A Battle That Even Kings Ignored
Guest Editorial: Raul Moreno – Evangelist, Sao Paulo International Christian Church

“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… Do not swerve to the right or the left.” Proverbs 4:23-27

Rau Moreno, his wife Lynda, and their kids

What do King David, King Solomon and the Judge of Israel Samson have in common? The three of them damaged their lives and those they led, because they minimized — and thus ignored — their lusts. David sinned by lusting after Bathsheba. (2 Samuel 11:2-4) That lust led to adultery, deceit, drunkenness and ultimately murder. It had a profound effect on his kingship, his family, his mighty men, and all of God’s people. Solomon’s all-consuming lust led him to a destructive desire that even 700 wives and 300 concubines could not quench. (1 Kings 11:3) As an old man, one of the consequences of this sin was that he worshiped other gods: Ashtoreth – the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh – the detestable god of the Moabites, and Molech of the Ammonites – the god worshipped through baby human sacrifices. Samson’s lust led him into sin by marrying a non-Israelite woman (Judges 14:1-3), sex with a prostitute (Judges 16:1), and an immoral relationship with the Philistine – Delilah. This ended in his total demise. The loss of his hair – which represented his covenant with God, led to the loss of his supernatural strength, which led to the loss of his eyes – his vision, which led to the loss of his freedom and honor – as he became a slave to the Philistines, all of which emboldened the enemies of Israel to mock God. Ultimately, Samson’s lust cost him his very life.

The strongest man in the world, the wisest man in the world, and the man with a heart after God’s own were taken-out by lust. There is a sobering lesson here for all of us.Lust is “every man’s battle” and the same can be said for most women. As disciples of Jesus, we are in the world but not of the world. (John 17:16) Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart for [only] they will see God.” (Matthew 5:8) If this pervasive temptation of lust is not challenged “from the pulpit and in the pews,” disciples will not make it to Heaven, and the wrath of God will come upon them here and beyond. (Ephesians 5:3-7)

For many years, I tried helping the brothers to avoid pornography, masturbation and sexual immorality. But now, I realize that I was focusing on dealing with “the symptoms” and not going after “the root” of the problem – something so vital in discipling. I was not focusing on the obvious underlying sin of lust. Jesus said about lust, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go to hell.” (Matthew 5:27-30)

The Odighizuwa family is now completely united in Christ, as the last family member—Osa—is baptized last Sunday!

Jesus’ goal was absolute purity. This must be our goal as well. The way to not commit the sins of pornography, masturbation and immorality is to deal decisively with the sin of lust. Lust by itself will take you to hell if one remains unrepentant. The intent of this passage is that you have to be radical and do whatever it takes to “cut” lust out of your life. How radical are you about eliminating lust from your life?

Do you feel like you will never overcome masturbation or pornography? Do you give-in to these sins regularly and feel like you will never be able to change? Do you feel hopeless and defeated? Have you even considered falling away “feeling” like you will never change and that you can only hide this sin for so long before you get discovered? How many times have you said that you will change by yourself and by your own effort, but it has never happened? Is your hidden sexual sin increasing in magnitude, along with the lies that accompany it? If this is you, I have news for you: There is hope! The hope is to battle the sin of lust with “all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30)

One of the ways to battle lust is to see the harm and hurt that it does to the people close to you. How would your wife, kids or girlfriend feel if they could see what goes through your mind as you look at women? Most importantly, how does God feel when you give-in to lust? The hurt that it causes Him is huge! So huge, that Jesus had to die on the cross and be separated from God because of it. The pain that we cause God and others with our lust and the sin that develops after that should lead us to repent. After all, you don’t want to hurt that which you love. Ultimately, you have to choose which you love the most – your sin or your God.

Here are six practicals to overcome lust:

1. Make a purity covenant with God “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl.” (Job 31:1) This decision is first made at baptism when we declare “Jesus is Lord.” However, since we gave in to impurity so often as non-Christians, for most the battle for purity is something entirely new. Therefore, I encourage every brother to make a heartfelt vow to God to be totally pure. To do otherwise is to “trample the Son of God under foot [and to treat] as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified Him.” (Hebrews 10:29)


2. Understand that attraction is not sin “God has made everything beautiful in its time.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11) The fact that you are attracted to the opposite sex is not sin. It is normal. Some have such a guilty conscience that they already feel they have sinned if they see a beautiful women passing by. After this, they give into sin believing that it is hopeless to change. My challenge to you is this: When you feel attracted to the opposite sex, acknowledge it. Then, take warning and move on. I see it as a “yellow alert.” Set yourself free from an overly guilty conscience.

3. Hide God’s Word in your heart “I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11) Meditating on God’s Word will keep you from lusting. How? Write Scriptures about purity on small index cards. When you are tempted, take them out and read them and combat the temptation with the most powerful weapon in the world: The Word of God. Better yet, memorize these Scriptures so that you can store them in your heart and then call yourself to obey them. (Proverbs 2:1)

4. Nehemiah Prayers “Remember me with favor, O my God.” (Nehemiah 13:30) I love how Nehemiah prays to his God, especially when he first addressed the king about rebuilding the wall in Jerusalem. Immediately after the king asked Nehemiah what he wanted, Nehemiah prayed as he made this incredible request. (Nehemiah 2:4) God favorably answered that prayer with the king’s willingness to send him to Jerusalem. When tempted to lust, pray in your mind and heart right then and there. God will give you the strength to overcome. (John 15:7)

5. Cut off temptation “Throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.” (Hebrews 12:1) If lust is your battle, you should “throw off everything that [could] hinder” your purity. For example, strive to never use the internet when you are alone. Have a brother or your wife with you. Filters on the internet help, but still you must have the fear of God to keep you from sinning. (Exodus 20:20) Also, I recommend getting rid of the internet on your phone, because you are alone when you use it. It is unwise to watch TV by yourself, especially late at night. For some, they must be willing to get rid of their TV or PC altogether if they are unable to be pure. This may sound radical, and it is! Is lust worth going to hell? Another sin that leads to lust is laziness. Brothers’ time outside of studies and work should be spent in the battle to win souls and in quality and fun fellowship activities. Laziness will kill you.
Other practicals to not get entangled in lust are to only look at women in their eyes and share your faith with any woman that you feel attracted to at work or school. This helps to maintain purity. And with sisters that you may feel attracted to. Be kind to them, but don’t have long talks with them or you will lust. Also, let the sisters disciple the sisters. They are more than capable of meeting their needs. (Titus 2:2-4) This will help you to not get emotionally entangled with them. Many “good intentioned” brothers have sinned by trying to “help” a sister. As someone once said, “The path to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Javier was baptized in our Latin Ministry, which has grown from 6 to 33 disciples in the last 3 years, adding 10 in the last 11 weeks!

6. Confess your sexual temptation and lust daily “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other.” (James 5:19) This is God’s safety mechanism against lust. Every night confess to another brother how the day went in regards to lust and temptation. Do not by any means conceal lust even if you think it is “small or inconsequential.” Be radical and let the light shine on the darkness. A “little lust” in your mind will grow into other sins if you don’t deal with it. Sin is like cancer. A “little cancer” will spread and kill you if you do not cut it out completely. Proverbs 28:13 teaches, “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”

In conclusion, there is great hope for the disciple of Jesus who is radical with the sin of lust. As I look at my own life, I see many victories that my Father in Heaven has given me, because I have applied these six principles. In my 14 years as a Christian, I have not watched pornography nor has masturbation been an issue. Why? Was it because I was pure as a non-Christian? No! I was very impure and enslaved to the sins of pornography and masturbation, plus immorality! I believe strength comes in understanding how weak I am, and that only with Jesus can there be victory. One of the most powerful Scriptures for me about purity is, “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you do not fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12) Strength comes from weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9) I’m so weak that I can fall tonight even after writing this article, but with God’s grace and power, nothing can stop us from pleasing Him. And to God be the glory!

 

Raul Moreno

 

 

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