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"12 Ways to Help Christian Men Overcome Lust"

What is lust? What isn't? How can I guard myself...
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SLS
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"12 Ways to Help Christian Men Overcome Lust"

Post by SLS »

I ran across this article yesterday from To Love, Honor and Vacuum (Shelia Gregoire) on revamping how to teach men to overcome lust. I thought it was really well thought out and is a much more positive and holistic approach to teaching sexual mores in the church.

What really resonated with me was the testimony of the young man at the end of the post. Basically, he was so scared of committing lust (and had bad teaching on what lust was) that he tried to avoid thinking about women all together, which is impossible.

I grew up in the "purity culture" days of the late 90s-early 2000s. The bad teachings of that era definitely affected my interactions with the opposite sex and imputed on me a false belief that as a man lust was inevitable and undefeatable. So guess what happened? I lusted a lot as a teen. Fortunately God brought me into a relationship with my future wife and her influence changed my way of thinking about the subject. I was in a relationship with an opposite sex peer who wasn't steeped in the purity culture. Who wasn't afraid to hug from the front and heaven forbid go out on a date without a chaperone.

That caused me to question what the purity culture was selling. While my journey of understanding was not quick or immediate (and I will never say I am "above" temptation) lust has gone from being an unbreakable chain to a very defeatable enemy.

12 Ways to Help Christian Men Overcome Lust
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Re: "12 Ways to Help Christian Men Overcome Lust"

Post by WirelessRouter »

Oh my goodness, I could almost have written that ending letter myself. I wasn't quite as lust paranoid as he describes, but I can so relate to what he says. I especially loved this part:
When I am entranced by a sunset or left speechless by the Rockies, I am not tempted to objectify them as something I want to conquer, own, or plunder. I simply appreciate the beauty of God's handiwork. Can I not do the same with women? Can I not see them as beautiful, appreciate that, all without objectifying or lusting after them? Yes. Yes I can. I know because I do.
Sometimes I've felt like no one in the church would understand that I'm not thinking sexual things when I notice a woman has a beautiful appearance anywhere below her neck. Like why must people believe I can't think a female figure is attractive without having sexual thoughts???? Ugh. I've never even talked to anyone about this in part because the idea seems so foreign to church culture I'm afraid I'll be seen as a depraved freak who's given in to sin if I admit to someone I'm okay with myself thinking things like "man she has great legs" when I look at a girl across the room.

So yeah, women are beautiful, and I agree with that article. I have a contention with one of her 12 points, but my view is so counter to church culture it'd need it's own thread if I elaborate.
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Re: "12 Ways to Help Christian Men Overcome Lust"

Post by Ron »

I agree, I can admire a women, but don't feel lust towards her at all. I can admire, but don't want sex with them. I don't think there is anything wrong with looking at someone that maybe has a nice physic or nice clothes etc.

I think the "Every man's battle" is talking about lust and thinking about that person later either during sex or masturbation. I think most males do struggle with masturbation, it is a difficult habit to give up and most are embarrassed to talk about it or too ashamed to admit they do it too much.
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Re: "12 Ways to Help Christian Men Overcome Lust"

Post by LBD »

I have some issues with the article, and some agreement. Overall, I do agree with the basic premise that the things you focus on seem to expand rather than decrease, like a gristley piece of meat, the more you chew it, the bigger it gets.

By point if you care:

1. Her analogy with the parable puts the blame on the seed. The seed is the word. It has no blame. The problem is the ground. That is man and the weeds are the things we allow to grow in our hearts and minds. It’s not a lack of sun, it is a lack of weeding. And if we propagate and feed the weeds, they will certainly grow and choke out the Word.

2. How does she know Paul didn’t struggle with lust? Why did he say it is better that a man never touches a woman? And Jesus...”was tempted in every way, yet did not sin.” Every way means....EVERY way. I know that some men do not struggle with the lust temptation. But out of every ten men I know, nine have to work at it. Perhaps the better thing is to talk to all and find out how the ones who successfully handle the temptation accomplish that.

3. Fully agree with her point here. Awareness with the right answer is key.

4. I agree for the most part. Jesus said “to lust”, meaning “for the purpose of lust” was the doorway to the sin. Just looking and recognizing beauty in the eyes of the beholder is neither.

5. Agree and disagree. There is a responsibility on both sides. If not, then why not come to church or walk around without clothes at all? What is the alternative? If a man does struggle with lust, and there are women who take the attitude “I’m dressing like I want in these tight yoga pants and low cut blouse, deal with it!”, is he now forced to not attend worship so he can handle his lust? I suggest that most women know the difference in alluring dress and modest, respectful dress. No, you don’t have to dress in a burka, but something designed to titillate and SPECIFICALLY DRAW THE ATTENTION OF THE OPPOSITE SEX TO YOUR BODY has no place in a worship location where the focus is not each other, but on God. Be reasonable.

6. Ok... I posted the above before reading 6 and 7. Good.

8. Agreed. There should be strong, good example of Christian marriage as a couple involved in youth activities. Both must be willing and able to have the hard conversations. The problem here is often youth groups are led by novice ministers as sort of a beginner’s job. Probably not the best choice. In my opinion, the youth need strong, more mature leadership.

9. Agreed. But I would add that there should be some opportunities to separate and talk “among their sexual peers” more freely, and have some teaching by a mature leader of their same sex. You will NOT get any good discussion about sexual matters in a co-Ed class setting. Doing split teen sexuality classes has shown great benefits in our congregation.

10. I do agree that women can and should be honored and shown to be important parts of God’s kingdom. There are many who are irreplaceable in very important roles in the church. But there are some roles reserved for males, and some roles males are just not the best for.

11. Never been to a church where this was an issue, either way. It can be done respectfully in any case, just like dressing respectfully.

12. Yes, over-sheltering will seldom work out like you plan. I have too many stories of kids who were shelters then could not handle the real world in one way or another. Don’t fool yourself, you must prepare them and part of that is awareness and some real practice.

Those are my opinions, only worth the price of admission.


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It is usually futile to try to talk facts and analysis to people who are enjoying a sense of moral superiority in their ignorance. -Thomas Sowell
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Re: "12 Ways to Help Christian Men Overcome Lust"

Post by SeekingChange »

I couldn't help but notice the similarities that I have tried to "preach" against, around the churches/Christians far swing of hypervigilance of "affair-proofing", and the damage that's doing in the Body....it seems it goes hand in hand.
God can change what people do, behavioral patterns that have been in play for decades. He can change what we do to cope, to find comfort, to survive conflict, to count. Rahab had done a same old thing for years... and then she did something new.
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Re: "12 Ways to Help Christian Men Overcome Lust"

Post by Bill »

This is a great list of advice. The distinction between noticing and lusting is simple and yet incredibly profound. As a young Christian guy I don't think I was taught that there was a difference. I'm not sure I ever was.

The points about more interaction with the opposite sex and having female youth leaders are also very important. Obviously there are times when separating the sexes is appropriate. But the default should be mixing them together. The less 'mysterious' girls and women are, the more boys (and men) are forced to develop their skills at interacting with them, 'noticing' them, and learning how to manage their thoughts and feelings in an appropriate way.
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Re: "12 Ways to Help Christian Men Overcome Lust"

Post by SeekingChange »

Bill wrote: Sat Feb 06, 2021 6:32 am This is a great list of advice. The distinction between noticing and lusting is simple and yet incredibly profound. As a young Christian guy I don't think I was taught that there was a difference. I'm not sure I ever was.
It's only been within the last decade my husband finally realized to notice a woman's beauty or attractiveness didn't equate lust. He was one of many men who carried around a lot of false and needless guilt.
God can change what people do, behavioral patterns that have been in play for decades. He can change what we do to cope, to find comfort, to survive conflict, to count. Rahab had done a same old thing for years... and then she did something new.
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Re: "12 Ways to Help Christian Men Overcome Lust"

Post by newwifenewlife »

Bill wrote: Sat Feb 06, 2021 6:32 am The distinction between noticing and lusting is simple and yet incredibly profound.
Yes, it is.
Bill wrote: Sat Feb 06, 2021 6:32 am The less 'mysterious' girls and women are, the more boys (and men) are forced to develop their skills at interacting with them, noticing' them, and learning how to manage their thoughts and feelings in an appropriate way.
All needed. The thing that I think is more impactful right now to relationally is social media. Kids don't relate well to each other in person and/OR they go too deep, too quickly, and too soon in their adolescent development to handle the pressure emotionally and sexually. Social media breaks things go into little stuff...allows for things to be said digitally that they might not say OR have the opportunity to say in person...which doesn't even address all the late night conversations which can head south quickly, or the ability to ask and send pics. I realize that's getting away from the topic but I don't think parents can address the topic of lust and relationships between the sexes without also dealing with social media as well.
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Re: "12 Ways to Help Christian Men Overcome Lust"

Post by Duchess »

newwifenewlife wrote: Sat Feb 06, 2021 8:20 am I don't think parents can address the topic of lust and relationships between the sexes without also dealing with social media as well.
Agreed.
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Re: "12 Ways to Help Christian Men Overcome Lust"

Post by Irnmyk »

I did have a thought about #6 & #7. I have often thought that if I went to the workplace dressed as women are allowed to come to the workplace, I'd be sent home and told to not come back until I could dress properly. But that's just an aside to add to @LBD's great commentary.

What I want to say here, I've said in other threads. God designed women to be attractive to men. It's as simple as that. That's a necessary part of God's plan for mankind.

What we as men (or them as women) do with that is up to us. He also designed us with a brain that we can use to control our minds. He gave us inspired writings (and one case stone etchings) as guidelines to show us what the right path looks like. He gives us repeatedly the call to righteousness throughout the scriptures.

So, with any situation like this we are faced with a decision. If you drive up in a beautiful (pick your favorite fancy car), I can admire it and tell you how good it looks, or I can begin to scheme and plan as to how to get it away from you - even to the extent of doing great bodily harm to accomplish that. I've then changed that from admiration to sin (covetousness).

I doubt that many of us men would have trouble with that decision, no matter how much we admired or even desired to own that particular automobile.

So, we have to make it the same with God's creation, women.

I didn't get where I am now all at once, but I've worked on getting to a point where I know the difference and can thereby admire, and frankly, enjoy God's handiwork. Try this; offering a prayer of praise to God for his handiwork. For me it works. (I'll usually stick in an add-on prayer that her soul is as attractive to God as his handiwork is to me.) That puts me in a frame of mind that brings me to the realization that I might be the only Believer that she comes in contact with that day, so my actions might be the only testimony about Jesus and the Good News that she gets. That'll get your mind right, I'll tell you.

Can I slip up? Absolutely yes I can, and as full confession sometimes do. But more and more, I am able to do what Apostle Paul advocated and "buffet my body" (the mind part of my body) in this regard.

It's been liberating. I can now admire a gorgeous woman (and gorgeous can go way beyond just her looks) without getting myself in trouble with their Creator or my DW.

One other thing helps me immensely with that that others on this board might not have. That is that I have a loving DW that is about the best sexual partner that any man could want (judging by a lot of what I read on the TMB boards as a point of reference in making that statement) such that when I see a women that offers me some type of attractiveness, I realize that I could never have with that woman what I have with my woman simply because I don't have another 45 years to spend to develop the relationship that would take to get to where I am with my DW today after our 45 years.

So, why let the mind take me to a place where the physical sin could wreck what I have now. What a fool I would be to go there. That puts them easily in the category of your new fancy car - I can admire all day long and that's as far as it goes.

I think W.C. Fields said it the best. He said "Women are like elephants to me; I like to look at them, but wouldn't want to own one." I've changed his last line to "...but wouldn't want to touch one."

DW knows that I look, that I'm a red-blooded male with all the genes that God gave men, but she also knows my limit. I'm not allowed to touch. She also knows that I cherish her so she isn't threatened by my looking. If anything, she knows that I have a discerning eye, so when I tell her how beautiful she is to me, it builds her up. I'm wise enough not to do it in such a way that it rubs it in her face, however.

Getting to this point has been a struggle for me. That's why I think that a forum like this where we can share our thoughts is helpful. Thanks for all the input and all who contribute.
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