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Integrity in Hidden Places, Day 5- Lust can Destroy our Integrity

Day 5- Lust Can Destroy Our Integrity
Ruth P McDonald

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16, ESV)
“Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.” (1 Peter 2:11, ESV)

The only way to maintain integrity in the temptation of lust is to go into training. While it’s true that most often we associate lust with sexual thoughts or desires, it’s also true that without training in godliness, we will move from thoughts or desires to action.

Lust is a strong feeling, and without wisdom and redirection, it has the ability to spiritually ruin us. Lust discolors the other realms of our lives—it will harm us physically, mentally and emotionally. We must, then, decide how we will handle this powerful feeling before we experience it, because when we are experiencing it in the moment, it can easily cloud our judgment and destroy our integrity, along with our Christian testimony.

Lust is defined as a very strong sexual desire for someone or an intense craving for something. We may lust for someone who isn’t our spouse. We might lust for money, power, excess food or fame. All of these are rooted in sin and reveal in us a lack of contentment in what the Lord has given us. This is a wanting for what we don’t need or what isn’t ours for the taking. And so the first way we can train ourselves is to learn contentment in our present circumstances—even if we are struggling financially, even if our marriage is on the rocks, even if we’re currently positioned on the lowest ladder rung in our occupation. Contentment is a necessary component in our battle against the lust of the flesh.

Redirection is another great tool we can use to train ourselves. When we see someone we find sexually attractive, make it a habit to look away. Arm yourself with memorized Scripture you can mentally quote as you quickly shift your gaze. Refuse to allow sexual thoughts to form in your mind by redirecting your thoughts toward Christ. Redirection may also include walking away from your laptop or social media if it’s compelling you to overspend, to long for things you don’t have, or to look for ways to be noticed or garner attention.

Christian integrity associated with lust is two-sided. Dressing modestly and finding your value in Christ rather than looking for validation in “likes” on social media contribute to godly integrity. When we post something, is it chaste? Is it wholesome? Are we modest? While by no means is it ever excusable for someone to act on lust because they feel they’re being enticed, we still must use spiritual wisdom in how we represent ourselves, both in person and online. This is training ourselves to be people of integrity as well as people who desire integrity in our brothers and sisters in Christ.

What we think matters, because what we think determines what we do.

If we want to overcome lustful thoughts, we must align our thoughts with Scripture. When we clean up our mind, our actions will be less likely to lead to sin. By training our minds, we can find victory, but we must stay in training every day of our lives because it’s a lifelong battle. We can’t let our guard down, because the minute we do, Satan moves in and continues his plans to destroy us. Our integrity is at stake, and so is the name of Christ whom we represent. May we be found faithful, holy and pure, reflecting His goodness and bringing Him the glory that is due to Him.

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