When Jesus took our sins and died on the cross, He gifted us with the largest inheritance possible. Through that act, He gave us the freedom and power to live clean lives and walk in liberty.
He died so we could become like Him in His loving nature. However, our flesh doesn't just walk out when Jesus walks into our life. We have to kill our flesh to claim our inheritance of His nature. We have to kill our sin nature and walk by the Spirit like Paul admonishes us in Galatians 5:16-25:
I say then, walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. These are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Now the works of the flesh are revealed, which are these: adultery, sexual immorality, impurity, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousy, rage, selfishness, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I previously warned you, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control; against such there is no law. Those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Definitely, part of killing our flesh is walking in the Spirit, which is love. Love is the absolute opposite of lust. Lust and love cannot exist at the same place at the same time. Lust and love are as polar opposite as light and darkness.
You have to leave light to enter darkness. You have to leave darkness to enter light. In the same way, we have to leave love to lust, and leave lust to love.
So how do we leave lust? That is a great question! I will address this, and then I want to give you some tips to help you and your brothers and sisters claim your inheritance of freedom in Christ.
I want to address the issue of leaving lust. Paul addressed this issue when he told us to, "Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity" (1 Tim. 51b-:2, NIV).
Here Paul gives us some insight into leaving lust and entering love with all women. Paul was telling Timothy when it comes to women, and men for that matter, to put them in a relationship context.
Let me digress a minute to contrast a relationship context versus an object relationship with a woman. When you look at a woman lustfully you are assessing her looks. You're looking solely at physical features: facial, body parts. You have to reduce her to one dimensional to be able to lust.
What Paul is saying is to put each woman, regardless of age, into a relational context. You certainly would not lust after your mom or your sisters. You see them as complete three-dimensional people. You see them as mothers, sisters, believers, parents and so on. You see them in a relational context.
When you look at a woman, if you put on your relational lens, you will have a much harder time lusting than if you don't.
I realize some women dress like they are objects, but that doesn't matter. Jesus, in Luke 7:36, had a sinful woman wiping and kissing his feet, but didn't lust after her. He kept her in a lust-free context.
In my workbook, 101 Freedom Exercises I talk about a tool that can help you leave lust and move toward love. That tool is prayer.
When you see a woman, and you feel yourself sliding toward lust, you can put the brakes on by putting her in a relational context and praying for her. Here's a scenario for example:
Joe is in his usual place at the local coffee shop. He is sitting there minding his own business and in walks an attractive woman who appears to be dressed immodestly. He does fine as she walks by and places her order for a fat free latte. He even hears the male barista flirt with her a little. Then she decides to sit right in front of Joe. He can see her just above his laptop.
Joe's inner boy and spiritual man are struggling. Joe's inner boy is saying, "She's hot. She wants to be looked at. What's a look anyway? C'mon she may never be here again. C'mon Joe, look." Joe's inner man is saying "Don't look. C'mon you have had so much victory. Send an email to John and get out of here before you do something you'll have to confess later. Remember, victory."
The battle wages like this in almost all men at times. So, here is a way to stay in a love position versus a lust position. Pray for her. Now, I don't mean get out of the chair and walk across the store, church or wherever she is and introduce yourself as Mr. Spiritual. I mean, in your heart, your mind or even if you have to, go to another room, and if you want to, pray out loud. Joe has learned when this battle hits to pray a single prayer like this one that Joe is about to pray.
"God, this woman was created by you; she is your favorite daughter. If she is not saved, then lead her to the Lord. I pray for her husband (present or future), her children and her parents that they would all know you and be blessed by your salvation in Jesus name."
A simple, heartfelt prayer takes this attractive woman and puts her in a relational context. She is no longer a hot object; she is a daughter of God, a daughter, mother, wife. Joe has put brakes on lust and put the gas pedal on love. He still may need to move, get focused on something else or leave, depending on his inner-man strength or connection to the Spirit at that time. He can silence the inner boy and see her as a daughter of God.
Men, we are destined to claim the inheritance that Jesus died for. However, if we are to claim that freedom, we must destroy the enemies who occupy that space.
Lust is one of the worst and most stubborn of the enemies. I encourage you to use every tool at your disposal to fight and win. You were destined for victory!
Doug Weiss, Ph.D., is a nationally known author, speaker and licensed psychologist. He is the executive director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the author of several books, including Clean. You may contact Dr. Weiss via his website, drdougweiss.com or on hisFacebook, by phone at 719-278-3708 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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