Am I remembering to do whatever is necessary to prevent myself from looking at others lustfully?
27 "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 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. 30 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 into hell.
INSIGHT: I met with a married Christian man, over lunch one time, who did not even attempt to hide the fact that he was checking out nearly every woman that walked by, in an inappropriate way. The habit was so engrained that he was not even conscious of it anymore.
As I write this, I am a healthy single man, and I understand the desires of the flesh, and the God given desire for sex. I know what it feels like to see an attractive person, and to have a seemingly built in automatic desire to look. However, I am also a godly man who fears the Lord, and who understands the destiny of those who live according to the sin nature (Rom 8:13). Instead, I choose to possess the life and peace that comes to those who live according to the Spirit, which pleases God.
Living in purity will initially cause you suffering, especially if you have been feeding the lust monster for years and he is big and strong. This is why Paul calls us to be living sacrifices. It’s called sacrifice for a reason, and it will feel like death for a while. However, it is my personal testimony that the grace of Christ can absolutely help you, so that you are able to manage this appetite and maintain self-control. Many will say, “But Michael, I have tried to stop this a thousand times—I just can’t.” What you would be saying is that I must be special to God and that He has given me some extra ability to live holy that He has not given you (favoritism). It is also saying His grace is not able, which makes God out to be a liar. I know you don’t believe these things, so it must be that I’m doing something differently than you. So, what am I doing?
As I began writing this page, I am sitting in a Starbucks looking out the window of the front of the store. A rather attractive woman, wearing yoga pants and a skimpy top, just sat down directly in front of me, just over the top of my laptop. Five minutes after she sat down, another attractive lady, who approached me inappropriately in the past, came in. Do you think this is just a coincidence? How do I handle these situations? Some may think I am fanatic or living in a fantasy world, but those are people who will not enjoy the peace of mind and soul that I now enjoy, in Christ.
I have been single and celibate for over three years, and yet I very much desire a godly wife. I have a promise from God for her, but I have had to wait a very long time. Obviously my desire makes this my area of weakness and vulnerability. Here’s how I stay in victory in this area. 1. I admit my weakness to the Father (humility which brings grace) 2. I pray whenever I leave the house for God to deliver me from evil. 3. I pray immediately when a temptation comes (warfare). 4. I fear the Lord and am afraid of grieving the Holy Spirit 5. I think about how the consequences of shame and guilt feel after yielding to a temptation, rather than the temporary pleasure it might provide. 6. I look away and starve those desires knowing that my eyes will never say, “Ok, we’re satisfied…you can stop looking now.”
The flesh says, “Just because you’re on a diet doesn’t mean you can’t look at the menu”, but Jesus says looking at the menu can end us up in hell. There is no comfy way around this. Can you see Paul or Billy Graham or Amy Carmichael staring lustfully at the opposite sex? Neither should we.