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How I Found Freedom From Lust (Daily Disciple)

How I found freedom from lust
“I’ve found freedom, but at the same time, I’m not getting overconfident because I am still tempted.” (Daily Disciple)

Today, I’ve transcribed a video in which Isaac from Daily Disciple shares his battle for sexual integrity and keys that have helped him achieve a measure of success. As a preadolescent, Isaac was exposed to sexually-charged content that initiated a yearslong battle with lust. Isaac attributes his recent success to the counsel of Jesus in Matthew 26:41, “Watch and pray, that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

For Isaac, to “watch” is to be conscious and informed about the issue of sexual integrity (don’t play dumb); to identify and avoid tempting triggers (be wise and proactive); and to monitor our thoughts (nip temptation in the bud) — all so that we can avoid and overcome temptation rather than reacting to moral failure after the fact. For Isaac, the second part “pray” is crucial because we cannot defeat temptation on our own strength. Jesus said that the flesh is weak, and so we must pray — as Jesus modeled in the Lord’s prayer — that God would “lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.”

Check out the complete video and transcript below!

If we’re not praying throughout this, we’re doing it on our own. And willpower is not going to cut it. In that second part of the verse, it says “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” And if you’ve been in this battle for any length of time, you know that your flesh is weak, and you’ve experienced that.

Daily Disciple

Transcript of “How I Found Freedom From Lust” by Isaac From Daily Disciple

This could be the turning point in your journey. But first let me share a little bit about mine. The first time that I was exposed to sexually-charged content was when I was about 11 or 12 years old. I was just given my first iPod, but I was just scrolling randomly, and a compilation of Super Bowl commercials was there. It looked interesting to me. I clicked on it. And from there I was exposed to all sorts of sexually-charged content. From the on, I kind of searched out more of these type of videos. I know it was wrong. At the same time, I didn’t really have any self-control.

At this point, I would have considered myself a Christian, but I never experienced this kind of temptation before, and I didn’t really have a box to put it in. I didn’t realize what it was doing to me. I was plagued by guilt and shame so much of the day. I went to a youth conference, and they talked about the strongholds in our lives and how they hold us back from serving God faithfully. I was in that moment where I was like, “I need to do something about this.” And the only thing that I could think of that might help is talking to my dad.

So one night as I was just plagued by guilt—I can still remember this vividly. I couldn’t sleep. It was probably 1 o’clock at night. I walked into my mom and dad’s bedroom, and I woke up my dad and said, “Hey, can I talk to you?” From then on, I left my iPod with him during the night so I wasn’t tempted. I think for a lot of us, this kind of season of life–11, 12, 13, maybe earlier for some folks—marks the beginning of being exposed to sexually-charged content and beginning this battle with lust.

Now fast-forward about 10 years, I’m 23. Though temptation definitely sometimes rears its ugly head, I’ve begun to find real victory in this area of my life over the last few years. I know what it’s like to feel that guilt and that shame and that discouragement that comes from falling once again. And yet I can also testify to the fact that freedom is available.

But here’s the big problem that we all need to come to terms with. We live in a pornographic culture. We are continually assaulted by music, media, movies, [and] social media that are charged with sexuality. And it’s tempting, and we can’t just live as a monk — or maybe some people do, maybe you can, but I can’t. We need to know how to operate in this space, so I want to share some of what has helped me actually make headway in finding freedom.

In Matthew 26:41, Jesus gives us two steps that are extremely important to take as we are looking to overcome temptation. Here they are: “Watch and pray, that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

What does Jesus mean by watch? To be alert, to be aware, to be discerning. Do those three words categorize your words in your daily life? I think for a long time honestly I pretended to be ignorant of a lot of the sexuality that was embedded in what I was watching and taking in. I just kind of pretended like it wasn’t affecting me or wasn’t an issue. I wasn’t being alert, aware, or discerning.

For us, we need to begin by becoming aware of what is going to trigger us to fall into temptation. So this is where it gets kind of intense, and a lot of people will back off because they’re like, “Oh, that’s too extreme. Oh, it’s not that big a deal. Oh, I can handle it and I’m strong enough.” You’re not. You’re not strong enough. So if you’re on Instagram, let’s say, head to your following. Who are you following, and who are the people that tempt you? Seriously, and you need to stop following them now. That should just be like a no-brainer. At the same time, we’re like, “Well, I’m following them for their music or they’re a good actor and I like their movies.”

It’s like, “No. It’s not worth it.” And I’m going to go to the extent to say that even a friend who posts risqué Instagram pictures that tempts you to look lustfully – look, you should not be following that person. I’m sorry. I went through my Instagram. I unfollowed everyone that tempted me, even if they were a good musician that I really liked, or a movie star that I wanted to keep up on what they were up to. It’s like, “No. I don’t want to be tempted. I’m just not going to have that on my feed.”

Also, TikTok. If you’re on TikTok, you should probably get off. But for me, I’m on there, and pretty much every time I see something that tempts me or some sexually-charged content, I block them, immediately, without hesitation. It’s become a routine now. So every time, I just get used to it, you know. “Oh, no, block, sorry, it’s done.” I’m not even going to think about it. I’m not going to risk seeing this person again or seeing their content again.

I stopped edgy movies. For a while, in my teen years, I felt like I was mature enough, that I could handle it, that the movies I wasn’t allowed to watch as a kid – now I’m like 16, 17, “Oh yeah, I can watch all the classics or whatever.” Honestly, it wasn’t worth it. It really wasn’t. The movies weren’t that good and, also, it got my mind thinking in thought patterns that I didn’t like. It just felt icky. And so now I’m just free of that. I just don’t watch that stuff. I’m like, “I’m not interested.” And for going to theaters, I’m going to common sense. I’m seeing is there sexuality, is there nudity? I just don’t want it.

For me, it was little pieces of here or there on social media that was kind of getting my heart prepared to fall into sexual immorality. It was like, “Oh, here’s a little piece here, a little piece there. Accept that. Oh, okay, that’s not so bad.” But it’s getting you to this place where you’re being triggered to fall that much more into lust. And so me, I need to cut it off at ground level. That’s what I’ve come to conclude. You can’t kind of go halfway on this stuff. God cares about the thought life, too. And so as we’re thinking about the thought life, we need to go back to ground level. “What are the little things in my life that I’m letting kind of creep in that’s causing me to move further and further down this dark path?”

Step two, the second part of this verse, “Watch and pray,” so pray. In Thessalonians, it talks about “pray without ceasing.” And this is especially important as we’re encountering and facing these temptations in our lives. If we’re not praying without ceasing. If we’re not praying throughout this, we’re doing it on our own. And willpower is not going to cut it. In that second part of the verse, it says “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” And if you’ve been in this battle for any length of time, you know that your flesh is weak, and you’ve experienced that.

Part of the reason that we don’t take little bits here and there thinking that we’re strong enough to overcome “Oh, this little bit of temptation.” Or “I can watch this movie because I’m a strong enough Christian.” It’s like, “No. The flesh is weak. We need to come to realize this.”

When we talk about prayer, and in the midst of the battle that I’ve experienced, I’m asking God for deliverance. “God, deliver me from this temptation.” Something else that I’m doing, as well, is I’m listing to him my justifications for why I think it’s okay that I, you know, watch this thing, or whatever else it is. It’s like, “Okay, God, I feel like maybe I deserve it, because most of the other time, I’m a good Christian, so that’s why I feel like…” And just verbalizing those things to God and actually kind of dispelling them with Biblical truth. “But I know that’s not true because you hate sin and you’ve given me the power to overcome this through your power and presence in my life. And you died for this sin.” And just preaching truth to yourself in the midst of that prayer and asking God to give you deliverance from that. That can be a freeing experience.

What I’ve noticed is these justifications, at least in my own life, are the primary force that leads me into temptation, that leads me to submit to these kind of temptation. It’s saying, “Oh, I’m a good Christian. It’s just one time.” Or “I deserve it,” or things like that. These are lies that I’m believing. Lord, show me your truth.

In Colossians 3:5 says “Put to death, therefore, what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”

We need to put to death this sin. It is very clear in the Scriptures, but how do we do that? We’re going to confront it. We’re going to identify what it is. We’re going to stop making excuses or justifications for why we do it. We’re going to be honest with ourselves. And what we’re going to do, and what I’ve done is verbalize it to other people. “Hey, this is a temptation that I experience.” “Hey, this is something that I struggle with.” And be clear and intentional about who you share this stuff with. There are couple friends or family members in my life that know this about me, that know that I kind of struggle in this area, that this is a temptation for me and we keep up to date on it.

But when you keep it inside, you give it a little place in your heart. You’re not putting it to death. You’re kind of keeping it in storage until you need it. And that’s definitely not what the Bible says. We definitely don’t want to keep sins in storage. We want to put them to death.

Galatians 5:16 says “But I say walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires by the flesh.”

This is something we miss so often. This kind of goes hand-in-hand with the whole prayer aspect, and praying without ceasing. Look, if we’re simply trying to overcome lust on our own strength or just trying to subtract something from our life, we’re going to have a big issue. But if we’re walking in accordance with the Spirit, if we’re pursuing Christ, it’s going to be a natural occurrence to put away those things. Put away who we once were because that doesn’t align with who we are becoming.

If you want to put your sin to death, what you need to do is you need to starve it out. You need to stop feeding it. You’re giving it morsels here and there that are sustaining ‘till it’s finally strong enough where it can take hold of you. You need to stop feeding it.

To put a cap on my journey and I guess where I’m going from here. Yes, I still struggle with it. I’m still tempted by it. I’ve found freedom, but at the same time, I’m not getting overconfident because I am still tempted. I do see these things, and I’m okay. In this moment, I need to make a decision, “Lord, help me through this. Deliver me from this temptation.” And so, when you find freedom, when you begin to find freedom, there can be this excitement, this is really working, this is really happening. I’m so thrilled and excited. And there’s a sense of relief. But don’t let up. Don’t let up. Still be alert and discerning of what you’re consuming, and pray without ceasing.

And God – his covering is over you. He’s more than powerful to deliver you from this. And I’m excited for each one of you as you watch this video and go from here until this next stage of your life where you’re continuing to pour into Christ and put sin to death.

An intellectually curious millennial passionate about seeing people make healthy, informed choices about the moral direction of their lives. When I’m not reading or writing, I enjoy hiking, web-making, learning foreign languages, and watching live sports. Alumnus of Georgetown University (B.S.) and The Ohio State University (M.A.).

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