Four steps to beating lust
Winning the fight against pornography and masturbation.
I remember it clearly: six of us gathered in my lounge room on a Monday evening. We had gathered because we were sick of the sin in our lives interfering with our walk with God. One of my friends spoke up “Men it’s time to take out the garbage!” We met weekly and talked about our struggles and successes with fighting lust and pornography.
One by one we’d talk about our week and whether we’d ‘stuffed up’ or not. There wasn’t anywhere to hide, there was no point being general, and saying things like “I had a few struggles this week.” Someone in the group was bound to start asking specific questions that would expose the real truth. It was a place to be honest, a place to be challenged and a place to encourage each other. We would regularly ring each other during the week to ensure we had each other’s back. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a million times better than trying to slay the dragon of lust by myself. In this article I want to encourage you to take out the garbage too.
Make irreversible decisions when you're strong
There will be times that you’re strong and withstanding temptation easily and there will be times where you’re really struggling. Here’s a hint: When you're feeling strong, make as many irreversible decisions as you can, so that when you’re weak you can’t go back and change them. Just like a gambler might give his wife his credit cards when he is strong so that when he is weak he doesn’t have them and can’t use them. Here's four actions you should take as soon as possible:
Action 1: Tell someone
You are simply not serious about slaying the dragon of lust until you talk to someone about it. If it’s just your little secret, then no one will challenge you to change, no one will support you when temptation comes and no one will help you to keep up the fight. In my previous article, I shared the time I did this.
Action 2: Ask for some accountability
Once you’ve broken through and talked about your struggles with lust, some kind of accountability will be helpful. You need to give your accountability partner permission to ask how you’re going. When it comes to accountability it’s important to be very specific. Vague answers don’t help a person to change. Your friend needs to be allowed to ask you if you’re masturbating, if you’re accessing pornography and lovingly challenge you to make changes. Given the personal nature of this topic, you need to find a Christian of the same gender (and preferably same age) that you trust to be your accountability partner.
Action 3: Put controls on your technology
Jesus said if your eye causes you to lust gouge it out. Today he might say if your laptop causes you to sin, chuck it out. Slaying the dragon of lust will only come about by making some very deliberate tough choices. Suppose you have a computer in your room, maybe it shouldn’t be in your room anymore. Better to make the tough decision of moving your computer than to continue to lose your battle with lust each night. Perhaps it’s your mobile device that’s the issue.
I recommend implementing software such as x3watch on your computer and/or mobile device. As a group we began using x3watch on our computers. When we were tempted online we knew that someone would know about that website. One friend decided to remove the youtube app from his phone by having a friend block it using a password. Now he can’t use youtube unless he asks his friend for the password. Better to lose youtube and conquer lust. Maybe you need to tell your family that from now on you’ll never shut your bedroom door again. Sure it’s annoying but it won’t kill you, lust will.
Action 4: Let go of unhelpful friends
Maybe you have people in your life who are not helping you to follow Jesus. Maybe they’re more caught up in pornography than you. They might put up posts on social networks that cause temptation. I promise you that you can’t kill a dragon by politely asking it to go away. If the dragon is to die, there will be blood and guts everywhere. Maybe you need to delete your friend off those networks. Maybe you need to delete your facebook, your snapchat or whatever else becomes a stumbling block to you. Having no facebook won’t kill you, lust will. Maybe you’ll lose your friends, better to lose friends than to lose yourself in the pit of pornography.
These steps will give you a better chance of withstanding temptations when you are weak. Once you’ve made a decision, tell people what you’ve decided to do so you won’t be able to undo it without people noticing.