My friend Dan has written a Bible study that helps us deal with lust and temptation. Here it is:
Dealing with Lust and Temptation
1. Our first step is to desire holiness and purity in the area of sexual lust and temptation. If we don’t truly desire this, then we won’t experience true victory over our temptations. If we merely try to “manage” our lust, then we will continually fail. We must desire and seek purity more than we desire any temporary pleasure we might receive from a lustful thought or look. When we view it as a “harmless” thing, then we open ourselves up to further temptation; plus we allow the devil to get a foothold in this area.
2. How aware are we of the sensual images all around us? How do we deal with these on a regular basis? It’s true that sometimes these images seek us out, and we need to be prepared for them. But if we’re honest with ourselves, sometimes we seek them out due to our fallen, fleshly sin nature. Therefore, we need to be on guard when we’re abruptly confronted with a sensual image. But we also need to be proactive and intentional about avoiding certain traps and pitfalls, and not carelessly put ourselves in situations that we know will tempt us. If we attempt to “handle” or “manage” the temptation instead of flee from it, then we’re certain to fail; plus we’re allowing ourselves to be lured into the trap of sexual addiction. The devil would like nothing more than for men to be snared and enslaved in this area, since he knows it will destroy marriages and relationships. Remember, the devil is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44) and he seeks to devour us, especially during our times of weakness (1 Pet. 5:8).
3. In what situations are we the most vulnerable to lust and temptation? What steps have we taken – or need to take – to avoid these tempting situations?
4. In the times that we do give in to lust and temptation, do we seek the Lord in repentance and forgiveness? Or do we often find this difficult to do in the midst of our guilt and shame? In situations like this we really need to rely on passages like 1 John 1:9.
5. Throughout the coming weeks, let’s think about ways that we can honor the Lord (and our spouse) with our heart, our mind, and our eyes. Also, let’s be intentional about recognizing and avoiding those areas that we know will cause us to stumble.
The following Scripture passages are very applicable with regard to lust and temptation.
1 Cor. 6:18-20
1 Thess. 4:3-7
1 Cor. 7:3-5