Lust is a powerful enemy of men all over the world. (Yes, it affects women as well, but I am primarily speaking to men in this article.) Although collectively as Christians we know lust is wrong, the immorality of lust is still prevalent throughout the church.
In over 30 years of counseling sex addicts and witnessing first-hand the amazing miracles and healing God can do, I have identified some common lust habits as well as proven tools to overcome them. God desires for all men to live a clean life and be free from lust once and for all.
In this article, I will outline three proven tips to help you as a man to overcome lust and fulfill your God-given potential.
The One-Second Rule
The one-second rule is simple. When applied, it can stop lust from beginning a fantasy before it happens. If you are looking at someone in an inappropriate manner, count to one, and then turn away. Don't look back!
I realize some of you think and process very quickly. So for you, the one-second rule would apply. For instant scanners, don't even count to one. Look away instantly! This works great, especially in public places like malls, restaurants, or driving.
The "no turning back" is the hardest part. If you stick with this, fantasies will subside, and it will break entrenched habits of cruising around "for a better look" or making contact with the person. In a way, this is rubbernecking in reverse. Instead of stretching to see what or who you are looking at, you count to three or less, and stretch your neck to look at something else in the other direction that is safer. This will probably add a lot more time to your schedule too!
Pray for Those We Objectify
When you look at someone other than your wife in a sexual way, you are objectifying that person. It may be helpful to begin to see this person as someone who has feelings and is a person God loves.
Think about this individual in a different light where they may have children and/or parents who love them. They may have been badly hurt by someone in the past. They are not cars you can look at to compare shapes and proportions in order to determine their value. Nor are they some picture to be scanned into the "DVD" shelf of your mind, so you can manipulate them into your sexual fantasy world.
If you can pray for them and ask God to protect them, their spouse or children, it will allow you to put them in a relational context instead of an object context. This prayer may help you break up the fantasy, otherwise known as the "bubble," before it fully forms around you. It may actually give your mind the freedom to get back to healthier thinking. Remember, the individuals you objectify are people God created, and He thinks highly of them.
Those of you who are fathers with daughters know how you would feel if you saw someone looking at your precious child in an impure manner. You would probably feel both sick and angry. Remember, God is the Father of the individual you are looking at, and no matter their age or attractiveness, God also has feelings about that person. So pray for them, and you will be on the right side of God.
Looking Them In The Eyes
Many male sex addicts have trouble looking a woman in the eyes because of years of conditioning and attachment to female figures portrayed in pornography. DVDs, movies, and magazines sell this "object" and actually condition men to look at a female body first. Looking at a woman in an objectifying manner can be a conditioned response. If you look her in the eyes, it can keep you from scanning her, as you would an object you might purchase.
While talking to a woman, maintaining eye contact may be difficult at first because of your own guilt, shame or lack of self-esteem, but doing this can interrupt automatic fantasizing habits, since she is looking back at you directly. Additionally, looking your wife in the eyes during a sexual experience will also help you stay more relational, and you will experience her as a person rather than an object.
Remember, eyes first and stay there. It can keep you from further trouble.
If you are a man who is struggling with lust, try these tips to overcome it. This is a battle you can win.
I know that because I have been free from it for over 30 years and it is an amazing feeling. I would also like to invite you to take a free class to help in your battle. I call it the "Clean Class," and it is specifically for Christian men committed to sexual integrity.
God has a plan for your life, and I'm proud of you for joining the fight against lust!
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 101 Freedom Exercises. You may contact Dr. Weiss via his website, drdougweiss.com or on hisFacebook, by phone at 719-278-3708 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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