Sexual lust, pursued through pornography, is a battle for many. You can overcome this type of lust by addressing feelings, thoughts, learned associations and opportunities.
Feelings include physical sensations that are innately pleasurable and emotional experiences. Feelings in themselves can be good for us, or at least not harmful, yet when they are linked with ungodly thoughts, they become self-serving and sinful.
Thoughts that block out God are problematic. Thoughts that center around oneself, distortions, and rationalizations create false justifications for sin.
Learned associations are created through a sequence beginning with desire. Desire leads to invalid justifications. Justifications lead to actions. Actions result in feelings which seem to fulfill the desire. The desire for sexual pleasure, like any other aspect of human nature, can be used as God designed, or misused. When feelings are filtered through an attitude of pride, selfishness, or entitlement, sinful desires emerge. Sensations and emotions become associated with fulfillment, satisfaction, the power to choose, the fantasy of being chosen, feeling wanted, and feeling attractive, by relating to an image in a way that God hates. Repeated associations can become automatic habits which can be mistakenly interpreted as intentional, even when they are unwanted.
Opportunity is any exposure to pornography. Magazines at a bookstore, web sites, videos, television, and revealing attire all display people in a way that appeals to the flesh and dishonors God. The world encourages sin.
You do not, however, have to give in to sin. As the Bible states in 1 John 5:4, NLT, “For every child of God defeats this evil world by trusting Christ to give the victory.“ The first step in overcoming a lust for pornography is to trust Him to give you the strength, power, and wisdom that you need. You can then help yourself by applying the following fifteen tips:
1) Be aware of your thoughts. You become what you think.
2) Minimize stimulation of the desire by avoiding opportunities to indulge. Think through the series of decisions through which you put yourself in a situation to act on lustful thoughts. Go back to the very first moment during which you begin to consider the desire. Making changes at the beginning of the lust sequence allows you to more successfully avoid the behavior you want to change.
3) Ask someone you trust to be your accountability partner. You are not alone in your battle. Satan’s ploys include isolation, secrecy, and deception. God designed us to need and help each other.
4) Confront your false justifications. Compare your reasoning to what the Bible says. Find scripture that gives you encouragement, strength and correction, and keep it with you or memorize it.
5) Stay close to God by talking with Him, praying and reading His word daily. Remember that He knows your every thought. You are accountable to Him and will answer to Him for everything you have done in your body. He enjoys helping you become more like Jesus.
6) Put the computers and televisions where anyone can see what you are viewing. Invite your spouse to monitor your internet activities. Do not visit any site that you would not want your spouse or children to visit. Put a picture of your spouse and scripture on your monitor.
7) Stay away from people who partake in lustful activities or lustful talk.
8) Limit the visual cues which prompt thoughts or images of which God does not approve. If your eyes settle on that which is tempting, immediately look away and at the same time focus your eyes and thoughts on something else.
9) Keep your mind and body occupied with that which is good for you. The urge will pass quickly if you distract yourself with an action which is incompatible with lust and which requires mental concentration. Physical activity which requires much exertion will divert energy from a focus on sexual desire.
10) Create healthy associations. With repetition, the old ways will fade, along with the guilt, shame, embarrassment, and deceit.
11) When you are tempted to look at an image with lust, ask yourself how you would feel if someone had the same thoughts about your spouse, your child, or your parent. Ask yourself whether you would want your spouse to look at someone other than you with the same desire.
12} Identify the triggers to which your emotional responses make you more vulnerable, and substitute healthy coping responses to the triggers.
13} Save your sexual passion and desire for your spouse. Do not compare your spouse with others. Appreciate the visible and invisible qualities of your beloved.
14) Identify the feelings that you have fed by following through on lustful desires, and if the feelings do not conflict with what God wants for you, fulfill them through an avenue that is not harmful.
15) Remember the negative results of indulging in lust.
James 1:15, New Living Translation: “Temptation comes from the lure of our own evil desires. These evil desires lead to evil actions, and evil actions lead to death.”
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Great Article!! It is unusual to hear such deep thoughts on this topic from a women. I'm glad to see such wisdom given you from the Lord. Women and Men are enslaved by this demon and need victory! My only comment is to keep writing with the Lord's inspiration. Space out your paragraphs to make them easier to read. I have a Manuscript on tis very topic that I'm shopping right now. The visible church is very silent on this issue and many clergy and lay people are trapped in this vice.