My battle with lust
"The day I finally admitted I had a problem with masturbation."
It was Friday August 15th 2003 and I was walking into McDonald’s to tell my friend Chris something I’d never told anyone.
Youth group finished around 9:30pm, and after hanging around to pack up I raced into town to meet Chris at around 10pm. I was a passionate Christian who was 19 years of age and in my first year at university. The only thing stopping me from having a great relationship with God was my hidden secret. Tonight was the night to reveal it. I was nervous as I walked into the McDonald’s but I walked with determination, I had made a decision and would not be backing out now.
Chris asked if I wanted to get anything as we sat down, “Nah,” I replied. There was only one thing on the menu this evening.
“What did you want to talk about,” asked Chris. I wanted to meet with him because he was a good friend and a good listener.
“Well...” I started, as I tried to get it over and done with quickly. But for the next few minutes I sat in silence. I tried to speak but couldn’t bring myself to admit my secret. Paralysed by fear I sat there with my head facing the floor, not willing to look up. I couldn’t back out now but I couldn’t go through with it either. Shackled by guilt I wanted fall down a giant sink hole and never be seen again. Never had six words been so hard to say. Chris sat calmly as he waited for me to find the courage to do what I had come here for; I suspect he knew what was coming.
At last I forced five words out: “I have a problem with...” I paused as I wondered whether I would regret the last word of the sentence. Then finally I said it “I have a problem with masturbation.” It was such a horrifying thing to say, I doubt I’d ever said it in public before.
Chris encouraged me saying, “Yep, well done, good on you for saying so.” My problems didn’t end that night at McDonald’s but I felt a huge sense of relief as I admitted my struggle. I walked out of that restaurant with a big weight lifted off my shoulders.
I was happy that I was able to confess my sin of lust and I walked out realising that I didn’t have to fight this battle alone now. I realised that speaking with a Christian friend about my struggles was one of the hardest but best decisions I had ever made.
My journey with lust started sometime when I was around 13. I was a Christian before it started and continued to follow God in my teenage year. I had tried to keep my struggles with lust under control through my own attempts at self-discipline. Each New Year I tried to commit to never masturbating again. Sadly each of my efforts eventually ran out and I gave in to the ever building temptation. Sometimes I would take pride in being able to abstain from sinning in this way for a week, a few weeks or even a few months but it made no difference. Eventually I was back in the cycle of lust. It dawned on me that I didn’t have enough strength to defeat lust on my own. I needed to help in order to be victorious in this battle. I felt like God was urging me to talk with a trusted Christian friend about my struggle.
Slaying the dragon of lust
It was more than 10 years ago that I sat down and had one of the most difficult conversations of my life. At the time I thought my struggle was unusual and unique to me. I realise now that a large number of young people struggle with lust. James 5:16 says: "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed". Confessing your sins to a friend won’t bring you forgiveness (only God can forgive sins) but it will bring you freedom. The shame will lift, your burden will be lighter and you’ll have someone in your corner to help you slay the dragon of lust. Find an older Christian person of the same gender who you trust and share your struggles. You’ll be glad you did.
Tomorrow we'll take a look at practical steps to live a godly life without lust.