How can we keep our hearts from lusting after the images we see in the world?
Some helpful Scriptures:
“I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin” ? (Job 31:1)
Job made a formal, solemn, binding agreement with his eyes not to entertain lustful behaviour or thoughts.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2),
“This is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you knows how to control his own body in holiness and honor” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-4).
Sometimes that abstaining comes in the form of leaving the place or situation where you’re tempted. Obey the still small voice. The indwelling Holy Spirit will convict you but you need to say “not my will be done but yours be done”. Long standing addictions are hard to break but as your relationship with God develops with you experiencing His goodness and his revelation of new truth from His word you will not want to grieve the Holy Spirit or quench His work in your life.
“So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”(2 Timothy 2:22)
Even after conversion, we all still sin (1 John 1:8, 10), so what must we do?
“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5)
What can help us do that, besides run from temptation and turn our eyes away?
How can you turn away from or run from your imagination? The psalmist gives us sage advice by writing, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11). In effect, the psalmist is saying he memorized Scripture so that he might not sin against God.
Hiding God’s Word in our hearts gives us ammunition for times when we need to resist temptation. For Job, it was turning his eyes away when he looked at a woman. For others, it was running as fast as they can, but the Word of God has power (Isaiah 55:11; Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 1:18)
We need God’s power, which is found in His Spirit and in His Word. That’s because, “all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world” (1 John 2:16).
The best way to avoid lusting and temptation, which can carry us away into sin, is to immediately look away from anything that tempts you; remove yourself from a tempting situation; and hide God’s Word in your heart, because God’s Word has power where we do not. And above all we need to acknowledge the Holy Spirit and His role to make us like Jesus, He is our counselor, teacher and comforter. He is God within us. Ask Him to provide the power in order to fight the temptation, particularly to lust, which could lead to a sin of sexual immorality.
This article was inspired by an article by Pastor Jack Wellman 3 Biblical Strategies to Resist Sin (patheos.com)