Why God Doesn’t Eliminate The Possibility of Lusting
We are often are confronted with this important question. It happens when someone not in recovery says, “You know God can heal that.” They have a point. Some people who have experienced lust addiction or have been trapped in porn use simply stop. Or they get prayed over, even removing generational curses, and the compulsion seems to leave. And so I always say in response, “I believe that!…But it hasn’t happened to most of us yet.”
I once heard a wise pastor say, “If you believe you have been healed of near-sightedness, don’t throw your glasses out. Just go to the doctor and he will verify whether its true or not.” Jesus followed this very advice when he urged the nine lepers to “go show yourselves to the priest.” Luke 17:14. Lust addiction is “cunning, baffling, powerful…and patient.” Many have considered themselves fixed only to find out differently later.
The reality is that most people who have a lust-addiction problem are not cured from ever being tempted again. There seems to be a pull that remains and must be honestly acknowledged. To fail to be honest about this puts us in the danger zone. In the presence of ongoing addiction, admitting powerlessness and entering a life-long program of recovery seems to be the best path ahead for most of us. A young man struggling recently confessed to me, “I thought if I was just good enough, it would go away.”
We are all broken vessels, yet it is clear from Scripture that God does not wash his hands of us, even in this state. A wonderful example from the Bible is Jacob, the man later renamed “Israel” by God. Jacob’s character defects were, among other things, lying, manipulating and “supplanting,” which is what his name means. He appears to have been functioning this way from birth, even holding Esau’s foot while leaving the womb. Yet, God was willing to reveal himself to Jacob at Bethel, wrestle with him across the ford of the Jabbok and even praise Jacob because “you have striven with God and with men and prevailed.” Gen. 32:28. Like a river flowing to the sea around many obstacles, God seems to take our character defects into account as He works out his mighty purposes. Along the way, like Jacob, our hips are often permanently crippled and we walk with a limp. We are never the same.
Does God then have higher purpose in all this? How does He use temptation, suffering and difficulty among his people? The subject is too large to get our arms around here, but consider a few things.
1. God uses our weakness ro empower us to seek Him more. Martin Luther said, “Our sins press us to Christ.” Paul witnessed this is 2 Corinthians 12. His “thorn in the flesh” made him more dependent and more able to receive “the power of God” which was “made perfect in weakness.” Many of us who are strong, independent types have had to be wrestled to the ground in order to find our true place. Our ongoing weakness is a daily reminder of that place.
2. God wants us to build bridges to others suffering from similar things. This is why sex addiction recovery meetings are closed. No advice is given and there are no outside experts who have it figured out. The wounded become a source of fellowship and healing, whether from the lips of a raw newcomer or a 30 year veteran of recovery. 2 Corinthians 1:3 says we are comforted by the same comfort with which we ourselves have been comforted. There is a mighty purpose here.
3. God is wanting to wean us away from this world and is using suffering and temptation to do it.. We are people who have tried to wring from this world things it was never meant to give. We have learned that one lust hit is too many and a hundred are too few. Part of our healing is to learn to look to the next world in hope, realizing that only there can our longings be fulfilled. “And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.” Rev. 22:17b. Something to think about.
Please feel free to reach out to us.
In the Lust-Bearer,
Living Without Lust Inc.