Lust can feel like an uncontrollable desire that keeps us trapped in sinful habits and unhealthy relationships. If you feel enslaved by lust and want freedom, know that God wants to help set you free. The Bible has much wisdom to offer on how to stop lusting and walk in purity.
If you’re short on time, here’s the key to stopping lust according to the Bible: Fill your mind with God’s truth and saturate your life with His Spirit. This will empower you to resist temptation and break free from lustful strongholds.
In this comprehensive article, we’ll explore biblical strategies and practical tips to help you stop lusting. You’ll learn how to avoid temptation, change your thought patterns, lean on God’s strength, and walk in the freedom Christ purchased for you.
Understand Where Lust Comes From
Lust Begins in the Heart and Mind
Lust first takes root in our hearts and minds. When we allow impure thoughts to linger, those thoughts can eventually lead to sinful actions. As Jesus said in Matthew 5:28, “Anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
So we must be careful about what we allow ourselves to think about. Feeding our minds with pornography and other impure content will only strengthen lust’s hold on us. We need to fill our minds with things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and admirable (Philippians 4:8).
This starts with what we watch, read, listen to, and talk about. The mind is where the battle is won or lost.
The World Promotes Lust
We live in a sex-saturated culture that encourages lust at every turn. Sexual images and content are used to sell everything from hamburgers to SUVs. Pornography is now just a few clicks away for anyone with an internet connection.
Romantic comedies, soap operas, and even advertisements often portray sex outside of marriage as normal and consequence-free. This cultural environment makes it very difficult to keep our minds pure and free from lust. But we can choose not to conform to the pattern of this world (Romans 12:2).
Instead of absorbing the world’s distorted messages about sex, we can renew our minds according to God’s truth and find freedom from enslavement to lust.
Our Sinful Nature Feeds Lust
Lust finds fertile ground in our fallen human nature. Ever since Adam and Eve first gave in to temptation in the Garden of Eden, every person has been born with a tendency toward sin. Self-centeredness, pride, and rebellion come naturally to us.
When we follow our natural desires rather than God’s wise commands, we reap bitter fruit. This sinful nature inside each of us wants instant self-gratification and provides willing soil for lust to take root.
As Galatians 5:16 (NLT) says, “For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other.” But God has provided a way to defeat sin’s pull – by walking in step with the Holy Spirit each day.
Avoid Temptations That Trigger Lust
Guard Your Eyes
What we see can easily lead to lustful thoughts, so we need to be careful about what we allow our eyes to linger on (Matthew 5:28-29). Here are some practical tips:
- Avoid pornography at all costs. Install internet filters and accountability software.
- Be careful when watching movies/TV. Many have graphic content intended to stir up lust.
- Avert your eyes from immodestly dressed people in public. Don’t gawk or stare.
- Bounce your eyes away from lustful ads, magazines covers, billboards etc.
- Focus your eyes on what is pure (Philippians 4:8).
The old adage is true: “You can’t stop birds from flying over your head, but you can stop them nesting in your hair.” While we can’t always control what we see, we can control whether we entertain lustful thoughts.
Be Wise in Dating
Entering a romantic relationship before you are ready can open the door to all kinds of temptation. Follow these guidelines:
- Date for the purpose of finding a marriage partner, not just for fun or sex.
- Avoid being physically intimate before marriage (1 Corinthians 6:18-20).
- Date someone who shares your values and morals.
- Involve family/friends in your dating life to keep you accountable.
- End relationships that constantly lead you into sexual sin.
The passion of romantic love can quickly turn to lust if we are not careful. Date wisely and keep high standards.
Limit Media that Stirs Up Lust
Movies, TV shows, magazines, books, internet sites, apps, music and more—all provide endless images and messages that spark lust. Here are some tips to limit media intake:
- Be selective and avoid shows/movies/books with graphic sexual content.
- Monitor kids’ media intake and use parental controls.
- Avoid “clickbait” articles and videos designed to stir up lust.
- Listen to music with positive messages that don’t promote lust.
- Limit social media use if it leads you to compare yourself or “covet” others.
Philippians 4:8 gives us a great media filter test: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Does what you read/watch pass this test?
Fill Your Mind with God’s Truth
Meditate on Scriptures about Purity
Immersing our minds in God’s word is key to overcoming lust. The psalmist said “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11). As we meditate on scriptures about sexual purity, it renews our minds and helps us think rightly about these matters.
Here are some great verses to meditate on:
- “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” (1 Corinthians 6:18)
- “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality.” (1 Thessalonians 4:3)
- “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)
Taking time each day to reflect on these truths will go a long way in helping us defeat lustful thoughts and behaviors.
Remember the Consequences of Sin
It’s easy to minimizing sin in the moment of temptation. That’s why we must intentionally reflect on the real consequences – broken relationships, damaged witness, guilt and shame before God. King David, who committed adultery with Bathsheba, said “my sin is always before me” (Psalm 51:3).
Sin leaves scars. It’s not worth the fleeting pleasures.
The apostle Paul warns very bluntly: “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body” (1 Corinthians 6:18). Sin not only displeases God, but also damages us.
Remembering these sobering truths can help us think rightly in moments of temptation. The pleasure is temporary but the consequences are lasting.
Focus on Noble Things
Our thought life determines our actions. As Jesus said, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander” (Matthew 15:19). So we must be intentional about our thought life, focusing on things which are noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable (Philippians 4:8).
This means choosing entertainment and activities which are uplifting rather than degrading.
Here are some practical ways to focus our minds on what is noble:
- Read biographies of people who lived lives of moral excellence
- Listen to music with positive messages about love and relationships
- Avoid media with inappropriate sexuality
- Engage in hobbies and activities that challenge your mental skills
Setting our minds on things above rather than earthly things is imperative in the fight for sexual purity. As we dwell on what is good, we are transformed and renewed.
Walk in the Spirit’s Power
Pray for God’s Help
When we try to resist lustful desires in our own strength, we will fail. That’s why we need to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit rather than ourselves. We should start by humbly asking God for His help and admitting that we can’t overcome sin on our own (John 15:5).
Praying regularly for God to strengthen us and help us gain victory over lust is crucial.
“Dear Heavenly Father, I know that on my own I don’t have the power to resist temptation and walk in purity. I need Your Spirit’s help. Please strengthen me to flee from lust and walk in Your ways. Help me to fix my eyes on You rather than my sinful desires.
Thank You for providing the way of escape from temptation through Your Son. In His name, amen.”
Allow the Spirit to Change Your Desires
In addition to asking for God’s help, we also need to yield control of our lives to the Spirit and allow Him to transform our hearts (Ezekiel 36:26-27). As we spend time reading the Bible, praying, worshiping, and fellowshipping with other believers, the Spirit renews our minds and produces new desires that align with God’s will (Romans 12:2).
Little by little, He changes what we love and value.
According to a 2019 Pew Research study, 65% of American adults described themselves as Christians. However, the percentage of Christians actively engaging in spiritual practices like prayer and Bible reading was much lower, only 45% and 30% respectively.
Making time for spiritual disciplines allows the Spirit to transform us from within.
Aim to Please God, Not Yourself
As we walk in the Spirit, our focus shifts from pleasing ourselves to pleasing God. Our minds become set on pursuing His kingdom rather than fulfilling our own sinful desires (Romans 8:5-8). This doesn’t mean we will never face temptation again.
But we can stand firm by reminding ourselves that giving in to lust will displease and dishonor God.
When tempted, we can pray, “Lord, I want to please and glorify You with my body and mind. Give me strength to obey You rather than my flesh.” Keeping an eternal perspective is key: is momentary pleasure worth the cost of grieving God and damaging His temple (our bodies)? Of course not!
Walking in the Spirit’s power allows us to resist lust and grow in holiness. Through prayer, renewing our minds, and aiming to please God rather than ourselves, we can overcome sinful desires. God graciously provides us with spiritual armor to protect us as we fight this battle (Ephesians 6:10-18).
With His help, we can gain victory and freedom from lust.
Practical Tips for Resisting Temptation
Idleness can lead the mind to wander into dangerous territory, so it’s important to stay productive and engaged. Some ideas include volunteering, learning a new skill, exercising, or working on a project. As the saying goes, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.”
Staying busy will help keep your mind focused on positive things.
Having trusted friends that you can be open and honest with is so valuable. Share your struggles and temptations with them, and ask them to check in on your progress resisting temptation. Knowing you’ll be accountable to someone else will motivate you to make wise choices.
You may also look into joining an accountability group at your church.
Refocus Your Mind
When tempted, immediately shift your thinking. Begin to dwell on good and praiseworthy things like God’s word, worship music, or favorite scriptures (Philippians 4:8). For example, you could quote scriptures out loud that remind you of God’s faithfulness and power.
This refocuses your mind away from temptation. Another idea is to engage in a distracting activity like exercise, calling a friend, or doing chores. This occupies your mind and body in a positive way.
The struggle against lust requires diligence and dependence on God’s strength, but victory is possible through Christ! Implementing even a few of the practical strategies covered in this article will empower you to start breaking free from lustful strongholds.
Remember, you’re not alone in this battle. Keep seeking the Lord, standing on His truth, and choosing by faith to walk in purity. God promises to complete the work of holiness He’s begun in you as you trust and obey Him daily (Philippians 1:6).
Don’t lose heart – with God’s help you can stop lusting and live in freedom!