to be a faithful disciple and take hold of all of His truth in our lives so that it steers our lives. He wants us to believe His truth and so we can live right lives.
What we need to rebuild, will depend on what area we have in life. Every weakness reveals a poor foundation built on lies. We might not understand what God's Word says about that area, but it will be our chief business to find out.
Which foundation would you rather build upon? Anything built on falsehood, must sooner or later come down with a crash!
If we think evil, then we are acting out of our flesh. Surely the Spirit would never lead us to immorality. The flesh is essentially self seeking. It only desires to please itself. The Spirit, however, only leads us to love. This love is the kind discussed above which is not dependent upon the loveability of the one which we love. We love them no matter what they are like.
We all will have temptations which often take form of words or pictures suddenly thrown into our minds. This is not sin but temptation. If we do anything but reject that temptation, then it becomes sin. We might get a sudden flash about how the girl is walking. We must instantly reject it or otherwise we are entertaining the thought and it will cause us to sin.
Whenever we have these thoughts or actions of lust, then we have a poor foundation. This is the way that the Lord would have us overcome it.
(1) Detect it.
If we can't do this because of problems then we need to build up a new foundation on the truth. We build by taking these steps.
(1) Take down the old foundation. See how utterly evil ones thoughts are. We are ashamed of them because they are of the dark. Repent and seek forgiveness.
The more we can say, the more we see the root of our problem. We really don't love God at all. We love our own desires. We don't even care for other people when it comes to fulfilling my own flesh needs. These statements help us see what we really believe! Yuck!!!
(5) We take these values and find their opposite. Instead of lust, we love. Instead of serving oneself, I will serve the other. Instead of not being concerned with what God says, I will find what God cares about more than anything.
Don't give up. Watch your step! Ready yourselves for a long battle! These are the three general principles for Christian Spiritual Warfare that will continue through each of our lives, though having different emphases.
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Biblical Foundations for Freedom