I have come into contact with thousands of sex addicts over recent years. I myself was bound up in sexual addiction for 13 years. In all my interactions with the issue of sexual lust, I have come to realize one fundamental characteristic that is common to its nature: lies. There is never one moment in which lust tells you the truth. And it is this key insight that can actually help you break free from the chains of lust...for good.
In this brief article I want to share with you some of the primary lies that your lust will tell you. These probably won't shock you (especially if you've been believing them), but my hope is that by exposing them you will become more aware of the moments in which you are drifting toward their appeals and take the corrective action to flee to the shelter of truth.
Lie #1: Lust will bring contentment
The bedrock of the lies of lust rests on the idea that God, and whatever he can offer, just isn't enough. This is the lie that ultimately led to the original sin. When Satan tempted Eve in the garden, he planted the seed of doubt in her mind that God was actually good and all that she needed to be content. He enticed her mind to begin entertaining thoughts that God was withholding something from her that she needed. This seed of doubt traveled from her mind to her will, eventually appealing its case to her senses when she "saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye." This captures the moment when lust was born in the heart of mankind.
This lust has burned in our sin nature from the very beginning of the fall. And the enemy has used this greatly to his advantage when it comes to sexual lust. Our sexual lust is aroused whenever it reaches the line dividing what God has said is right and pure for our minds and bodies and what sin demands in opposition. We hear the whispers of the father of lies telling us that God is restrictive in his requirements regarding our sexuality, and that the fruit of our lust will complete us and make us whole, fulfilling our truest, deepest desires. When we begin to spin these lies in our mind, it isn't a far journey to looking and seeing that such forbidden fruit is "pleasing to the eye."
Lust, however, only produces more discontent. Lust is perpetually dissatisfied. That is the nature of lust, constantly demanding more, promising that what is just outside your reach is what will ultimately satisfy. But each time you believe the lie, you are left craving more because you came up terribly empty. Lust never satisfies...never.
Lie #2: Lust will not hurt anyone
Harmless fun. This is what we are led to believe when we begin to listen to the lies of lust. Even as our discontent grows and the evidence mounts up that lust can't give us what we need, we dive in deeper because we are certain that we aren't hurting anyone. After all, what you do in the dark when no one is looking can't possibly affect others, right? Wrong.
Pornography is the most common avenue by which this "lust-won't-hurt-anyone" thinking derives. Millions of men (and women) each week gaze lustfully at the nude images portrayed through porn and quietly tell themselves, "I'm not hurting anyone. These are just pictures. It's not like I'm actually having an affair or fornicating."
Have you ever stopped for just a brief moment and given a thought about the women (or men) in the porn? That is somebody's daughter or son. That is a REAL person being abused through the exploitation of the body God fashioned around their soul. They are made in the image of God and they are being hurt. Lust lies when it deceives you into thinking that it doesn't hurt anyone.
Lie #3: Lust will enhance your sexual relationship
Welcome to 21st century broadcast television and the dysfunctional world of Hollywood! The sexual message espoused by the media and our culture is this: monogamous sex in marriage isn't enough. And our flesh craves this lie of lust.
Countless couples, whether married or not, believe that bringing porn or some other sexually stimulating material into their bedroom will enhance their relationship. But the fundamentals of lust's deception don't change. Adding to God's design will never cause improvement. The design God established for sex (one man with one woman in marriage) was designed perfectly. It cannot be enhanced, improved upon, or added to. Whenever we try to improve what God has already declared good, we most certainly have entered into the realm of deception and sin.
The sadness of this lie of lust is that it causes individuals to believe that sex is merely a physical act, devoid of true intimacy and attachment. But sex is more than a physical act. It is emotional, spiritual, and even a bit mysterious. God made it this way because sex was to be a picture of the depth of intimacy we could share in our relationship with him. It is deeply personal, uniquely vulnerable, and permanently bonding. To believe that sex is just bodies connecting is to miss the whole point. And that's exactly what lust desires.
God, however, desires that we live free from the suffocating chains of our lust. He also provides the means by which we can live such a life of freedom. Jesus promised that after his resurrection and ascension into heaven that he would send a helper, his Holy Spirit, and that he would lead us into all truth. As a believer in Jesus, we have the Holy Spirit in us and therefore we have the power to live free from the lies of lust. We are even promised in Galatians 5:16 that as we "live by the Spirit... you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature." As we grow in our dependence on God's Holy Spirit to life his life through us, we are promised that lust will not dominate us.
With such a great promise given to us, we would do well to focus our attention on what it means to "live by the Spirit." And thankfully, God doesn't make that complicated for us. To live by the Spirit is to know Truth (i.e. Jesus) and follow him (John 8). Knowing truth comes by knowing the Word of God, the Bible, and interacting with him through prayer. Moment by moment we live connected to our Creator, through faith in Jesus, so that his life may live through us. This is living by the Spirit. And it is pure peace, comfort and joy!