We all find ourselves struggling with lustful thoughts from time to time, and contrary to what many churchgoers may think, it doesn’t end when you step into ministry. In some ways, the struggle gets harder because our enemy knows he can take you (and your church) down with it. So what do you do to find victory in your mind, and how do you respond in the moment?
1. Take A Chill Pill
I’m not saying it’s not serious, and I’m not saying it’s not sin. I completely agree with Jesus when He says it’s the same as actually doing it with a woman you’re not married to. But it’s so easy to beat yourself up and throw extra guilt on your back. The Spirit of God is doing His work in your heart, or else you wouldn’t even have noticed this as a problem to begin with. Take heart… you’re not alone in your struggle, and God loves you enough to focus your attention on this right now.
- 2. Take Inventory
Lustful thoughts don’t usually just come out of nowhere. Whether intentional or not, your eyes have probably been exposed to unhelpful images over the last few weeks. It may have been unavoidable, or you may have been searching for it. Or maybe unhelpful ideas have entered your ears through conversations or music or some other media venue. However it got in your head, your mind is thinking about it and you need to find out where the opening is. Take inventory on where you’ve been, who you’ve been around, and how you’ve been spending your free time. If I find a mouse in my house, I obviously want to see him eliminated… but the bigger, looming question I have to answer is how he got in the house in the first place.
3. Take Action
Lustful thoughts aren’t content to remain as just thoughts. The problem will not go away, but get worse, unless you take practical steps to change what’s feeding your mind.
- It might be a good time to put the study in Leviticus aside for a few days and study Romans 6.
- Get a secretary to do your Google image searches for message illustrations so you don’t have to.
- Take a break from social networks, or put more controls in place to protect yourself.
- Install X3Watch on every computer and mobile device you use if it’s not already.
- Get real with your accountability network and make yourself vulnerable.
- Find someone else on staff to open up to and ask them to check in with you every few weeks.
- Join an online group and discover new tools to recognize and respond to temptation in the moment.