Tag Archives: Lust

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Holy Resistance

‘In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood’ (Heb. 12:4).

Guys tend to be soft these days, orbited by helicopter parents and overly self-aware, as if sensitivity to one’s ‘needs’ means feeding time. Now.

Forgive me, but I cannot empathize for long with dudes committed to Jesus but pixelated, poisoned by porn, who regret that they are not ‘free’ to cave into sexual sin with either gender. They may even fall into self-pity over the loss of beloved idols, as if idols wanted their good. Note to self: idols want your blood, not your best.

Wake up. To become our best, we need resistance, a fight, a battle worth waging that will enliven something noble in us and burn off moral flabbiness. We need a clear vision of chastity—of holy love that rouses us to stop pleasuring ourselves long enough to pick up the sword of the Spirit and wield it. We are built to fight, not fantasize; Jesus redeemed us for war, not whining. We are made to reach beyond childish things and offer ourselves as honorably as possible to others. For their good, not our perceived fulfillment! That noble aim requires full surrender to Jesus and all our strength, endowed by His Spirit.

We have help from our fellows. Last week was the Feast Day of St. Charles Lwanga and friends, a group of about 22 13-30-year-old males who served in the court of a perverse and lustful Ugandan king in the late 19th century. As their spiritual leader, Charles discipled his band of brothers in the holiness of Jesus, which included training in chastity; that training was aimed at resisting the king’s sexual advances. For refusing royal lust, Charles and friends were martyred. They resisted to the point of shedding their blood; that sacrifice quickened the conversion of a nation that now boasts an 81% Christian population.

How far will you go to resist lust? I challenge you. Pick up the sword. Renounce self-pity. Ask Jesus for power you don’t feel. Live like you’re strong: surrender porn and foolish fantasies about the lover you deserve. You have One—Jesus who comes closer than the consummate friend and trains you for war. He has entrusted you with this fight. Start waging it. Become the man you are. Who knows? Your resistance might convert a crowd, even a country.

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Lust in the Light

‘Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.’ (Rom. 12:21)

All sins are not created equal. Overeaters wear their vice in plus-sized outfits; the slothful bear a gloomy countenance, swathed in grave clothes. Both confess their sins wordlessly. Yet the lustful can radiate good health from overheated frames, giving the appearance of order while driven by disordered desires that if conceived commit violence against all involved. Let’s not compare a breakfast of brownies or dour self-doubts to the one sin that St. Paul claims most opposes one’ own body (1Cor. 6:18) while violating intimacy with Jesus. (vs. 13-17)

Lust is a secret sin that incurs the shame of wasting one’s generative powers; that shame can further isolate the sexual sinner from openly expressing his/her vice. Yet the technology that now drives lust has so obliterated our good shame that we are now nearly shameless, naked and on fire, losing the feeling of exposure which demands what only the Lamb can provide.

With the help of Google fiber, split seconds exist between any lustful thought and a perverse pornographic image that sears itself on the heart, to be recalled at whim. Lust begins with disordered curiosity and ends up disordering our desires by awakening passion it only frustrates. Good gifts we are, yes, but lust lures us to pervert the essence of that gift in cheap exchanges that bankrupt our most precious offering. Even the shameless can feel its futility. Scripture claims that the law is written on our hearts, (Rom. 2: 15), which testify to the truth that God made us to give ourselves only where committed love creates an openness to life.

Any fluency on this topic is because of my sordid history; lust is my most deadly sin. For this I feel blessed shame, a gift in light of my rather shameless background. Growing up on the CA beach in the sexual revolution, we ‘spent’ our bodies to buy new sensations. Although my inclinations were homosexual, lust may better define what drove and derided me. The Catholic Church smartly defines lust as sexual pleasure sought for itself, without the goals of lasting communion and child-bearing, and cites masturbation, pornography, fornication, and homosexual practice as among its expressions (CCC2351-2359). Sexual immorality is an equal opportunity offender. For all who lust, we have an Advocate, the ‘Lamb who takes away the sin of the world.’ (JN 1: 29)

The Lamb leads us to purity, or better put, to chastity, which is the stern and splendid task of integrating our sexuality within both our bodies and our spirits. (#2337) What a long and invigorating adventure! His unfailing love enables our daily surrender to Jesus and His members. Through trustful confession, accountability, and ongoing prayer, He pours Himself out upon us and accesses the heart’s true cry for love and connection. We learn to love real people. Overtime, Jesus helps us to become chaste and so overcome our disintegration, the lustful tendency to dart from real love to fantastic counterfeits.

Along the way, many of us welcome the call to offer our bodies to one person over a lifetime. Jesus and His bride prepared me for Annette. With her I learned to focus my sexual energies in the context of loving a person who was like me and yet profoundly ‘other than me’—body, soul, and spirit. I praise both marriage, and the Lamb who was slain. Together, the two reclaimed for me the gift of sexual love from the distortions of lust.

‘Jesus has given us the possibility of realizing the entire truth of our being: He has set us free from the domination of lust.’ (St. John Paul ll, Veritatis Splendor)

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Mercy 14: Mercy for Purity

‘I will sprinkle clean water on you and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.’ (Ez. 36: 25, 26)

The goal of our sexuality is to become good, fruitful gifts to others. That means integrating our sexuality into the whole of our humanity. When our desires and motives for another are subject to what is truly best for that other, then we have become pure. Read more »

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Mercy 13: Mercy for Sodom

‘These matters are in my hands and I will bring them to fruition according to My Mercy, for nothing can oppose My will.’ Jesus to St. Faustina

Growing acceptance of gender brokenness seems founded on the belief that people are born incurably ‘gay,’ ‘transgender’ etc. Why not be and act according to who one intrinsically is? Read more »

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Mercy 9: Merciful Memory

‘Do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, forbearance, and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you to repentance?’ (Romans 2:4)

merciful memory 9 berlewWe live in a day of contempt for God’s plan for human sexuality. In a California restaurant recently, I endured a group of women at table next to mine groping each other while leering at the evidently gay wait staff. Having struck down Prop. 8 and all restraint, the ‘golden state’ now leads the nation in gender-bending chaos. ‘The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men’ (PS 12:8).

Sinners’ contempt for holiness can tempt us to disdain. We can close up the ark of our hearts, pronouncing judgment on the rebels. Or we can open our hearts and ask God to have mercy on them. It helps to remember the mercy He had for us in our contemptuous ways.

I am reduced to tears whenever I read Luke 18: 9-14, the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. Luke wrote it specifically for those who ‘were confident of their own righteousness.’ He describes a Pharisee whose prayer is ‘about himself’ (v. 11): a hymn to his native virtue that sets him apart from obvious sinners.

In the glare of that verse I am exposed. Chaste now for years and oriented squarely toward my wife and adult kids, I am tempted to view that holiness as a product of my good choices, not ‘His kindness, forbearance, and patience.’ (Romans 2: 4) Such distortion primes me for unholy judgments toward the lost. Wow. Have I forgotten His kindness towards me when I strutted with the worst of them? Do I lose sight of the quiet sins I still commit: little ones like murder, hatred and lust of heart?

Mercy prompts me to remember the torturous fear that ‘this time I had gone too far’. And the generous wave of blood and water that rolled like a river on my pathetic life, serving justice through Love alone.

While the Pharisee prayed smug self-congratulations, the tax collector could only cry out: ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ (v. 13) God heard him because of his awareness of the gap that only God can fill. My prayer? Help me to remember that gap, Jesus. And the mercy that made all the difference.

Prayer Points:

    • Desert Stream/Living Waters: New York/New Jersey, Garry & Melissa Ingraham, Regional Coordinators. Please pray for the Ingrahams as they work to strengthen Living Waters and help start new groups throughout the NY/NJ area.
      • Restored Hope Network: The Portland Fellowship, Portland, OR. Jason Thompson, Director. Specialty: curriculum for struggling adults and youth, family and friends, wives/spouses, and speaking outreach.
        Carolina New Song, Columbia, SC. Bud Phaup, Director. Specialty: groups for men and families.
    • Courage: Please pray for those on the verge of assuming a gay identity and /or acting on their SSA, may God illuminate their minds and fill their hearts with His love.
  • Cor Project: Please pray that we would have the financial resources necessary to fulfill our mission.
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