15 Ways to Fight Lust With the Sword of the Spirit

It is almost impossible in the Western world to escape sensuality. Sex is on the television, in the movies and in our music, on the side of buses, during halftime shows, in our books and in glossy close-ups at supermarket check-out. Sex is all around us in the mall, dripping off every beer commercial, and two stories high on our billboards. Sexual sin is walking around our high schools, flaunted across our universities, and hiding in our churches.

And of course, sex is on the Internet. Pornography and sex-related sites make up 60 percent of daily web traffic. Of Internet users in the U.S., 40 percent visit porn sites at least once a month, and that number increases to 70 percent when the audience is 18- to 34-year-old males. Half of hotel room patrons purchase pornography from their rooms. Ninety percent of 8- to 16-year-olds with Internet access have viewed pornography online, and the average age of exposure is 11.

The seventh commandment is not just broken in this country; it’s being smashed to pieces.

And sexual sin is not just an “out there” problem. Any pastor will tell you stories about how sexual sin has destroyed people in his congregation. None of us are immune from the dangers of sexual immorality. In a Christianity Today study from several years ago, 40 percent of clergy acknowledged visiting pornographic websites. Another survey found that 21 percent visit regularly. Yet another survey at Pastors.com found that 50 percent of pastors reported to viewing pornography in the previous year. And then there’s the underlying issue of the heart. The seventh commandment doesn’t just forbid adultery and pornography. It forbids every action, look, conversation, thought or desire that incites lust and uncleanness.

So how in the world, in this world we live in, and with our sex-saturated hearts, can we obey the seventh commandment?

Let me suggest 15 passages of Scripture that can help us fight lust and the temptation to sexual immorality.

1) Proverbs 5:18-19 “Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love.” This may seem a strange text for fighting sexual temptation, but married couples need to know they have delight at their lawful disposal. We need to know that sex is good, intimacy is good, bodies together in marriage are good. Good, glorious sex is spiritual warfare for the married couple.

2) Lamentations 3:25-27 “The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.” This a verse is for singles. Granted, this passage isn’t talking about waiting for a spouse. It’s about waiting on the Lord. But that’s the point: The Lord is good to those who wait for him. He knows what you need. The preceding verses tell us, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will hope in him.” Don’t think, “How can I live without sex for another year or decade or two decades.” Think about today. The Lord has given you grace for this day and he will give you grace for every subsequent day in which you follow God in the midst of unmet desires.

3) 1 Peter 3:15 “In your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” Before you take a second look or dress yourself so that others will, think: “Will this make me more ready to talk to someone about Jesus?” Sensuality deadens the spiritual senses and makes us less courageous and effective witnesses for Christ.

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Kevin DeYoung
Kevin is the Senior Pastor at University Reformed Church (RCA) in East Lansing, Michigan, right across the street from Michigan State University. He has been the pastor there since 2004.