Overcoming Lust – Part Two
“How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word, O LORD, and following its rules.” – Psalm 119:9
It’s not easy for children and young people to stay sexually pure in our society today. We live in a society saturated with sex and violence. No wonder the number of children accused of sex crimes has grown by 40 per cent in the past twenty years. Many of the accused were themselves victims of adult sexual predators.
Dr. Sharon Araji, an Alaska psychologist who took one of the first broad looks at the problem in her book “Sexually Aggressive Children,” thinks the number of child-on-child sex crimes is actually even higher than the statistics indicate. Only 28 per cent of all violent sexual assaults are reported to police, according to a 1999 National Crime Victimization Survey. And cases of incest between siblings are widely thought to be underreported and may drive the number even higher, Dr. Araji believes. “The whole society is not yet up on this problem,” she says. “These kids, on the extreme end, if nothing is done to catch them, they’re going to become our adult offender of tomorrow.”
How can a young person resist the temptation of lust, sex, and violence? First, by growing up strong in God’s Word. Psalm 119 says, “How can a young person live a clean life? By carefully reading the map of your Word. I’m single-minded in pursuit of you; don’t let me miss the road signs you’ve posted. I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart so I won’t sin myself bankrupt.” (The Message). Encourage your child to read God’s Word daily and hide it in your heart and the Holy Spirit will use it when you need it most. As an adult, set a personal example of this.
Second, live with accountability. Sexuality is not only powerful but deceptive. Protect your children or grandchildren from lustful images of sex and violence. Join with other concerned parents in your community to stop the rise in sex crimes among children and young people. We need others to hold us accountable, to ask us the hard and uncomfortable questions and not settle for vague answers. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend.” Do you have a spiritual friend who serves as an accountability partner? If not, let me encourage you to ask God to lead you to one.
Third, don’t be a stumbling block to others. As Christians we’re free to wear what we want, but we’re called to sacrifice our freedom if what we might otherwise choose might lead someone to sin. What you wear mattersâ€¦it impacts. Modesty may not be fashionable, but it is faithful.
Finally, if you’re married, invest daily in your spouse. A lawn care guy once told me that the best way to keep weeds from growing in your lawn is to grow healthy grass. That’s great advice for relationships too. A healthy marriage in which we take care of one another’s needs and tend to one another’s heart will go a long way toward faithfulness. And a good marriage models for children the practical wisdom of living by God’s word in matters of love, sexual purity, and self-control.
Maybe you’re reading this today and you’re struggling with God’s word concerning lust. Or maybe you’ve failed in the area of sexual purity or marital faithfulness and you’re feeling guilty. Don’t fall into the rut of condemnation. Fall instead into the arms of Jesus. Experience the grace of confession and repentance. Experience the freedom of forgiveness. Hear the word of the Lord for you this morning, “Behold, I am making all things new.”
Bringing It Home
1. Decide today where can get involved in protecting children and young people from sexual exploitation and violence. Ask for God’s grace in helping you to keep your commitments.
2. If you don’t have an accountability and prayer partner, get one! It’s one of the best things you can do for your spiritual health.
Lord, thank you for the gift of sexuality. Help me to treat this gift with respect, and to use it according to the heart of the One who gave the gift. Save me from the time of temptation and deliver me from evil! Give me wisdom and courage to help children and young people to avoid the devilish trap of lust and violence. Surround me with other believers who will love me enough to speak the hard truth to me when I need to hear it. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Burnsville, MN