Lust. It’s the topic of which we do not speak, at least in Christian circles. And yet it’s responsible for tremendous bondage in the lives of countless millions of believers.

According to Psychology Today, 98% of men and 73% of women reported looking at pornography in the last six months. And 80% of men and 26% of women reported looking at porn in the last week. It’s affordable (usually free), anonymous (sort of), and accessible (it’s a click away). That’s a deadly combination, but add to it that it’s so normalized in our society that to resist the urge to lust or look at pornography makes you the odd one out.

On a spiritual level, lust and pornography are highly problematic. I believe lust hurts our intimacy with God and with others, steals away our confidence in life and in leadership, and traps us in cycles of self-loathing, shame, and depression. Ultimately, lust leads us into spiritual anemia and apathy while causing us to be emotionally cold toward people.

That last statement is very important. Lust leads to coldness toward people. Why? Because seeing any person as an object, rather than a soul to be loved, trains our brains to see every person as an object, and it’s much easier to disconnect from objects than from the people we love.

If you’re trapped in the bondage of lust, there is hope for breaking free, but it’s going to require attacking the problem like a warrior. Jesus made his position perfectly clear…

Your ancestors have been taught, ‘Never commit adultery.’ However, I say to you, if you look with lust in your eyes at the body of a woman who is not your wife, you’ve already committed adultery in your heart.

~ Matthew 5:27-28 TPT

Jesus says plainly that lust in the heart and mind are wrong, just as physical adultery is wrong. And he also spoke about the urgency of escaping the pattern.

If your right eye seduces you to fall into sin, then go blind in your right eye! For you’re better off losing sight in one eye than to have your whole body thrown into hell. [30] And if your right hand entices you to sin, let it go limp and useless! For you’re better off losing a part of your body than to have it all thrown into hell.

~ Matthew 5:29-30 TPT

No, Jesus wasn’t being literal. He was speaking in hyperbole. In fact, he was using a bit of sarcasm to make a serious point. To paraphrase what I believe to have been Jesus’ intention, it would be this…

If you are caught in the bondage of lust, take radical action and violently resist the temptation.

On a practical level, that may mean getting rid of cable or broadband, installing a filtering and/or accountability software (here’s the one I use). But if you’re determined to sin in this way, you’ll still find a way. So we have to go deeper than the practical. We have to do one of the hardest things of all… you have to get honest.

If you’re married, yes, you should talk openly with your spouse about your sin. It’s going to be very hard and very painful in the short term, but it’s the only pathway to authenticity and intimacy in your marriage. You should definitely talk to a close friend or two who are spiritually mature and willing to walk with you through it in an honest but non-judgmental way. And depending on the severity of the problem, you should consider talking to a Christian counselor and/or joining a recovery ministry.

The reason confession is so important is that when we bring our secrets out of the darkness and into the light, they lose a lot of their power, and it also allows others to help us bear our burdens with us.

When you confess your sin to God, he forgives you on the basis of his grace. But God has determined that real healing comes through confession to other believers.

Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed.

~ James 5:16 MSG

As with any other area of spiritual bondage, it all begins with a broken and contrite heart of repentance. God never resists this kind of heart. You can approach him in prayer today, and you should approach other, trusted friends for help as well.


I keep a list of some of the best books available on the subject of lust and pornography. I’ve also addressed this subject before in posts here, here, and here.

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