We all struggle with temptation. Every single one of us. Some of us struggle with food, some with alcohol. Some of us crave the praise of people, and others struggle with the temptation to shop for stuff we think will make us happy. Others wrestle with telling the truth. Some of us are lucky enough to struggle with all of the above.
One area where many of us struggle with temptation centers around pornography and lust. I don’t want to minimize the other areas of temptation, but I want to focus on our temptation to lust or look at porn and how we can guard ourselves in advance so that we don’t give in to our temptations to lust or to look at porn.
Here are five ways to guard your life from (sexual) temptation.
- Guard your eyes.
In Job 31:1, Job writes, “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman.” The principle applies to both men and women, but I know if I am going to try to stay away from lust or pornography, then I need to be cautious of what I look at and where I look.
Here are a few ways this plays out in my life:
- We are cautious of the TV shows we watch. If we know a show has nudity, we will not watch it. That means we pretty much will never have a paid movie channel. We are cautious about what shows we watch on the major networks so that we don’t have to worry about men or women walking around in bathing suits or skimpy bikinis. We are not prudes, but we do want to do whatever we can to avoid shows that show off too much skin.
- We check all movies we watch in advance. We either watch them through Vidangel by putting a bunch of filters in place or we check an app like Plugged In so we know whether or not a movie would potentially cause me to stumble with lust.
- We guard against magazines like the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. We don’t want our kids or me to look through the swimsuit issue. Someone please tell me why is the swimsuit issue a part of Sports Illustrated?!
Even on days when we think we’re doing well, we want to guard against anything that may cause us to stumble with lust. We often talk about 1 Corinthians 10:13 and how God can help us in the midst of our struggles. But, we don’t talk about 1 Corinthians 10:12. In this passage, Paul writes, “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” In other words, don’t put too much confidence in your flesh, because if you do, you might fall!
- Guard your mind.
We have to be careful of the types of things that could attack our thought life. I recently shared with some friends that I can still recall images from porn that I saw when I was 11 or 12 years old. Those images are burned into my memory if I allow myself to dwell upon them. Fortunately, God’s Word speaks into this area of our human anatomy. Here are a few verses that inform how we can guard our mind:
- Philippians 4:8 says, “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” In other words, Paul instructs us to think about things that are excellent and praiseworthy. The more we dwell on the things that honor God, the better we are able to guard my mind.
- Paul also wrote in Romans 12:1-2, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” I want my mind to be transformed by rightly worshiping God and renewing my mind through His word and through the things that honor Him.
- Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 10:5, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” When a thought enters my mind that doesn’t honor God, I follow Paul’s challenge to take it captive, meaning I stop thinking about it or dwelling on it. I want to take the evil/lustful thoughts I have and take them captive to the obedience of Christ.
- See also Psalm 119:9-16. In this passage, the Psalmist talks about hiding God’s Word in our hearts to help keep us pure. Try memorizing some Scripture to help you in the midst of temptation. Scripture memory is a great way to engage and guard your mind against lustful thoughts.
- Guard your heart.
Guard your heart from lustful or tempting thoughts. The heart is often known as the seat of our emotions. Many of our desires and intentions come from the heart. For this reason, I want to do everything I can to guard my heart.
Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
I want to protect my heart from anything that will yearn for or desire to satisfy my fleshly desires. The way I protect and guard my heart is by pursuing the Lord and pursuing my spouse. I can guard my heart against sinful temptations by seeking to mold my heart to become more and more like Christ.
- Guard your hands.
Ecclesiastes 9:10a says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might….”
The context of this verse points toward working in a way that honors God, using our hands in a way that shows we are working for God’s glory. I know that when I am idle and have time to kill, I am more likely or susceptible to do things or think things that are not of the Lord. But, when I keep busy and work to honor Him and steward my time well, I am much more likely to guard my hands.
- Guard your body.
Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” I know we’re talking all about the body in this post, but this one is a catch-all that says I want to guard my body against temptation in every way, with every part of my body. Any part I missed above is captured in this one. Honor God in everything by the ways you guard your body and seek to honor Him with it.
A Closing Prayer
God, I thank you for the ways you have made our bodies. That you have given us eyes to see, ears to hear, minds to think, mouths to speak, feet to walk, and so much more. Thank you that you have created us in your image and likeness and that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Please help us to honor you with our bodies, in every way. I humbly ask, in your kindness, to protect our eyes, thoughts, and bodies from anything that causes us to lust. Thank you for your Spirit, who guides and protects us from sin. Help us to guard our lives from temptation. Amen.
- Discuss with your spouse or with your community where you struggle most when it comes to lust.
- How can you better guard your eyes, mind, heart, hands, and body?
- Read some of my other posts on lust and pornography. You can find my posts and many other great articles, sermons and resources here.
This blog and image was republished with permission from: http://www.scottkedersha.com/blog/
- One of the Best Decisions We Ever Made As Parents - April 4, 2018
- What I Want My Sons to Know About Their Value and Worth - July 11, 2017
- How Do You Respond When You Fail or Mess Up? - May 9, 2017