Are you battling lust? Have you considered it harmless, because the man or woman you’re lusting after doesn’t even know about the thoughts you have been entertaining? You aren’t physically committing any kind of sin with them, right? God tells us differently:
Matthew 5:28 says, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart”.
Maybe you do know how harmful it is, but you have been unable to stop. You hate yourself for it but do not know how to change. If so, I understand what that is like…
Not too long after I finally stopped looking at pornography, God started showing me the thoughts I was entertaining on an everyday basis. At first, I was worried that my thought life was suddenly spiraling out of control, but I realized later that the Holy Spirit was actually causing me to “see” what I thought about every day (and was giving no consideration to).
I started to see that I was lusting after people, real and in my imagination, throughout my whole day. I even started realizing that there were times I would sit at the dining room table with my family, engaging in conversation with them, yet off in another world imagining scenarios I had no business thinking about.
It had become such a habit that I didn’t even realize what I was doing. I can honestly say I had no idea how often I did this until the Holy Spirit started showing me what my thought life consisted of. I was horrified when I started to see the reality of what I had been doing for so long. I had been letting my imagination spiral out of control, thinking whatever I wanted to think for such a long time.
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5)
Those early days of battling lust were very difficult. I felt alone and didn’t know who to talk to. I was trying to take every thought captive, but I was overwhelmed with the process. Due to my thoughts being about other women instead of men, I didn’t exactly feel as though I could tell one of my friends that I was battling lustful thoughts about other women. Talk about awkward.
I eventually met a woman around my mom’s age (who ended becoming a mentor of mine) who I was able to talk to regarding all of this. Talking to her and being honest about my struggles helped me more than I can express.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places (Eph. 6:12).
I began to learn that there was more to my battle than I realized. I was fighting a real spiritual battle. I knew I could not effectively fight it alone, and this caused me to lean on the Holy Spirit like never before.
My particular battle came not as much when I finally quit watching porn, but when I started trying to deal with my thought life. My particular battle started when I became aware of how many scenarios I came up with in my mind on a daily basis that resembled the porn I used to look at. I didn’t need the porn anymore. My active imagination was more than enough.
When I became serious about battling those lustful thoughts and imaginations, I repented for all of my lustful thoughts and actions towards other women, and I asked God to forgive me for everything I had participated in. I repented for the porn I looked at for so long, and I renounced everything I had participated in that helped keep me bound to lust. I verbally broke all ties with pornography and lust. I had been having sexual dreams (for many years) that resembled the porn I used to look at, and I was finally delivered from those dreams after my pastors prayed for me one night. It helped so much when those dreams were not there to continually fuel my thought life.
I prayed that He would forgive me for looking at women in a way that He never created me to, and I asked Him to give me eyes to see them as He does.
I asked the Lord to help me renew my mind to not see women as sex objects anymore. As a woman, that is not easy for me to admit, but that’s what porn does when you allow it to consume you. The person you are watching (man or woman) becomes nothing more than an object. In order to watch porn, you need to completely devalue that person’s heart and feelings, neglecting to see them as the men and women God created them to be.
Even if you have never looked at pornography, you know what this world throws out there every day in movies, advertisements, etc.
I started to realize that if I truly valued other women, I was not going to lust after them. Loving another woman is helping her to see who God created her to be and choosing to see her that way as well. Loving another man (as a brother in Christ) is choosing to see him as God created him to be and not lusting after him, either.
We are to look at other men and women and strive to see them as God does. When we line our thoughts up with the reality of who God made them to be, lust will have no room to stay.
If I would accidentally see porn online or have a lustful thought start running through my mind, I eventually learned to immediately start praying for that person. I knew if I could see her as God does, then the lust could not stay for long.
I would pray things like, “Father God, help me to see her as you do. I pray that you show me who you created her to be. Give me eyes to see her just the way you do.”
If you are battling lust and feel like it is a hopeless fight for you, I encourage you to ask God to give you eyes to see that person as He does. Repent, renounce, and ask forgiveness for everything you have participated in.
Verbally break ties with all of it. Ask the Holy Spirit to bring to your remembrance anything you need to give to God. When the Holy Spirit opens up your eyes to see the filth that goes through your mind, do not give up! Lean on Him to renew your mind and to see others as they were created to be.
God does not reveal the filth in our minds and our hearts to condemn us, but to show us where we need to turn to Him. When He shows you, let it be an opportunity to lean on Jesus like never before. He can restore what has been hijacked by lust.
The thought patterns and pictures I had stored in my mind are no longer present for me. I also used that same prayer for pictures stored in my memory from looking at porn. It works! Jesus healed many places in my heart along the way, as well. Be persistent and do not try to do it in your own strength. I know and understand the battle very well, but I also know that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us!
Father God, I pray that you help each and every one of us to surrender our thought lives to you. Help us to surrender our hearts to you like never before. Help each and every one of us to see others as you do. Give us eyes to see them as you created them to be. Thank you for not leaving us as we are and for cleaning out the junk in our souls that does not belong there. Thank you for grace and for not expecting us to do this on our own, but only with you. We can do all things through Jesus who strengthens us. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.