Lust-free living is more than a set of ideas to make you stop, pause and think. It's a lifestyle you can truly enjoy. After all, we know that "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" (2 Cor. 3:17).
You were designed by God to see all women as sisters. Therefore, we are to acknowledge their Creator, not just their created features. However, lust will sneak in and tell you many lies along the way. I outline many of these lies and practical tips to battle the lies in my book, Lust Free Living.
One of the lies I hear so often is that women are asking to be lusted after by the way they dress. Lust will tell you that women want to be looked at. "After all," lust tells you, "look at the way they dress, the time they take to fix themselves up!" Lust lies to us and argues that some women dress to get attention in all the wrong ways.
The truth is, those women are usually broken in some way. They may have been abused or neglected, be financially needy, have low self-esteem or have a mental health disorder. They are hurting women. Looking at them as an object or thing reinforces their pain. Lusting doesn't help them in any way.
Healthy women, which are the majority of women you see on a daily basis, tell me they feel creeped out when they are looked at lustfully. They know they are a person, not an object, and when they feel you objectifying them, it hurts them and leaves them feeling they have to wipe your dirtiness off them.
Women don't want to be lusted after—even broken women. At a deeper level, they want to be respected and valued as people. Lust makes you part of the problem, not part of the solution. Never believe this lie from lust. Treating women with respect and dignity makes you part of the solution.
Work it Out
Use these steps to help evaluate yourself, fix your behavior and become a part of the solution:
- In the past, was there a time when you believed women wanted to be lusted after?
- What might a woman have experienced in her past to cause her to desire lustful attention from strangers?
- How can you be part of the solution?
- Are there women in your life you can practice with—elevating them to dignity and respect when looking at them?
One thing I have noticed about men is that they see windows of opportunity everywhere. They see them in business, getting praise and even in lusting.
It's true that some women make it easier to objectify them in the way they dress. However, lust is always our choice and responsibility. Lust will highlight the fact that there's "opportunity."
Lust uses opportunity because men like opportunity. When we capitalize on opportunity in other areas of life, we feel a sense of accomplishment. However, when we follow the lies of lust, we will do something. This "something" will bring harm to us, and later, guilt and shame.
She Is a Child of God
The real opportunity to be lust-free is to see a woman as a daughter of God. Begin to pray for her, yourself, your wife and kids. Make a call when lust highlights an opportunity and you will win. At that point you will have done something good, something you won't later regret. You will feel the confidence that comes from accomplishment. All opportunities are times to live lust-free. It's your choice.
In the book 101 Freedom Exercises for Sexual Addiction Recovery, I wrote about the concept of E-Zones for men who struggle with sexual addiction. An E-Zone is an emotional zone—a strong feeling you have yet to master. Once you hit this feeling, you don't really know what to do, so you regress into a previous pattern of lust.
You will need specific plans for when you experience these particular feelings. Examples of common E-Zones you might need to work through include: angry, rejected, disrespected, unwanted sexually, alone, bored, exhausted or excited.
Once you know what your E-Zones are, you will want to be very specific on a plan to manage these feelings without any form of lust. Let's use the E-Zone example of bored. When I feel bored, I will first own that I feel bored and that it is my responsibility to be creative to change this. Second, I will go to my list of things that need to be done and do one. Third, I will call a friend. Fourth, I will ask for prayer. Finally, I will go exercise.
Put this plan in your phone or in your car so you can readily access it. When you own your own feelings and have several action steps you can take, you will be able to stay on the path of lust-free living.
Not My Inheritance
This last tip has helped me personally in breaking free from lust's deception. I believe God gives us each our own inheritance. Nobody can have or take my inheritance, and it includes many different things. One part is that my inheritance alone is my precious wife, Lisa.
Your wife is your only intimate inheritance from God. The other women, images and fantasies are not your God-given inheritance. When you face a situation to lust, you can simply state "not my inheritance" in your mind.
The woman you are looking at is not yours in any way, shape or form. You can't make a covenant of love to her. In no way can you create a scenario that she's your inheritance. Accepting your inheritance fully allows you to reject someone else's inheritance.
That woman is not your inheritance; she is someone else's. Whoever he is, he is trusted to protect and not consume his inheritance—much as you hope the men in your wife's and daughter's worlds will honor your inheritance. So honor their inheritance by simply stating in your mind or even out loud, "not my inheritance."
I have a ton of resources on my website on this subject. Also, here are some related articles I've written on how to battle lust: "Don't Give in to Your Voice of Lust" and "How to Overcome Lust (and the Lies You've Been Told)." I want you to be fully equipped to battle this evil enemy.
Doug Weiss, Ph.D., is a nationally known author, speaker and licensed psychologist. He is the executive director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the author of several books, including Lust Free Living. You may contact Dr. Weiss via his website, drdougweiss.com, on hisFacebook, by phone at 719-278-3708 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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