Freedom from Lust
What we were made for, what we long for, is something greater.
The voices of lust are varied—young and old, male and female, single and married—but all of them are strained, brittle, and sad. The forms of lust are many—pornography, fantasy, flirtation, sexting, ogling, innuendo—but all of them are damaging. And we haven't even talked yet about what happens when those desires give way to action.
Of the seven deadly sins, lust is the most shameful. It's so personal and so humiliating. We get used to the other sins, convincing ourselves that our greed, sloth, or anger isn't so bad: that our heart's in the right place, that we can keep it under control. But lust brings us to our knees in defeat; it fills us with remorse. We're ashamed of ourselves and afraid of where it could lead if we don't get control of it. But how do we get control of it when it burns so deep, when it's fanned into flame by our hyper-sexualized society?
Of all the sins, lust is surely the most difficult to talk about. So far in this series, I've been fairly forthcoming about my issues with these sins—first pride, then anger. For some obvious reasons, I'll do less of that this time. By God's grace, there's nothing I might tell you that you would find especially alarming or disturbing. Lust is not at the top of my list of sins to contend with, but it's surely there, along with the other six, lurking in my soul.
There's an often-told story about an aged professor at Princeton Theological Seminary. He was counseling a young man who was struggling with some of these issues, even as he prepared for a life of ministry. This particular professor was highly regarded for his godly character and pastoral wisdom. At one point, the seminarian asked, "At what age will lust no longer be a problem?" ...
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Bryan Wilkerson is pastor of Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts.