Earlier this week a number of our team were reflecting on the lust talk from Sunday.
It’s been a big term so far in our series, Life Beyond The Seven Deadly Sins. Every week highlights for me just how insidious sin is – and that’s definitely the case when it comes to lust.
But I’m also struck that God has brought us into a family – the church – so that we don’t have to stay stuck. The church is the best healing community there is because what we’ve got is something that can really produce life-change – from the inside out. But we need each other to do that. We all need a community of people who will shine the light of God’s grace into the dark pockets of our lives.
See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. (Hebrews 3:12-13)
It’s amazing that God so delights to use other sinful, broken people to minister grace to people who desperately need it. Paul Tripp, a Christian author, says, “God makes his invisible grace visible by sending people of grace to give grace to people who need grace.” That’s all of us. We all need grace. And so we all have a part to play in our church community to help foster safe places where people can share honestly from the heart.
Here’s a few reflections from some of our team about lust, and how they handle it in their different ministries:
Andrea Pryde – Horizontal Pathways Director
It is tempting to think that lust is primarily a men’s issue – but that is a dangerous assumption that we women shouldn’t fall prey to. Lust is a problem for women, just as much for men and we need to be ready to step away, we need to plan to step away.
Here’s a couple of ideas:-
1. Acknowledge that there is no “Get out of jail free” card based on gender. Lust is a problem for women;
2. Set in place strategies that help to step back from giving in to lust.
a. The best one is a friend, who loves Jesus, who you trust and then share your struggles. Give them permission to gently speak a word when they see you getting closer to lust;
b. Use IT solutions that will let your friend know when you have slipped into temptation or are getting close;
c. If you are using an IT solution – add all the websites that lead you to lust – it may be porn, but it might not be too. It might be about finding a relationship or a sexual partner of either gender for the evening;
3. Grieve your sin. Let yourself be sad – weep;
4. Beating yourself up in your mind, over and over again is equally unhelpful. So, accept and rejoice in the forgiveness that comes because of Jesus;
5. Spend time with your best friend, let them love you and fill you time and your mind with the things of Christ.
I have, on one or two occasions, had the privilege of being the friend, as women have sort to step back from lust. Phone calls, catch-ups, prayer and long chats have been part of sisters, together, going to Jesus with our temptation.”
Chris Pine – Kids, Youth and Young Adults Director
I feel for our young people, especially our boys. Lust has always been an issue for young people as they enter the maelstrom of hormonal change that is puberty. And in our times the power of the internet has made porn so much more accessible. In fact no one needs to pursue porn, it pursues you. In an increasingly sexualised culture we find ourselves swimming against the current when we try to combat lust. So when the Bible talk last Sunday highlighted British stats that 50% of Christian men, and 20% of Christian women are addicted to porn it was alarming but not surprising.
How do we combat the powerful cultural forces that encourage us to give into our sinful desires? Well I think we need to harness something even
more powerful – the power God and his people. I know from personal experience that fighting porn on your own is an incredibly hard battle, but when we confess and share our struggles with people we trust, God can work real change in our lives. Sure there are good accountability tools we can use (see below for a few examples), but these tools are most useful when they are in the context of caring relationships powered by the love of Jesus. So if you are struggling with porn can I encourage you to share your struggles with a fellow Christian you trust. Ask them to hold you accountable. Use the tools to help with that. And break free from slavery to lust. https://www.x3watch.com/buy?type=free http://www.covenanteyes.com/ https://www.rtribe.org/
Peter Yock – Music Pastor
“By far the most helpful thing for me – and for those I’m helping to deal with their own struggles – is meeting up regularly and talking face to face. Talking about the gospel of Jesus. Reminding each other to find our satisfaction in Jesus. Reading the Bible together. Reading good books together. Praying together. And talking through practical steps on how we can change our lives so as to avoid finding ourselves in tempting situations in the first place – being preventative and proactive. Usually the regular face-to-face catch-ups are in addition to messages multiple times a day, sometimes every day in the week. Walking with each other side by side as we struggle to keep the eyes of our hearts fixed on Jesus.”
Tim Collard – Operations Manager
There are technology solutions available for personal devices (PC, phones and tablets), network devices (modem / routers) and ISP (web filters), and name look up services (DNS). With a little know-how, they are can help break a porn habit. However, unless somebody else has secured the passwords for you, the ‘workaround’ will be easy. Go twofold; a technology solution and accountability with a trusted friend. A trusted friend will help de-power the grip that porn may have on you. We need to find ways of sharing, reading and praying and be accountable about our struggles.