Lust

Lust is a primary ingredient of sex addiction.   In our correspondence with sex addicts, we find that people are often confused about what lust is.  Lust is harmful to the body, mind and spirit, and it can easily be mistaken for love.  Lust has the opposite effect of love.  

Definitions (Webster’s 9th New Collegiate Dictionary):
Lust: (n) Intense or unbridled sexual desire, lasciviousness...an intense longing: craving;  (v) to have an intense desire or need, crave
Desire: (n) Conscious impulse toward something that promises enjoyment or satisfaction in its attainment... longing, craving...Sexual urge or appetite

How lust got started:  One of the Greek words for lust is Epithumia (Strong’s #1939), meaning the "desire for what is forbidden."  It is based on the lie that the forbidden pleasures are worth the cost (see sex addiction lies).   Satan used this lie in the Garden and Eden.  He suggested that eating the forbidden fruit would bring great god-like wisdom and the punishment wouldn't be that bad.   This strongly appealed to Eve (Pride of Life), who also liked the fruit's appearance (lust of the eyes), and wanted to eat it (lust of the flesh).   She discovered that the fruit did not deliver what she thought it would.   The consequences included curses and separation from God.  

What God says about lust:  Lust is sin (Matthew 5:28) and sin is death (Romans 6:23).  Jesus said, "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart"  (Matthew 5:28 NKJV).   When we entertain fantasies through pornography, masturbation, voyeurism, adultery, fornication, phone sex, etc., we sin with our minds.   According to Jesus, that's the same as committing the act.

Lust and pornography:   Pornography uses the same lies that Satan used in the Garden of Eden.  Porn images tempt our eyes and flesh to lust (see how porn works page).    James described the temptation process in James 1:14-15 NKJV:   "But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death."  Sin by lust causes the death of innocence, sexual health, the ability to love and sensitivity to God. 

What lust does to us: Lust has many destructive effects.  The most serious effect is that lust corrupts our ability to love God.   John explained that lust is a way of loving the world.  He wrote, "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever" (1 John 2:15-17 NKJV).    Lust cripples our ability to give and receive love, and blocks God's love from working in us.  See our page Lust vs. Love for more information.   

Other effects of lust include slavery to sin, dissatisfaction, blocked blessings, separation from God, ruin, self-hatred and hardening of our heart. For an in-depth look at these, see our What Lust Does page.

Prayers:  Removing lust from your life begins with confessing and repenting from our lust.   We can pray this simple prayer to confess our sin to God:

"Lord, I confess that I have lusted in these specific ways:   ……(name them all).   I see my attitudes as sinful.  I am sorry for grieving your heart in my pursuit of carnal pleasure with my eyes and mind.   I ask Your forgiveness through the blood of Jesus Christ.   Thank you, Lord, for this forgiveness I have in Jesus Christ." 

 Repenting from our sin is just as important as confessing it (Luke 13:3).   Repentance means to turn from our sin and commit to living for God.   We must sincerely turn from our sin and avoid it from this point forward:

"Lord Jesus, I turn from my lustful ways now, and I surrender every source I have used for lust: ....(name them all).    I cast them off from my mind and body, committing my eyes, mind and body to serving you in holiness with your help.   Lord, please teach me, strengthen me, guide me, and draw me close to You for the difficult road ahead.  Thank You, Jesus, Amen."

Renouncing our sin is the final act that closes the door to Satan:  

"I renounce my sin of lust and any evil spirits associated with it:...(name them if you know them...lust, masturbation, covetousness, fantasy lust, etc).   I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to depart from me and trouble me no more.  I close the door to lust,   bar it with the cross of Christ and seal it with the blood of Christ, Amen."

Where to go from here:  The journey out of sex addiction is also a journey of getting closer to God.  We've created a page summarizing the steps you can take to destroy lust in your life called Ten Points on Destroying Lust.  For a more in-depth study, please take our Freedom Journey.

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