What It Takes to Break Free from Lust
If you’re a girl who struggles with pornography or lust, you might feel a bit lost. It’s not commonly discussed among women, and you might be wondering if there is a way out. If there is, then how do you find it?
You might be hoping for a one, two, three set of directions. Turn left at this light. Pass by the old library, and then turn right. Something easy, concise, and guaranteed to get you out of here. I struggled with pornography for years and tried everything I could think of to get out. I would print pictures off and set them on fire. I would save them to discs and break the discs apart. When that didn’t work, I resorted to harming myself.
If I can just punish myself for this, I’ll stop, I thought. It never worked. I tried so many different physical ways of fighting to break free from pornography, never fully realizing the truth that the battle isn’t actually a physical one. I was looking for a three-step plan to treat the symptoms when what I really needed was a complete heart overhaul to address the cause.
God’s Word says it this way:
For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).
Ultimately, there is no easy three-step guide to breaking free from something as invasive as lust. It seeps into your heart and mind, tainting how you view life, love, people, and God. It takes time and intention as you root through your life to find the different ways it has been affected by sin. There are, however, some things you can do to help that process along.
1. Don’t go it alone.
I know the idea of telling somebody what you’re dealing with might be terrifying, but confession is actually a powerful tool God has given us in the battle against sin. In James 5:16, we’re told to confess our faults to one another and pray for each other so that we can be healed. Find someone in your life you trust who you can be honest with about your struggles. And remember that this isn’t a one-time conversation but a continual relationship built on transparency and prayer. Sins, especially sexual ones, tend to thrive in an atmosphere of shame and pride. Confession tears these down and gives you the opportunity to set aside your masks, to fight and heal.
2. Don’t make falling easy.
In Matthew 18, we’re given rather extreme imagery of how to handle temptation.
“And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire” (vv. 8-9).
Now, I’m not saying you should gouge your eyes out, but we should be willing to part with things that make it easy for us to struggle. If there is anything in your life that enables you to sin, get rid of it. Make sin the inconvenient, hard-to-reach choice, not the easy one.
If you can’t seem to use your phone without looking at porn, then you need to make the hard choice of getting rid of your phone. For me, I had to get rid of headphones because whenever I used my computer with headphones I would think, I could watch it right now and no one would know. Is there something in your life that lets you say that? It needs to go.
3. Don’t be passive.
It’s tempting for us to think that once we have an accountability partner and we get rid of all of the things that make sin easy, we can just sit back and coast through life and be fine. When young women find out that’s not the case, they often get frustrated. They think that if they just love Jesus hard enough, He will take the problem away for them. After all, we’re dead to sin now, right?
In Romans 6, we see that yes, we are dead to sin, but we also see phrases like:
-- “Let not sin therefore reign” (v. 12).
-- “Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness” (v. 13).
-- “Become slaves of righteousness” (v. 18).
Our choices to sin, even as Christians, are still our choices. We are still in a battle. We still have to be proactive about taking every thought captive and daily surrendering our lives and desires to God.
The journey is not an easy one. Having our minds and our hearts renewed can be a hard, and even painful, process. How does God’s truth encourage you as you fight temptation?
If you’re wanting to start on that journey, Romans 6–8 is a great place to start. I call these the “freedom chapters.” Read them daily for forty days. Commit sections to memory, and let the truth motivate you in your walk of freedom.
By Jessica Harris