How big of a deal is lust?
“27“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.” (Matt. 5:27-30)
What should Christians do about it? Jesus says to do whatever it takes to kill it. This may mean getting rid of your smart phone, cancelling Netflix, getting rid of cable television, throwing away your computer, quitting your job, moving, or other seemingly radical, draconian measures. Jesus said to cut off the hand that causes you to sin and throw it away.
Related, you need to learn to hate this sin. Have you ever stopped to think about the layers of wickedness involved in the porn industry? How many countless mothers, sisters, and daughters have been treated like flesh to be bought and sold and used rather than human beings made in God’s image to be honored and cherished and protected? How many have been forced to get abortions? How many have been enslaved and trapped by threats and insults and drugs? And every time you click through, you are endorsing that kind of evil.
Part of the enslavement to lust is the cycle of shame and lies. You recognize your sin, you confess, and you intend to never do it again. And two weeks later, you fall into sin again. Now you not only feel awful, but you feel the compounded shame of having failure on top of failure. And then the lie creeps into your head: you’ll never be able to stop. And you feel dirty and wonder if you can actually become clean.
So listen to me now: Jesus died to set you free from lust. He died to wash you completely clean. Do not wallow around in shame and disappointment. Hate your sin, really hate it. Confess your sin and cry out to God for deliverance. Kill your sin, and throw anything away that is leading you into it. And then run toward the light. Put off the old man and put on Christ. Read your Bible, work hard, love your family, practice hospitality, give generously.