Be Aware. Lust Is Everywhere!
NOTE: This blogpost appeared on my teen blog site: jeffreydeanblog.com. I encourage you to read this post, and then read it along with your teen. This is one of those issues that can be tricky to approach with your teen. But if you don’t, who will? And, an FYI, this is the #1 issue of struggle with which teens approach me.
Reese was an eighteen-year-old counselor at a camp where I spoke one summer. He was an exceptional leader, a great role model to the campers, and he could play a mean guitar. During the two weeks at camp, I spent a lot of time with Reese and was impressed by him in a lot of ways. One night during worship, Reese asked me to pray for him. He admitted he had an addiction to porn. He accidentally stumbled upon a porn site on the Internet, and one look was all it took to get him hooked. Reese was a great guy who was striving to live for Jesus, but he’d made a costly mistake.
Many guys I’ve counseled who’re controlled by their lust, or even the ones who just slip up occasionally, didn’t initially go searching for pictures of naked girls or whatever else turned them on. That stuff found them. At some point, it’ll find you too. The question is, will you be prepared to handle it?
Here are 6 things you need to know about lust:
1. LUST NEVER SATISFIES
Since the first sin in the Garden of Eden, taking a bite of the forbidden has been tempting. But the problem with lust is it never satisfies the “hunger.” It’ll always leave you wanting more, and more, and more. And what may initially seem like an innocent bite can quickly turn into a harmful habit or a dark addiction.
2. LUST INFECTS YOUR MIND’S HARD DRIVE
“The hardest part about not looking at porn anymore is the pictures in my mind. I can still see those pictures!” When I read this e-mail from Chad, I knew exactly what he meant. When you look at porn—or any kind of sexually arousing stuff—you’re actually downloading images into your mind’s hard drive that will be extremely difficult to delete. That’s why just one look can be so dangerous. You may only look at those pictures one time, but they’ll stay with you—and continue to tempt you—for much, much longer.
3. LUST BLINDS YOU
The more time you spend “taking care of your own needs,” the more your view of the opposite sex will change. Eventually, you won’t be able to see them as God sees them. Instead they’ll just be objects there to fulfill your desires. And the more distorted your view gets, the less respect you’ll have for them. Guys: A disrespectful guy who treats girls like objects may be the norm in the media these days, but those aren’t the qualities that win over nice girls. And they’re definitely not the qualities God created you to have.
4. LUST ENCOURAGES YOU TO GIVE LIFE TO YOUR CYBER DATE
Looking at a cyber-girl or guy, and maybe doing more than just looking at her/him, will eventually become old school. When the online fantasy no longer satisfies, that fantasy will fight to make itself reality by enticing you to bring the pornographic images to life with a real person.
5. LUST DESTROYS RELATIONSHIPS
Porn and masturbation will create a fantasy world in your mind that just can’t exist in the real world. It’s impossible. Those things are clearly aimed at satisfying your own selfish desires. In reality, relationships take two, but in your lust-driven fantasy, it’s all about you. The more time you spend in your alternate reality, the more you’ll destroy the basic character traits needed in any healthy relationship, like sharing, trust, honesty, and faithfulness. If you don’t develop these characteristics, your selfishness may keep you from finding the happiness God wants for you.
6. LUST DESTROYS YOUR CHARACTER
As you dive deeper into the world of self-gratification, your character will be destroyed. Galatians 6:7-8 says, “A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction.” You’re really being fooled if you think you can casually dabble in porn and masturbation and also live the life God would have you live. I always challenge teens (and adults) to show God to people when they’re watching. But you should also be God’s mirror even when no one’s watching. If you don’t, your character will become more worldly than godly. Make no mistake, if you let Satan into one part of your life, pretty soon he’ll be on his way to taking over all of it.
Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life…Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil. Proverbs 4:23, 25-27 (NIV)
If you’re struggling with lust, you’re not alone. And if it’s not a problem for you right now, you need to make sure it’ll never be. It is very possible that at some point in your life, you will have to fight incredibly hard against sexual temptation. The ones who overcome it are the ones who are big enough to first admit that they have a problem, and then, get serious about defeating it.
So the choice is yours. What will you do when temptation overtakes you? Will you:
- Choose to do nothing?
- Assume it’ll never find you?
- Think it’s no big deal?
- Sit idly and hope for the best?
Guarding your heart is a big responsibility. You have to be proactive. In my next blog POST, I’m going to tell you how to do exactly this. Stay tuned…