Lust: A strong craving or desire, often of a sexual nature. (Source) – Or – “[A]n unholy desire for the forbidden.” (Source)
We often believe the lie that lust or sexual temptation is only a male problem but that’s not the truth. All humans can struggle with these things in different ways… especially women after divorce. When we become aware of something or bring it to our conscious mind, we are using mindfulness. This is something we all need to do with our craving or desire for sex and pleasure.
As divorced women, most of know what it’s like to experience God’s gift of sex for married couples. And you may even feel like it was take away from you when he committed adultery and/or you were faced with that unwanted divorce. Although it may feel like it, I promise it’s not a punishment from God. God is not an Indian-giver. He just knows the problems with sex (or porneia) outside of marriage, and He wants to protect you from that. It’s forbidden because He loves us that much to only want what’s best for us.
In his book, Sex is Not the Problem (Lust Is), Josh Harris states,
The truth is that Jesus didn’t come to rescue us from our humanity; He entered into our humanity to rescue us from our sinfulness. He didn’t come to save us from being sexual creatures; He became one of us to save us from the reign of sin and lust, which ruins our sexuality.
It’s not a sin to have sexual desires. Jesus was a living human just like us, feeling the same feelings and desires we do. That’s just part of being human to have thoughts and desires. It becomes a problem when we allow our sexual desires (or our selfish desires) to rule over the desire to do right and please God.
Paul continues to warn that we must learn to control our bodies and be sanctified rather than giving in to our base desires, which is characteristic of those who do not know God. – (Source)
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. – 1 John 2:15-16 NLT
Here we see that our lusts are in direct violation of God’s perfect will, because they usually are misdirected, moving and leading us away from God to our own selfish desires. (Source)
How to Overcome Sexual Temptation and Lust
Turn your heart towards God.
Do not be deceived by the lies of the enemy or the world that says, “it’s no big deal” to have sex outside of marriage (including with yourself) or to engage in activities that aren’t sexual intercourse. The Bible says “flee from all sexual immorality.”
Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. – 1 Corinthians 6:18 NLT
Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts. – 2 Timothy 2:22 NLT
The purity of your heart is a big deal to God and it should be to you. I believe you get your purity back if you commit to saving sex or any sexual activities for only inside of a marriage covenant. We put marriage in a place of honor and integrity if we do so.
Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. – Hebrews 13:4 ESV
When we seek God and His desires for our current life and our future, we allow Him to fulfill our human desires. Be so filled with God’s love and purpose that you don’t yearn for anything else. Wait for God to fulfill the desires of your heart… and you’ll always be satisfied.
And here’s the most important thing, lust can never be satisfied with just “one time” or one act. As humans, we’ll keep desiring more; lust can never be quenched.
Our lusts have a very powerful influence on our actions if they are not caught and corrected immediately. We must remember that lust occurs in the mind and is not a physical action in and of itself. (Source)
Identify your weaknesses.
While I was in high school, I read one of Danielle Steel’s books because my grandmother had most of them on her bookshelf. It wasn’t anything I was interested in reading and I never picked up another romance novel of any kind again. I learned really fast how these fantasy books cause women to believe certain things about love, romance, and sex. And I didn’t like how the book was able to stir desires in me.
I’ve also stopped watching romantic drama movies, since my divorce, that includes any sort of sexual dialog or situations (especially adultery) because they’ve caused me to believe that I deserve “that kind of love” when it’s not real. I check Christian review websites (like Plugged-In) before watching movies, beyond G-rated, to prepare myself (and my child) for anything we don’t need to see. Not only do these movies make me cry but they create unrealistic expectations in my head. I avoid these weaknesses to protect my heart and any future relationships.
These are the ways I identify my weaknesses and set myself up to conquer them. Your weaknesses may not be the same as mine but identifying them and avoiding them is the best way to overcome the struggle with lust after divorce. Set yourself up to win this fight rather than setting yourself up to fail.
Set your boundaries before temptation.
Have a plan and stick to it. If you know you’re standards are to wait to date for a set number of years or until you have achieved these three things (as Pastor Curtis explained in this article), then you’ll have prepared yourself to stick to your boundaries when you meet a man or when you start dating again. Personal boundaries must be practiced and reinforced by you in order to have them. Living without boundaries and standards will allow for temptation to overtake you or you’ll be swayed in the face of temptation.
Be mindful of evil and worldly ideology that might cause you to lower your boundaries or not have them in the first place. As an online writer, I’ve heard all the excuses that people make for choosing to live in sin during or after divorce. Rebuilding your life on God’s solid rock will allow you to have a solid foundation in the future.
Not only should you know what you’re watching before you watch it but you need to be careful what you’re searching on the internet. Stay away from certain search terms that you know will give you tempting results. This includes on YouTube and even Amazon (I had no idea they offered some of the things they offer on Amazon until I stumbled on them – trust me if you don’t know already, you don’t want to know!).
No person is alone on this island. We’re here to help each other. Find a Christian mentor who you can trust and be completely honest with. Set safeguards in place to protect you and your household from attacks of the evil, sexualized outside world. (My WiFi router has parental controls and I use them.)
Take your sword (Ephesians 6:17) with you into this battle over lust. Put Bible verses where you can see them, in places that you’re usually and easily tempted. Memorize one or two key verses to help you in situations when your printed verses can’t be seen. Protect your heart and your mind in order to overcome the struggle with lust after divorce.
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What steps are you taking to protect your heart and eyes from lust and overcome temptations?
May God bless you and give you strength through your healing journey,